EXPLORING THE 7 FAMOUS LIGHTHOUSES IN MAINE

With 65 historical lighthouses, Maine is commonly referred to as The Lighthouse State. One look at the map and you will see why. The state’s rocky 5000 miles of coastline consist of inlets, islands, and small peninsulas difficult to navigate without guidance. These lighthouses have acted as beacons of light for sailors for hundreds of years. Today, they are not only an essential part of Maine’s history but also popular tourist attractions. In this post, we will explore the 7 most famous lighthouses in Maine. 

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, Maine
Make sure to visit Pemaquid Point. Its dramatic rocky shore is easy to access and very picturesque.

7 FAMOUS LIGHTHOUSES IN MAINE

1. Cape Neddick Light (Nubble Light) York, Maine
2. Portland Head Light Cape Elizabeth, Maine
3. Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Bristol, Maine
4. Marshall Point Lighthouse Port Clyde, Maine
5. Owls Head Light Rockland, Maine
6. Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse Bass Harbor, Maine
7. West Quoddy Head Lighthouse Lubec, Maine

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliated links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

I found Maine irresistible, and lighthouses certainly contribute to it. But why do we love lighthouses? By themselves, they are not that pretty; however, put them on the dramatic edge between land and water, and they will talk to your senses and imagination. They symbolize struggle, uncertainty, hope, finding the way, and survival. 

Cape Neddick Light (Nubble Light) draws more visitors than any other lighthouse in Maine.
Cape Neddick Light (Nubble Light) draws more visitors than any other lighthouse in Maine.

I always loved lighthouses, and even more since I started to pay more attention to photography during my travels. These towering structures, amid a majestic landscape tinted with ever-changing light, deliver a one-of-a-kind spectacle, definitely picture-worthy. 

Lighthouse photography 

What is the most important factor when photographing lighthouses?

Just like in any kind of photography, good light makes a huge difference. You can take great photos at any time of the day, but at sunrise or sunset, the sky comes alive with a colorful show that touches the soul. Capturing this spectacle is worth an effort. 

In most cases, sunrise is a better time for lighthouse photography. The light is usually phenomenal, and most importantly, there are no people, so you do not need to maneuver around them.

Sunset, of course, is also beautiful, but crowds can spoil the experience. The good part, most people leave as soon as the sun is down but stay around! The sky keeps changing, and you can still record some fascinating scenes. 

Peggys Cove Lighthouse in Nova Scotia. It took me a while to find this reflection. I was practically flat on the ground taking the photo. The puddle of water was around 2 feet wide and 3 feet long.
Arrive early and examine your surrounding 

An unfortunate mistake many inexperienced photographers make is arriving too late on the scene. You do not want to cut your sleep hours and then waste the best light looking for a place to park or finding a good spot to start taking photos. Same with the sunset – quite often, the sky puts on the best show way before sunset. 

Look for reflections 

Why stop at one when you can show the double beauty of your object? Finding a reflection of a lighthouse is often tricky. You need the scout the ground for any puddles of water and examine them with your head close to the ground from all possible angles. 

Map of  the 7 Top Maine’s Lighthouses

Click on the icon to see detailed information. 

Most popular lighthouses from south to north

1. Cape Neddick Light (Nubble Light) York, Maine

The Cape Neddick Lighthouse, commonly called “The Nubble Light,” sits on a high rocky island known locally as the Nubble. The Nubble is roughly 2.5 acres in size and is separated from the mainland by a small channel, barely 100 feet wide. 

The 41-foot cast-iron tower lined with brick was illuminated on July 1, 1879. Since 1987, Cape Neddick Light has been automated, making the position of lighthouse keeper obsolete.

The lighthouse has a long history as a tourist destination, and it has a reputation as the most visited lighthouse in Maine. Today, the public is not allowed out to the island but can enjoy its beauty from Sohier Park

The lighthouse is photogenic year-round, but you’ll get a special treat when you visit during the holiday season when the structure is decorated with white LED lights.

Cape Neddick Nubble Lighthouse
If you want to find a reflection of Cape Neddick Nubble Lighthouse, examine every paddle of water, even if it looks too small to reflect anything. 

Hotels Near Nubble Light 

Cliff House Maine

Just a few miles away from Nubble Light, you will find a hotel like no other. This upscale resort offers the most dramatic part of Southern Maine, combined with top-notch amenities. Read my full review of Cliff House Maine. 

Cliff House Maine offer outstanding views and upscale facilities. Cliff House Maine offers outstanding views and upscale facilities. 

Stones Throw  – York Beach, Maine 

This oceanview hotel offers easy access to the beaches of York. It is located just 1,300 feet from Long Sands Beach and 0.7 miles from Nubble Lighthouse. Other amenities include a garden, terrace, and a bar. Select rooms feature an ocean view and balcony. 

Nubble Lighthouse is 1,650 feet from Cutty Sark Motel, while Long Sands Beach is 650 feet away. The hotel offers views of the ocean and the beach. 

Ogunquit Tides – Ogunquit, Maine

Offering a seasonal outdoor pool and an indoor pool, Ogunquit Tides is located in Ogunquit, 2,650 feet from Ogunquit Village and 1 mile from Ogunquit Beach. The property provides free parking, bikes, kayaks, tennis court, fitness center, playground for kids, barbeque grills and picnic tables, ice machine, and guest laundry. 

Ogunquit area is a fantastic area for vacationing in Maine.
Ogunquit area is a fantastic area for vacationing in Maine.

2. Portland Head Light Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Completed in 1791, Portland Head Light is the oldest lighthouse in Maine. Situated along the shores of Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, it is located at the entrance of the primary shipping channel into Portland Harbor. 

The lighthouse is a part of the 90-acre Fort Williams Park that offers stunning ocean views from hiking and walking paths. The Museum at Portland Head Light is also here, contained within the former Keepers’ Quarters, where lighthouse lenses, interpretative displays, and a seasonal gift shop are located. 

Flexible itineraries like a long weekend Down East, five days in Acadia, and a two-week road trip, designed for history buffs, foodies, beach-goers, outdoor adventurers, and more.

With vast recreational space, the park offers opportunities to picnic, fly a kite, stroll paths, tour the arboretum, walk the cliffside loop, explore the rocky beach, and enjoy the playground. Local vendors sell lobster rolls, sandwiches, and ice cream on the park’s grounds. 

Portland Head Light Cape Elizabeth, Maine sits on a beautiful rocky shore but it is all fenced off.
Portland Head Light Cape Elizabeth, Maine, sits on a beautiful rocky shore, but it is all fenced off.

Hotels Near Portland Head Lighthouse

Inn by the Sea – Cape Elizabeth, Maine 

This upscale hotel is situated on a park-like property, just steps away from the Atlantic Ocean. Apart from an outdoor pool, guests can enjoy the spa and cardio room, al fresco dining at the Sea Glass restaurant, plus an intimate bar and lounge for drinks.

The Cape Elizabeth Area is primarily served by nearby Portland Hotels

Portland Head Light Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Portland Head Light Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

3. Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Bristol, Maine

This is hands down my favorite lighthouse in Maine, mostly because of its spectacular surroundings but also thanks to the low number of visitors. It is truly a photographers’ paradise. 

The lighthouse is located on Pemaquid Point, one of many Maine’s peninsulas characterized by striped rock formations shaped by the sea. It was built in 1835 and marks the entrance to Muscongus Bay and Johns Bay.

The light and lighthouse keeper’s home and museum are preserved in a spectacular Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park, with views out to one of my favorite spots in Maine – Monhegan Island. The keeper’s house is transformed into the Fishermen’s Museum at Pemaquid and contains displays and artifacts of the lighthouse and local maritime history.

Other activities in the park include picnicking and viewing local paintings at the Pemaquid Art Gallery.

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Bristol, Maine
Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Bristol, Maine.

Hotels near Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

The charming town of Boothbay Harbor is a perfect place to stay for those visiting Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. If you are a lobster lover, this place is for you! 

Harborage Inn on the Oceanfront – Boothbay Harbor, Maine 

The inn is 1.6 miles from Coastal Maine Botanical Garden and 5.8 miles from Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. All rooms have deck access with harbor views. 

A full gourmet organic breakfast is cooked to order and delivered to your room – included in the room rate. The property offers free parking.

Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
Residents of Boothbay Harbor take pride in their charming town.
Harbour Towne Inn on the Waterfront  – Boothbay Harbor, Maine 
The inn is located in the heart of Boothbay Harbor near the marina,1.6 miles from Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, and 5.8 miles from Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. It provides a garden and a terrace. 

4. Marshall Point Lighthouse – Port Clyde, Maine

If this lighthouse looks familiar to you, there is certainly a reason for that. It was featured in the famous Forest Gump movie’s cross-country running scene. Chances are, you will see visitors trying to reenact this part of the iconic run. For me, it was fun to watch them! In the park’s museum, you will find documentation on the filming of the movie. (An excellent movie, by the way.)

Marshall Point Light Station was established in 1832. It stands on a rocky point at the end of the St. George peninsula. The lighthouse aids navigation along the Gulf of Maine coast and marks the entrance to the mouth of the St. George River and the harbor located in the fishing village of Port Clyde.

The lighthouse property includes the light tower accessible via a walkway, the restored 1880’s Keeper’s House, summer kitchen, recently reconstructed late 19th-century barn, and the original oil house. The gift shop offers a variety of quality gifts, including clothing, jewelry, housewares, books, and toys.

Marshall Point Lighthouse Port Clyde, Maine.
Marshall Point Lighthouse Port Clyde, Maine.

Hotels Near Marshall Point Lighthouse, Maine 

The closest hotel accommodation you can find in Rockland, Maine – 15 miles away. 

250 Main Hotel 

This hotel offers lovely harbor views,  especially from the Nice view from the rooftop patio. The rooms come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a fridge, a kettle, a shower, a hairdryer, and a desk. The location perfect for exploring Rockland by foot or the surrounding midcoast area by car or boat.

Rockland Harbor Hotel
This hotel is located 40 feet from the Rockland Ferry Services and is in the center of Rockland. Farnsworth Museum is only 1,600 feet away. The award-winning restaurant, Primo, is 1.5 miles from the Rockland Harbor Hotel. Some rooms come with a view of the water. 
You can also rent some beautiful houses with views like that in Rockport/Camden area of Maine.
You can also rent some beautiful houses with views like that in the Rockport/Camden area of Maine.

5. Owls Head Light Rockland, Maine

The Owls Head Light is located at the entrance of Rockland Harbor on western Penobscot Bay in the town of Owls Head. It is the centerpiece of 13-acre Owls Head State Park.

The lighthouse was built in 1825. It stands 26 feet tall and sits majestically atop an 80-foot bluff overlooking the bay. Its guiding light shines from a vantage point 100 feet above sea level.

Once atop the lighthouse, visitors can view the impressive fourth-order Fresnel lens that dates back to 1856 while enjoying panoramic views of the bay, islands, and marine traffic. 

Owls Head Light Rockland, Maine.
Owls Head Light Rockland, Maine.

Hotels Near Owls Head Light – Rockland, Maine 

Please note, these hotel recommendations are the same as for Marshall Point Lighthouse, since Rockland is a lodging base for both. 

250 Main Hotel 

This hotel offers lovely harbor views,  especially from the Nice view from the rooftop patio. The rooms come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a fridge, a kettle, a shower, a hairdryer, and a desk. The location perfect for exploring Rockland by foot or the surrounding midcoast area by car or boat.

Rockland Harbor Hotel
This hotel is located 40 feet from the Rockland Ferry Services and is in the center of Rockland. Farnsworth Museum is only 1,600 feet away. The award-winning restaurant, Primo, is 1.5 miles from the Rockland Harbor Hotel. Some rooms come with a view of the water. 

6. Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse Bass Harbor, Maine

The cliffside Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Acadia National Park marks the entrance to Bass Harbor on the southwestern side of Mount Desert Island. It was built of brick in 1858 on a stone foundation. It stands 56 feet above mean high water. 

When you arrive at the lighthouse, take a path to the right to see the lighthouse up close. Then make sure to take a left path for the best views of the structure against the spectacular coastline. The path will take you to a stairway that follows down the front face of the cliff.

Eventually, you will arrive at a prime spot for capturing a picture of the lighthouse and cliffs. Spend some time there marveling at not only the lighthouse but also the incredibly beautiful but rugged shore. 

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse Bass Harbor, Maine
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse Bass Harbor, Maine

Hotels Near Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Maine 

Holiday Inn Bar Harbor

This is my favorite hotel in the area for the views and inviting outside areas. Overlooking Frenchman Bay, it features an on-site marina and oceanfront lounge, a seasonal outdoor pool, and a hot tub. La Bella Vita restaurant at the Bar Harbor Holiday Inn offers Frenchman Bay’s views and is open for breakfast and dinner. Guests can also enjoy dinner at the seasonal oceanfront Stewman’s Lobster Pound

Holiday Inn Bar Harbor, Maine
Holiday Inn in Bar Harbor Inn is my favorite hotel in the Acadia National Park area.

The hotel offers rooms with an ocean view. This waterfront property features daily nature cruises from its private dock and has indoor and outdoor pools and a hot tub. Acadia National Park is 0.6 mi from the hotel.

7. West Quoddy Head Lighthouse Lubec, Maine

Out of all the seven lighthouses, West Quoddy was the only one that refused to cooperate with me weatherwise. I made a long detour to see it on my way home from another fabulous lighthouse destination – Nova Scotia, but there was no mercy. It was a beautiful sunny day, but just the lighthouse area was covered in a thick fog. 

West Quoddy Head Lighthouse Lubec, Maine
If you are lucky, you will capture this view of West Quoddy Head Lighthouse Lubec, Maine. Photo Getty Images.

Located on the most eastern point of the continental United States, West Quoddy Head Lighthouse is a stunning spot to see the first rays of sun in the country. Located in Quoddy Head State Park, the original tower was built in 1808 under orders from President Thomas Jefferson.  The lighthouse tower that stands today was built in 1858.

The Visitor Center occupies the first floor of the lightkeeper’s historic residence. In addition to historic and interactive displays, visitors can view and purchase unique artwork by local visual artists.  

I did not get to see them, but I know stunning views await visitors on many hiking and nature walks. Picnic tables with views are available close to parking.

If you are a photographer, painter, nature lover, or curious traveler, you will love the famous lighthouses of Maine. Here are the 7 best. 
West Quoddy Head Lighthouse

Hotels Near West Quoddy Head Lighthouse 

The area is relatively remote, so not a lot of lodging is available. When looking for a place to stay, keep in mind that some units may be physically close but in New Brunswick, Canada – home of amazing Hopewell Rocks Park! I stayed at The Blue Bird Hotel Maine. It was fine for one night. 

You May Also Like 

The Ultimate Itinerary for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks 

Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone.

Spring in Great Smoky Mountains National Park 

Things to Do in Sedona Arizona 

Things to do in Sedona, Arizona. A view from the highway.

All you Need to Know About Visiting Newport, Rhode Island 

Audrain Auto Museum at Newport, Rhode Island.

The 8 Best Parks to Visit in New York 

1000 Islands New York. View form the water.

Comments