Every tour of the lighthouses of mid-coast Maine should begin with a visit to the Maine Lighthouse Museum. Its location close to the waterfront in downtown Rockland, overlooking Penobscot Bay and the Rockland Breakwater, sets the stage for deep dive into understanding the history and heroism of America’s lighthouses and their keepers.
Among the collections and exhibits preserved by the museum, you’ll find a rare collection of Fresnel lenses, foghorns, lightships, lifesaving equipment, and Coast Guard artifacts. Immerse yourself in the stories of lighthouse keepers and tales of daring rescues. You’ll be better prepared to visit the iconic lighthouses. They dot the shoreline in the towns of Rockland, Rockport, Camden, Owls Head, and surrounding small fishing villages.
Finally, with a new understanding and fresh perspective on the role of Maine’s lighthouses, a tour of a few of these quintessential mid-coast beacons seems fitting.
“There was a timelessness here, and yet a sense
of time greater than any before, that could only be found in a lighthouse.”
― Gina Marinello-Sweeney
Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse
Standing tall at the end of a mile-long breakwater, Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse marks the entrance to Rockland Harbor. Gear up for an invigorating hike out to the light, where you’ll be rewarded with a sparkling view of Rockland’s downtown.
Owls Head Lighthouse
A frequent subject of professional and amateur photographers alike, Owls Head Lighthouse literally sits atop a rocky cliff 100 feet above Penobscot Bay. Though short in stature, its beam is mighty, casting light 16 miles out to sea.
Marshall Point Lighthouse
Certainly a photographer’s dream, Marshall Point Lighthouse, often serves as the backdrop for wedding photo shoots. A few will recognize this light from the movie Forrest Gump as the endpoint of his famous cross-country run.
Curtis Island Light
Accessible only by watercraft, the picturesque Curtis Island Lighthouse in Maine marks the entrance to beautiful Camden harbor and its bevy of schooners and windjammers. In fact, a harbor cruise is your best bet for capturing a picture of this beauty.
Pemaquid Point Light
Perched above a rocky cliff overlooking Penobscot Bay, Pemaquid Point Lighthouse is one of the few light stations that allow visits to the keepers’ house and its small museum. The collection includes photos and artifacts from its heyday serving mariners, lobstermen, and fishing fleets.
Grindle Point Light
To visit Grindle Point Lighthouse, you must first travel to Islesboro, an offshore island in the heart of Penobscot Bay. Grindle Point Light is one of the few lighthouses in Maine that allow visitors to climb to the top of the tower in summer. From there you’ll witness the magnificent view across the bay to the mainland.
Burnt Island Light
Now positioned as a living history museum, visitors to Burnt Island Lighthouse will encounter interpreters dressed in period costumes of a typical lighthouse family. Walk the nature trails for an introduction to flora and fauna of the island. Finally, see the methods used to survive an often-perilous sea.
Sequin Island Light
Take a trip back in time to visit Sequin Island Lighthouse, originally built in 1795 and ordered by then-president George Washington. Another living history tour awaits you here. An unparalleled deep dive into lighthouse keepers’ history and real-life experiences make this tour an authentic educational experience.
The lure of the lighthouse strikes far and wide among Maine’s many notable attractions. Visitors to our mid-coast Maine bed and breakfast find access to dozens of these iconic light stations. But these are only a few of the more than 60 lighthouses that once guarded the rocky coast of Maine. Some are still active; others decommissioned, and a few have been restored as private homes. To take a complete tour of lighthouses in Maine, plan on tackling each region from southeast to Downeast a bit at a time. And don’t forget your camera for those all-important Instagram-worthy photos.
Updated February 2023