If you’re looking to take a cruise around the United States of America and the rest of North America, you have a few different options to choose from. Various lake and river cruises can be enjoyed around the United States, and there are many Pacific Coast cruises to choose from, taking in the sunny beaches of California and the gorgeous shores of Canada. The Gulf Coast and Florida also have a lot of fun cruise options to choose from, with many routes heading south to the Caribbean Islands and the beautiful beaches of Mexico and Central America. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
2.Royal Caribbean - 6 Night Canada & New England
3.Royal Caribbean - 9 Night Canada & New England
4.Princess Cruises - 7 Night Canada and New England
5.Celebrity Cruises - 10 Night Independence Day Cruise
4 Best East Coast Cruises
- Overview, Photo: jovannig/stock.adobe.com
- Royal Caribbean - 6 Night Canada & New England , Photo: NAN/stock.adobe.com
- Royal Caribbean - 9 Night Canada & New England, Photo: Stuart Monk/stock.adobe.com
- Princess Cruises - 7 Night Canada and New England, Photo: aphotostory/stock.adobe.com
- Celebrity Cruises - 10 Night Independence Day Cruise, Photo: mandritoiu/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of dbvirago - Fotolia.com
More Ideas: Cape Neddick Light
In the mid 1800’s, sea travel and commerce began to rise in America. The coast of Maine saw an increased amount of ships coming and going in the area. The rocky coastline posed a great threat to incoming ships and citizens in the area asked the US government for a lighthouse to allow safe maritime travel. In 1874, Rutherford B. Hayes approved the construction of a lighthouse on a small island outside York, Maine that would come to be known as Nubble Lighthouse. The lighthouse was constructed on a small nub of rock on an island off the coast of Maine, near York, hence the name Nubble Lighthouse.
Initially, the lighthouse was cared for by the Lighthouse Service. Stewardship of the lighthouses were eventually turned over to the US Coast Guard in 1939. Members of the Coast Guard and their families lived on the premises and took care of the buildings. As funding diminished, Nubble Lighthouse became automated in 1987. Nubble Lighthouse was put on the National Registry of Historic Places to ensure its care and maintenance. In 1997, the town of York, Maine took ownership of the Nubble Lighthouse. Daily maintenance and upkeep of the property is overseen by the Parks Department of the city of York. The United States Coast Guard continues to maintain and oversee the horn and light of the lighthouse.
Located adjacent to the Nubble Lighthouse, the Welcome Center includes and small gift shop and bathroom facilities. A water fountain is also accessible to visitors. The gift shop and restrooms are open seasonally and not accessible during the winter months. The parking lot at the Welcome Center provides a large parking area that can accommodate up to 60 vehicles. Tour buses are permitted in the parking lot. From the parking lot and Welcome Center visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the coast and lighthouse.
The Town of York, Maine
Nubble Lighthouse is owned by the city of York, Maine. The city’s Department of Parks and Recreations provides daily upkeep of the lighthouse and its property. Visitors can drive to the nearby town of York for hotel accommodations, other lodging, and restaurants. There are many options that suit any type of budget. The York chamber of Commerce provides a wealth of information for visitors on hotel and restaurant options.
The Nubble Lighthouse provides visitors with a number of outdoor activities. Visitors can photograph or paint the beautiful views and explore the coast. Fishing and scuba diving are permitted on the property. Visitors are encouraged to watch for the various gulls and seals that often frequent the island. Dogs are allowed at Nubble Lighthouse, but they must be kept on a leash at all times. Guests are welcome to bring a lunch and picnic at the facilities.
Funds are currently being raised through sales at the gift shop and Welcome Center to complete renovations and expansion of the building surrounding the Nubble Lighthouse. The town of York would like to expand the facilities to better accommodate the increasing number of guests that come to the lighthouse over the course of the year. The gift shop and restroom facilities will undergo these renovations.
Children are welcome to come to Nubble Lighthouse to learn about its history and take advantage of outdoor opportunities. The Nubble Lighthouse website provides coloring pages for children and facts about the lighthouse’s history and future.
Weddings may be held at Sohier Park, which contains Nubble Lighthouse and its buildings. As a public park, reservations may not be made and there cannot be any kind of setup, such as chairs, tents, or pavilions. Large weddings are not permitted, but small ceremonies may be held overlooking Nubble Lighthouse and the Atlantic Ocean. This provides as beautiful backdrop for a memorable occasion. Many couples exchange vows overlooking the Nubble Lighthouse every year.
Many different kinds of events are held year-round at Nubble Lighthouse. Events are overseen by the City of York Department of Parks and Recreation. Please view the calendar of events for up to date events and activities.
Dining and Shopping
While there are no dining options at Nubble Lighthouse, picnics are welcome. A small gift shop provides an opportunity for shopping. Proceeds benefit renovations and updates to the Welcome Center. Many dining, and shopping options are available in the nearby town of York, Maine.
Sohier Park Rd, York, ME 03909
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More Ideas: Jewell Island
Located in Casco Bay off the eastern coast of the United States, Jewell Island is an uninhabited island containing historic and natural outdoor sites, accessible to day trip visitors via boat ride from downtown Portland, Maine. The islands of the Casco Bay were the traditional home of members of the Wabanaki Confederacy, a group of affiliated First Nations indigenous tribes.
The bay’s name is believed to have been derived from the Abenaki indigenous term aucocisco, which is roughly translated as “place of herons,” though it may have also evolved from mapping of the Maine coastline done by Portuguese explorer Estêvão Gomes, who referred to the bay as the bahía de cascos, or “bay of helmets.” By the time of the first permanent European settlement in the region in the early 17th century, located on the site of present-day Portland, Maine, the bay and settlement were referred to as “Casco.” The bay’s islands are also sometimes referred to as the Calendar Islands, due to a famous 1700 quote from English Colonel Wolfgang William Römer stating that there were “as many islands as there are days in the year” in the bay.
Jewell Island is a one-mile-long island located in Casco Bay, just off the coast of the larger Cliff Island. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the island and bay are believed to have been a hub for pirate activity, leading to legends of treasure on the island buried by the infamous pirate Captain Kidd. During World War II, the Jewell Island Military Reservation was constructed on the island, which included two fire control towers and three coastal artillery gun batteries. Only two of the batteries, designated as Anti-Motor Torpedo Boats 967 and housing four 90-millimeter guns apiece, were ever completed.
Today, Jewell Island is owned by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and managed in cooperation with the Maine Island Trail Association, which oversees its public trails and operates a volunteer force to improve the island’s conditions and public facilities. The 221-acre island is only accessible via an eight-mile boat ride embarking from downtown Portland, Maine. Launch sites in nearby Falmouth and South Harpswell are also offered for island access, and boat anchoring is offered for individual boaters and kayakers.
The island’s main landing site is its Cocktail Cove natural harbor, located on its northwest shore, which offers landing and anchoring ground for boaters and water taxis. The cove serves as an entrance point to the island’s trail system, which offers access to a variety of historical and natural attractions. Visitors may enter the trail system at the Cove Trail, which provides access to attractions on the southern side of the island. The Punchbowl Trail travels south to the area of the island known as the Punchbowl, a driftwood-filled sand beach area offering public swimming and wading. The natural tide pool area is filled with a large number of marine species, including live lobsters, and offers views of the nearby Halfway Rock Light on Halfway Rock, which flashes a red light during the nighttime hours. The Mine Trail runs along a ridge above Cocktail Cove and provides access to the ruins of a former farmstead on the island.
Visitors may explore the island’s military ruins via the Smugglers Trail and Towers Trail, the latter of which terminates at the island’s two preserved World War II-era fire control towers. Both towers are accessible to the public and offer views of the surrounding shorelines and ocean waters. The smaller tower offers rooftop access, while the larger tower offers more dramatic views of the ocean from a higher vantage point. Both towers serve as a popular site for visitors to watch the sunset over the ocean when weather conditions are appropriate.
The abandoned batteries are also located nearby, which may be explored on foot by visitors. Several popular local legends claim that the batteries are haunted by the ghosts of World War II-era soldiers, making the batteries a popular site for visitor exploration. Visitors entering the batteries are advised to use flashlights and take caution with footing, as the interior of the batteries is very dark and damp. The remains of former military housing on the island may also be viewed via the Smugglers Trail. Visitors should exercise care near all structural ruins and historic sites and be advised to watch for poison ivy overgrowth.
Other trails on the island include the Interior Trail, which travels near the island’s Surprise Beach, and the Peninsula Trail, which crosses past several outhouse facilities and campsites on the island. Overnight camping is permitted on the island at a number of designated sites, primarily along the island’s western shores. Campsites offer visitor amenities such as a fire ring, tinder for fires, and a water bucket. Throughout the summer months, an island caretaker is present on the island for island preservation and visitor services.
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More Ideas: Jewell Island
Located within the Isles of Shoals approximately seven miles off the coasts of Maine and New Hampshire, Appledore Island is a part of the town of Kittery, Maine and is best known as the site of Celia Thaxter's Island Garden.
The Isles of Shoals, located approximately six miles off the eastern coast of the United States near the states of Maine and New Hampshire, are a group of nine islands and tidal ledges that have been used as an important fishing area dating back to North America’s indigenous history. The first known European sighting of the islands was recorded in 1614 by British Captain John Smith, who gave them their current name. Landfall on the islands was first made in 1623 by British Captain Christopher Levitt and six ships of fishermen. Throughout the 17th century, the islands served as an important fishing site for British and French colonists throughout New England.
In 1661, the town of Apledoore was incorporated, which encompassed all of the land of the nine islands. Beginning in 1680, much of the islands’ population migrated to nearby Star Island to evade Massachusetts taxes, and in 1696, Apledoore was annexed by the nearby town of Kittery. During the Revolutionary War, Isle of Shoals citizens were evacuated for safety to nearby Rye, New Hampshire and the islands remained primarily uninhabited, with the exception of a small population of reclusive fishermen, until the mid-19th century, when it became a noted Gilded Age resort. In 1848, Thomas Laighton and Levi Thaxter opened the Appledore House hotel, one of the first resort hotels in New England. The hotel’s success brought large numbers of New York socialites to the island and turned the area into a noted artist’s community, centered around Laighton’s daughter and Thaxter’s wife, Celia, one of the leading American female poets of the late 19th century.
Following Celia’s death in 1894, the island’s popularity began to decline, and in 1914, the hotel burned to the ground. In 1928, a Marine Zoological Laboratory was opened on the island by the University of New Hampshire, which operated until the island was seized by the United States government in 1940 for use in World War II. During World War II, a Navy spotter tower was constructed on the island, which still stands today. Following the war, the island fell into a period of vandalism and decline, but in the 1970s, it was revitalized as part of a joint effort by the University of New Hampshire and Cornell University.
Today, the 95-acre Appledore Island houses no year-round residents due to its rocky terrain and inhospitable winter weather conditions, but it remains a popular tourist attraction due to its connection to Celia Thaxter and the artists of the Gilded Age. The island’s most prominent feature today is its World War II-era concrete observation tower, which was intended to hold a radar installation that was never finished. The island is predominantly owned by the Star Island Corporation and falls under the jurisdiction of the town of Kittery, Maine. All of the islands within the Isle of Shoals to the south of Appledore Island are part of the city of Rye, New Hampshire.
Since the early 1970s, the island has been the home of the Shoals Marine Laboratory, a summer marine research facility which is jointly operated by the University of New Hampshire and Cornell University. The facility hosts several hundred undergraduate students annually between May and September for programs related to field ornithology, scientific diver certification, and wildlife population monitoring. Courses for high school students are also offered, along with research opportunities for scientists and interns. Six modern university buildings are located on the island, including three dormitory facilities and the Appledore Island Migratory Bird Banding Station.
Visitors may also explore Celia Thaxter’s Garden, which preserves the cultivated flower beds landscaped by the famous poet and featured in her book An Island Garden. The 1894 book served as a memoir of Thaxter’s efforts to cultivate her garden in the harsh, barren conditions of the island and remains a classic today. Though Thaxter’s cottage was destroyed in the 1914 fire, the garden’s flower beds were reconstructed by the Laboratory. Original plantings of snowdrops, hops vines, and day lilies remain alongside replantings of hollyhocks and red poppies. In 2017, the original wooden porch connecting the garden to the cottage was reconstructed.
Several day tours to the island are offered by the University of New Hampshire, including UNH Shoals Discovery Cruises, which allow visitors to explore the Shoals Marine Laboratory. Docent-led Appledore Island Walking Tours emphasize the island’s natural history, including its rock formations, seabirds, and marine life. Tours are also offered to explore Celia Thaxter’s Garden. Tours depart from the Judd Gregg Marine Research Complex in New Castle, New Hampshire and span the morning and afternoon hours. All tours travel aboard the laboratory’s Gulf Challenger research vessel and include catered lunches and free parking on the mainland.
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