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Portland Head Light

Top choice in Portland

Fort Williams Park, on Cape Elizabeth, has rolling lawns dotted with bunkers and gun emplacements. Within the park stands the beloved, and much-photographed, Portland Head Light, the oldest of Maine’s 52 functioning lighthouses. It was commissioned by President George Washington in 1791 and staffed until 1989, when machines took over. The keeper’s house is now a museum, which traces the maritime and military history of the region.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Portland attractions

1. Fort Williams Park

0.03 MILES

Four miles southeast of Portland on Cape Elizabeth, 90-acre Fort Williams Park is worth visiting simply for the panoramas and picnic possibilities. Stroll…

2. Portland Breakwater Light

2.44 MILES

Portland is graced by a handful of handsome lights, including the 1875 Portland Breakwater Light with its Corinthian columns. Dubbed the 'Bug Light'…

3. Victoria Mansion

3.03 MILES

This Italianate palace, whose exterior would work well in a Tim Burton movie, dates back to 1860. Inside it's sumptuously decorated with rich furniture,…

4. Portland Museum of Art


Founded in 1882, this well-respected museum houses an outstanding collection of American artists. Maine artists, including Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper,…

5. Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine


Kids aged zero to 10 years shriek and squeal as they haul traps aboard a replica lobster boat, milk a fake cow on a model farm, operate a sound studio, or…

6. Institute of Contemporary Art

3.24 MILES

This small gallery, attached to the Maine College of Art, showcases an ever-shifting slate of modern artists, and hosts frequent readings, workshops, pop…

7. Main Library

3.26 MILES

The main branch of the Portland Public Library is located within the 83,000-sq-ft Baxter Building, an architectural gem that cleverly utilizes vast glass…

8. Longfellow House

3.27 MILES

The revered American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–82) grew up in this Federal-style house, built in 1785 by his Revolutionary War–hero…