Visit the Lighthouse

Located on beautiful Swan’s Island, Maine, the historic Burnt Coat Harbor Light station is a perfect destination for a day trip from Mt. Desert. Or stay a few days on Swan’s Island!

The Acadia area’s best-kept secret! The light station at the entrance to Burnt Coat Harbor is a working beacon for local lobster boats.

Watch The Western Way

The light station is a fine place for spotting lobster boats, pleasure craft, and schooners entering and leaving the harbor through the Western Way.

Two Miles Of Beautiful Trails & Beaches

The trails wind around Hockamock Head, with gorgeous views and access to two beaches.

Climb The Tower

The Burnt Coat Lighthouse Tower is one of the very few that provides tours up to the Lantern Room! See the sidebar for days and hours for the Keeper’s House and Tower.

Free Access
There are no fees for visiting the light station buildings, exploring the trails, or enjoying the park’s beaches.

The Light Station has Four Historic Buildings. As you come down the hill towards the light station, you will see four buildings — the trim, red-roofed Keeper’s House, the white Light Tower with its black bonnet, the old red brick Fuel House and the Bell House, which projects over the rocks at the very tip of the point. You will also see the bell. It is no longer in the bell house but on the left of the walkway as you approach the building.

The Keeper’s House and the Light Tower are open to the public starting late June through early September. The Bell House and Fuel House are presently closed pending restoration.

Inside the Keeper’s House, you will find historical displays, a small art gallery, mementos, natural history information, gifts, souvenirs, and a friendly manager. You can also get printed light station information, trail maps, and island maps. The Keeper’s House offers visitors an oceanside porch with rocking chairs, bottled water for purchase, and a public restroom. Volunteers and tower guides are often available to answer your questions about the light station’s history and life on the island.

The Keeper’s House

The keeper’s house was built in 1872 and was home to lighthouse keepers and their families for about 100 years. At one time, it was home to the Chandler family, with 11 children, although not all the children were living there at the same time.

The restored rooms downstairs (parlor, dining room, and kitchen) are now open to the public for most of the summer, with historical displays and art by local artists. You can also pick up note cards, postcards, prints, T-shirts, and other mementos of your visit. The downstairs rooms are available for special events such as weddings, family reunions, classes, and celebrations.

There is a fully equipped warming kitchen that can be used for catered events. There is an oceanside porch with wonderful ocean views and comfortable rocking chairs. It is a perfect place to watch the boat traffic entering and leaving the harbor through the Western Way or watching the sunset on a summer evening.

The upstairs rooms in the keeper’s house were originally two large bedrooms, a bathroom, a tiny office, and a large attic, which was also used as a bedroom. It must have been crowded during the Chandler years! The upstairs rooms have been converted into a comfortable apartment, with a bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bathroom, for weekly rental during the summer months. Rent the Keeper’s House Apartment

The Light Tower

First lit in August 1872, the light tower is about 35 feet high and is capped with a square iron platform and a cupola or bonnet that holds the light. The light was originally a 4th order Fresnel lens. The keeper placed an oil lamp inside the lens in the evening and was responsible for keeping the light going all night long, in all kinds of weather.

The Coast Guard removed the Fresnel lens in the 1970s. It has been replaced at least twice since then. The present LED light was installed in 2017.

Inside the tower, flights of metal steps (30 steps) climb to the Watch Room, where the keeper could keep watch on stormy nights. From the Watch Room, a short ladder leads up to the Lantern Room. There is no handrail on the stairs. Our friendly tower guides will accompany visitors who wish to climb the tower and who can do so. 

The Fuel House

The Fuel house was built in 1895 to hold kerosene supplies, which was the fuel used in the lighthouse lantern. To reduce the risk of fire, it had brick walls and a slate roof and was placed some distance from the house. Kerosene was a big improvement over the fuel burned previously, lard, which solidified in cold weather. Today, the Fuel house is closed and used for storage.

The light now draws its power from an array of solar panels, with backup power from the electrical grid.

On a short path to the right of the fuel house is a shaded bench overlooking the harbor, which makes a wonderful picnic area.

The Bell House

The bell house was built in 1911. At that time, it was a tall, tapering, rectangular building housing a mechanical system to ring the bell. Weights had to be wound up to the top of the tower. As they descended, they caused a hammer to strike the bell. When that system was no longer needed, the bell house was cut down to its present height. The bell house is presently closed up and awaiting restoration.

Photo History of the Light Station

The Burnt Coat Harbor Light Station has seen many changes and events during its 150+ years. We are fortunate to have a photo gallery to illustrate this history.

United States Lighthouse Society Passport Stamp

You can get your passport stamped at the keeper’s house when it is open. When the keeper’s house is closed, stickers are available in the brochure box on the ocean-side porch. Between mid-September and mid-June, the stamp is kept at the Town office.

There are two geocaches on the Hockamock Head trails. To find out more CLICK HERE.

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