The Government is Giving Away These Florida Lighthouses—with a Catch

Good news for anyone who's ever wanted their own lighthouse.

Alligator Reef Lighthouse
Photo: dtimiraos/Getty Images

There was a time in America when lighthouses served a vital role, ushering ships home and navigating them through dangerous waterways. Today, however, modern GPS systems have rendered most lighthouses obsolete, leaving the future of many of the country's aging beacons unclear.

Fortunately, there is hope for five historic lighthouses in the Florida Keys that the Coast Guard recently declared "to be excess" to their needs. According to the Miami Herald, the government has decided to give the lighthouses away at no cost in accordance with the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.

That's right, they are being given away for free—but not without a catch. Unfortunately, they're only available to eligible entities, such as nonprofit organizations and educational agencies. When a potential steward expresses interest in one of these historic lighthouses, the National Park Service (NPS) evaluates this group's application to determine eligibility for transfer. If no entity is found to be qualified by NPS, then the lighthouses will be offered through a public sale.

Sand Key Lighthouse off the coast off Key West, for example, is currently up for auction. Keep in mind that the structures are being sold "as is" and "where is," meaning you won't be able to pick yours up and relocate it. Commercial activities are also prohibited unless approved by the Secretary of the Interior.

WATCH: You Can Now Stay in a Historic Lighthouse Built in 1873 on This South Carolina Island

Scroll down for a list of available lighthouses!

Sand Key Lighthouse: approximately seven miles offshore of Key West. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 11, 1973.

Alligator Reef Light Station: situated four miles offshore of Islamorada. This one was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on Dec. 1, 2011.

The American Shoal Light Station: six miles offshore of Sugarloaf Key. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places on Jan. 25, 2011.

Carysfort Reef Light Station: six miles offshore of Key Largo. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places on Oct. 31, 1984.

The Sombrero Key Light Station: seven miles offshore of Marathon. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 9, 2012.

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