For many locals and visitors to Maine, a summer isn't complete without a trip to one of the state's iconic lighthouses. What once served as a fundamental safety mechanism for sea farers has now turned into one of the largest tourism draws in the state.

Full moon poking out from behind a cloud at the Nubble lighthouse in Maine.
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Maine is home to a handful of iconic lighthouses, from West Quoddy Head to Pemaquid Point, Nubble, and Portland Head Light. But there's another more mysterious lighthouse further off the coast that was named one of the coolest hidden wonders in the country to visit.

That would be Boon Island lighthouse. Located six miles off the coast of York Beach, Boon Island is best known as Maine's tallest lighthouse, standing at 135 feet. However, there's a lot more to the backstory of Boon Island Light other than its height, and that story is why it was named one of the coolest places to visit.

Boon Island Lighthouse
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The story of Boon Island Light starts a century before the lighthouse was constructed. A ship named Nottingham Galley wrecked on the island that the lighthouse now calls home. In order to survive the treacherous wreck, the crew was forced to turn to cannibalism. The remaining sailors were eventually rescued, and shared their sordid tale.

100 years later, Boon Island Light was constructed in hopes that no other sailors would ever face the same circumstances as the crew of the Nottingham Galley. Unfortunately, the first attempt at the lighthouse was washed out to sea after a brutal storm. In 1832, a more rigid structure was built and remains today.

Unlike many other lighthouses in Maine, Boon Island Light remains active. The lighthouse itself is without a keeper with the United States Coast Guard in charge of its operation. For years, the Boon Island beacon has been running on solar power.

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The only way to reach Boon Island is by boat. The craggy island is still a fun visit, with the imposing Boon Island Light more impressive in-person. Because the lighthouse is still operational, visitors to Boon Island can't go inside.


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