See the state’s iconic structures and explore the towns nearby.
Visit the Northeast to explore these historic light stations along the coast.
Maine’s 65 historic lighthouses beckon to visitors today just as they have drawn and guided ships into safe harbors for centuries along the state’s rocky coastline. Portland Head Light, the first tower commissioned by George Washington in 1791, is a working beacon today, as are at least 59 others. Make plans to view these iconic towers from the water with a guided tour, explore the scenic parks and coastal towns nearby on your own or book a stay in the former keeper’s house to learn more about these captivating beacons of light. (GETTY IMAGES)
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse: Bass Harbor, Maine
The Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse sits perched above the rugged coastline of Mount Desert Island. Located in Acadia National Park, this lighthouse dates all the way back to 1858. Although travelers can’t go inside the lighthouse, visitors can still explore the property via its surrounding walking trails. Here, you can capture views of the lighthouse and its dramatic position along Acadia’s rocky coastline. You can reach the lighthouse by car or via the park’s complimentary Island Explorer shuttle, which drops off passengers about a half-mile from the attraction. (GETTY IMAGES)
Cape Elizabeth Light (Two Lights): Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Two Lights State Park is home to the first twin lighthouses in Maine; both built in 1828. This stretch of coastline has historically been perilous, and at least 98 ships sank in this area between 1780 and 1990. While here, grab a lobster roll at The Lobster Shack at Twin Lights for the best views of the light station. You can also visit “Into the Lantern: A Lighthouse Experience” at the Maine Maritime Museum in the town of Bath, about 45 miles north. The exhibit features a full-scale replica of the Two Lights lantern room housing the original second-order Fresnel lens. (GETTY IMAGES)
Marshall Point Lighthouse: Port Clyde, Maine
Visitors may recognize this light station from the movie “Forest Gump.” Tom Hanks ran out on the wooden runway to the tower and back during his long cross-country trek. The historic 24-foot structure, located in southern Maine, was built in 1858 along with the keeper’s house, museum and gardens. After touring the lighthouse, hike over to the quaint fishing village of Port Clyde. While there, you can feast on lobster and seafood or take a cruise with Monhegan Boat Line to see local wildlife, including puffins, minke whales and harbor seals. (GETTY IMAGES)
Cape Neddick Light (Nubble Light): York, Maine
Located on Cape Neddick in York, Nubble Light is one of the most well-known lighthouses in Maine. This historic beacon, completed in 1879, sits on a tiny island just a few hundred feet off of York’s rocky coastline. Back in the day, a cable car was connected to the mainland to bring supplies to the keeper of the lighthouse. Drive to Sohier Park for incredible lighthouse views or book a Finestkind scenic cruise to admire classic York-style coastal residences and see the famed tower from the sea. (GETTY IMAGES)
Owls Head Light: Rockland, Maine
Tour this picturesque light station perched 80 feet above Penobscot Bay to see its 19th-century fourth-order Fresnel lens. From this vantage point high above the rocky coast, you can also view Rockland’s nearby islands, as well as Maine’s renowned windjammer fleet. Afterward, save time to tour the town of Rockland. Wander the quaint downtown and harbor area, then stroll along the scenic, nearly mile-long Rockland Breakwater path to the old lighthouse, the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. (GETTY IMAGES)
Pemaquid Point Lighthouse: Bristol, Maine
This striking lighthouse, located about 67 miles northeast of Portland, is the image on the Maine state U.S. quarter. The tower dates back to 1827 and was built by order of John Quincy Adams. Unlike some popular lighthouses in Maine, the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse is still in operation today. Travelers can visit the Fishermen’s Museum in the original keeper’s house, located on-site, and may even be able to book a stay in the apartment upstairs. In addition to the lighthouse and keeper’s home, an art gallery, a learning center and picnic areas are also available on the grounds. (GETTY IMAGES)
Portland Head Light: Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Located just 5 miles south of downtown Portland is the Portland Head Light, the oldest lighthouse in the state. The historic lighthouse, situated on the rocky coastline of Fort Williams State Park, was first illuminated in 1791 by 16 whale oil lamps. Here, you can visit the museum housed in the original keeper’s quarters, spend time in the park touring the old fort structures and take in impressive ocean views. If you happen to be at the lighthouse from May to October, treat yourself to a lobster roll from the Bite into Maine lobster truck: It’s lauded by travel and food critics as one of the state’s best lobster rolls. (GETTY IMAGES)
Seguin Island Light Station: Bath, Maine
Built by order of George Washington in 1795, Seguin Island Light Station is the state’s second oldest lighthouse and one of its tallest. The tower is notable for its rare 9-foot-tall first-order Fresnel lens that can be seen from more than 20 nautical miles away. It’s important to know that this lighthouse is only accessible by private boat or ferry. The Seguin Island Ferry in Popham Beach includes a ride to the island as well as a guided tour by the lighthouse keepers. The trip also allots time to explore the trails and beaches on this 64-acre island. (GETTY IMAGES)
Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse: South Portland, Maine
This lighthouse is the only caisson-style tower in the country that visitors can reach on foot. The setting is memorable thanks to its location at the end of a 950-foot breakwater, which offers exceptional views of the Portland Harbor and the nearby Casco Bay Islands. Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse plays a paramount role not only in guiding ships home but also warning them of the treacherous waters coming into Portland Harbor. After exploring the attraction, head next door to Bug Light Park to visit Cushing’s Point House Museum and Portland Breakwater Light (also known as Bug Light). (GETTY IMAGES)
West Quoddy Head Lighthouse: Lubec, Maine
If you’re interested taking the next step and experiencing life as the keeper of a lighthouse, make plans to stay at one that offers guest accommodations. West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, one of the few candy cane-striped lighthouses in the country, offers this perk for travelers. You can stay in one of several buildings that were initially part of a life-saving station. You can find the lighthouse in the town of Lubec, which sits at the easternmost point in the United States. Travelers can even see New Brunswick, Canada’s cliffs of Grand Manan in the distance. Interested in exploring more of what Maine has to offer? (GETTY IMAGES)
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