Across the harbor from downtown Rockland, Maine, is a walk that rivals any hike in the state. For this trek that’s just under a mile long, you’ll be surrounded by the sounds and waves of the Atlantic Ocean — and there’s a special reward at the end.
The Rockland Breakwater was built in the late 1800s by the Army Corps of Engineers to protect busy Rockland Harbor from the often rough seas of the Atlantic. Today it serves as a popular and unique walk for locals and visitors alike.
Walking the Breakwater
The Breakwater is made from large pieces of local granite. Even though it’s quite wide (about 40 feet), its surface can be tough to navigate, especially on windy or wet days. If you have difficulty walking or prefer a nice flat surface, this probably isn’t the place for you.
It’s important to be careful while walking along the Breakwater. Since there’s direct exposure to the Atlantic Ocean, waves can crest over the side and make the surface slippery, especially during and after storms. It’s best to wait for a clear day so you can focus as much of your attention as possible on the beauty of Maine’s coast!
The Breakwater Lighthouse
Once you’ve reached the end of the walk, you’ll be rewarded with an up-close encounter with the Rockland Harbor Breakwater Lighthouse. The light makes everyone from sailors to the ferries that visit nearby islands aware of the Breakwater, and it’s also a great place to snap a classic Maine coast selfie. Climb the steps just outside of the lighthouse for a great view back across the length of the breakwater.
The lighthouse itself occasionally opens its doors to visitors, and it often participates in Maine Open Lighthouse Day. If you’ve ever wanted to step right next to the beacon inside a lighthouse, this is a great place to do it!
Visiting the Breakwater
To start your journey, take a short drive from downtown Rockland down Waldo Avenue and Samoset Road. There’s usually plenty of room to park. You’ll take a short walk along the edge of the harbor before reaching the breakwater.
Enjoy this unforgettable treasure of Maine’s mid-coast, and don’t forget to visit some of Maine’s other lighthouses you can reach on foot!