Maine is speckled with lighthouses up and down its rocky and often foggy coastline. I love lighthouses, it may be because I grew up with three just a bike ride away. Many Maine lighthouses date back to the 19th century and some were commissioned before the United States was even formed! If you’re visiting Maine or looking for a Sunday drive destination here are some of my favorite lighthouses.
Portland Head Light
One of the most famous and photographed lighthouses. It is the oldest lighthouse in Maine, George Washington ordered it built and it was completed in 1791. Despite being constructed rather inexpensively, workers used stones from the coastline and neighboring fields, the lighthouse is one of the few 18th century structures that has never been rebuilt. The tower was raised 20 feet during the Civil War to deter Confederate naval vessels, which often raided the harbor in an attempt to disrupt shipping.
Spring Point Ledge Light
Built at the end of the 19th century by the government after seven steamship companies stated that many of their vessels ran aground on Spring Point Ledge. In 1951, a massive 900-foot breakwater, made with granite boulders, was added in order to connect the lighthouse with solid land. The breakwater is a great place to fish or sit and watch the boats go by. It’s also one of my favorite places to catch the sunrise.
Portland Breakwater Lighthouse was built in 1875 and is one of Maine’s most elegant little lighthouses. Its design was inspired by the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, pretty impresisve for a tiny lighthouse in South Portland. It’s known by “Bug Light” due to its small size. There’s a lovely park where this lighthouse sits, perfect for bocce ball and kite flying. The area was also used for ship building during WWII so you’ll see a monument there as well.
Rockland Breakwater Light
Rockland Harbor Breakwater Light is a historic lighthouse at the end of the Rockland Breakwater. The breakwater is almost a mile long so you’ll get your steps in! This lighthouse replaced a light station at Jameson Point in 1902, about two years after completion of the breakwater. Trade and steamship travel made Rockport’s harbor one of the busiest in Maine back in the day.
Pemaquid Point Lighthouse
This lighthouse was commissioned in 1827 by President John Quincy Adam and finished within that year. It was not built to last though and started to crumble after just a few years. The contractors used salt water in the mortor mix, clearly not a good idea and had to be rebuilt salt free in 1835. This is one of Andrew’s favorite lighthouses and parks. You can explore on the rocks and bring a nice picnic lunch. Just watch out for the waves!
West Quoddy Head Lighthouse
West Quoddy Head is easily recognized because of its colorful candy stripe design. Thomas Jefferson commissioned the original Quoddy Head in 1808, the current tower is from 1858. The lighthouse sits in a 550-acre coastal area with trails, a beach and a cranberry bog. It’s a beautiful place to spend a couple hours. West Quoddy is also on the easternmost point in the USA so it’s a must to get up super early to catch the sunrise. You’ll be the first in the nation to see it.
Maine is a lovely state with lots of things to do and see along the way. And thankfully for me, plenty of lighthouses to discover. Do you have a lighthouse obsession? I’d love to hear about some other lighthouses that I need to check out.