New Bedford's Palmer's Island and the lighthouse that bears its name have intriguing histories.

Most might think the best way to capture a picture of the lighthouse is from a passing boat or with a powerful lens from shore, but there is a way to get up close and personal with Palmer's Island and the Palmer's Island Lighthouse.

However, you must be patient.

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Palmer's Island is a six-acre island in the Acushnet River at the entrance to New Bedford Harbor. The recorded history of Palmer's Island dates back to 1602 when explorer Bartholomew Gosnold "discovered" it, some 18 years before the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth in 1620.

How To Get A Selfie With New Bedford's Palmer's Island Lighthouse
Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

According to, "The Wampanoag harvested and processed shellfish along the intertidal zone by drying them and smoking them for winter meals."

According to, once the Europeans arrived, Palmer's Island "was used as an internment camp for Indians during King Philip's War in 1675-76."

In the 19th Century, Palmer's Island, much larger than today, was home to a hotel, dance hall and amusement park. Fire and hurricanes put an end to that.

How To Get A Selfie With New Bedford's Palmer's Island Lighthouse
Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

The 24-foot Palmer's Island Lighthouse, first lit on August 30, 1849, went dark in the 1960s when the newly-constructed hurricane barrier provided a better lighting source.

The Palmer's Island Lighthouse is not open to the public except by special arrangement. Like Palmer's Island, it is accessible by foot during low tide via the hurricane barrier.

Visitors to Palmer's Island can walk the perimeter and get close enough to the historic lighthouse to capture a selfie or two with it – but keep an eye on the tide so as not to become trapped on the island, and again, make sure you have the proper permission before attempting to enter the lighthouse.

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