Cape San Blas is a dangerous shoal that extends over five miles into the Gulf of Mexico, east of Panama City and west Apalachicola. Located on the Cape San Blas Coast Guard Station, the light is automated and can be seen from 25 miles at sea as it flashes once every twenty seconds. A radio beacon also transmits at 320 kilohertz.
The story of the Cape San Blas Lighthouse is saga of weather disasters, beach erosion, and fire. The lighthouse has been moved or rebuilt six or more times since 1847, when the first lighthouse was constructed there. Hurricanes toppled it into the sea on successive occasions during 1851, 1856, and 1882. During the Civil War the lighthouse was extinguished by the Confederates, all of the wooden portions of the brick lighthouse were burned, as was the keeper's dwelling. It is not clear who did the burning, but the victors blamed the Rebels. Repairs were completed in 1865 and the tower was relit. A new keeper's home added in 1870.
In 1885 a portable 96' iron skeleton tower was erected 900 feet from shore. Ten years later, the Gulf of Mexico was again washing away the foundation and in 1918 the tower was moved 1,850' inland. Here it remains today, along with two wood-frame keeper’s dwellings.
The lighthouse was converted from incandescent oil vapor lamps to electricity in the early 1940's. The lighthouse station was used as a manned Loran Station until 1972 when it was automated and unmanned.