Standing tall on the jagged, rocky coastline of Maine, Portland Head Light is a historic lighthouse that has operated since the 18th century. It’s the oldest lighthouse in Maine, and also one of the country’s largest and most visited (and photographed.) It’s an iconic state landmark with incredible views of the Maine shore. It has even been called the “most photographed” lighthouse in the world.
The lighthouse is also a beacon of early U.S. history, having been commissioned by George Washington and initially lit by whale oil lamps. The original tower was being constructed as the federal government was being formed. It was here that guards once looked out for British soldiers as America defended its independence from Britain. The Museum at Portland Head Light (located in the historic Keepers’ Quarters) goes into further detail about the location’s history and significance.
The Portland Head Light is located in Cape Elizabeth at entrance of the shipping channel into Casco Bay. To get there from Portland take Route 77 south to South Portland, turn left on Broadway, then right on Cottage Road. Fort Williams Park, the site at which its located, is open year round from sunrise to sunset and is free to enter. Picnic facilities and hiking trails can be found nearby. You can also check out the museum, which is open daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day from 10 am to 4 pm. Admission costs $2 for adults and $1 for children.