9 Spectacular Historic Lighthouses in Maine, USA (2024)
There is a world that many travelers are yet not familiar with, but Lighthouses in Maine are beyond that. Also recognized as ‘The Lighthouse State,’ Maine is home to nearly 64 lighthouses settled along its coast, inlets, and islands. Nearly 50 of them are still active (2 under private aid), whereas 9 are inactive, and 3 have been destroyed. Lighthouses in Maine have stood the test of time as beacons in the night along the extensive Atlantic coastline. Many of these lighthouses are open to the public and even feature dedicated museums right adjacent to them.
Lighthouses in Maine have acted as beacons of light for over hundreds of years. They today are an integral part of the State’s history as well as tourism. To Mainers (people of Maine), lighthouses feel like home. Whether it is a regular day of outing or a special occasion, Mainers often choose to check out the lighthouses for the beauty, views, and information they present. No matter to which corner of the State they belong, each lighthouse here has its own glory and therefore is a ‘must-see.’
9 Spectacular Historic Lighthouses in Maine, USA
This article will help you find out the 9 Must-visit Lighthouses in Maine. Have a look:
1. The Portland HeadLight
Built back in 1791, the Portland Head Light is the oldest lighthouse in Maine. It is just 5 miles south of Portland’s downtown, right along the shores of Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth. The lighthouse was first illuminated in 1791 by using 16 whale oil lamps, and it immensely helped the ships in that area. It originally was 72 feet tall but saw a significant change in height over the years. Today it acts as a tourist point of interest and museum. Individuals can check out the museum at the original Keeper’s quarters and get through several fascinating displays and lighthouse lenses. Right adjacent to the museum are hiking trails, historic structures, a picnic area, recreational opportunities, and some fantastic Atlantic views. There’s even a Bite into Maine lobster truck nearby, a must-try. If food critics are to be believed, the Lobster rolls like there are nowhere else to be found since they are simply the best.
2. Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse
If you are up for a lighthouse trip in Maine, then do not dare to miss the Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse. It is the only caisson-style tower in the entire United States that one can visit on foot. It plays a crucial role in guiding ships home and also warning them of the treacherous waters coming into Portland Harbor. This spark plug-type lighthouse has a distinctive shape that adds to visitors’ interest. Its placement at the end of a 950-foot breakwater in South Portland opens up some excellent vistas. Visitors can experience some astounding views over the Casco Bay Islands and the Portland Harbor. Though it is a year-round attraction, summers here provide an opportunity for a self-paced tour. When done with the lighthouse, visitors can also check out Buy Light Park, Cushing’s Point House Museum, and Portland Breakwater Lighthouse right next door.
3. Marshall Point Lighthouse
Marshall Point Lighthouse is another spectacular historic lighthouse in Maine. Operating since 1823, this 31 feet lighthouse got automated in 1981. Movie enthusiasts can easily recognize Marshall Point from the reference to Forrest Gump (Yes, it is the Forrest Gump lighthouse). The property currently consists of the lighthouse tower, the restored Keeper’s house, gardens, and the rocky shoreline. The Keeper’s house today operates as a museum featuring exhibits, photographs, and documents, all of which speak about the history of the lighthouse and the peninsula. Marshall Point Lighthouse is still under operation and yet a popular point of tourists’ interest. Once done exploring the lighthouse and its entities, hike over to Port Clyde, a quaint fishing village. Indulge in their seafood and feast on Lobster because that’s what will add bliss to your experience.
4. Seguin Island Light
Seguin Island Light is one of the tallest and the second oldest lighthouses in Maine. The lighthouse stands 180 feet (55 m) above mean sea level and is renowned for its 9-foot tall first-order Fresnel lens. The said lens illuminates over 20 nautical miles away quite incredibly. However, before these lenses, the lighthouse had kerosene Incandescent Oil Vapor lamps for illuminating operations. Not accessible by land, but the Seguin Island lighthouse is accessible by private boat or ferry. Individuals can catch the ferry from Popham Beach and reach Seguin Island initially. Later either join the same ferry group for a guided lighthouse tour or explore it on your own face. Not only the lighthouse but the Island is also home to 64 acres of hiking trails, beaches, and extensive outdoor space. If not from the Island, one can also observe this lighthouse’s beauty with binoculars from Popham Beach.
5. West Quoddy Head Light
An immensely popular lighthouse in Maine, the West Quoddy Head Light is another must-visit. Its iconic red and white strips look incredibly beautiful, and in fact, it is one of the few candy-cane striped lighthouses left in the United States. West Quoddy is in the town of Lubec and is the easternmost lighthouse in the USA. It still uses an old-fashioned Third Order Fresnel lens which is rare on the Maine coast. A visit here allows individuals to check out New Brunswick, Canada’s cliffs of Grand Manan, within a short distance. If interested, visitors can even stay in one of several buildings that were once an operational part of a life-saving station. West Quoddy Head Light offers some incredible Atlantic beauty around that looks postcard-worthy, given the weather chances in the sky. Not alone, it is also featured in the National Register of Historic Places.
6. Cape Neddick Light (Nubble Light)
One of the most popular lighthouses in Maine, the Cape Neddick Light, deserves a position in every itinerary. This well-known historic lighthouse was built back in 1879 in the picturesque village of York Beach at the end of Long Sands Beach. The lighthouse is 41 feet high though it gains 88 feet above sea level, given it was erected on the steep rocky islet. Visitors, though, cannot explore the lighthouse from the inside but observing it from the outdoor distance too is an incredible experience on its own. Close to the main structure is a gift shop and ample space for parking. While individuals usually come here to enjoy the views, Nubble light is also popular for its incredible photographing opportunities. Sitting on the rocks, gazing at the Atlantic waves, and capturing the views is all that a visit here sums up.
7. Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse undoubtedly has to be the most popular lighthouse in entire Maine. Located in Acadia National Park, the lighthouse was built back in 1858 and marked the entrance to Bass Harbor. It unarguably is the most iconic feature of Acadia National Park and even the most talked about as well. Rising 56 feet above the sea level, Bass Harbor Head is still in a very similar condition as it was during the time of build, except for a 10-foot addition in 1990. The way towards the left lead down a stairway to the front of the cliff. It is where one can find an amazing vantage point of the lighthouse. In contrast, the way toward the right leads to another viewing area along with a panoramic view of the Atlantic. To tour the lighthouse from the inside, one has to contact the Tremont Historical Society.
8. Owls Head Light
Owls Head Light is arguably a synonym for Iconic. This beautiful lighthouse is located in Rockland, perched 80 feet above Penobscot Bay. The lighthouse is currently licensed to the American Lighthouse Federation and owned by the US Coast Guard. The lighthouse is open to the public and has ample parking space absolutely close by. One can either observe the lighthouse from a distance or reach the incredible vantage point high above the rocky Maine coast. Standing here, visitors can observe the unfolding views of nearby islands and the renowned wind jammer fleet of Maine. Not only the lighthouse but the Owls Head keeper house museum, too, survive on the ground. The facility operates 6 days a week from mid-May through late October and is definitely interesting. They even have a gift shop in the place.
9. Boon Island Light
Last but not the list on our list is the Boon Island Light. Standing 133 feet tall and 137 feet above mean high water on a focal plane, it is the tallest lighthouse in Maine and New England. However, the lighthouse though is not open to the public, and one can only observe it from the shore in York or by boat. The Boon Island lighthouse is located on a tiny barren namesake island close to Cape Neddick on one coast of Maine. Its original 1811 granite tower was washed away in a strong storm, and the present new cylindrical granite tower is from the year 1855. Today for the operations, the US Coastal Guard has installed the new solar beacon. However, earlier, the lighthouse has different lights. The views of the lighthouse are also available via aircraft ride, and believe it or not; those bird-eye views are just incredibly insane.