Secret Supper: Limited tickets available and they're going fast.

Bright light, safe harbor

Here's a bright idea: Take a tour of the Hillsboro Lighthouse on Saturday.

Once a month, the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society offers tours of the historic structure, which is reachable only by boat. Boats push off from the Sands Harbor Resort and Marina in Pompano Beach.

"It's Broward County's only lighthouse, and it's the strongest light beam in the whole world," says Arthur Makenian, president of the society.

The metal lighthouse, built in 1906, has a 5.5 million-candlepower Fresnel lens, which flashes every 20 seconds.

"It's beam projects 28 nautical miles out to sea," Makenian says. "It's the only operational lens of its kind in the United States."

Guests hop aboard the glass-bottomed Coral Princess at the Sands Harbor docks and take a 30-minute cruise up the Intracoastal to the Hillsboro Inlet and the Coast Guard dock.

Bring a picnic lunch, enjoy the beach, tour the little museum, see the keeper's cottages and climb up 175 steps to the gallery of the lighthouse.

Until this past June, the U.S. Coast Guard maintained the structure.

"Now, the preservation society maintains the lighthouse and is dependent upon donations to keep bright light burning," Makenian says.

It's 175 steps to the top of the gallery.

"You'll see the most beautiful, panoramic view of the Broward County coastline," Makenian says. "It's worth the climb."

Tours take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18, and June 15. Sands Harbor Resort and Marina is located at 125 N. Riverside Drive, in Pompano Beach. Tours cost $25 per person or $50 per family. Call 954-942-2102 or go to

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