Looking to visit an island off the coast of Maine? Well, we’ve got plenty to choose from! According to the Maine Planning Office, we have over 4,000 islands (4,613, to be precise) off the coast of our beautiful state. If you’re looking for that perfect setting, you could visit them all yourself (if you visited one per day, it’d take you the better part of 13 years), or you could read the list below to learn more about ten of the most promising prospects (listed in no particular order).
Ten of the Most Beautiful Islands Off of Maine
1. Monhegan Island: This small (about a square mile) rocky island is 10 miles from the nearest mainland. It’s accessible only by boat and doesn’t have cars (or paved roads, for that matter). The island’s few dozen inhabitants mainly make their living from the sea (fishing, lobstering). If you’re looking for something wild and remote, this is an excellent choice. Learn more about getting there.
2. Isle au Haut: Reviewers who recommend Monhegan Island also recommend Isle au Haut. This island (12.5 square miles), is in Knox County and has 73 full-time inhabitants (who, like many who reside on the islands, make their money from the sea). One of the island’s main draws is Acadia National Forest, which covers approximately 60% of the island. You can visit the island’s boat services page, which provides transportation to the island, as well as various tours.
3. Mount Desert Island: This enormous island (108 square miles) is the second largest on the Eastern Seaboard, and is home to Bar Harbor (pop: 4,820). It’s estimated that the island receives 2.5 million visitors per year, including Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, John Travolta, and a litany of others. This island is the home of beautiful Acadia National Park. Read more on the island here.
4. High Island: High Island is a short distance away from Mount Desert Island, and is reachable from there by mailboat. Enjoy a hike through 18 miles of trails traveling through marshlands, forest, and rocky coves. It is, reportedly, a particular favorite of birdwatchers and hikers alike. It is, unfortunately, up for sale. There’s some chance it’ll be closed to the public someday, so visit while you can!
5. Cranberry Isles: Visit the colorful Cranberry Islands, located 30 minutes southeast (by ferry) of Mount Desert Island. The island is named after the preponderance of cranberry bushes covering the island. When they bloom in autumn, the island’s colors explode with green and red. It is, needless to say, a favorite spot for hikers and bicyclists. Learn more about getting there.
6. Casco Bay Islands: We’re cheating and including a group of islands. The Casco Bay contains more than 200 islands, each with outdoor activities such as biking, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, SUP safaris, and more. View boat schedules and tours.
7. Deer Isle: This enchanting island, home to the beautiful town of Stonington, brags that its motto should be “Welcome to Deer Isle, the way life used to be!” If you’re there in spring, you can see the puffins, or take a kayak trip, or enroll in painting and sculpting workshops. You can view more activities on this beautiful island on their Four Seasons page.
8. Vinalhaven Island: Vinalhaven is both an island and a town. This town is home to 1,165 people and two nature preserves. It’s not a large tourist destination, meaning it’s more authentic than many other areas. Take a walk through the historic downtown area, and if you happen to have access to a kayak, enjoy a paddle around the beautiful island.
9. Matinicus Island: This rugged island is, in fact, the most remote of Maine’s islands. It stands 22 miles out in the Gulf of Maine. Getting there can be an adventure due to the rough water, but the island itself features a laid-back, friendly lifestyle and largely-unspoiled natural beauty.
10. Thief Island: This island is perfect for adventurers. Make this your base for kayaking and exploring the islands in Muscongus Bay. If you like paddling, check it out!
These islands provide an excellent start for your Maine island adventure. If you’re looking for a home base from which to adventure, check out our beautiful accommodations. You can view more information about our area.