8 Most Beautiful Islands to Explore in Maine (2022)
Besides Beaches, if there is something more the Atlantic coast of Maine offers, they are the Islands. Off the coast of Maine, there are nearly 4,600 Islands under the State of Maine care and custody whereas nearly 1800 are private. The island day trips and getaways in Maine boast that extra inch of adventure and serenity among people. While some Islands in Maine are so small that a piece of land and a few trees are all that they have. But there are other huge Maine Islands that can literally house a National Park, a town, bridges, lighthouses, and whatnot.
As Mainers are fond of reminding outsiders about its Island stretch, the state receives an array of national and international visitors for the same. Some islands in Maine are summer residents, whereas others are year-round destinations with an unending fun and adventure quotient within them. Word to the wise, Maine is Islanders’ haven, but the innumerable Islands often confuse people on what to pick and what to leave. But since you are here, that shouldn’t behave like a problem.
8 Most Beautiful Islands to Explore in Maine
The article below has a long list compiled of the Best, Most Popular, and Must-Visit Islands in Maine. Have a look:
1. Monhegan Island
Monhegan Island is a popular day trip destination in Maine, ideally for its scenic beauty and panoramic views. Monhegan is a small rocky island and far-flung wonder just 10 miles from the nearest mainland. The Island is free of cars and other such vehicles; therefore, walking on its roads is an experience of its own. To reach the Island, individuals can take a ferry ride from Port Clyde (Mohegan Boat Line), New Harbor (Hardy Boat Cruise), and Boothbay Harbor (Balmy Days Cruises). Accessible only by boat, Monhegan Island boasts an 1850 lighthouse now turned into the Monhegan Museum of Art and History, a small fishing community with a year-round population of just 70, and beautiful seaside trails. The Island, though, is a day-trip destination, but if someone wants to stay back, it has a handful of comfortable inns and nice eateries.
2. Vinalhaven Island
The larger of the two Fox Islands, Vinalhaven, is off the coast of southern Maine. Home to a sizable summer population and the largest year-round island community, it is both a town and an island. To reach the island, one can either take a 2-hour ferry ride from Rockland or a 75-minute ride from downtown nearby. Since it isn’t extremely high in tourism, the Island and its environment feel more authentic and unspoiled. The crescent-shaped Vinalhaven Island has a lesser number of cars and lodges, and all thanks to that, the vibes here are surprisingly relaxing. To explore the Island, individuals can rent bicycles and ride across the beautiful coastal trails. Not only that, but it is also high on hiking and bird-watching activities. Vinalhaven though has endless opportunities for recreational activities like swimming, but since the water here is chilling cold, getting inside without a vet suit can become dangerous.
3. Peaks Island
Peaks Island is a small but extremely populated island in Casco Bay. Popular as a day trip destination, it is a part of the city of Portland and only 3 miles from its downtown. Peaks island, despite being crowded, infuses a very relaxed vibe and is known as a sleepy little coastal town that attracts retiaries and artists who want life far from the city’s hustle. To reach the Island, one can take the quick 20 minutes Casco Bay Lines ferry. Peaks Island, though it is a part of Portland, this tiny section boasts its own library, police station, restaurants, and an array of tourist attractions. Once on the Island, visitors can explore the sight either on foot, via bicycles, or through exciting kayak tours. In addition, there are plenty of museums, art galleries, and unusual shops to visit and purchase from. Peaks Island is undoubtedly the best destination for a quintessential summer day trip.
4. Chebeague Island
Noted amongst the most beautiful islands in Maine, Chebeague Island is full of natural vistas. Chebeague has been a popular summer destination for decades, with a small year-round population and a considerable tourist rush during the summer season. Located on Casco Bay, the Island is accessible only using the services of Casco Bay Lines, Portland Water Taxi, and Chebeague Transportation Company by the sea. And when on the Island, visitors can explore this delightful place either on foot or by bicycle. Chebeague Island boasts everything from hidden beaches, coves, inlets, beaches (for views and adventure), a bit of history, picnic places, and vacation homes. The must-to-do activities in Chebeague include crossing the sandbar to Little Chebeague from “The Hook,” given it is a low tide day. The Island is also popular for its wild Flora and Fauna life, including harbor seals, wild blueberries, and more.
5. Squirrel Island
Squirrel Island is the perfect escape for a relaxing day in Maine, away from crowds and noise. The Island got its name from the fact that upon looking from up above, it supposedly looks like a squirrel holding an acorn. This quiet and decidedly un-touristy destination is just three miles from the Boothbay Harbor and is ideal for a quick day trip. To reach the Island, individuals can take a private boat ride or join the Balmy Days Scenic Harbor Tour right from Boothbay Harbor. Once on the Island, it is all about walking and exploring the beautiful beaches and coves. Visitors can consider heading more into the inner section to check out the wooded southeastern section of the island. Squirrel Island, though has no restaurant, eatery, or hotel but just a post office, library, and canteen. Therefore, visitors are advised to bring along their own snacks and water and enjoy a picnic here.
6. Deer Isle
Deer Isle is a town in Hancock County with a small population of fewer than 2200 residents. It has been home to many artists for the last few decades, and with that, the island boast facilities like the world-renowned Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, art studios, and an array of galleries. Not only for artists, but the Deer Isle is a haven for photography enthusiasts and explorers as well. To reach the Island, one can join the mainland by crossing a towering 1939 bridge. The navigation becomes easier since some enthusiastic locals beyond the beach near the visitors’ center are always up for help with location and upcoming events in the area. The natural views in the Deer Isle are so supremely panoramic that they look simply mesmerizing on a clear sunny day. Other popular attractions to check out on the Island include the Stonington Opera House and the Deer Isle Granite Museum.
7. Great Diamond Island
The Great Diamond Island is a private island in Maine with plenty of undisputed natural beauty around. It is located off the coast of Maine in Casco Bay and is accessible only via Casco Bay Lines using a ferry or private boat. Great Diamond is slightly north of Peak island and is often overlooked, given its popular neighboring destinations. But if you are looking for a clean, tranquil, and serene island trip, this destination has to be on your itinerary. Less inhibited than its neighbors, it covers about 415 acres. There are several walking trails that make their way through mossy woods taking trekkers toward mesmerizing secluded beaches. Washed up in sand is Islands’ treasure, the Sea Glass beach. Great Diamond Island, though, has lesser (no more than one or two) restaurant options; therefore, consider bringing your food pre-packed.
8. Mount Desert Island
Last but unarguably not least is Mount Desert Island, the largest Island in Maine. This outdoor haven offers an array of opportunities to enjoy regardless of what particularly excites you. The Island was discovered in 1604 by European explorers, and since then, it has been the most popular Island and seaside town in Maine. Not just that, but the majority of Acadia National Park’s charm is all about being at and exploring Mount Desert Island. Given its size, grandness, and placement, the Island has things to do that can captivate visitors for days or maybe a month altogether. Of course, summer vacationers choose it for their ultimate outdoor recreation, where they can stay involved in marine activities like boating, canoeing, kayaking, and scenic cruises. Visitors can also check out tourist attractions like Asticou Azalea Garden and Thuya Garden Preserve, both of which are classic examples of naturally made havens. Somes Sound, Acadia Repertory Theatre, and Christopher Smith Galleries are some more fine places to check out.
Things to Know Before Visiting Islands in Maine
- Maine gets extremely cold in winter, and thus unless you are a fan of chilly weather, avoid visiting an Island during this season.
- Summers, though are crowded, but the best time to check out any Island or Beach in Maine.
- Islands in Maine have huge antiquing scenes, and therefore be ready to shop some vintage.
- Since most Maine Islands are walkable, make sure you pack a pair of comfortable footwear.
- The locals in Maine Island are upright, friendly, and helpful; thus, when in trouble, get in touch with them.
- Lastly, always check out tidal scenes before visiting an Island in Maine, especially the smaller ones.