Photo: Lighthouse on rocky shore

A lighthouse stands at the mouth of Bass Harbor, which shares Maine's Mount Desert Island with Acadia National Park.

Photograph by John Classen, My Shot

Kayakers love to explore the 3,000-plus islands off the coast of Maine, from Kittery Point to Quoddy Head. The Maine Island Trail is a 375-mile (604-kilometer) waterway that includes over 180 islands and mainland sites along the route. But a visit to Maine’s islands can be just as tranquil as adventurous.

Where to Play

On Isle au Haut, explore the 18 miles (29 kilometers) of trails within Acadia National Park, or bike the 12 miles (19 kilometers) of roads that go around the island. Visit the lighthouse on Robinson’s Point. Thief Island, managed by the Maine Island Trail Association, is a great base for sea kayaking in Muscongus Bay and for exploring the smaller islands in the bay. To sense that time has stopped, or at least slowed down, take a water taxi or plane to Matinicus, the most remote of Maine’s islands, with its one inn option—Tuckanuck Lodge. Head to Markey Beach or walk along Cato Cove.

At Day’s End

Walk Markey’s Beach at sunset on Matinicus Island. Pack some snacks and bring a blanket with you. Once the sun goes down, lie back and take in the clear night sky.


For information on becoming a Maine Island Trail Association (MITA) member, visit

To find environmentally responsible outfitters in the area, check out

Based on articles from National Geographic Traveler and compiled by Stephanie Robichaux

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