Previous Light:
Blue Hill Bay
Next Lighthouse:
Burnt Coat Harbor

This Region:

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

Bass Harbor lighthouse

Tremont, Mount Desert Island, Maine
Built in 1858


Entrance to Bass harbor and Blue Hill Bay on the southern end of Mount Desert Island. Located at the end of Lighthouse Road off Route 102A in Bass Harbor. Grounds are open to the public but the tower is closed.

Latitude: 44° 13' 19" N
Longitude: 68° 20' 14" W

Historic Stories:

The lighthouse was established in 1858 for mariners to pass through the treacherous Bass Harbor Bar, and to guide them into Blue Hill Bay. The station originally had a hand rung fog bell which was later replaced in 1898 by a 4000 pound fog bell with a specialized striking type of machinery that still resides today by the lighthouse along with the original oil house. Around this same time a boathouse and slip were added, as it was very difficult to land any boats on the rocky shoreline. The lighthouse stands 56 feet above water and is now automated.

Bass Harbor Light’s first keeper was John Thurston. His grandson Charles was born at the lighthouse, with his son Solomon and wife Mary as the proud parents. When Charles was three years old he nearly fell from the window of the lighthouse. Little boys wore one piece “dresses” in those days as this saved his life. A family member, who happened to be in the same room, witnessed the toddler start to fall and grabbed his dress, just in time to save him from crashing on the rocks below.

Bass Harbor Light was always a family station with only a single keeper needed.

early Bass harbor head light

Early Bass Harbor Light
Courtesy US Coast Guard

Acadia is a National Park created predominately from donated private land and has become a main international attraction for tourists since the nineteenth century.



Places to Visit Nearby:

Located in Acadia National Park, Bass Harbor Light is situated on top of a rocky small cliff on the tranquil southwest part of Mt. Desert Island and is one of the most photographed in Maine. This is area is a true vacationer's paradise! At the lighthouse you can picnic on the rocks and watch the boats and the surf, and watch some spectacular sunsets here as well.

rocky cliffs around Bass Harbor light To get a good view of the lighthouse you can carefully climb around the rocks that jut out below the lighthouse.

Walk around the resort town of Bar Harbor and its specialty shops and wonderful restaurants, or take in some of the many sightseeing tours offered in and outside the region.

Take the coastal routes all along the entire island for some incredible views of the coastline and enjoy Acadia and its scenic beauty.
Somes Sound bridge in Acadia

Drive, bike or hike up to the top of Cadillac Mountain and enjoy the views of the islands jutting out of Bar Harbor.

beach wth mountains in background in Acadia National Park There are beaches with huge hills or mountains rising behind the sea to the enhantment of many visitors.

You can hike up various mountains, ponds and lakes, or walk along the coastline.

If you need to get away from the crowds and cars, hike or bike along the miles of carriage roads built by the Rockefellers with beautiful stone archway bridges in secluded areas of the island with wonderful views.
Rockerfeller carraige bridge

Tour boats out to the islands anyone? Bass Harbor Cruises offers tours that pass by the lighthouse out of Bass Harbor. The Swan’s Island Ferry, which can take cars will bring you to the very quiet and picturesque Swan’s Island, and passes by the lighthouse on route.




Contact Info:
Tremont Historical Society
P.O. Box 215
Bass Harbor, ME 04653
Phone: (207) 244-9753

United States Coast Guard
104 Clark Point Road
Southwest Harbor, ME
(207) 244-5670
(National Parks Service Website)



Local Boat Tours

Boat cruises, windjammers, and ferries mentioned below may offer many types of cruises. While some may offer specific lighthouse cruises, some may pass by Bass Harbor Lighthouse during their sailing charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, ferrying passengers, whale watching, fishing tours and other types of excursions. Weather is also a major factor in New England, especially on sailing excursions.


Sea Princess Cruises
Narrated wildlife cruises. Passes Bear Island Light and Bass Harbor on some of its cruises.
Box 545
Mount Desert, ME 04660
Phone: (207) 276-5352



Schooner Mary Day
Windjammer sailing that included 4 and 6-day lighthouse cruises.
P.O. Box 798, Camden, Maine 04843
Phone: (800) 992-2218



The Swan’s Island Ferry
Operated by the state on Maine Ferry Service
(207) 624-7777
(800) 491-4883
(207) 244-3254



Bass Harbor Island Cruises
Harbor cruise that passes by the lighthouse.
Little Island Way
Bass Harbor, Maine
Phone: (207) 244-5785



Downeast Windjammer Cruise Lines
Provides ferry service between Bar Harbor and Winter Harbor. They also provide Windjammer Sailing aboard the Mary Todd or the Bailey Louise Todd schooners, or classic sailing on the Chrissy Lobster Sloop. Also provides ferry service between Southwest Harbor/Manset and the Cranberry Isles, which may allows views of the lighthouse.

P.O. Box 28
Cherryfield, ME 04622
Phone: (207) 546-2927 (Cherryfield)
Phone: (207) 288-4585 (Bar Harbor)



Isle au Haut Boat Company
Daily mail boat trips to the island of Isle au Haut in the summer season. They also provide puffin cruises to Seal Island.

During Maine's lighthouse weekend in September they offer weekend tours to see up to ten lighthouses. On Saturday they tour six lighthouses, and on Sunday of that weekend, they have a special tour to four lighthouses: Hockamock Head Light (Swan's Island), Great Duck Island Light, Bass Harbor Head Light, and Blue Hill Bay Light.

Isle au Haut Boat Services
P.O. Box 709
Stonington, ME 04681
Tel. (207) 367-5193



Scenic Flights


Scenic Flights of Acadia
Has special lighthouse cruises for visitors to have a unique aerial view of 6 beacons in the Acadia region, along with the landscape of Mount Desert Island of Acadia.

200 Main Street (ticket office)
Bar Harbor, Maine 04609
Phone: (207) 667-6527

1044 Bar Harbor Road | Route 3
Trenton, Maine 04605



Island Soaring
Phone: (207) 667-SOAR




My 300-page book (with over 360 images), Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Northern New England: New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, provides human interest stories from each of the 76 lighthouses all along the northeast coast, with plenty of coastal attractions and tours near each beacon.

Look inside!

book northern New England lighthouses and local coastal attractions




You can order these books through many pages on this website, and I'll be happy to personally sign and ship them to you anywhere inside the United States. You can also order from the publisher, Schiffer Books, who can ship anywhere globally.



Price is lower at $24.95 if purchased here. Enjoy!


Table of Contents

Over 50 famous stories with lots of details in my book New England Lighthouses: Famous Shipwrecks, Rescues, and Other Tales

One of the famous stories includes the miracle baby rescue by Mount Desert Rock Lighthouse, Maine's most remote beacon.

The book contains, along with my photographs, paintings by six famous artists for the Coast Guard, and vintage images from the Coast Guard, museums, and special collectors.



Back to Top