The Portland Head Light is one of the more recognizable (and most commonly photographed) lighthouses in the United States. It is located in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, just south of Portland. The lighthouse grounds are now part of Fort Williams Park. Entrance to the park is free.
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Fort Williams Park is a popular attraction, especially on weekends and during the summer. But even with some crowds its still possible to get photo of the lighthouse. There are areas to get views of the lighthouse from both the north and the south. There are guide rails and fences that restrict where you can go, but they still allow you to get a nice view. The amount of available space and the crowds could make it challenging to set up a tripod. An off-peak time would be ideal for this reason.
All the photos in this article were processed with the Landscape Legend Lightroom Presets.
The lighthouse sits on a rocky section of coast that is typical of Maine. It provides a beautiful surrounding for the lighthouse and is ideal for photos.
The park hours are from sunrise to sunset. The ideal time to photograph the lighthouse would be at sunrise or sunset. I stopped there on my way to Acadia National Park, so it was in the middle of the day. The lighthouse is worth photographing at any time, in my opinion, but around sunrise and sunset would be best.
Fort Williams Park is about a 3 hour drive from Acadia National Park. If you are driving to Acadia and heading north on Interstate 95 to get there, it is well worth the short detour to visit Portland Head. I stopped for about 30 minutes to quickly photograph the lighthouse and then got back on the road and headed to Acadia.
In the Area
Cape Elizabeth is also home to Two Lights State Park and Crescent Beach State Park. The Portland Breakwater Light, Spring Point Ledge Light, Pemaquid Point Light, and Marshall Point Light are all within a reasonable driving distance from Fort Williams Park. You can see more details about all of these locations in our post The Best Places to Photograph in Maine.