Destinations

Michael’s guidebook,​ AMC’s Best Sea Kayaking in New England offers a great overview of some favorite trips, as does his Sea Kayak Stonington blog. You can read about our summer-long meander of the coast between Portland and Eastport in his book Upwest and Downeast ( due out in April, 2019).  We also recommend that you join the Maine Island Trail Association. The following are some favorite paddling locales. We can go just about anywhere, but these are a few obvious options, and of course we can string together  routes between these areas.

Muscongus Bay

From tidal rivers to a remote puffin colony at the edge of open ocean, Muscongus Bay offers a range of paddling opportunities along strings of islands with several campsites for MITA members. A typical 3-day trip could leave from Friendship, camp on one of the the islands, and if conditions allow, paddle out past the Franklin Island Lighthouse and float among the puffins (before mid-August, when puffins return to sea) at Eastern Egg Rock.

For a base camp option, check-out the cottages and the island campsites at Floods Cove .

Muscle Ridge & St. George

The islands of Muscle Ridge offer great day-tripping routes with options for calmer conditions on the inside, and usually bumpier paddling outside. Overnight trips may roam these and other islands between Tenants Harbor and Owls Head.

For a base camp option, check-out Lobster Buoy Campsites .

Mid-Penobscot Bay

The heart of this area is a neighborhood of privately-owned islands with limited public access: Great Spruce Head and Butter Islands and their neighbors, most immediately accessible from Cape Rosier or Deer Isle. Day trips could tour the neighborhood, with a stop to hike up Butter Island's Montserrat Hill for its stunning views. There are a few campsites for overnight trips, or as stops on a more epic tour of the bay that could include Islesboro, the Bagaduce and Fox Islands.

The Fox Islands

North Haven and Vinalhaven and the scores of smaller islands in their orbit are a world apart from places more readily accessible from mainland launches. A handful of camping islands make it possible to take multi-day excursions with visits to otherworldly Brimstone Island and the many other island neighborhoods, as well as the ferry-accessed towns for lunch or ice-cream.

The Fox Islands are most easily accessed from Cape Rosier or Deer Isle. Daytrips are most likely for those who take the car ferry and stay on the islands.

Stonington - Isle au Haut

One of the densest concentrations of islands on the east coast, the Stonington archipelago is also rich in public access, with numerous camping options in relatively close proximity. Accordingly, the area also attracts its share of recreational boaters to add to the nearly 400 lobster boats that operate here. The islands are idyllic, whether for daytrips or camping, and the variety of routes and conditions make it a perfect place to hone paddling skills.

For base-camp options, check-out Old Quarry Ocean Adventures , or inland sites at Greenlaw's  RV Park & Campground.

Blue Hill & Jericho Bays

Swans Island, Marshall Island and Frenchboro Long Island occupy the middle of Blue Hill and Jericho Bays, most easily accessed from Deer Isle, Naskeag Point or Mount Desert Island. Multi-day trips allow paddlers to hike and paddle the remote shores of Marshall Island or Frenchboro Long Island and camp in several island sites around Swans Island. The east end of Eggemoggin Reach also has numerous route  possibilities for day trips or camping.

For a base camp option on Eggemoggin Reach, check-out Oceanfront Camping @ Reach Knolls .

Mount Desert Island

While Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park attract multitudes, the sea around Mount Desert Island has plenty of worthwhile paddling destinations that evade the masses, with MDI's mountains as a backdrop.  Bartlett Island, Placentia and the Gotts, the Cranberry Islands and the Porcupines make great day trips - or even overnight excursions when combined with other areas.

There are numerous base-camp options, among them Lamoine State Park , and Hadley's Point Campground.

Frenchman Bay

In eastern Frenchman Bay a string of islands runs from Sorrento almost to Schoodic Point. Paddle beneath Ironbound Island's soaring cliffs, or if time allows, venture over to the Porcupines, or out to Egg Rock.

Multiple base-camp options are available, including  Acadia National Park's Schoodic Woods Campground .

Bois Bubert & Petit Manan

Bois Bubert is a big, brawny island with a wild southern end exposed to open ocean. Nearby, Petit Manan Point drops into the ocean at its southern tip, creating a two-mile sandbar where currents build and waves rear-up tall. South of that, the Petit Manan Lighthouse stands 123 feet over an island where puffins nest - in favorable conditions, one of the most accesible puffin colonies on the coast. This is a great neighborhood for a day trip or an overnight,  and may be combined with areas to the east for multi-day trips.

Narraguagus & Pleasant Bays

Between its surf-pounded, remote outer islands and the more docile seas usually found around the northern islands, Narraguagus and Pleasant Bays offer options for daytrips or overnights, including possible multi-day itineraries to Bois Bubert or the Great Wass area.

For a base-camp option, check-out Sunset Point Campground in Harrington.

The Great Wass Archipelago

Just off Jonesport, the archipelago surrounding Beals and Great Wass Islands extends into the ocean, creating a cool, marine climate with plenty of fog and exposure to open ocean, abundant with seals and other sea life. For day trips, the area east of Great Wass can provide both sheltered and more exposed paddling, as well as plentiful seals and a glimpse of Moose Peak Lighthouse. The islands to the west are best for multi-day trips.

Englishman & Machias Bays

Englishman Bay is dominated by Roque Island, with its crescent of sandy beach, and its heavily forested neighbors. They’re separated by rocky, labyrinthine passages – fun to navigate if you get the tide right – and if seas allow, exposed, craggy seaward shores. The outer stretch of Machias Bay has a group of treeless, grassy islands that make you feel you’ve traveled to the end of the earth, only a few miles from the launch. The bays are great for day or multi-day trips.

The Bold Coast

With long stretches of steep cliffs overlooking  island-free Grand Manan Channel, The Bold coast is among the grandest, but most volatile paddling destinations in Maine. Currents can be strong and difficult to predict, and they combine with open ocean conditions, unimpeded by islands to create confusing and often hazardous conditions. It may also be flat calm, but anyone paddling here needs to be prepared for dramatic reversals that may happen as quickly as the tide change.

The most rewarding paddling along the Bold Coast is found near shore, just beneath those steep cliffs, inside those tall chasms. It’s easiest to do this on day trips, picking the right day and the right tide and choosing the launch accordingly. 

Cobscook Bay

At high tide, Cobscook Bay might resemble a lake, but with the highest mean tide range in the US, the bay is a dynamic body of water, in a constant state of flux, with the roar of Cobscook Reversing Falls audible for miles. With good planning  for the tide though, the bay offers countless quiet stretches of relatively sheltered water and is a good destination for day or overnight trips.

For a base-camp option, Cobscook Bay State Park provides camping on the bay.

The Rest of the World

We're also happy to help make your trip happen elsewhere.  In particular, it can be nice during non-winter months, to get down to Georgia or Florida. Got an idea? Just ask!
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