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The Maine Island Trail

America’s first recreational water trail, the Maine Island Trail is a network of public access sites available to small boaters. Stretching from the New Hampshire border to Canada, the trail links over 200 island and mainland sites on both private and public land, available for day use or camping. For the price of a night in a commercial campsite, members get access to these sites along with an annually-updated guidebook and app, as well as the satisfaction of helping keep the Maine coast a Mecca for small boaters.

Much of our paddling, and in particular, our overnight trips are along parts of the Maine Island Trail. 'Through-paddling' - longer trips along the coast - are also an option.


The American Canoe Association

Membership in our national paddlesport association supports an advocate for conservation and public policy issues that affect paddlesports, gives you access to thousands of ACA-sanctioned events and instructional workshops, as well as ACA camps and excursions. You’ll receive member discounts and a subscription to your choice of a magazine from Rapid Media.

AMC's Best Sea Kayaking in New England

What? You don't have this book yet? Get it! In addition to beta on fifty of the best sea kayaking locations along the New England coast, it has a detailed introduction that may answer some of your paddling questions, as well as essays covering everything from sea serpents to the merits of following the shore. Aside from nuts and bolts information and advice, it provides inspiration to get in in your kayak and visit these sea kayaking Meccas. It's available at wherever books are sold, but you can also support the Appalachian Mountain Club by buying it direct. (Link above).
FAQs
Will there be anyone on the trip besides my group and the guide?
Except for our Non-Private Day Trips, all trips are private - just you, your people and the guide.
 
Who will be my guide?
It depends upon our availability and the nature of your trip. You may request either Michael or Rebecca as well. If we’re booked, we may find another skilled and knowledgeable guide, subject to your approval.
 
Is there a limit to the number of paddlers on the trip?
Depending on the paddlers, the locale and the conditions, as well as your goals, we try to keep a guide:client ratio of no greater than 1:6 or 1:7. With greater numbers of paddlers, we’ll add additional guides, and we may opt to split into smaller, more manageable groups. Greater numbers take their toll on a place. Parking areas get jammed, and our footprint on the water has more impact. It can also be difficult to find a campsite to accommodate a large group.
 
I’m more interested in getting instruction than paddling far. Do you offer classes?
We’ll customize your day on the water any way you’d like it. We can offer anything on the ACA curriculum up to Level 4, as well as training for the Maine sea kayak guide license. We also recommend the regularly-scheduled classes offered by Pinniped Kayak.
 
Do you take-out partial-day trips?
We would rather leave our schedule open for full-day trips. If we have an opening, we may add a partial-day, but we strongly believe that full-days are a better experience, and that clients get more out of a longer, unhurried day on the water. If you’re worried about your endurance, we’ll go at your pace and take breaks as needed. Or if you’re ready to call it a day, it’s your trip- we can return to the launch any time. We do offer a few shorter trips on our Non-Private Day Trips. For shorter trips, we also recommend our friends at  Old Quarry Ocean Adventures, in Stonington or Coastal Kayaking in Bar Harbor.
 
I have little or no camping experience. Are overnight trips for me?
If you’re willing to learn, we’ll help you every way we can, from planning meals to ensuring you have proper gear and the know-how to use it. Some camping equipment may be rented at Old Quarry Ocean Adventures. and at Maine Sport Outfitters

Is my kayak appropriate?
We like all boats on our trips to have both bow and stern floatation (sealed compartments or flotation bags - lack of floatation on either end can make rescues tricky). Beyond that, it depends upon what you and your group would like to do. For most of our trips, sit-inside touring kayaks in the 16 to 18-foot range are ideal. Shorter boats tend to be slower than longer boats (but may be fun for play in surf or rocks). Wide, flat-bottomed boats are less likely to perform well in many of the places we paddle, but are fine if we’re exploring a sheltered tidal area. For multiple-day trips, the boat should have enough volume inside to pack everything (we usually don’t lash gear atop the deck).

Where can I rent a kayak?
The Activity Shop in Blue Hill.
Ducktrap Kayak in Lincolnville.
Maine Sport Outfitters in Rockport.

Where can I rent camping equipment?
 
Do we need to wear life jackets?
Absolutely. In 2017, 84.5% of recreational boating accident fatalities were not wearing life jackets. If yours is not comfortable, shop-around; it’s money well-spent. Also, as ACA Guides, our insurance requires that we ensure that our clients wear PFDs.
 
What else should we wear?
We dress for the water temperature, and the ocean in Maine is always cold, sometimes rising a little above 60 degrees F in mid to late summer. It’s good to have multiple options and layers that may be switched during the course of a trip. The day may begin sunny and warm, but it only takes a little fog to induce a hypothermic chill. It also depends upon where we’re paddling, the conditions and the likelihood of capsize. Sometimes we paddle in synthetic shorts and t-shirts; other days we might wear a dry suit or two-piece outerwear. Once you book your trip, we’ll send you the appropriate gear list.
 
What’s your favorite color?
 
How do I poop on an island?
We follow the tenets of Leave No Trace, one of which is ‘Pack-out your waste.’ Maine islands are fragile, with shallow soil. Leaving waste on an island quickly takes its toll and is rarely un-noticeable to future visitors. We use the plastic bag inserts for portable toilets, known usually as ‘wag bags’ or Restop. They come with poop-abating chemicals and after double-bagging, don’t usually smell too bad for the first few days. It’s not as bad as it sounds – really. We can also try to stay on islands that have outhouses.
 
Are the mosquitoes/other bugs bad?
A few islands are more know for bugs than others, and we tend to avoid them, especially early in the summer. We also try to get cooking finished before dusk, but we’ve rarely had bad experiences with bugs on Maine islands.
 
Can we bring alcohol/marijuana/music and other legal things that might bother some people?
We follow a strict no-intoxicant policy while we’re on the water, but in the evening on a multi-day trip, mild, responsible use is okay as long as it stays under control, doesn't resemble a party, and doesn’t bother someone else. 
if
I'm a single person and would like to get on a trip with other paddlers. You're not alone! Let us know and we can try to connect you with other like-minded paddlers to plan a trip together.