elknecklighthouse

Elk Neck State Park: Turkey Point Lighthouse

Turkey Point LighthouseElk Neck State Park is home to the Turkey Point Area, a historically significant and environmentally fragile location. The Turkey Point Lighthouse was once used to project light 13 miles down the Chesapeake Bay to direct ships safely away from the shorelines. Now it stands as a reminder of the history of the area.

The History of Turkey Point Lighthouse

  • Built in 1833, Turkey Point Lighthouse sits on a 100 foot high bluff that overlooks the union of the Elk River and the Chesapeake Bay. At 129 feet above the water, Turkey Point Lighthouse is the third tallest light on the Bay after the lighthouses at Cape Charles (191 feet) and Cape Henry (164 feet) at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia.
  • Turkey Point Lighthouse was built and modeled after Concord Point Lighthouse, which is located across the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Susquehanna River in Havre de Grace. Both lighthouses were built by John Donahoo, however, Turkey Point is brick and Concord Point is granite.
  • The lighthouse was very important for mariners as it marked the shipping channel’s change in course from the Chesapeake Bay east to the Elk River, and eventually to the Chesapeake & Delaware (C&D) Canal.
  • Eleven wicks and reflectors were used for illumination, until 1855 when a Fourth Order Fresnel Lens with a single lamp was imported from France and installed. The lighthouse was electrified in 1943, at which time a 100 watt bulb, in combination with the lens, produced 680 candlepower of light.
  • In 1948 Fannie Mae Salter retired, making her the last lighthouse keeper of Turkey Point and the last female lighthouse keeper on the Chesapeake Bay. Turkey Point holds the distinction of having more female keepers (four) than any other lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay.
  • In 2000 the Turkey Point Lighthouse was decommissioned and the maintenance of the structure was taken over by the non-profit organization Turkey Point Light Station (TPLS) Inc.
  • On December 2, 2002 Turkey Point Light Station was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • In 2006, ownership of the lighthouse was transferred to Maryland Department of Natural Resources from the Federal Government.

overhead view of Turkey Point LighthouseFrom the parking lot, the hike to the lighthouse is about 0.8 miles. Please note that Maryland State Parks are trash free. You must take all of your trash with you when you leave. Alcohol is not permitted at Turkey Point.

Interested in volunteering with Turkey Point Light Station Inc.? Visit www.tpls.org for more information.

Service Charge

There is no service charge to access the Turkey Point area. Please be aware that the Turkey Point parking lot often fills to capacity on weekends and holidays; however, you may be turned away at any time if the parking area is full due to capacity. Visitors are encouraged to carpool.

Hours

The Turkey Point area is open from sunrise to sunset. All visitors must exit the parking lot by sunset.

Directions

Follow Route 272 South, 3 miles past Park Headquarters until it dead-ends at the Turkey Point parking lot. Follow the trail signs out to the lighthouse, which is approximately 0.8 miles from the parking lot. 

Things To Do and See

Between Easter and mid-November, there is a port-o-pot at the lighthouse. On Saturdays and Sundays (April through November between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.), you can climb the wooden steps up to the top of the 35 foot tall beacon and learn more about its history from one of the park’s dedicated volunteers. Climbers must be at least 42” tall.

A Raptor Viewing Field and information panel allow visitors to identify passing hawks and eagles.

Pets

Pets on leashes are welcome.

Weddings and Events

This location does not have the facilities to support special events and weddings. If you have any questions about special events, weddings, and accessibility please contact the park headquarters at
410-287-5333.​