Nearly as famous as our lobster, Maine lighthouses are an iconic part of the Pine Tree State. Whether you’re planning a first visit to the southern Maine coast or you’ve been vacationing here for years, you owe it to yourself to check a lighthouse or two off your sightseeing list.
Nubble Light — York
Cape Neddick Lightstation, more fondly known as Nubble Light, is one of the nearest Maine lighthouses to us here at The Dunes — about 20 minutes away in York. It’s one of our absolute favorites, too, with the festive Lighting of the Nubble gracing its trademark red roofline every summer for Christmas in July. The lighthouse itself, which first operated in 1879, is situated on an island and isn’t open to the public, but you’ll find a gift shop, restrooms, and top-notch views at Sohier Park on the mainland.
Goat Island Light — Kennebunkport
About the same distance from Ogunquit as the Nubble but in the opposite direction, Goat Island Light first operated off the coast of Kennebunkport in 1833. You can check it out from the landing at the end of Pier Road in Cape Porpoise, and there’s a dock on the island for visitors with their own small boats.
Goat Island Light was operated by an actual keeper until the fall of 1990, making it the last Maine lighthouse to give way to modern automated technology. Caretakers still live in the residence on the island and are happy to give impromptu tours of the grounds when they’re home, though visitors are asked to respect the area as a private residence.
Wood Island Light — Biddeford Pool
About 40 minutes north of The Dunes in Biddeford, Wood Island Light is well worth a little extra time on the road. It’s one of only two island lighthouses in Maine that are fully open to the public with scheduled tours. In July and August, you can take a 15 minute boat ride to the island, where you’ll walk a half-mile boardwalk to the lighthouse itself. Views from atop the tower’s 60-stair spiral are stunning, though for safety reasons, children have to be at least 12 to climb the tower.
More Portland Area Lighthouses
If you’re up for visiting the Portland area, about 50 minutes north of Ogunquit, you can see another set of Maine lighthouses relatively close to each other. Portland Head Light has a museum in the former keepers’ residence. The Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, or “Bug Light,” is located at the tip of the Greenbelt Walkway, Portland’s version of Marginal Way, which offers great views of Portland Harbor and the city’s skyline.
Two Lights State Park makes a great picnic spot, with views of twin island lighthouses that first operated in 1828. The lights aren’t open to the public, though one is electronically controlled and still active and the other has been converted to a private residence.
We’re extremely proud of our seafaring history here on the Maine coast, and we’re lucky to be surrounded by so many well-preserved landmarks from days gone by. Here at The Dunes in Ogunquit, though, our sandy shores are better suited to relaxation than navigation — when it’s time to take a break from exploring Maine lighthouses, your seaside cottage or guest room will be ready and waiting.