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

Grindle Point lighthouse

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.

Browns Head lighthouse

Browns Head Light

Pumpkin Island lighthouse

Pumpkin Island Light

grindle point light

Grindle Point Light

Fort Point lighthouse

Fort Point 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 view the remote Matinicus Rock Lighthouse, Matinicus Island and the surrounding islands.

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. Browns Head Lighthouse is stationed a few miles in on a rocky hilltop with great views of islands for miles.

Take the Maine State ferry with your car from Lincolnville Beach in the small artist town of Lincolnville, out to Islesboro Island. Here you can hike or bike the 13-mile long picturesque island. Explore the grounds around Grindle Point Lighthouse and the Sailor’s Memorial Museum next to the ferry dock.

lobster boat by Grindle Point light The lighthouse is right at the ferry dock where you can watch lobster boats preparing to go out or unloading their catch.

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.

You can take a quick ride to the top of the tallest public bridge-observatory in the world. 

penobscot observatory 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 or walk around Fort Point State Park, part of the lighthouse grounds. Fort Point light grounds

Explore 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.

XXXX 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, off Route 15 over the Deer Island Suspension Bridge, 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, although its location makes it referred to as part of the Penobscot Bay region of islands, it is technically part of the Acadia region, and is accessible by the Isle au Haut Ferry from Stonington. About half of Isle au Haut is federal parkland under Acadia National Park, the other half is made up of summer residents and a year-round fishing community. The Isle au Haut lighthouse grounds are open to the public, and you can stay overnight at the keeper's quarters.


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. Some may see lighthouses during charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, ferrying passengers, fishing tours and other types of excursions.


Matinicus Excursions
Specializing in chartered lighthouse trips to Matinicus Rock, involving bird watching, seals, and other marine life. You can get great views of Matinicus Rock Light from the boat as well. Visitors charter as a water taxi from the mainland at Rockland, to Matinicus Island, and to Matinicus Rock Light, five miles away from Matinicus Island. They also offer service to and from Criehaven Island.

Matinicus Excursions
PO BOx 195
Matinicus, Maine 04851
Phone: (207) 691-9030 (cell phone with voice mail)

Departure From Rockland
Journey's End Marina
120 Tillson Avenue
Rockland, Maine

Lighthouses: Rockland Breakwater Light and Matinicus Rock Light


Maine State Ferry Service

Great way to get out to Maine islands for little money, no frills.

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

Lighthouse: 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


Eagle Island Mail Boat
Passes close by the Eagle Island Lighthouse

Eagle Island
Sunset, ME, 04683.
Phone: (207) 701-9316

Lighthouse: Eagle Island Lighthouse



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.

They offer a special annual 4-5 hour cruise during Maine's lighthouse weekend in September to see up to six lighthouses on Saturday, and on Sunday of that weekend, they have a special tour to four other lighthouses.

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


Lighthouses: Isle au Haut Light, Mark Island Light (also known as Deer Isle Thorofare), Goose Rocks Light, Brown's Head Light, Heron Neck Light, Saddleback Ledge Light, Hockamock Head Light (Swan's Island), Great Duck Island Light, Bass Harbor Head Light and Blue Hill Bay 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


Books to Explore

book of the rise and demise of the largest sailing ships

To order a signed paperback copy:

Available in bookstores in paperback, hardcover, and as an eBook for all devices.

my ebook on apple books

New Book!

The Rise and Demise of the Largest Sailing Ships:
Stories of the Six and Seven-Masted
Coal Schooners of New England

In the early 1900s, New England shipbuilders constructed the world’s largest sailing ships amid social and political reforms. These giants of sail were built to carry massive quantities of coal and building supplies, and measured longer than a football field! Some of these giants dropped off cargo at Mack Point, a deep tidewater terminal for large vessels in northern Penobscot Bay.

This book, balanced with plenty of color and vintage images, showcases the historical accounts that followed these mighty ships, including their final voyages.



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 northern New England lighthouses and local coastal attractions





New England Lighthouses: Famous Shipwrecks, Rescues & Other Tales

This image-rich book contains over 50 stories of famous shipwrecks and rescues around New England lighthouses, and also tales of hauntings.

There are more details and imagery provided in the story of Abbie Burgess saving her family, and about the origins and stories of the "Flying Santas" which began in this region of lighthouses.

You'll find this book and my lighthouse tourism books from the publisher Schiffer Books, or in many fine bookstores like Barnes and Noble.




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