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Portland Head Light: Maine's picture-perfect lighthouse

Nestled along the rugged coastline of Cape Elizabeth in Maine, but just minutes from downtown Portland, the Portland Head Light attracts thousands of visitors and locals alike with its panoramic views and post-card perfect photo ops.


Visiting the Portland Head Light is a must-do for anyone on a maritime adventure int he state of Maine and for good reason- it’s easy to get to, cheap to see, and impossible to take a bad photo at. Just simply head out of downtown Portland and make your way to Fort Williams Park and follow the signs for the ample parking near the lighthouse. Once you pay your small parking fee, you’re free to roam around not only the lighthouse, but the surrounding paths and trails that offer truly remarkable photo opportunities.

History of Maine’s Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light has a storied history dating back to the late 18th century. Commissioned by George Washington in 1787 and completed in 1791, the lighthouse was one of the first constructed by the newly formed United States government. Its primary purpose was to guide vessels safely through the perilous waters of Casco Bay and Portland Harbor, crucial for the burgeoning maritime trade in the region.

The lighthouse underwent several renovations and improvements over the years, adapting to changing technologies and the increasing demands of maritime navigation. Today, Portland Head Light stands as one of the oldest and most well-preserved lighthouses in the United States.

The lighthouse itself is a striking example of New England architecture, featuring a traditional white conical tower with a black lantern room. The tower stands 80 feet tall and is perched atop a picturesque rocky cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The combination of the stark white structure against the rugged coastline creates a stunning visual contrast that has made Portland Head Light a favorite subject for artists and photographers.

Portland Head Light stands as more than just a navigational aid; it is a living testament to the maritime history of the United States. Its timeless beauty, rich history, and breathtaking surroundings make it a destination that captures the hearts of all who visit. Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or someone seeking a tranquil escape, Portland Head Light beckons as a beacon of both the past and the present along the picturesque coast of Maine.

We can’t imagine visiting this area and not going to see the Portland Head Light. Despite the many times we’ve been there, somehow it just never gets old. With the various changes in weather along the Maine coast, you’re sure to get a slightly different view each and every time you visit.

Want to see it for yourself? Come with us on one of our New England Fall Car Caravans.


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