The 18th annual Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey weekend takes place Oct. 21 and 22.

Susan Krysiak, of the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities, says the challenge is a great way to visit all of the participating New Jersey lighthouses over this one weekend. The challenge, she says, is to visit each one of them.

She says it's a great road trip to enjoy with family and friends. You'll travel from north to south Jersey, enjoying the scenery, learning about lighthouse history and helping raise funds for lighthouse preservation.

Eleven land-based lighthouses, two life-saving stations, and a museum are part of the Lighthouse Challenge.

Night climbs will also be offered at Absecon, Cape May and Tucker's Island Light at Tuckerton Seaport.

Krysiak says at each location you have an opportunity to purchase a souvenir lanyard for $2 and collect a unique commemorative pin at each site.

"East Point Light, which is located in Heislerville, is newly renovated and ready for visitors as well as the U.S. Life Saving Station 30 in Ocean City," says Krysiak. Both historic sites are fully restored and open to the public for the first time.

Proceeds from the weekend event support the restoration, preservation, and maintenance of these historic beacons and museums.

Krysiak says these majestic beacons have long played an important role in New Jersey's history, guarding mariners and protecting our coastline for three centuries.

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She adds that when mariners see lighthouses, they know where they are based upon the unique signature of the light. Each lighthouse has its own day mark that identifies it based on the colors or design on the side of the lighthouse. Mariners can identify each beacon visually to help them know where they are on the coastline. Now, lighthouses play an important role as historic sites and as part of those mariner stories.

There is no registration required. Just pick a lighthouse to start and visit all of them.

"You have to sort of plan your route a bit based on where you start, obviously. Just figure out how you're going to go on your route," Krysiak says.

Hours of operation for each lighthouse and a map, visit www.lighthousechallengenj.org.

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