Pemaquid Point Lighthouse in Downeast Maine offers visitors a chance to go inside and climb to the top! This is a must-visit if you're in the Bristol area.
I grew up in Maine, however I have never been to the top of a lighthouse until now! When I was planning our Downeast Maine vacation, I specifically looked for a lighthouse where we could climb to the top. We were not disappointed!
What does Pemaquid mean?
Pemaquid Lighthouse is located on Pemaquid Point. The native Abenaki called it "pemaquid" which means "situated far out."
Pemaquid Lighthouse Park
We arrived and the shoreline was shrouded in thick fog. Within minutes, the sun burst through, burning off the fog and revealing the gorgeous view of the bay and Mohegan Island.
You can spend an entire afternoon exploring Pemaquid Lighthouse Park. There is a small entrance fee for the park (see below).
- Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the stunning views from the picnic areas. (There is a restaurant right next to the park, but since it was very busy we did not stop there.)
- Check out the Pemaquid Art Gallery
- Visit the Learning Center
You can also climb the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. Starting July 10, 2023, there is a $1.00 suggested donation, collected at the tower by Friends of Pemaquid Point Lighthouse.
The best part, in my opinion, is that visitors can climb the spiral staircase up to the top! From 38-feet up, there are amazing views of Muscongus Bay and Johns Bay. However, there is a 46-inch height requirement to climb the tower.
The website for the Town of Bristol suggests that you call before going if you wish to go to the top of the lighthouse as it has limited hours.
Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Quarter
You may recognize Pemaquid Point Lighthouse from the Maine state quarter was minted in 2003 and featured the beautiful lighthouse. It is the first lighthouse to ever be pictured on a quarter.
Side Note: After that, the Acadia National Park quarter was minted in 2012, featuring Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse on Mount Desert Island.
Frequently Asked Questions About Maine Lighthouses
There are 65 lighthouses still standing in Maine. The rocky coastline is over 5000 miles long with many inlets and islands. In fact, when it comes to having the most coastline in the US, Maine is 4th behind Alaska, Florida, and Louisiana.
The Portland Headlight located in Cape Elizabeth was completed in 1791, therefore making it the oldest lighthouse in the state. While it's hard to say for sure, it is probably also the most photographed lighthouse in the United States. However, Boston Light, built in 1716, is the oldest lighthouse in the US.
This very much depends on the location. Many lighthouses in Maine are operated by the US Coast Guard.
What lighthouses are in Maine?
There are so many picturesque lighthouses in the state of Maine, that it's hard to list them all! Some of the most well-known lighthouses are:
- Bass Harbor Head Light in Acadia National Park
- Cape Neddick "The Nubble Light" in York Beach
- Portland Headlight in Cape Elizabeth
- Rockland Breakwater Light at Jameson Point in Rockland Harbor
- West Quoddy Head in Lubec, the furthest East point in the US
Maine Open Lighthouse Day
The US Coast Guard in partnership with the Maine Office of Tourism and American Lighthouse Foundation sponsors Maine Open Lighthouse Day. It will be September 10, 2022.
Pemaquid Point Lighthouse is part of this event, along with about two dozen others. Some the lighthouses included are not normally open to the public, such as Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.
Check the website above for more information.
The climb to the top of Pemaquid Point Lighthouse is not for the faint of heart! Only 5 people can go up at a time. The views are stunning!!
Olivia was not excited about the stairs, which are basically as steep as a ladder. Truth be told, I wasn't crazy about them either.
Both kids loved climbing on the rocks. Ethan is especially interested in geology so he was fascinated by the rock formations that make up the coastline here.
Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Webcam
The Bristol Parks and Recreation Department owns and operates the Pemaquid Point Park and all the buildings there including Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. The keeper's house is now home to the Fishermen's Museum at Pemaquid showcasing local maritime history.
It's an incredible spot for sketching or painting also and we saw several artists doing just that.
Pemaquid Lighthouse Facts
The lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Here are some more interesting facts from the American Lighthouse Foundation:
- Commissioned by: President John Quincy Adams
- Built: 1827 (present tower)
- First Lit: 1857
- Automated: 1934
- Construction: rubble stone and concrete
- Height: 38 feet
- Range: 14 nautical miles
Are dogs allowed at Pemaquid Lighthouse?
Yes, dogs are allowed at Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park as long as they are kept on a leash. Owners are asked to clean up after their pets, of course.
However, please note that dogs are not allowed on Pemaquid beach.
Places to Go in Bristol
- La Verna Preserve - well marked hiking trail with stunning views of the rocky coast. Plan for 2-3 hours for the 2.6 mile moderate hike. Be aware of poison ivy near the shore.
- Crooked Farm Preserve - offers boating, fishing, picnicking, and four hiking trails to choose from. This preserve is open during hunting season and it is advisable to wear orange during that time when visiting.
- Swimming Hole at Bristol Dam - a favorite for locals. No life guard on duty.
- The Good Supply - featuring 90+ Maine makers. This shop has housewares, jewelry, and lots more to check out.
Pemaquid Beach is not part of the Pemaquid Lighthouse Park. It generally has a shorter season than the park, opening at the beginning in early June, and closing in September.
If you decide to spend some time at the beach, you may want to bring along a few items. Check out my beach and boat tote full of summer essentials!
There is a $4 fee per person for adults and children over 12 unless you are a resident of Bristol. The beach includes bathrooms and changing rooms, a shower stand, picnic tables, and a snack shack.
Visiting Pemaquid Point Lighthouse
- Address: 3115 Bristol Road New Harbor, ME
- Cost to Enter the Park:
- $4 12+
- $1 children 5-11
- children 4 and under free
- Open: Mid-May to Mid-October
- Hours: 10am to 5pm
- Website: Pemaquid Point
- Phone: 207-677-2492
Note: Entering Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park is free for Bristol tax payers/residents with a renewed annual Park Pass.
Please note: We strongly recommend that you double-check the website or call for more up-to-date information on this site.
You can also download the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park brochure for more info.
We loved our visit to Pemaquid Point Lighthouse! Our only regret is wishing we had planned ahead with a picnic lunch. It's an absolutely breathtaking spot to just sit and enjoy the sea breezes!