Portland Head Light
While the Portland Head Light itself is closed to the public, visitors can explore the history of the site and view artifacts like historic lenses, navigational tools, and photographs at a museum inside the former keeper’s house. Most sightseeing tours of Portland and the Maine coast stop at this treasured landmark.
If you’re there during the warmer months, allow yourself time to hang out in Fort Williams Park, a 90-acre (36-hectare) recreation area with trails, picnic areas, an arboretum, a children’s garden, and a small rocky beach known as Ship Cove. And in summer, park vendors dish up Maine favorites like lobster rolls, crepes, and ice cream. Several other historic sites dot the coastline as well, including abandoned gun batteries and bunkers, plus the ruins of the once-grand Goddard Mansion.
Things to Know Before You Go
Leashed dogs are welcome in the park.
The park has no trash cans, so be sure to pack out everything you take with you.
The museum has a small gift shop selling lighthouse-themed souvenirs.
How to Get There
About a 15-minute drive from downtown Portland, the lighthouse is located in Cape Elizabeth at the entrance to the shipping channel into Casco Bay. Metered hourly parking and all-day parking passes are available.
When to Get There
The Portland Head Light museum is typically open May through November; Fort Williams Park is open year-round from sunrise to sunset. The most scenic time to visit is spring or summer. Bundle up if going in winter, as the Maine coast gets windy and cold.
Maine’s Best Lighthouses
Maine boasts more lighthouses than any other state on the East Coast, and the shoreline watchtowers are a beloved symbol of the region. The Portland Head Light tops the list, but dozens of others are sprinkled along the jagged Maine coastline. Check out the Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse and Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, or farther afield, the West Quoddy Head Light in Lubec, the Monhegan Island Light and Museum, and Cape Neddick Light in York.