The Ultimate Guide To Portland Head Light
Portland Head Light, a historic and iconic landmark of Maine!
Portland Head Light, the oldest and the most picturesque of all lighthouses in Maine, has been featured in the works of several photographers and painters!
Located along the rugged coastline of Maine in Cape Elizabeth, the Portland Head Light has been guarding the shores and helping vessels safely navigate in and out of the Portland Harbor since 1971. The historic Portland Head Light with its former Keepers’ Quarters, a victorian-style building that is now a museum, and the adjacent Fort Williams Park overlooking the Gulf of Maine is one of the most visited and photographed landmarks in the state of Maine!
In use since 1971, the Portland Head Light has played a significant role during the American Civil War and is a designated National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Portland Head Light is still in use and operated and maintained by the US Coast Guard, and the former Keepers’ Quarters, now a museum, is overseen by the town of Cape Elizabeth.
Marvel at the spectacular coastline, photograph the iconic lighthouse, explore the museum, and hike the trails along the shore in the adjacent Fort Williams Park!
Though the lighthouse tower is not accessible, the museum at the Keepers’ Quarters features several exhibits, including old lighthouse lenses, reflectors, photographs, and other artifacts pertaining to the history of the lighthouse and the life of the lighthouse keepers and their families. The Fort Williams Park, located right next to Portland Head Light, offers several miles of hiking trails along the shoreline with stunning coastal views.
Here is my ultimate guide to Portland Head Light, featuring essential trip-planning information, things to do, and recommendations on hotels and restaurants near Portland Head Light!
Planning Your Trip To Portland Head Light
Portland Head Light can be viewed year-round from Fort Williams Park, but the lighthouse museum is open only during the summer months!
Best Time To Visit Portland Head Light: The warmth of the coast does not hold up to the harsh winters in New England! Like other parts of Maine, Cape Elizabeth also has long and snowy winters, making it challenging to stroll the coastline and spend time outdoors marveling at the Portland Head Light. Summer is the best time and also the peak season at Portland Head Light. If you don’t mind a little cooler weather, spring and fall are also a great choice to beat the crowd at Portland Head Light.
Portland Head Light Operating Hours & Seasons: The museum and the gift shop at the Keepers’ Quarters are open only outside the winter months, from June through Columbus Day, the second Monday in October. However, the adjacent Fort Williams Park offers excellent views of Portland Head Light and is open year-round, from sunrise to sunset.
Getting To Portland Head Light: Portland Head Light, located in Cape Elizabeth in southwest Maine, is pretty close to Portland International Jetport, and flying into Portland, Maine, is the best and most comfortable way to get to Portland Head Light. Alternatively, you could take an Amtrak train or Greyhound bus to Portland, Maine, and then drive to Portland Head Light.
- Flight: Portland International Jetport (PWM), Portland, Maine, is the closest major international airport to Portland Head Light, located just 8 miles from the lighthouse, and is serviced by all major airlines.
- Train: Amtrak offers train services to Portland, Maine, and the Portland Transportation Center is the closest Amtrak station located just 6.5 miles from Portland Head Light.
- Bus: Greyhound offers bus services connecting a few cities in southern Maine to other cities and states in the US. The closest Greyhound bus stop near Portland Head Light is located about 7 miles on Brighton Ave, Portland, Maine.
Parking At Portland Head Light: Fort Williams Park offers paid parking to visitors in its central and overflow parking lots. The closest parking lot to the lighthouse is located at Captain Strout Circle, but it’s often packed, in which case you can park in the overflow parking lot along Humphreys Road.
Time Required At Portland Head Light: While a couple of hours are sufficient to visit the lighthouse and the museum, I recommend spending at least half a day at Portland Head Light marveling and photographing the lighthouse from both sides, exploring the museum, and leisurely strolling along the beautiful coastline at Fort Williams Park.
Lodging Options Near Portland Head Light: Portland is just a few miles from Portland Head Light and is home to several hotels ranging from boutique hotels to bread and breakfasts. However, there’re a few excellent hotels in Cape Elizabeth, pretty close to Portland Head Light, with gorgeous coastal views. Here’re my top picks for hotels near Portland Head Light
- Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth
- Higgins Beach Inn, Scarborough
- The Press Hotel, Portland
- Hampton Inn Portland Downtown
Dining Options Near Portland Head Light: While the onsite dining option at Portland Head Light is limited to its only restaurant, Bite into Maine, you will find several other eateries nearby and in the town of Portland and South Portland. Here’re some of my favorite restaurants and top picks for restaurants in Portland and South Portland – Taco Trio for excellent Mexican food, Elsmere BBQ & Wood Grill for great barbecue and sandwiches, and Becky’s Diner and Little Giant for American fare.
Portland Head Light Tours: There’re a few local tour companies that offer guided tours of the city of Portland and Portland Head Light, of which I recommend the Portland Discovery Land & Sea Tour Company, as they have a few excellent land and sea tours options.
Other Maine Attractions & Related Posts
I hope you enjoyed reading the post, The Ultimate Guide To Portland Head Light, and I hope this will help you plan your trip to Portland Head Light. You can find other attractions in Maine in my Maine Travel Guide.
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