The Portland Head Light is one of the oldest landmarks of its kind in the U.S. Originally constructed more than 200 years ago, the lighthouse’s first beacon was created by a lamp that burned whale oil. Though the structure has been altered over the years, much of the original lighthouse remains. During the Civil War, the light was raised 20 feet, and parts of the exterior were repaired after storm damage in the 1970s.
The original light-keeper’s residence at Portland Head is now a maritime museum. For people seeking a true sense of history, this lighthouse is one of the best options on this list. The other reason to visit the Portland Head Light: it sits on a stretch of rugged Maine coastline and a climb to the top of the tower will put you in front of one of the most beautiful seashore panoramas in northern New England.