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Lighthouses in Mid-Coast Maine's
Island Region Along Penobscot Bay

brown's head light

Heading out to Eastern Penobscot Bay and Islands:
Matinicus Rock, North Haven Island, Vinalhaven Island, Islesloro Island, Stockton Springs, Castine, Deer Island, and Isle au Haut

Penobscot Bay is Maine's largest coastal waterway. Approximately 30 miles long by 30 miles wide, it contains the major islands of Vinalhaven, North Haven, Islesboro, Deer Isle, and Isle au Haut. These five large islands and numerous smaller ones provide protection from the open sea and make the bay a very popular sailing, pleasure boating, and sea kayaking area. A series of lighthouses were built to protect the increasing shipping traffic among these islands, and on some dangerous ledges in between.

Matinicus Rock Lighthouse lies about 25 miles from Rockland, Maine and five miles from the larger Matinicus Island. The lighthouse was built to guide mariners away from the treacherous Matinicus Rock which is usually shrouded in fog.

With the booming lumber trade heading to Bangor, and increasing shipping of not only its fishing industry, but also of Maine potatoes from Maine’s interior, there became the need for a series of lighthouses to guide the increasing traffic through the scenic yet treacherous rocky and foggy area in the northern Penobscot Bay.

Penobscot Bay and Island Lighthouses
You Can Drive or Hike To

Click any lighthouse image or link below to find out information about each lighthouse including links for places to visit, historic snapshots, directions, boat tours, and photos.

grindle point light

Grindle Point Light

fort point light

Fort Point Light

dice head light

Dice Head Light

pumpkin island light

Pumpkin Island Light

Penobscot Bay and Island Lighthouses
Best Viewed by Boat

Click any lighthouse image or link below to find out information about each lighthouse including links for places to visit, historic snapshots, directions, boat tours, and photos.



Places to Visit and Hike: Penobscot Bay and Maine's Island Region

Maine State Ferry Service out of Rockland ferries passengers to Matinicus Island. Matinicus Island, about five miles away from Matinicus Rock and the famous Matinicus Rock lighthouse.

Matinicus Island provides a serene sanctuary for those who want a truly isolated island experience.

matinicus harbor

Matinicus Island Harbor

Matinicus Rock is maintained as a bird sanctuary. Matinicus Excursions out of Rockland provides tours to the Matinicus Rock, Matinicus Island and the surrounding islands on their lighthouse tours.

Vinalhaven Island is a fishing community on this rather large quiet island that offers plenty of small beaches to relax at and clear spring fed Booth’s and Lawson’s Quarries to swim in.

The auto ferry from Lincolnville Beach in the small artist town of Lincolnville allows you to hike or bike the 13-mile long picturesque island of Islesboro, where you can walk alongside Grindle Point lighthouse and the Sailor’s Memorial Museum next to the ferry dock.

Heading up Route 1 along the coast and following the Penobscot River, you’ll come upon two amazing architectural structures, the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory, and Fort Knox.

penobscot observatory You can take a quick ride to the top of the tallest public bridge-observatory in the world. The observatory lies at the top of one of the bridge towers, a dizzying 420 feet high!

Fort Point Lighthouse lies within the small artist community of Searsport, which is also home of the Penobscot Marine Museum to visit, along with specialty shops and antique shops nearby. You can relax at Fort Point State Park, which is part of the lighthouse grounds, and walk along some of the short trails there, or, tour the nearby ruins of Fort Pownall, built in 1759 during the French and Indian Wars.

Castine is one of the oldest towns in America, where you can tour the ruins of Fort George and Fort Madison. At Dice Head lighthouse in Castine, you can take a brief walk along the public footpath provided to view the lighthouse.

Pumpkin Island Lighthouse is located near Little Deer Isle, where visitors will find little has changed over the last 50 years.

Stonington is one of Maine's unspoiled fishing villages, and it also offers a haven for artists and their galleries.

Isle au Haut, which is part of Acadia, is accessible by the Isle au Haut Ferry from Stonington. The Isle au Haut lighthouse grounds are open to the public. About half of Isle au Haut is federal parkland under Acadia National Park, the other half is privately owned, supporting summer residents and a year-round fishing community.


Boat Cruises: Lighthouses in Penobscot Bay
and Midcoast Maine's Island Regions

Boat cruises and ferries mentioned below may pass by specific Maine island and shoreline lighthouses along the East Penobscot Bay area viewing lighthouses during charters, special lighthouse tours, narrated wildlife and historic tours, ferrying passengers, fishing tours and other types of excursions. Weather is also a major factor in New England, especially on sailing excursions.


Matinicus Excursions
Specializing in chartered lighthouse trips, and special trips around Matinicus Rock, involving bird watching, seals, and other marine life. You can get great views of Matinicus Rock Light from the boat as well, depending on the cooperation of the weather. The boat is customized for comfort for visitors and also can be chartered as a water taxi from the mainland at Rockland, to Matinicus Island, and to Matinicus Rock Light, five miles away from Matinicus Island.

PO Box 195
Matinicus, Maine 04851
Phone: (207) 691-9030

Lighthouses: Owl’s Head Lighthouse, Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, Rockland Harbor Lighthouse, Heron Neck Lighthouse, Matinicus Rock Lighthouse, Saddleback Ledge Light, Isle Au Haut Lighthouse, Goose Rocks Light, Browns Head Lighthouse



Maine State Ferry Service
Islesboro Terminal
Islesboro, Maine 04848-0011
Phone: (207) 734-6935

Ferry from Lincolnville to Islesboro
P.O. Box 214
Lincolnville, Maine 04849-0214
Phone:. (207) 789-5611

Lighthouses: Grindle Point

Ferry service to and from Rockland to Matinicus Island, Vinalhaven and Northhaven.
24 Holmes Street
Rockland, Maine 04841
Phone: (207) 691-6030

P.O. Box 645
517A Main Street
Rockland, Maine 04841-0645
Phone:. (207) 596-2202

Lighthouses: Browns Head Light, Heron Neck Lighthouse, Goose Rocks Lighthouse



Old Quarry Ocean Adventures
Lighthouse cruises offered.
130 Settlement Road
Stonington, Maine 04681
Phone: (207) 367-8977

Lighthouses: Isle au Haut Lighthouse, Saddleback Ledge Light, Browns Head Lighthouse, Goose Rocks Light, Eagle Island, Pumpkin Island, and Deer Isle Thorofare (Mark Island).



Guided Island Tours
Specific tours to the islands.
Capt. Walt Reed
Deer Isle, Maine 04627
Phone: (207) 348-6789

Lighthouses: Saddelback Ledge Light, Deer Isle Thorofare (Mark Island), Eagle Island.



Isle au Haut Boat Company
In addition to providing mailboat service to Isle au Haut, provides Sunday lighthouse tours to six lighthouses on select weekends in summer.
Sea Breeze Avenue
P.O. Box 709
Stonington, Maine 04681
Phone: (207) 367-6516
Fax: (207) 367-6503

Lighthouses: Isle au Haut Lighthouse, Deer Isle Thorofare (Mark Island) Light, Goose Rocks Light, Brown's Head Light, Heron Neck Light, Saddleback Ledge Light, Isle au Haut Light



Eagle Island Mail Boat
Passes close by the Eagle Island Lighthouse
Sunset Bay Company
Eagle Island
Sunset, ME, 04683.
Phone: (207) 348-9316

Lighthouses: Eagle Island Lighthouse



Sea Venture Custom Boat Tours
Very specific boat tours you can enjoy with a minimum of passengers.
Capt. Winston Shaw
Phone: (207) 288-3355
Bar Harbor, Maine

Lighthouses: Pond Island Light, Petit Manan Light, Prospect Harbor Light, Mark Island Light, Egg Rock Light, Baker Island Light, Bear Island Light, Bass Harbor Head Light,  Great Duck Light, Burn Coat Harbor Light, Blue Hill Bay Light, Pumpkin Island Light




Scenic Flights

Penobscot Island Air
Chartering a variety of lighthouse viewing flights.
Knox County Regional Airport
Owls Head ME 04854
Phone: (207) 596-7500
Cellular: (207) 542-4944
Fax: (207) 596-6870



Additional Resources
For All You Maine Visitors

Midcoast Maine Events and Attractions

Many Maine Attractions

Maine Vacation Site

Maine State Parks




My 300-page book, Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Northern New England: New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, provides human interest stories from each of the 76 lighthouses, along with the coastal attractions and tours near each beacon, and contact info to plan your special trips. You'll find over 360 images inside as well.

Among many of the stories, you'll find one of the stories involving the origin and heroic efforts of the "Flying Santa", who started in Penobscot Bay to drop off presents by airplane to rescue the hearts of isolated keepers and their families at many of the islands during Christmas. You'll find a detailed account of Maine's famous teenage heroine, Abbie Burgess, who saved her family and kept the lights at Matinicus Lighthouse burning for weeks through one of New England's worst storms in history.

Look inside!

book of lighthouses in northern new england



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