Saturday, November 10, 2018

Rockland: Breakwater and lighthouse

The Rockland breakwater is a fun walk, and safe as long as you use some common sense. It is a mile out to the lighthouse - you will be essentially walking a mile out into the ocean! High tide comes flush with the top of the breakwater, and waves will cover it completely, so consult the tide chart and do not venture out if the tide is coming in.


From the parking area on Samoset Road (which, incidentally, does not go to the Samoset), there is a small picnic area and a trail out to the breakwater.

approaching the breakwater

also...don't get caught out there at high tide! 

The breakwater is wide and flat, but due to the gaps between stones, you cannot walk and look around at the same time. Keep your eyes on your feet, and stop if you want to sightsee or take photos! One mile is a long way, and you will need to do it twice!

heading to the lighthouse - see it?

The lighthouse is open to visitors on Saturdays and Sundays. You can go inside and up in the light tower. There are no rest rooms! From the very end of the breakwater you get a closeup view of boats passing by.

at the very end.

Even when the lighthouse is closed, you can go up on the deck around it. There are some bench seats and great views. 

view from the lighthouse

we made it!

Getting there: 
  • From downtown Rockland, take Route 1 north. Right onto Waldo Ave. Right onto Samoset Rd, go to end. Note that the spaces nearest the breakwater are reserved for emergency vehicles. 
  • You can walk from downtown, but it is a long way. It is 4 miles from downtown to the lighthouse. We have done it. One advantage is that there is a Dunkin Donuts half way.

Cost: Free
Hours: Daylight only, but watch the tides!
Pets: Allowed
Picnic potential: Tables at parking area
Rest rooms: None
Accessibility: Definitely not. Breakwater is mostly flat on top, but has large gaps between stones.

Rockland: Harbor Trail

The Rockland Harbor Trail stretches from downtown Rockland out to Sandy Beach Park.

Starting at the north end (Harbor Park, Main St & Pub Landing Rd), it begins at the parking lot (free parking, picnic tables) behind the police station, goes past the harbor master's building, and up onto a wide boardwalk.

along the boardwalk

After passing Archer's Restaurant, the trail leads to Sandy Beach Park and South End Beach, a small beach which is a favorite for sea glass collecting as the tide goes out. The term "sandy" is a bit generous, it is more like coarse gravel.

Sandy Beach Park

This is the home of "Ridin' the Rails to Rockland', a 2013 sculpture by Jay Sawyer, comprised of railroad ties welded into a sphere.
Jay Sawyer sculpture

Picnic facilities are at both ends of the trail, however the south end (Sandy Beach Park) is definitely preferable, having parking, a big grassy area, grills, and a beach. The north end of the trail only has picnic tables at the parking lot.

Getting there: 
  • North end: Harbor Park (intersection of Main Street and Pub Landing Rd, go down the hill next to the Time Out Pub).
  • South end: Sandy Beach Park is on Scott Street.
Cost: Free
Hours: Daylight only
Pets: Pets allowed on leash, but prohibited from beach during summer
Picnic potential: Tables at both ends of trail, grills at south end. 
Rest rooms: Public rest rooms available on Tillson Ave., a short walk from north end of trail. The police station probably has them too, but we have not checked.
Accessibility: Boardwalk and Harbor Trail is fully accessible, wide with access ramp at north end. Beach is only accessible by stairway.