Nothing says Maine like a visit to one of our iconic lighthouses. We are, after all, the Lighthouse State. With more than 60 options lighting up the coastline, you could plan a whole trip around these historically significant and visually arresting Maine beacons.
Carved by glaciers, Maine’s craggy coastline was once perilous under foggy conditions and turbulent seas. Yankee ingenuity helped solve this issue beginning in 1794 by providing towers of light and hope to aid sailors in navigating the difficult waters. Guiding vessels to navigable water channels and marking the shrouded mouths of rivers, Maine lighthouses saved countless lives and helped to develop a unique and heroic way of life for their keepers.
The keeper’s main job was to make sure that the light shone every night from sunset to sunrise, and to sound the foghorn during inclement weather. The job was isolating, underpaid and deeply courageous. Early lighthouse keepers were often sent news via carrier pigeons and later small school groups were organized for the families of keepers. Present-day Maine salutes the history of the lighthouse and its keepers through maritime museums, lighthouse tours and countless forms of lighthouse memorabilia and artistic representations of the iconic Maine structure.
Each lighthouse in Maine is as distinctive as its “light signature,” or flashing pattern developed to signify its locale to sailors. Visit the infamous West Quoddy Head Light that marks the easternmost point of land in the contiguous United States and take a picture alongside its unique red and white striped tower. Check out the picturesque beauty of Cape Neddick “The Nubble” and its adjacent Victorian keeper’s house replete with gingerbread trim featuring miniature cast iron lighthouses on its railing. Owl’s Head State Park has its own lighthouse, Owl’s Head Light: a short brick tower sitting aloft over Rockland Harbor.
Each lighthouse comes with its own set of sea tales, from ghosts of keepers past to fateful star-crossed wrecks. The lore and mystery of Maine’s lighthouses never fail to inspire and intrigue our visitors. We invite you to explore the distinctive lighthouses of Maine: breathe in the salty air, feel the power of the sea underfoot and experience an integral aspect of our state and nation’s history.