The Portland Breakwater Lighthouse commonly known as Bug Light sits at the end of a 2500-foot breakwater built in the 1800’s to protect the harbor from Atlantic storms. The light is usually closed to the public but opens four times a year to the public hosted by the South Portland – Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club. On the grounds of Bug Light Park there is an historical marker honoring the 30000 people who worked here to build the Liberty Ships during World War II. Stop in at the South Portland Historical Society for more information.
To reach the lighthouse and Bug Light Park from downtown Portland cross Casco Bay Bridge and follow Broadway to the end. Turn left at the stop sign on Breakwater Drive and right on Madison. Along Madison you will pass the South Portland Historical Society building and at the end of the road you enter Bug Light Park. Unless you happen to be there during the Kite Festival parking shouldn’t be a problem. The park has beautiful views of Portland and Casco Bay. There are benches to sit and enjoy the view, but be sure and bring a coat or sweater, even on a sunny day, because there can be a cool wind off the ocean.
If you visit during one of the days the lighthouse is open you’ll go up a fairly steep ladder to the second floor where there are placards with some of the lighthouse history to read and a docent to answer questions. The second ladder is even steeper and you may have to emerge on your knees before standing up but it’s fun and worth the wait.
A good online history of Bug Light can be found at https://www.us-lighthouses.com/portland-breakwater-lighthouse
4 thoughts on “Bug Light – South Portland”
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My dad was born and raised on the land taken by eminent domain to build the shipyard during WWII– there is a bench with a plaque for his mother and dad as well as one for his aunt and uncle. Beautiful site!
I hadn’t really considered the impact to residents in the area when ships were urgently needed during World War II. Seems like there’s always a human cost. Thanks for sharing.
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