Located just ten miles from Portland, Cape Elizabeth is a quaint town that attracts tourists to Maine’s Southern coast all year long. The town itself is just 15 square miles, roughly 9,337 acres, with a population of approximately 9,000 residents. Cape Elizabeth became Maine’s 23rd town when it separated from Falmouth in 1765. The town shares a northern border with South Portland and southern border with Scarborough.
Marking the entrance to Casco Bay, Cape Elizabeth is comprised of beautiful beaches and the “beacon,” otherwise known as the Portland Head Light. Cape Elizabeth’s lush landscape is a huge draw for visitors. In fact, the town’s growing season is the longest in the state of Maine. According to the town’s official website, Cape Elizabeth has more parkland and permanently dedicated open space than any other community in Cumberland County.
Cape Elizabeth is an ideal location to visit for outdoor enthusiasts. A quick drive from Portland, you can easily spend the day exploring its parks, monuments and lighthouses, sandy beaches and quaint downtown area. Cape Elizabeth has no railroads for public transportation, so many visitors enjoy exploring the small town by bike or on foot. In fact, the town is a popular destination for many athletes and exercise enthusiasts around the U.S., due to the fact that it hosts the annual Beach to Beacon 10K road race that starts at Crescent Beach State Park (the "beach") and ends at Portland Head Light (the "beacon").
Cape Elizabeth is also home to three parks: Fort Williams Park, Two Lights State Park, and Crescent Beach State Park. Crescent Beach State Park offers gorgeous views of grassy, flowering dunes and beautiful coastline. Beach goers are often seen stopping at the local snack bar, or enjoying a picnic at the picnic tables. With a lifeguard on duty during the summer months and public bathrooms, it’s a wonderful destination for families. According to the town, Cape Elizabeth has 923 total acres of land owned or under easement protection for conservation purposes.
If you’re looking for something fun to do while you’re in town, visit the famous Portland Head Light, which was first lit in 1791. Cape Elizabeth is also home to the lesser known Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse, too.
5 Fast Facts About Cape Elizabeth, Maine:
- Cape Elizabeth is the birthplace of legendary movie director John Ford, as well as the first winner of the Women's Olympic Marathon, Joan Benoit Samuelson.
- The town’s Portland Head Light is the most photographed lighthouse in the world.
- Cape Elizabeth’s largest employer is the Cape Elizabeth School Department. The school district is considered among the best in Maine, where students typically rank first in statewide academic achievement examinations.
- Additionally, there is only one, single school department in the town. The town’s high school name is the ‘Capers.’
- According to the town’s official website, Edward Hopper's painting, "Lighthouse Hill", showing Cape Elizabeth Light at Two Lights, is the country's most famous lighthouse painting. It is part of the collection of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.