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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:

Constructed originally as a wooden tower standing only two feet above high tide on a man made breakwater, it was constantly being washed over by the salt water waves from New England’s many storms, making it a maintenance disaster. early Portland Breakwater light with wooden tower

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

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.

unique architecture of Portland Breakwater light The lighthouse was rebuilt with a very unique design of fluted columns and additional unique architectual designs in 1875, 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 where visitors can enjoy lobster and fishing boats as well as shipping traffic coming in and out of the harbor. Bug Light Park with Portland Breakwater lighthouse

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 offers trolley 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 charter sailing in Casco Bay, or even taking private sailing lessons, Go Sailing Casco Bay will provide special tours on his thirty-foot sloop, the Marisa III.

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




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
Use Bailey Island Cruise to view lighthouses
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




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

Look inside!

book northern New England lighthouses and local coastal attractions






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