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Portland Head Lighthouse

Fort Williams Park

Greater Portland + Maine Beaches, Maine

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Portland Head Lighthouse

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  • The park entrance off Shore Road.- Portland Head Lighthouse
  • The Portland Head Light.- Portland Head Lighthouse
  • The rocky ledge just north of the light, where the ship, the Annie C. Maguire, struck on Christmas Eve 1886.- Portland Head Lighthouse
  • Overlooking the Atlantic from Fort Williams Park.- Portland Head Lighthouse
  • Walking the grounds of Fort Williams Park.- Portland Head Lighthouse
  • Cushing Island and Casco Bay.- Portland Head Lighthouse
  • Looking east at Ram Island and the Ram Island Ledge Light.- Portland Head Lighthouse
  • Ship Cove.- Portland Head Lighthouse
  • The partially sandy beach at Ship Cove.- Portland Head Lighthouse
  • Remnants of Battery Keyes.- Portland Head Lighthouse
  • Ruins of the Goddard Mansion.- Portland Head Lighthouse
  • There are many picnic areas scattered around the park.- Portland Head Lighthouse
  • Looking north to the Portland Head Light from a viewpoint.- Portland Head Lighthouse
  • Looking south to the Portland Head Light from a viewpoint.- Portland Head Lighthouse
  • Battery Blair.- Portland Head Lighthouse
  • The Portland Light and keeper's house from Battery Blair.- Portland Head Lighthouse
  • Entry to the Portland Head Light.- Portland Head Lighthouse
  • Looking south to the Portland Head Light from a the rocky shore at low tide.- Portland Head Lighthouse
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
No fee. Amazing view of Casco Bay and the lighthouse.
Cons: 
Large crowds.
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Region:
Greater Portland + Maine Beaches, ME
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

Located in the historic town of Cape Elizabeth just south of the city of Portland, Maine, stands the iconic Portland Head Light. The Portland Head Light is the oldest lighthouse in the state of Maine. Constructed in 1791, the tower once stood at a height of 72 feet with 16 whale oil lamps to help guide ships into Casco Bay and to the Portland harbor. The white tower was modified a few times during its 226-year history and now stands at a height of 80 feet. In 1989 it was decommissioned.

While the lighthouse is not open to the public, the Keeper’s House, now a museum dedicated to the history of the light, is. For a small admission fee, visitors can follow a historical timeline and view some of the original equipment used at the light. The original Keeper’s House was a one-story house built in 1790. The current two-story building was built in 1891 as a duplex to house the both the light keeper and the assistant light keeper and their families. For museum hours and fees, go here.

After its decommission, the lighthouse grounds and Keeper’s House were handed over to the Town of Cape Elizabeth, while the U.S. Coast Guard owns and operates the fog horn and light beacon for navigational purposes. The lighthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Portland Head Lighthouse is one feature of the larger Fort Williams Park. The 90-acre park was once home to the U.S. Army post of Fort Williams, which was last operational during World War II. Remnants of old batteries and buildings are stationed along the shoreline and open for exploration. A sheltered cove called Ship Cove offers a rocky beach that provides access to the water, and at low tide a small sandy beach is exposed.  

The park is owned and maintained by the Town of Cape Elizabeth. Entry is free and is open from sunrise to sunset year round. Donation boxes are dispersed throughout the park. All donations go to the Fort Williams Park Foundation, which funds park projects and maintenance.

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