With 65 historical lighthouses still standing and spread out along 5,000 miles of coastline, inlets and islands, Maine is commonly referred to as The Lighthouse State. These lighthouses have acted as beacons of light for sailors for hundreds of years, guiding sailors and fishermen safely in to harbors along the rocky Maine coastline. Today, lighthouses are an important part of Maine's history and are popular tourist attractions. Although many Maine lighthouses are not accessible on land, lighthouse boat tours are an ideal way to see these attractions and get the best photographs. Some Lighthouses have museums on their oceanfront grounds that offer insight to the Light's rich history of lighthouse keeping, while other Lighthouses are now quaint inns or part of large state park grounds.
A tour of some of Maine's most famous lighthouses starts in York County, at one of the most famous lighthouses in the country. Cape Neddick Lighthouse, or Nubble Light as it has become known due to its location on the summit of Cape Neddick Bubble, is located just a few hundred feet off York Beach and attracts many photographers and visitors due to its picturesque beauty. You can see the legendary Boone Island Light perched out at sea, where sailors were shipwrecked in 1710, before the Light was built in 1852.
Goat Island Light, in the Cape Porpoise area of Kennebunkport, can be viewed from Cape Porpoise Pier, or by boat tour. This lighthouse is maintained by the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust, who ocassionally offer tours of the Goat Island and teh Light. In Biddeford Pool, The Wood Island Light marks the entrance to the Saco River.
Further up the coast, Portland Maine is home to the oldest lighthouse in the state, Portland Head Light, which was commissioned by George Washington in 1791. It is located in Fort Williams Park, a popular place for picnics, hiking and sunbathing in the summer overlooking Casco Bay. You can also see Bug Light in Portland's busy harbor. Nearby in Cape Elizabeth are the famous Two Lights, where visitors may view East and West Light. If you choose to stop in South Portland, visit Spring Point Ledge and the Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, aka Bug Light.
Visitors to Mid-Coast Maine will find lighthouses in more remote, scenic locations. Monhegan Light is accessible via ferry from Boothbay Harbor or Pemaquid Point, which takes visitors to the island of Monhegan, a small rocky island known for its fishing and lobstering and 100 local residents.
Pemaquid Point is a Lighthouse not to be missed, as it is the most photographed (and subsequently one of the most beautiful) in the state of Maine. Owl's Head Light, located in Owls Head State Park at the entrance of Rockland Harbor on Penobscot Bay, is owned and operated by the Coast Guard but the grounds are open to the public.
As you continue up the Coast (or Down East as the Mainers say), more beautiful lighthouses await. Visitors can view Dyce Head Lighthouse at the end of Lighthouse Road in Castine, overlooking beautiful Castine Harbor. For visitors who are up for a day or even overnight Lighthouse trip, travel via ferry to Isle au Haut, where you can stay in the original Innkeeper's House, take tours inside the Lighthouse, and hike the beautiful 12 square mile island.
When visiting Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island during your stay in Maine, take a drive to Bass Harbor Lighthouse, located on the Southern end of Mount Desert Island along the rocky coastline. A Lighthouse Boat Tour from Bar Harbor is the best way to see six lighthouses including Egg Rock Light, Bass Harbor Light, Bakers Island Light, Great Duck Island Light, Mount Desert Rock Light, Mark Island Light, also called Winter Harbor Light.
Whether you are looking for a history lesson or just a beautiful view, Maine lighthouses are a great attraction for visitors of all ages. Check out all the lighthouses that Maine has to offer.