New England Lighthouses

Picture of Boston Light

Boston Light

With thousands of miles of coastline, New England has nearly 200 lighthouses for lighthouse fans to explore. From the rocky shores of Maine all the way down to Connecticut lighthouses dot the New England coast providing aid to maritime navigation.

The lighthouses of New England blink red, green, white, and even yellow, or oscillate in similar colors and color combinations.

There are many people who make a hobby of “collecting” lighthouses. They visit as many as they can taking pictures and checking them off their list. Visiting New England’s lighthouses can make for quite a challenge. Some are only visible from water, others require over-sand access, and still others are now private property and require owner permission to visit.

Summer, and the warm parts of spring and fall are typically the best time to visit lighthouses. It is during these times, and especially during the summer, that lighthouses are most likely to be open for tours.

Following are a bunch of fun facts about New England’s lighthouses.

New England Lighthouse Facts and Trivia

Picture of Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

New England’s Oldest Lighthouses by State

Picture of Boon Island Lighthouse, Boon Island, Maine

Boon Island Light

New England’s Tallest Lighthouses by State

  • Connecticut: New London Harbor Light (1761) at 89 feet tall. It is also Connecticut’s oldest lighthouse.
  • Maine: Boon Island Light (1799) at 133 feet tall. Boon Island Light is also New England’s tallest lighthouse.
  • Massachusetts: The twin Thacher Island Lighthouses (1771), each standing 124 feet tall.
  • New Hampshire: Isles of Shoals Light (White Island Light) (1821) at 58 feet tall.
  • Rhode Island: Sakonnet Light (1884) standing at 66 feet tall.
  • Vermont: Windmill Point Light (1858) on Lake Champlain at 40 feet.
Picture of Stonington Harbor Lighthouse, Stonington, Connecticut

Stonington Harbor Lighthouse, Stonington, CT

Other Fun New England Lighthouse Facts

  • With the longest coastline in New England, Maine has the most lighthouses with nearly 70.
  • With the shortest coastline in the United States, New Hampshire has the fewest coastal lighthouses with only 2.
  • There are over a dozen lighthouse in New England that offer lodging.
  • Connecticut is home to the oldest lighthouse in the United States built in the attached “church” or “schoolhouse” style – the Stonington Harbor Light (1823).
  • The Derby Wharf Light (1871) in Salem, part of the Salem Maritime National Historic Site maintained by the National Park Service, is one of the smallest lighthouse in the United States at only 25 feet.
  • West Quoddy Head Light in Maine is the easternmost point in the contiguous United States.
  • Saddleback Ledge Light (1839) in Maine is the oldest wave swept lighthouse in the United States.
  • Two New England lakes have lighthouses – Lake Champlain in Vermont, and Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire.
  • New England is home to 4 of the five oldest lighthouse stations in the United States – #1 Boston Light (1716), #3 Brant Point Light on Nantucket (1746), #4 Beavertail Light (1749) in Rhode Island, and #5 New London Harbor Light (1761) in Connecticut
  • The lighthouse seen on Connecticut special license plates is the New London Ledge Light (1909).
  • The lighthouse on the Maine State Quarter is the Pemaquid Point Light (1827).
  • The Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse (1858) on Mount Desert Island in Maine also appears on one of the Mint’s “America the Beautiful Quarters Program” quarters.

Please note: All dates given are the year the lighthouse station was established, not necessarily the date that the current lighthouse at the station was built.

Picture of the Burlington Breakwater North Light, Burlington, VT

Burlington Breakwater North Light, Burlington, VT

New England’s Lighthouses by State

Photo credits: The photo of Boston Light is by Dpbsmith and is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License. The picture of Portland Head Light is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. The picture of Stonington Harbor Light is from Wikipedia. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. The picture of Stonington Harbor Light is from Wikipedia. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

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