Here Are 8 Islands In Maine That Are An Absolute Must Visit

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“Here Are 8 Islands In Maine That Are An Absolute Must Visit”

Technically speaking, there are over 4,600 islands off the coast of Maine. This includes the largest actual island (Mount Desert Island) to tiny ledges that can only be considered islands during a very low tide. There are a fair few that fall right in the middle, perfect for exploring no matter what your budget might be. Here we’ve compiled just a few options, ranging in price from “just-won-the-lottery” to “I’ve-got-a-spare-$5.”

1. Isle Au Haut, Knox County

Natasja Schouterden/ Flickr

Isle au Haut, Isle Au Haut, ME, USA

JR P / Flickr

Isle au Haut is one of the most remote Maine islands. Accessible only by boat via Stonington, the desire to live here requires some self-sufficiency and hard work. It’s best for folks who don’t need to leave the island very often (can you work remotely?!) or licensed fishermen. If you’re visiting, check out out theKeeper’s House Inn, which includes a cottage next to the operational historic lighthouse.

You can get to Isle au Haut via passenger, freight, and mail boat service from Stonington year-round. During the summer, the boat also makes stops at Duck Harbor for Acadia National Park visits. It’s also possible to camp over at Duck Harbor. But, if you haven’t already reserved your 2-day space, you may be out of luck. It books up fast. Check out the National Park Service for more information.

2. Frye Island, Sebago Lake, Cumberland County

Christi / Flickr

Frye Island, ME, USA

Rmew / Flickr

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Frye Island is the only island on this list that is not off the coast of Maine. Instead, you’ll find it within Sebago Lake, accessible only by boat during the summer months. There’s one other option, though it is illegal and not recommended. Some choose to re-enact “Frye’s Leap” based on the legend of Captain Frye. While trying to escape a Native American tribe in Portland, he came to a rock that he was unable to go around. Instead, he decided to leap into the waters of the lake and swim across.

3. Peaks Island, Casco Bay

Don Shall / Flickr

Casco Bay Ferry, Peaks Island, ME 04108, USA

Don Shall / Flickr

This small island is one of the most populated in Casco Bay. Still, the year-round population sits at about 900. It has its own police station and library, but it is technically part of Portland. Though tiny, it has several interesting attractions including the quirky Umbrella Cover Museum.

4. Vinalhaven, Fox Islands, Knox County

Lonnie Janzen / Flickr

Vinalhaven, ME, USA

Aaron Dahlstrom / Flickr

Vinalhaven is actually a town on the Fox Islands. Only a 2 hour ferry ride from Rockland, it’s a great place to spend local vacation. You’ll find some bars and restaurants in town, but the best part of the island is the exploring. Rent bicycles to check out the abandoned granite quarries for some chilly leaps into the water. Vinalhaven is also home to Lane’s Island Preserve. With a few coastal trails, you’ll get some great views of the water while you explore the marshes and plants.

5. Hermit Island, Phippsburg, Sagadahoc County

Mike Timberlake / Flickr

Hermit Island, Phippsburg, ME 04562, USA

Jane Cantral / Flickr

If you’re looking for the perfect coastal camping spot, Hermit Island Campground might be it. While not an island exactly (it’s actually connected to Phippsburg via a small road,) it does feel like you’re a bit off the beaten path. But, to ensure that feeling you’ll probably need to avoid this place during the season.

6. Chebeague Island, Cumberland County

opus moreschi / Flickr

Chebeague Island, ME 04017, USA

smilla4 / Flickr

Chebeague is another southern island full of beauty. It’s got lovely wildlife, from harbor seals to patches of wild blueberries and its close proximity to Portland means you can plan a weekend getaway. Chebeague Island is the 45th largest community in Maine. But, don’t hire movers just yet. This area’s homes are ranked among the most expensive in the country!
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Fun Fact: In 1997, the people of this small community played a significant role in convincing Nabisco to cease plans to discontinue the “Crown Pilot” crackers from their product line. The cracker played an important role in their soup-eating habits. In addition to continuing production of the product, Nabisco donated $1,000 to the Chebeague Historical Society.

7. Mount Desert Island, Hancock County

Geoff Livingston/Flickr

Mount Desert Island, Mt Desert Island, Maine, USA


Mount Desert Island might be best known for Acadia National Park. The largest of the islands in Maine, you can easily spend a week here and enjoy something different every day. Plan a major hike up Cadillac, or spend your days hiking the other numerous trails in the area. Families will enjoy the easier to access attractions, such as Thunder Hole and everyone will appreciate the landscape in all seasons.

8. Deer Isle, Hancock County

Nicholas Knouf / Flickr

Deer Isle, ME, USA

Axel Drainville / Flickr

Deer Isle may be best known for Stonington. Accessible via car bridge, it’s not a hard place to visit and it’s mid-coast location means it’s not too far off the beaten path for those in Portland or Downeast. Those looking for less expensive options, can camp in one section of the island, or choose to stay at the local hostel that has shared or private rooms.

With so many island-hopping options in Maine, we’re sure to have missed some… or an insane amount. What are your favorite islands? Let us know over on our Facebook page!


The OIYS Visitor Center

June 10, 2022

Tori Jane

How many islands off Maine are there?  

We don’t mean to alarm you, but you might want to be sitting down for this. Believe it or not, there are more than 4,600 islands off Maine, many of which are scenic and visitable. Some are inhabited and developed upon. Some are only visible when the tide is low. Some are only accessible by boat, and others are designated nature preserves. Maine might be a smaller state (the 12th-smallest by area and 9th-least populous), but it seems to make up for its small size with 4,000+ islands and 32 state parks on top of that (some of which are on islands themselves).  

Which are the Best maine islands to visit?  

Obviously, “best” is subjective, but there are some islands in Maine that tend to be more popular with visitors than others. Head to Casco Bay and check out Chebeague Island, which is the largest island in the bay and the perfect destination for summer fun. It features 25 miles of gorgeous, scenic roads, and frequently makes “best hidden beaches in New England” lists. In Penobscot Bay, you’ll find Vinalhaven Island, which is home to the largest island community that lives there year-round. Talk about heavenly. Then, in the Outer Islands, there’s Monhegan Island, which is 12 miles off the coast and filled to the brim with natural beauty.  

Which islands are the best islands in Maine? 

The list of the best islands in Maine continues! Seriously, with more than 4,000 to pick from, how do you even begin? Give it a start by visiting Boothbay Harbor and checkout out Squirrel Island, which is much quieter than most of Maine’s islands and is great for low-key folks who would prefer to avoid the crowded, more popular islands. You’ll also want to add Mount Desert Island to your bucket list because there’s nothing else in Maine like it. It’s got 108 amazing miles of rocky shoreline, beautiful mountains, and the famed Acadia National Park. So, yes, best is subjective – but these are all excellent spots to start!  

Address: Isle au Haut, Isle Au Haut, ME, USA

Address: Frye Island, ME, USA

Address: Casco Bay Ferry, Peaks Island, ME 04108, USA

Address: Vinalhaven, ME, USA

Address: Hermit Island, Phippsburg, ME 04562, USA

Address: Chebeague Island, ME 04017, USA

Address: Deer Isle, ME, USA

Address: Mount Desert Island, Mt Desert Island, Maine, USA

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