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Preplanned City Guides and Travel Itineraries

Portland Head Light

On this page you find practical information, photos and videos about Portland Head Light.

Portland Head Light features in these preplanned City Guides:

3-day Boston City Guide5-day Boston City Guide

Why visit / Interesting facts:

  • One of the most scenic lighthouses in the U.S.
  • Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
  • The most photographed lighthouse in North America

Time required: 60 minutes

Phone: +1-207-799-2661

Web site: http://www.portlandheadl...

Public transport:

Address: 1000 Shore Road, Cape Elizabeth, Maine - USA

Things you need to know:

  • Portland Head Light Station is a historic lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth Maine, not far from Portland
  • President George Washington ordered its construction in 1787 (when Maine was still part of the state of Massachusetts), and it was completed on January 10, 1791
  • The lighthouse was first illuminated by whale oil lamps, then switched to a fourth-order Fresnel lens in 1855, then a second-order Fresnel lens, then an aero beacon in 1958, and finally a DCB-224 aero beacon in 1991
  • The tower stands 80 feet above ground, and 101 feet above water. It was originally supposed to be 58 feet tall, but at that height the light wasn't visible beyond the headlands to the south, so another 20 feet were added
  • Its light is visible from 24 miles away, and the beacon and fog signal are owned and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard to help ships navigate
  • The lighthouse is considered one of the most scenic lighthouses in the country
  • It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973

What to do there:

  • Tour the grounds, including the short coastal trails nearby
  • Try your hand at photography. And you won't be alone - Portland Head Light is the most photographed lighthouse in North America
  • Bring lunch and eat it at the nearby beach
  • If you want to learn more, take a turn around the museum and treat yourself to the gift shop

Tips & Insights:

  • This may seem trivial, but be sure to bring a sweatshirt - you never know the kind of wind the Maine coast can conjure, even in the summer
  • We're not the only ones suggesting you head to see the lighthouse, so be prepared for summer crowds - and allow time to find parking
  • There's plenty of open grounds and beach space, so consider bringing Frisbees, beach towels, and other warm weather favorites

 

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Portland Head Light features in these preplanned City Guides: