Previous Light:
Whaleback Light
Next Lighthouse:
Boon Island Light
This Region:
Southern Maine

Nubble (Cape Neddick) Lighthouse

Nubble (Cape Neddick) lighthouse

York, Maine
Built in 1876


On a small “Nubble” island near the entrance to the York River, a few hundred feet from the mainland of Sohier Park, off Nubble Road from York Beach.

Latitude: 43° 09' 54" N
Longitude: 70° 35' 30" W

Nubble Light Web Cams


Historic Stories:

Many shipwrecks had occurred near the Nubble island before the lighthouse was even built. The most famous was the ship Isadore in which all the crew had perished, though many have claimed to have observed a phantom ship believed to be the Isadore over the years.

The first Keeper was Brackett Lewis, who also stayed the longest at the lighthouse for 19 years. His daughter Hattie also had a baby at the station. The first lighthouse was painted a reddish brown, and then changed to the current white in 1902.

The distance from the mainland to the Nubble Island is only a few hundred feet from the main shore making the lighthouse a constant tourist attraction even to this day.

early Cape Neddick light with bell

Early Cape Neddick Light
With Fog Bell
Courtesy US Coast Guard

During very low tide people could walk to the lighthouse (although access was not supposed to be allowed). For lighthouse personnel a special bucket was used to access the little island and for moving supplies to and from the short distance to the mainland.

The second Keeper, William Brooks, was fired from the position in 1912 when he was found charging tourists 10 cents a head for locals and tourists to be ferried to the lighthouse, while his wife charged 5 cents to tour their home. The small time business became quite profitable as it kept the keeper and his wife quite busy and caused them to neglect their duties as keepers. They were fired when the commander found out.

Between 1930-1943, Keeper Eugene Colman's 19-pound cat, Sambo Tonkus, used to swim the tiny channel 3-4 times a day, to catch mice crawing among the rocks, which became a great tourist attraction.

In the late 1960’s, Coast Guard Keeper David Winchester put his two children in the bucket each morning to send them on their way to school, which caused problems with the district Commander when he found out. The Commander prohibited any future families with school aged children from being stationed at the light.

Each year the lighthouse is lit up is part of the holiday season, and also in July for tourists. The event is called the "Lighting of the Nubble."

Visitors will also find a decorated lobster trap christmas tree during the holiday season nearby, which is a New England tradition. Nubble light snowstorm with lobster trap holiday tree

In 1977 Voyager spacecraft was launched towards Jupiter, to explore our solar system and beyond. It carried three photos identifying prominent man-made and natural structures from Earth -- including the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon and Nubble Light.

Storm clouds approach as sun set by Cape Neddick light



Places to Visit Nearby:

York is an affluent community with beautiful Victorian homes, beaches, and organizes many events year round.

York’s Wild Animal Kingdom has an old style amusement park and zoo for tourists. animals at York Animal Zoo kissing

You can also see how taffy is made the old fashion way at the Goldenrod on nearby Short Sands Beach. The are two beaches nearby, Long Sands Beach for the true beach lovers, and Short Sands Beach with lots of shops, amusements, and places to eat.

There are plenty of summer events and parks in York to enjoy.

Whaleback light at high tide Cape Neddick, or Nubble lighthouse, is easily viewed from Sohier Park as the lighthouse is just a few hundered feet from the main shore, with lots of rocks to explore.

The tides will dictate whether the rocks are slippery or not. Be wary of high tides on the rocks.

One of the most popular events is the annual Lighting of the Nubble during the holiday season, and the beacon is also lit during the “Christmas in July” lighting event in the summer. nubble lighthouse decorated for the holidays

Mount Agamenticus nearby is an easy hike to enjoy mountaintop views of the ocean and surrounding area, and the occasional concerts that happen there during the summer months.

Heading north up the road a few miles you"ll find the inviting tourist towns of Wells and Ogunquit full of curio shops, clean beaches, and fine restaurants. The Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge in Wells offers a paved walkway along coastal marshland for those interested in birding.

In Ogunquit, Marginal Way is probably the most popular one-mile walk in Maine with dramatic views of the area’s rocky ocean shoreline.

Perkins Cove harbor Perkins Cove, in the beginning if Marginal Way, is a small harbor in Ogunquit, and is a favorite pictoral destination for artists and photographers


Driving Directions


Contact Info:
Friends of Nubble Light
186 York Street
York, ME 03909



Local Boat Tours

Boat cruises mentioned below offer different cruises. Each offers specific lighthouse cruises to Cape Neddick (Nubble) Lighthouse, and may also pass by the lighthouse during charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, fishing tours and other types of excursions.


New England Eco Adventures
Check out these lighthouse and special tours on a fast, low to the water, Navy S.E.A.L Rigid Inflatable Boat (R.I.B) that glides over the water. They offer tours to Nubble (Cape Neddick) light, Goat Island (Cape Porpoise) light, Wood Island light, and out to Boon Island lighthouse, which is rarely visited on any other tours. They also offer a unique guided walk about tour on Goat Island lighthouse and grounds, a land/sea adventure cruise, a 1-hr speedy thrill ride along 20 miles of coastline, and a 3-hour sunset whale watching cruise, among other custom cruises.
8 Western Ave
Kennebunk, ME 04043
(207) 502-8040

Lighthouses: Nubble (Cape Neddick) Lighthouse, Boon Island Lighthouse, Goat Island (Cape Porpoise) Lighthouse, and Wood Island Lighthouse



Finest Kind Scenic Cruises
Provides scenic coastal and wildlife tours as part of their breakfast cruise. They also provide, sailing cruises on a traditional wooden loberstering vessel used over 100 years ago, cocktail cruises, and a lobstering trip where you can see lobster traps being hauled in as many lobstermen do every day. There is also a Nubble Lighthouse cruise that takes you around the back of the lighthouse for some unique views, and up along the rocky coast.

P.O. Box 1828
Ogunquit, ME 03907
Phone: (207) 646-5227

Lighthouse: Nubble (Cape Neddick) Lighthouse



Cove Runner Coastline Cruises
Private intimate trips (up to 6 passengers) along the southern coast of Maine to destinations of your choice, in a smooth riding 23’ power catamaran. Cooler (BYOB), Bluetooth sound system, comfortable seating and a full-sized head provided. Enjoy seal sightings and other wildlife. Departs out of Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine.

Captain Bob Spencer
(207) 216-2844

Lighthouses: Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse (NH), White Island Light (NH), Whaleback Lighthouse (ME), Boon Island Lighthouse (ME), Nubble Lighthouse (ME)



Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses
Besides offering weekly tours of the tower of Portsmouth Harbor light, and special narrated sunset lighthouse cruises that pass by Portsmouth Harbor light, Whaleback light, and White Island (Isles of Shoals) light. They provide an annual 5-lighthouse cruise in September that also includes Nubble (Cape Neddick) light, and Boon Island light.

P.O. Box 8232
Portsmouth, NH 03802-5092
Phone: (603) 534-0537

Lighthouses: Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse (NH), White Island Light (NH), Whaleback Lighthouse (ME), Boon Island Lighthouse (ME), Nubble Lighthouse (ME)


Isles of Shoals Steamship Co.
Offers seasonal tours up to Nubble lighthouse. Fall foliage tour is best known.
315 Market Street,
P.O. Box 311
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 431-5500
(800) 441-4620


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, along with plenty of coastal attractions and tours near each beacon.

In addition to historic rescues and stories for each lighthouse, and lots of attractions, you'll find a section of haunted lighthouse stories, like information about the events leading up to sightings of the ghost ship Isadore near Nubble Light over the years.

Look inside!

book northern New England lighthouses and local coastal attractions

paypal button


Back to Top