If you’re visiting Maine and really want to get a feel for the spirit of the state, then you’ve got to check out at least one of the many lighthouses that dot its rocky shores.
In total, there are 65 lighthouses in the Pine Tree State, and all of them share a similar quiet beauty and fascinating background that make them great destinations for a day trip, a boat tour, or even just a quick photo op.
However, it would be almost impossible to see all of the state’s lighthouses in one trip, so you’ll have to choose the ones that are the most appealing and most convenient to you.
To help you do that, we’ve created this list of the eight best lighthouses in Maine. We hope that it makes planning your trip a bit easier and makes your trip itself a lot more interesting.
- Cape Neddick Lighthouse (“Nubble Lighthouse”)
- Boon Island Light
- Portland Head Light
- Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
- Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse
- Wood Island Lighthouse
- Monhegan Island Lighthouse
- Pemaquid Point Lighthouse
Cape Neddick Lighthouse (“Nubble Lighthouse”)
You’re likely to find the Cape Neddick Lighthouse (commonly known as “Nubble Lighthouse” or just “Nubble Light”) on just about any list of the best lighthouses in Maine, and that’s because it’s among the most historic and most beautiful in the whole state. It was built on Neddick Island in 1879.
The Cape Neddick Lighthouse is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. A photograph of it was stored on the Voyager spacecraft, along with photos of other famous man-made structures, in the hopes of providing any extraterrestrial life that may find it with examples of what the human race is capable of. It’s also claimed to be the most photographed lighthouse in the United States!
Boon Island Light
Located about seven miles off the shore of Cape Neddick is the Boon Island Light. It’s Maine’s tallest lighthouse at 135 feet, and it occupies a 300- by 700-foot island, making it quite an impressive sight, even from a distance. It’s primary residents are Harbor Seals.
And you will have to see it from a distance, as there are no tours to the lighthouse itself. However, you can still take in its towering presence from a boat.
Portland Head Light
The oldest lighthouse in all of Maine is also one of the most breathtaking. The 80-foot-tall Portland Head Light has helped guide ships into Portland Harbor in Cape Elizabeth’s Casco Bay for over 230 years.
George Washington commissioned Portland Head Light in 1787, and construction was completed in 1791. The keeper’s house is a red-roofed Victorian building that has since been converted into a museum. To get a beautiful view of the lighthouse itself, take a Casco Bay boat tour.
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
If you plan to visit Acadia National Park, then you can also see one of the best lighthouses in Maine while you’re there. Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse can be found in – you guessed it – Bass Harbor, a picturesque fishing town on Mount Desert Island.
The lighthouse is perched on a rocky cliff 56 feet above sea level, making for some stunning photographs. Tours are available through the Tremont Historical Society.
Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse
You can find Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse at the end of a long breakwater on the western side of Portland Harbor’s main shipping channel in South Portland. It’s a caisson lighthouse, otherwise known as a bug light or sparkplug lighthouse, which means it’s built on a watertight chamber that, in this case, is made of brick and iron.
Spring Point Ledge Light is the only caisson lighthouse in Maine open to the public. Visitors are welcome year-round.
Wood Island Lighthouse
Not all of the lighthouses along the coast of Maine still shine their lights toward the sea to offer guidance to traveling ships. Of course, all of those that welcome visitors are still worth the trip, active or not, but there is something a bit more intriguing about a lighthouse that’s still in use.
The Wood Island Lighthouse is one of those lighthouses. The second-oldest lighthouse in Maine can be found shining its light seaward in Saco Bay. See it from a distance by hiking through East Point Audubon Sanctuary, or see it up close on a seasonal tour.
Monhegan Island Lighthouse
The Monhegan Island Light is another active lighthouse in Maine. It was built in 1824, and it’s located on Monhegan Island’s Lookout Hill.
The island is about ten miles off the coast of Port Clyde, so you’ll have to take a boat tour to get there. If you do, however, you’ll be rewarded with a museum, some interesting exhibits, and spectacular views of one of the best lighthouses in Maine.
Pemaquid Point Lighthouse
Pemaquid Point Light is located in Pemaquid Lighthouse Park. Commissioned by John Quincy Adams in 1827, this Maine lighthouse has the Fisherman’s Museum on the first floor in the Keepers House. The Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park is located at the entrance to Muscongus Bay and Johns Bay, in the town of Bristol and is an iconic landmark in the mid-coast, and the surrounding fishing ports are havens today to Oyster aficionados (check out the Maine Oyster Trail).
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