On our trip up North we visited stayed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and worked our way up to Portland, Maine. As we drove, we visited the Coastal New England Lighthouses. In this travel guide I will share all of the lighthouses you can stop and view along the way. They are a few more that showed up on Google maps but were either not open to the public or we could not see them due to fog. The best days to view lighthouses are on nice weathered days because of this but honestly they are worth a trip even if you get a day with fog and rain like we did. I will include a few snaps of the foggy ones because it makes them look very majestic!
The first lighthouse we saw was the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse. It is located near a military base and requires a little walk to get too. We did struggle with parking because much of the downtown Portsmouth has little to no parking. They do offer mobile paid parking but we did not see any of those spots near this lighthouse. That is why we ended up parking where we could and just walking down to the beach and view this one. A nice easy walk and location to get too though. Worth the drive if you are staying or passing through the Portsmouth, New Hampshire area.
As we traveled North I HIGHLY recommend taking US 1 verses US 295. A few reasons are food is easier to find as well as little towns and shops. US 1 in my opinion is the “real Maine” experience. We stopped in Kennebunkport and found this lighthouse near a few gift shops. We also grabbed some lunch, beverages and souvenirs.
Just out Kennebunkport they have a few lighthouses viewable from a Audubon type park. The iPhone Maps did NOT locate the correct lighthouse so if you do want to see them you need to find them on Google Maps. We could not see them due to fog. I truly wish we had a “Coastal New England Lighthouses travel guide” when we were searching around. We ran into a few other parties also struggling to find them in this area.
Next on our list was the Nubble Lighthouse (pictured above). They have free parking but it does fill up, so try to come earlier in the morning or later in the evening.
As you continue traveling you will head into Cape Elizabeth. Here you will find the Portland Head Light. It is one of the MOST photographed lighthouses in the world. It also was the Red Lobster icon for many years. This park has both free and paid parking options. We spent an entire afternoon exploring and grabbing food at their food trucks. Highly recommend the “Bite into Maine” Connecticut Lobster rolls.
You can also view the Ram Island Lodge Lighthouse from the Portland Head light. While we visited during off Season you can tour the Portland head inside and take boat tours that go to them via boat. We also enjoyed the beach and old mansion on the park grounds. I would definitely give yourself time to explore here and also arriving earlier helps beat the crowds.
The Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse is located near a campus. They have maybe four parking spaces that are not for students so keep that in mind. You also need to “jump” large boulders to come up to the lighthouse. I picked this specific photo above to help you see how large they are. I fyou have smaller kids, elderly people with you or are maybe afraid of heights or the tides this might not be the one for you. You can see it from the shore so you don’t have to jump rocks by any means. Definitely, one of my favorite ones personally because it is so unique.
The Portland Breakwater Light is super easy to find and reach. Many people bring a lunch or snacks and eat at their benches here. It is located in a park like area with parking. I will say no matter when you come there is usually people walking it and or waiting for photos with the lighthouse.
When we reached our final destination Portland, Maine we saw the Portland Observatory. Not a working Lighthouse for the Ocean it is large and you can go inside it for tours! It was hard to grab parking because it is downtown. Also it is located right next to a fire house station.
My mother is a lover of lighthouses so I hope you found this Coastal New England Lighthouses guide helpful. I would HIGHLY recommend taking time to view them because they do add a little something extra to a trip to Maine. They are also affordable and great backdrops for photos. Many of the great seafood places are around them! Need more New England travel guides? Search my website for more articles from our travels!