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Maine Lighthouse Road Trip: South Portland & Arrowsic Lighthouses

I recently posted an overview/itinerary of my entire road trip route through the coast of Maine, where I hunted down lighthouses and that glorious coastal scenery this state is known for. If you'd like a quick overview of my entire journey, you can find that by clicking on this following link:

Today's post is all about my first 24 hours, and I packed in a good amount of lighthouses. My adventure started in Cape Elizabeth/South Portland, where I saw two of the three lighthouses that call this area home, as well as a lovely little beach I stumbled upon. I got into Portland in the late afternoon, so didn't have as much time to explore everything as much as I would have liked before the sun went down, and even had to skip one of the lighthouses, but I still had such a beautiful evening taking in all these sites.

Portland Head Light, Bug Light and Spring Point Ledge Light are all within a 10-minute drive from one another. This makes it so easy to see everything in a few hours, or to tack it onto a trip dedicated to the city of Portland/Southern Maine. 

For me, no trip to Southern Maine is complete without seeing the iconic Portland Head Light. I just think the scenery is so spectacular and dramatic, and this particular landscape is rather iconic. There are some short walking paths along the coastline to take in different views of the lighthouse, and you can even climb out onto the cliffs for better views. If you can't find the entrance to the cliffs because they seem fenced off, the fence actually has spots where a gate unlatches, and you can see a trail that leads you out to the cliffs - just keep an eye out for latches along the fence. 

Portland Head Light is one of the more popular things to do in this area, so it's likely you'll be sharing the park and the best photo spots with a lot of other people. The parking lot is also metered, so be sure to park, and walk over to the machines to pay for your parking time, and display your receipt on your dash. The walk from the parking lot to the lighthouse is very short.

Between Portland Head and Spring Point Ledge Light is Willard Beach, which I happened to see while looking at a map of the area, and made a note to swing by if I had time. I'd actually forgotten about it entirely, but happened to see a sign for it on my way to Spring Point Ledge, and quickly pulled into the lot. The beach is small, but still really nice considering it's in a city. And the best part? Once you arrive at the beach and you're facing the water, look to your right. See the little beach shacks? These guys were so beautiful, and they also offered a long-distance view of Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse from their deck. If you climb the stairway once you hit the end of the beach, you can go right up to them to take in the views. Use 46 Willard Street as the address for the free beach parking lot, which is small and may fill up during peak season.

Can you see Spring Point Ledge in the distance?

On your way to Bug Light, you can stop at Spring Point Ledge Light. I didn't have time to stop during this trip because I ended up finding those little beach shacks and ran out of time. But, Josh and I visited this lighthouse two years ago during a trip to Kennebunkport and Portland, and we loved it here. There's a long rock jetty you walk out onto before getting to the lighthouse, and it's very relaxing. We loved this one a lot.

Lastly is Bug Light, and guys, this little lady is probably the most ornate lighthouse I've ever seen. Isn't she so fancy? Bug Light is in its own little park on the water, and it's a nice spot to unpack a picnic and enjoy the boats going by during a sunset. This one is so unique that it would be sad to miss it.

If you wanted to start here at Bug Light, you could reverse the order, and do Bug, Spring Point, Willard Beach, and end at Portland Head for sunset.

For this portion of my trip, I chose to stay right in South Portland to make it easier, rather than going into downtown Portland just for the night. I quite literally only had time to sleep, so for me, it was all about convenience. If you're just coming in to see the lighthouses, I would recommend doing that to avoid traffic. But honestly, downtown Portland is only 15-25 mins (depending on traffic) from Portland Head Light, so it's really not too inconvenient if you wanted to stay right in the heart of the city. If you do plan to head into Portland, my favorite parts from the last time we visited were Old Port and Commercial Street. And of course, the culinary scene here is out of this world, so you won't have a shortage of restaurants to choose from.

And that was all the time I had in the Portland area. I wanted to get a very early start the next morning to get to the next couple of lighthouses, but before I left Portland, I swung by Scratch Bakery in South Portland to get breakfast on my way out. And oh my gosh, it was so good. Their bagels were delicious, and I also got a muffin to try, which was super light, fluffy and moist. I told Josh I couldn't stop thinking about my food from there all day, so I definitely recommend it during your trip if you need some morning fuel before setting out to explore some lighthouses. I wish I had grabbed a picture, but I ate everything on my drive.

On my way to my next destination the following morning, I stopped at two lesser-known lighthouses that sit along the Kennebec River in Arrowsic: Doubling Point and Squirrel Point. 

I had so much fun at both of these lighthouses. While on the smaller side, they're absolutely beautiful, and also secluded, making them really peaceful little spots. They're both only about 45min-1hr from Portland, depending on where you stay, as well as traffic. 

I stopped at Doubling Point Lighthouse first, and the only downside to this lighthouse is that it's on private property. The lighthouse, however, is open to the public, and there is a small parking space for 2-3 cars once you arrive. You'll also drive down a long, bumpy dirt road to get here, but once you arrive, you'll see the lighthouse from your car when you pull in. Just remember to be respectful while visiting, since you're on someone else's property. GPS got me there just fine by typing in Doubling Point Lighthouse.

Made it there at the right moment for one photo during golden hour in the morning before I ran out of time
and had some pretty harsh light the rest of the morning.

Squirrel Point is about 15 mins from Doubling Point, and I recommend using 598 Bald Head Rd Arrowsic, ME in your GPS to get there. That will bring you to the start of the trailhead. You'll also drive down a long, bumpy road to get to the trail head, and then you'll need to hike just under a mile in the woods before you arrive at the lighthouse. The hike is very easy (more of a walk through the woods than a hike, honestly), and there are also some scenic stops along the way. 

Tip: Be sure to check the tide schedule for this area before you plan your visit, and try to be there at low tide (and avoid high tide). At high tide, the water may cover a little bridge in the woods you need to walk across to get to or from the lighthouse, and you don't want to be caught without a way to get through. I planned my visit for low tide, and on my way back, still a few hours away from high tide, the water was already rising up pretty close to the bridge, so I would definitely take the warnings seriously. You can check the tide schedule for this area by Googling "Bath, ME Tide Times," and reference the information on the U.S. Harbors website.

Squirrel Point was definitely worth all the effort. I spent a little over an hour here just taking in the views, watching boats cruise by, and also, had the whole thing to myself most of the time. It was such a peaceful little place. A lot of people online complained about the mosquitoes in the woods, but I didn't have any issues with them. But if you're worried about it, or visit during wet season/Summer, consider packing some bug repellant.

After saying goodbye to Squirrel Point, I walked back through the woods to the car, and I was off to my next destination.

Next up: Boothbay Harbor and a puffin/lighthouse boat cruise. 

I traveled to this destination in May 2021, just after the CDC announced its recommendation that face masks were no longer suggested for indoor and outdoor activities for those who were fully vaccinated. I was fully vaccinated for this trip, and followed all local Maine guidelines, which still mandated wearing a mask indoors. That is why you won't see me wearing any face masks outdoors, though. If you're not fully vaccinated and plan to travel, please follow CDC and local state/country guidelines, and protect yourself and others by wearing your face mask in public settings when social distancing is not an option, especially indoors. 

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  1. I have absolutely been loving reading about your lighthouse trip to Maine , especially since I love lighthouses, too, and Maine lighthouses are just so special ! I took a similar trip to Maine in October 2014 and saw many lighthouses but regrettably , I didn’t see Owls Head or Marshall Point . Your wonderful trip report has inspired me to return to Maine, hopefully next year ! Thanks so much for sharing your adventures - as a recent cancer survivor, reading about them is
    pure joy for me ! May you always retain your love of travel and continue to experience many, many more adventures ! You are inspirational !

    1. This makes me so happy to read! I hope you get to go back to Maine sometime soon. I'm so happy to hear that you've recovered from cancer. You definitely need to some traveling to celebrate! Thank you so much for the kind words.