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Monhegan Island Lighthouse

monhegan island light

Monhegan Island, Maine
Built in 1824


Atop a rocky hill on Monhegan Island, in Muscongus Bay. Grounds and lighthouse museum are open to the public. Access to the tower can be done through the museum at times during the summer months.

Latitude: 43° 45' 54" N
Longitude: 69° 18' 54" W


Historic Stories:

Before Europeans settled on Monhegan Island in 1619, making it the first permanent European settlement, it was long used by local Indians who named it Mohegan, which means "island of the sea”. By the early 1800s, trade in the area was increasing and in 1824 a lighthouse was built at one of Mohegan Island’s highest elevations.

In 1861, Keeper Joseph Humphrey had to fight in the Civil War, along with his two sons. His wife, Betsy, was left with her other eight children to tend the light.

early image monhegan island light

Monhegan Island Light
Courtesy US Coast Guard

Joseph Humphrey died in battle in 1861 and Betsy became the official keeper. One of her two sons was killed in the War and the other returned home, disabled from his injuries. Betsy continued to tend the light as Keeper until 1880.

The light was automated in 1959. The 1874 keeper's house was converted to a museum in 1968, focusing on the island's history and natural wildlife.



Places to Visit Nearby:

Monhegan Island, located 10 miles offshore from mid-coast Maine, is a picturesque fishing community and summer haven for artists and vacationers. The island itself is about 2 miles long by a mile wide with plenty of hiking trails for all kinds of explorers inside the wooded areas and along the shoreline, which rises up to 140 feet above sea level in places. You can look at artists’ galleries, enjoy fine cuisine in one of the few inns on the island and enjoy unique walking and hiking along the dirt roads, since the only few vehicles on the island are used by the inns and hotels.

There are a number of boat cruises including the daily Monhegan Boat Line from Port Clyde, Hardy Boat Cruises from New Harbor near Boothbay Harbor, and Balmy Days Cruises out of Boothbay Harbor that bring passengers to and from the island.

For naturalists, the Monhegan Island offers over 600 varieties of wildflowers and more than 200 species of birds to observe. You may also observe the harbor seals found on the Duck Rocks near Pebble Beach.

Reaching the lighthouse and the Monhegan Museum from the island is a moderate walk.

The hike around the island will take you to an old tugboat shipwreck then up along cliffs that reach about 130 feet above sea, and of course the lighthouse grounds. shipwrecked tugboat on Monhegan Island

You'll find Monhegan Island seemingly trapped in a time capsule, as most of it is undeveloped. You'll also notice unique little “rock towers” and little “fairy houses” built of all natural materials scattered around the island.



Contact Info:
Monhegan Museum
1 Lighthouse Hill
Monhegan, ME 04852
Phone: 207-596-7003



Local Boat Tours and Ferries

Boat cruises and ferries mentioned below may offer many types of cruises. Some may offer specific lighthouse cruises, and may also pass by Monhegan Island and view the lighthouse from the water's view as part of charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, ferrying passengers, whale watching, fishing tours and other types of excursions. Weather is also a major factor in New England, especially on sailing excursions. Monhegan Boat line provides daily trips as a ferry to Monhegan I sland during the summer months.


Balmy Days Cruises
Offers special lighthouse tours.
Pier 8
42 Commercial St.
Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538
(207) 633-2284 or
(800) 298-2284



Hardy Boat Cruises
Special lighthouse cruises available.
PO Box 326
New harbor, Maine 04554
(207) 677-2026




Monhegan Boat Line
Ferry leaves out of Port Clyde to Monhegan Island daily during the summer months. Also has special lighthouse tours.
P.O. Box 238
Port Clyde, Maine 04855
Tel: (207) 372-8848
Fax: (207) 372-8547




Freindship Sloop Sarah Mead
Sails out to Monhgan Island on a fully authentic wooden sloop sailboat.
Muscongus, ME
email: (Captain Nate and Chief Randy)




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. You'll find any boat tours that will take you out to the island.

Look inside!

book northern New England lighthouses and attractions