Guiding You Through Time: Explore Maine's Majestic Lighthouses, Beacons of Coastal Beauty!
The State of Maine has over 60 lighthouses, some built as early as the 16th century, that have guarded the rugged and treacherous coast and saved mariners and merchant ships from a watery disaster.
These Maine lighthouses border the coastline to this day, some for sheer aesthetic reasons, while many still serve the practical purpose of sending out light and foghorn signals to warn of impending peril.
To quote George Bernard Shaw, "I can think of no other edifice constructed by man as altruistic as a lighthouse. They were built only to serve." Lighthouses are the material equivalent of guardian angels.
Which lighthouses in Maine merit a visit? They all have something to offer. Some are set on a cliff with a fabulous view of forests and the ocean.
Others are on islands that cannot be accessed but can be seen and photographed from the mainland. Most of them are automated, but a rare, chosen few still have a human keeper.
Fortunately, Maine offers an Open Lighthouse Day every September. This is when twenty of the most beautiful lighthouses in Maine are opened to the public. This is a once-a-year cherished event and not to be missed.
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The Portland Head Light is located on Cape Elizabeth along Fort Williams Park and is one of the famous lighthouses in Maine that played an important part in protecting the coast during the Revolutionary War.
This is the oldest U.S. lighthouse providing visitors with a lovely view of Fort William Park and the Casco Bay coastline.
The museum exhibits several historic items and gifts. It is open during the summer months from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on weekdays and until 4:00 p.m. on weekends. The entrance fee is $2.00 for adults and $1.00 for children.
The Lighthouse Tower itself is open only one day a year, known as Maine Open Lighthouse Day, and falls on September 9th, 2023.
This day attracts close to 20,000 visitors who climb the stairs to the top and become a part of Maine history.
Address: 1000 Shore Rd, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec is the country’s second oldest lighthouse and is situated on the easternmost point of the U.S. and the first to see the sunrise.
It was originally built in 1808 and rebuilt in 1858. The lighthouse is open Saturdays during July and August as well as the second Saturday in September.
The visitors center on the first floor is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays and exhibits historical maritime artifacts.
Quoddy Head State Park offers visitors hiking trails and views of the ocean that may include a glimpse of a whale. Lobster boats can usually be sighted, as can Canada on a clear day.
Lubec is still known for its fog, and the lighthouse blasts a fog signal every 30 seconds.
Address: 973 South Lubec Road, Lubec, ME 04652
The Pemaquid Point Lighthouse is one of the historical Maine lighthouses in Bristol that was built in 1835 and rises to a height of 38 feet for a breathtaking ocean view.
The white lighthouse flashes a white light every six seconds. It is still used as a navigational aid by the Coast Guard.
The first floor contains the Fishermen’s Museum with artifacts relating to the fishing industry and the boats and nets used.
The apartment on the second floor, once the home of the keeper, is now a cozy rental from November to June with a full kitchen and bedroom, all with a fabulous vista of the water crashing below.
The cost is $250.00 per night. Can there be a more idyllic honeymoon haven?
Address: 3115 Bristol Rd, New Harbor, ME 04554
One of the lighthouses in Portland Maine, the diminutive Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, within Bug Light Park, offers visitors a fantastic view of Portland Harbor and the city’s skyline.
It welcomes visitors with a flash of light every four seconds. This was a major shipbuilding area during World War II, and now, visitors come for picnicking and boating.
The park itself is filled with events throughout the year. It is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Breakwater Lighthouse tours are dependent on volunteers and somewhat irregular, so visitors should click on the above site for more information.
However, visitors are welcome to stroll through the structure, climb to the top, and view the lobster boats in the harbor.
The park is open from sunrise to sunset.
Address: S Portland Greenbelt Pathway, South Portland, ME 04106
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Maine
One of the Maine lighthouses tucked on a small offshore island is the Nubble Lighthouse at Cape Neddick in the town of York.
It was opened in 1879 for the protection of sailors and is easily seen from Sohier Park. In 1987, the Coast Guard equipped the lighthouse with automatic lighting, which no longer needed a human keeper to remain functioning.
Visitors cannot go to the Island, which is only a few feet offshore, but Sohier Park provides the perfect view of the lighthouse and is a choice site for picnics, fishing, and scuba diving.
It is also a popular wedding destination, with the lighthouse in the background. The park is open year-round.
Address: Sohier Park Rd, York, ME 03909
Also Read: Most Beautiful Lighthouses in the USA
Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse near Portland Maine attracts many visitors yearly, offering the unique opportunity to see a working lighthouse.
It continues to mark obstructions affecting the channel into Portland Harbor as it has since 1897, when it was erected to prevent boating disasters. It is a small sparkplug lighthouse that rises only to 25 feet. Small but mighty.
The Lighthouse Trust makes tours available Tuesdays and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the reasonable cost of $5.00 per person from June through the first week in September.
The lighthouse can be accessed by pedestrians via a 900 feet breakwater walkway.
Address: 2 Fort Rd, South Portland, ME 04106
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is a splendid lighthouse in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island overlooking the rocky Maine coastline.
This historic lighthouse appeared in the 2012 America the Beautiful Quarter and attracts 180,000 visitors a year. It was constructed in 1858 to protect Maine’s busy shipping industry.
The interior of the lighthouse cannot be accessed, but visitors can stroll up the walkway and examine the exterior with its 37-foot tower and lightning rod.
The red light has a range of 13 miles. Fortunately, the Tremont Historical Society provides occasional tours of the interior. For more information, call 207.244.9753.
Address: 116 Lighthouse Rd, Bass Harbor, ME 04653
Also Read: Best Things To Do In Acadia National Park
Marshall Point Lighthouse is one of the notable lighthouses in Maine with its own museum that explores the history of lighthouses with an abundance of documents and photographs.
It is open on weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m. from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. The lighthouse overlooks both Muscongus and Penobscot Bays and is reachable via a narrow walkway.
The black and white Marshall Point Lighthouse, one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the US, was turned into a Hollywood star when it appeared in the movie Forest Gump as Gump ends his iconic cross-country run on the walkway before turning back.
Companies such as Buick and LL Bean have used the lighthouse location to film their commercials. So, get out your camera and enjoy a starring moment on Instagram.
Address: Marshall Point Rd, Port Clyde, ME 04855
The Owls Head Lighthouse is one of the rare lighthouses in Maine that still serves a critical coastal function. Located in Owls Head State Park in Western Penobscot Bay, it is open for viewing from 9:00 a.m. to sunset all year round.
The tower is short, a mere 30 feet tall, and the smallest lighthouse in Maine, but the beam of light gives the illusion of a much larger structure.
The park splits into two trails – one leads to the beach and the other to the lighthouse. The beach provides a magnificent view of the cliffs and the lighthouse above.
The colors – the rusty cliffs, the green of the pine forest, and the blue of the water - blend into an impressive and masterful painting.
The trail to Owls Head Lighthouse leads through the green forests with glimpses of water along the way and to the wooden stairs up to the lighthouse and the oil house.
The view of Rockland Harbor is breathtaking. Tours of the lighthouse are sporadic, and more information can be obtained here.
The structure was built in 1825, like so many others, to protect Maine’s important maritime industry.
It is fully automated today, but the bright beam of light still serves as an important navigational tool for the U.S. Coast Guard. The fog alarm sounds every 20 seconds.
Address: 495 S Shore Dr, Owls Head, ME 04854
The Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse is one of the best-restored lighthouses and can be reached by walking to the end of an almost mile-long breakwater.
The walk itself is a top-rated experience. Unlike many of Maine lighthouses, visitors can explore the structure and climb to the top for a grand view of the harbor, the sea birds, and the daily lobster boasts. The occasional dolphin may make an appearance, as well.
The lighthouse grounds are open from sunrise to sunset, and visits are free, although a small donation is appreciated.
There are occasional volunteer tours, and visitors should check the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse Facebook for more information.
The lighthouse flashes a bright white light every five seconds that can be seen for 17 nautical miles, and the foghorn blasts every 15 seconds.
Visitors need to be aware that the lighthouse has no restrooms, but the park has port-a-potties.
Address: Rockland Breakwater Trail, Rockland, ME 04841
Ram Island Ledge Light is a lighthouse near Portland that was built out of necessity and whose presence ended an onslaught of fatal coastal shipwrecks.
Ram Island, located a mile offshore, was the sight of too-frequent shipwrecks, especially during bad and foggy weather. Clearly, help was needed.
In 1906, Ram Island Ledge Light was built, stretching straight from the sea to the ski as a simple conical tower with an even simpler skeleton pier. It was the last time Ram Island experienced any shipwrecks.
According to a 1906 writer, “The white double flash which shows every six seconds has already eased the minds of hundreds of mariners who have strained their eyes to catch its first warning of the presence of the black rock upon which the lighthouse rears high its gray conical tower.”
The white light flashing every six seconds and the foghorn sounding off every ten seconds proved to be lifesaving.
The lighthouse can be seen from Fort Williams Park. Best yet, cruise ship operators such as the Portland Discovery Tours offer the best view of the lighthouse and the harbor.
Address: Casco Bay, off Cape Elizabeth, ME
One of the lighthouses in Maine that has been a navigational aid for the Kennebec River for over 100 years is the Squirrel Point Lighthouse in Arrowsic near Bath. The 33-foot-tall lighthouse is closed to public viewing, but the trail is worth the trip.
The lighthouse became automated in 1979, and the keeper was removed. The keeper of the nearby Kennebec River Range Light Station has been keeping an unofficial watch over the Squirrel Point Light Station.
It is part of a four-lighthouse group built at the same time to keep commercial travel on the tricky Kennebec River safe.
The lighthouse complex comprises a tower, a keeper's house, an oil house, a barn, and a boathouse. The tower is 25 feet high and almost leans over the water’s edge.
The Squirrel Point Lighthouse is still protecting the river to this day, even though it has switched to solar lighting instead of traditional lamps (it’s not quite the same, is it?).
Still, the original lights are on exhibit at the Portland Head Lighthouse Museum in Fort Williams. The foghorn, still an integral part of many lighthouses in Maine, has been disconnected.
Address: 14 Squirrel Point Rd, Arrowsic, ME 04530
Burnt Coat Harbor, one of the lighthouses near Acadia National Park, has its home on scenic Swan’s Island, and this secret gem alone is worth a visit for a day or two for its scenic trails and beaches.
The lighthouse is located by the entrance of the harbor with its lobster boats. It is open from June to September from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and closed on Sundays.
The Keeper’s House contains a historic art collection, and the tower is open to the public. For the perfect stay on the island, the Keeper’s House is available for rent, complete with two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and an incomparable view.
Swan’s Island is six miles offshore with its own small community. The beaches are uncrowded and perfect for relaxing and can be accessed via ferry from Bass Harbor. Click here for Keeper's House Rental and more information.
Click below for more information on the availability of guides. Access to the trails, the lighthouse buildings, and the beaches are free.
Address: 433 Harbor Rd., Swan’s Island, ME 04685
Certain Maine lighthouses have a multitude of duties in addition to protecting the rugged coastline around Cape Porpoise Harbor, which saw 46 wrecks between 1865 and 1920.
While the wrecks continued after the lighthouse was built, the keepers were able to rescue the survivors, so zero fatalities.
During George H.W. Bush Sr.’s presidency, his secret service lived on Goat Island, which provides a perfect view of Kennebunkport. Perhaps Goat Island Lighthouse is the only lighthouse anywhere responsible for the safety of a U.S. president.
Kennebunk is well worth the visit in its own rights, including enjoying a view of the Bush compound, where the family still vacations.
Seafood lovers can get their lobster fresh off the fishing boats. For a scenic cruise around Kennebunk, Pineapple Ketch Sailing offers daytime and nighttime cruises.
The lighthouse can be seen from Pier Road on Cape Porpoise. It is inhabited by a keeper, who may be happy to offer a guided tour. Simply keep in mind that this is a private residence.
Address: Cape Porpoise Harbor, Kennebunkport, ME
Located two and a half miles from the start of the Kennebec River, Seguin Island Light Station is one of the rare lighthouses in Maine that purports to be haunted.
Plenty of potential fun here. The island stands 186 feet above sea level, and Seguin Island Light Station is the highest lighthouse in Maine. It had one of the strongest lights and biggest foghorns to handle the island’s many foggy days.
The island can be reached by Fish N Trips ferry service. The climb to the lighthouse is a challenging quarter mile, so visitors will be assured of getting their exercise. The view from the top is worth the hike.
The legends of eerie piano music drifting through the house and the ghostly sightings of a young girl make this the most haunted lighthouse in Maine.
The closest city, Bath, is worth visiting for its galleries and shops. The Maine Maritime Museum conducts tours of the Seguin Island Lighthouse, so click here for up-to-date information.
Address: Seguin Island, ME
Grindle Point Lighthouse is on a 13-mile-long Ilseboro Island and was built in 1851 to help mariners into Gilkey Harbor.
The lighthouse, which has an unusual square shape, can be reached by ferry from Lincolnville on the mainland and is situated at the ferry landing.
The Grindle Point Light Station includes the boat house, oil house, lighthouse, and a Keeper’s House with a museum and gift shop open from July 1st through Labor Day from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. It is a hub for nautical collectibles, paintings, and gift items.
The lighthouse still has its 1,000-pound fog bell. Although the light was automated early in the 20th century, the town of Islesboro objected until the original black lantern was reinstalled.
Address: 615 Ferry Rd, Islesboro, ME 04848
The Isle au Haut Lighthouse (also known as the Robinson Point Lighthouse) is one of the more interesting lighthouses in Acadia National Park because it serves a dual function.
Located on the Isle au Haut, the lighthouse is atop a rugged ledge and overlooks forests and the ocean. It can be reached via ferry from Stonington and then by a short walkway. There are occasional docent-led tours inside the tower.
The tower flashes its red light every four seconds and is separately owned from the Keeper’s House, boathouse, and oil house.
What makes the Isle au Haut Lighthouse different is that the Keeper’s House is now a fabulous restaurant. Total relaxation can be found in one of the four rooms or the cottage for rent by the oil house. Check rooms and cottages for rent for more information.
With the Keeper’s House lit by candles and oil lamps, this is a rare opportunity to truly get away from it all in a unique way.
Address: Lighthouse Rd, Isle au Haut, ME 04645
Egg Rock Light is one of the lighthouses in Maine located on an island and can only be seen by boat from Bar Harbor or Winter Harbor. Excellent pictures can also be had from Cadillac Mountain. The lighthouse is not open to the public.
Egg Rock Light is structurally unique in that it is short and square, more like a schoolhouse than a lighthouse.
The boathouse, fog signal house, and oil house are still functional, and the lighthouse is using it's flashing red light to continue to aid the navigation of ships. Both the light and fog signals are guided by solar power.
Address: Egg Rock Lighthouse, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
Whaleback Lighthouse is one of the rare lighthouses in Maine that has had perennial problems due to initial poor construction. It stands solitary at the mouth of the Piscataqua River and encounters constant high and rough waves.
The Whaleback Lighthouse can be seen from Fort Foster in Kittery, Fort Constitution, Fort Stark, and is closed to the public.
The lighthouse was built in 1872, rising 75 feet from the ocean. It flashes two separate lights every few seconds that can be seen for 17 nautical miles.
The foghorn sends an alert every 30 seconds. However, sailors were unable to hear the foghorn. Final essential changes and repairs were completed in 1963, including constructing an automatic, functional foghorn.
Address: Piscataqua River, Kittery, ME 03904
Wood Island Lighthouse is on a small island at the mouth of the Saco River near Biddeford, Maine. This lighthouse in Maine has a lot of attractions, including a 30-acre bird sanctuary for birders.
The Keeper’s House is a two-story structure with an oil house and boathouse nearby. The lighthouse can be reached from the shore via a half-mile wooden walkway.
Visitors come to see the lighthouse, but they can also enjoy boating, picnics, and kayaking. The lighthouse is open to the public, with the first floor having a gift shop, living room, bedroom, and kitchen.
Wood Island Lighthouse is one of the lighthouses in Maine that has guided tours during July and August, including a tower tour with a half-mile walk around the boardwalk and the Keeper’s House.
Tours are almost 2 hours long and cost $35.00 for adults and $20.00 for children under 13.
Address: Wood Island Acres, Biddeford Pool, ME
There are 65 lighthouses spread along the state's 3,500-mile coastline, each dating back to a time when sailors and mariners depended on guiding lights and foghorns to remain alive while maneuvering these rugged shores. Some are easily assessable, while others are located on offshore islands.
Portland Head Light qualifies as the most visited and beautiful of Maine's lighthouses with its dramatic shoreline, incomparable view, and loud crashing waves.
Spring Point Ledge Light shares that honor with Portland Head Light. Spring Point Ledge is an actual working lighthouse with tours and a dramatic 900-foot breakwater walkway.
The beautiful West Quoddy Head Lighthouse is the sole "candy striped" lighthouse in the state and the country. It displays eight red stripes and 7 alternating white stripes. Each strip each approximately 25 inches wide.
That honor goes to Portland Head Light again. This lighthouse is a ready-made picture with its cliffs and scenic surroundings. The beauty here is extraordinary. The Portland Head Light also deserves the honor of being the most patriotic lighthouse. In 1776, eight soldiers were posted here to warn locals – not of a storm – but of a British invasion. Did a lighthouse help us win the war?
Lighthouses are a Maine icon. By taking a scenic Lighthouse Boat Cruise, visitors can experience several lighthouses at once in all their grandeur. Maine Lighthouse Boat Tours offers tours of several Maine Lighthouses, such as Squirrel Point Light, Sequin Island Light, Ram Island Light, and many more.
The Cap's Special Cruise cruises the harbors, fishing villages, and several scenic lighthouses. The Inner Island Cruise and the Outer Islands Cruise take visitors to three separate lighthouses on a two-hour cruise of lighthouses in Maine. Click the link above to find your ready-made, unforgettable lighthouse tour.