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Southern Maine

Portland Breakwater
(Bug Light) Lighthouse

Portland Breakwater (Bug light) lighthouse

South Portland, Maine
Built in 1855


Marking the entrance to Portland Harbor. Off Fort Road by the boat ramp inside Bug Light Park. Grounds are open to the public but the tower is closed.

Latitude: 43° 39' 20" N
Longitude: 70° 14' 06" W


Historic Stories:

The lighthouse was constructed originally as a wooden tower standing only two feet above high tide on a man made breakwater. early Portland Breakwater light with wooden tower

Wooden Tower (1855)
Portland Breakwater Light
Courtesy US Coast Guard

However, it was constantly being washed over by the salt water waves from New England’s many storms, making it a maintenance disaster.

There was no original keeper’s house built initially, so sometimes during fierce winter winds and ice, keepers would crawl along the 1800 feet of breakwater at that time to the lighthouse to keep from being blown into the icy waters.

The lighthouse was rebuilt with a very unique design of fluted columns and additional unique architectual designs in 1875.

unique architecture of Portland Breakwater light It was modeled after the Greek architecture from the fourth century B.C.

The original wooden tower was moved to nearby Little Diamond Island and became a lookout tower.

In 1934, the beacon was electrified, and years later, during World War II, the area was filled in with only 100 feet left of the breakwater in open water. The beacon was no longer needed and discontinued in 1942.

The most recent restoration of the lighthouse and a new park for tourists that surrounds the lighthouse known as Bug Light Park was completed in 2002.



Places to Visit Nearby:

About a half mile from the Spring Point Light, heading towards Portland, is Portland Breakwater Light at Bug Light Park in South Portland.

There is parking near the lighthouse at Bug Light Park in South Portland. Bug Light Park with Portland Breakwater lighthouse

Here at the park, visitors can enjoy lobster and fishing boats as well as shipping traffic coming in and out of the harbor.

Adjacent to Bug Light Park is the South Portland Historical Society Museum, a small interesting place that provides stories of the shipyards that thrived in the area during WW II, and exhibits displays

sunset at Portland lighthouse
Heading away from Portland you can explore Portland Head lighthouse, the oldest beacon in Maine.

It is located inside the expansive 41-acre Fort Williams Park for hiking along the cliff edges, exploring the old fort or just for picnicking and kite flying in its open areas.

Explore the Museum at Portland Head Light at the Keeper’s house.

For hikers and cyclists, the Harbor Walk Trail follows from Bug Light Park over the Casco Bay Bridge in and around the Portland Waterfront area. There is another new paved path that runs from Bug Light Park (at the eastern edge of South Portland) approximately 6 miles to Wainwright Field Athletic Complex at the western edge of South Portland.

Portland Discovery offers trolley by land and boat tours to explore Maine’s largest city. It is one of the largest seaports in New England, Maine’s largest and arguably most cultural city, offering lots of specialty restaurants and shops, artist galleries and museums to visit. Visit the historic Old Port district with lots of nineteenth century architecture to discover, boutiques and many restaurants to choose from. You can also follow various urban Portland Trails through the city. One waterfront park called the Easter Promenade provides nearly seventy acres of water views and recreation.

Portland Schooner sailing For windjamming experience, the Portland Schooner Company provides sailing tours aboard their unique schooners Wendameen and Bagheera.

You can also sail the Frances, with Maine Sailing Adventures. She is a replica of an early 19th century coastal pilot cutter.

For those interested in private personal charter sailing in Casco Bay on a small boat, Sail Portland Maine offers charters for up to six people aboard the Friendship Sloop Eleanor Hawkes. To handle up to a dozen guests they also have a power yacht Calista Ann

North of Portland lie the towns of Falmouth, Yarmouth, and Freeport. There are lots of parks and preserves for those who want to explore the outdoors, and places to shop.


sailboat passes by Portland Breakwater lighthouse


Driving Directions


Contact Info

City of South Portland


Local Boat Tours

Boat cruises mentioned below may offer many types of cruises. Some will pass by Portland Breakwater (Bug) Lighthouse during specific lighthouse tours, narrated wildlife and historic tours, sailing charters, fishing tours and other types of excursions. Weather is also a major factor in New England, especially on sailing excursions.

Maine Duck Tours
Ride these amphibious vehicles through Portland and into the coastal water as they pass by Portland’s Lighthouses.

177 Commercial Street
Portland, ME 04101
Phone: (207) 774-DUCK(3825)


Casco Bay Lines
Passes by the lighthouse as it heads out to the islands of Casco Bay.
56 Commercial Street
Portland, Maine 04112
(207) 774-7871


Portland Discovery
Specific lighthouse cruises like the "Lighthouse Lover's Cruise", and "Sunset Lighthouse Cruise." They also provide a trolley tour of Portland and a lighthouse cruise on Casco Bay for Portland's lighthouses.
Long Wharf
Portland ME
(Phone: (207) 774-0808


Lucky Catch Cruises
Provides special lobster boat cruises that pass by the lighthouse.
170 Commercial St.
Portland, Maine 04101
Phone: (207) 761-0941


Deep Cove Sailing
The Halie & Matthew is one of the largest fiberglass schooners built in Maine at 115 feet in length with beautiful woodwork in the salon and cabins, operated by Captain Suzanne Driscoll. Lighthouse lovers can enjoy a 2 1/2- hour cruise along Casco Bay in Portland which includes sights of at least three lighthouses.

Berlin Mills Wharf, Portland, Maine
Phone: (207) 420-5682


The Portland Schooner Company
They provide two-hour windjammer cruises on Casco Bay in Portland with morning, afternoon, and sunset sails, and private charters. There are four sailing vessels that have been restored to their original condition from the early 1900s and 1930s that are used for various sailing adventures that pass by the lighthouse. The Bagheera, built as a cargo ship in the early 1920s, the Heart's Desire, built in 1925, was used as a charter vessel along the Eastern seaboard, the Timberwind, which is a large 96-foot two-masted schooner that was built in 1931 and used as a pilot vessel, and the 88-foot schooner Wendameen, which was built in East Boothbay, Maine, and launched in 1912, in the golden era of fast, sleek ocean schooners. There are also special event sails from rum history and tasting tours to live music happy hour sails with local artists.

Maine State Pier, Portland, Maine 04101
Phone: (207) 766-2500


Maine Sailing Adventures
For those who want an authentic sailing experience, the 74-foot Frances was built as a replica of a working coastal pilot cutter that sailed the waters of New England nearly 200 years ago. They offer morning, afternoon, and sunset 2-hour sails, along with special event Wine Sails, Acoustic Sails, and unique Yoga Sails.

Maine State Pier, Portland, Maine
Phone: (207) 967-8809



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