Maine April 26, 2017
Some Of The Country’s Most Magical Island Getaways Are Right Here In Maine
When you hear the word “island,” what images come to mind? For many, it’s a warm relaxing coastline that allows for rest and rejuvenation. Before you despairingly ask, “but who can afford to get to the Caribbean whenever they need a break?!” we recommend you remember Vacationland! Maine is nicknamed this for a reason. In fact,
MSN recently named two Maine islands to their list of the best in the world! With this in mind, we thought we’d give you a few islands to explore this summer.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Little Diamond Island, Casco Bay, Part of Portland
There are so many quirky things about Little Diamond Island. For one, the year-round population is only about five people How's that for intimate? Another thing is that it was previously named "Little Hog Island." We'd say the new moniker is a step up. And lastly, and perhaps our favorite thing, is that the island is connected to Great Diamond Island via a sandbar that's only accessible at low tide. This sandbar is how the garbage is collected by the county!
Bailey Island, Casco Bay, Part of Harpswell
Bailey Island made it onto the aforementioned MSN list for good reason. This is home to some beautiful scenery, as well as the famed "Bronze Fisherman's Statue." Enjoy the Giant's Stairs Trail before spending the night at The Driftwood Inn, which has been around for over 100 years.
3. Frye Island, Sebago Lake, Cumberland County
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.
4. Fox Islands, West Penobscot Bay, Knox County
We tried to trick you with this one! You've probably heard of these Islands simply as VInalhaven, which is the largest of the towns on the main island. 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. Peaks Island, Casco Bay, Part of Portland
Not only is Peaks Island one of the best ways to spend a full day outside of Portland-proper, it's one of the most accessible islands in Maine. Hop on the Casco Bay Lines for this 20 minute ride out. You'll pass Fort Gorges AND you can bring your dog for about $4 extra. Once you've arrived, grab a coffee, rent a golf cart and cruise around the perimeter for views of both the bay and the ocean.
6. Cushing Island, Casco Bay, Part of Portland
Cushing is visible from Peaks Island, but feels far less accessible somehow. It's primarily private and is home to only about 45 families seasonally and it's accessible only to owners.
7. Monhegan Island, Lincoln County
Monhegan Island is about ten miles from the mainland and can only be traveled to by boat. One of its most defining characteristics is the lack of cars and paved roads.The year-round community of the island is around 75 people. There is one schoolhouse for students in kindergarten to 8th grade. High school students must make their way to the mainland for their education. There are no banks, public bathroom or garbage cans. So, anything you bring to the island must be carried back with you.
8. One Big Sustainable Island, Annabessacook Lake, Part of Monmouth
One Big Sustainable Island (or, 1BSI as it's sometimes called,) is operated by registered Maine guides, Jo and Kent. The island is run as a non-profit organization and was created to help inspire those who are curious and aware, to explore our earth in a sustainable way. It's virtually impossible to avoid being motivated to revel in the outdoors in the beautiful environment on the island.
9. Mount Desert Island, Atlantic Ocean, Hancock County
Did you have any doubt that we'd include Mount Desert on this list?! It's the other Maine island included on MSN's Best-Of list and another one that earned its spot for good reason. Of course, it's home to Maine's only National Park, but it's also got one of the most New England towns you'll find - Bar Harbor. We'd covered plenty of attractions in Acadia National Park, so if you're curious take a trip through our related archives by clicking
10. Great Duck Island, Gulf of Maine, Part of Frenchboro
Sitting about 8 miles out to sea from Mount Desert Island, getting to Great Duck isn't easy. It's currently a site for ecological research by the College of the Atlantic. But, in the 1970s it housed a psychiatric clinic complete with an airstrip, a geodesic dome and yurts.
11. Chebeague Island, Casco Bay, Cumberland County
This area's homes are ranked among the most expensive in the country! 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.
12. Mackworth Island, Presumpscot River, Park of Falmouth
Mackworth is an island only in feel - you can actually drive your car over a narrow piece of land to reach it. In fact, you'll know if it's a busy day on the island if cars are backed up along this roadway. The island itself is about 100 acres and a 1.25-mile trail circles the entire area. A leisurely walk around will take about an hour. But, we've always spent significantly more time looking out over Casco Bay skipping rocks on the shore. The island is best known as a retirement village for Fairies. Both children and adults help construct the homes for these fairies out of natural elements found in the area. To learn more about this fantastically fun Fairy Village
And, in case you missed it, check out our pick for
the most pristine, white sand beach in Maine!