Swan’s Island lies six miles southwest of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. It features 7,000 acres of classic coastal scenery and one of the prettiest harbors in Maine.
Home to roughly 350 year-round residents, visiting Swan’s Island feels a bit like stepping back in time. Other than satellite TV and the internet, little has changed here over the past several decades, and the island’s tight-knit fishing community continues to live a life that revolves entirely around the sea. If you’re looking for the salt of the earth, it doesn’t get much saltier than Swan’s Island.
More info at swansisland.org
Getting to Swan’s Island
*Adapted from Acadia: The Complete Guide
Swan’s Island is accessible via a ferry that departs Bass Harbor several times daily. It’s about a 30-minute trip, and schedules are posted online at maine.gov/mdot/ferry/swansisland. You can buy tickets at the ferry terminal in Bass Harbor.
Note: I do not recommend taking your car during the busy summer months, when space on return trips is limited. Better to rent bikes in Southwest Harbor and enjoy them on Swan’s Island’s 27 miles of paved, uncrowded roads.
Burnt Coat Harbor Lighthouse
Built in 1872 and automated in 1975, this classic lighthouse is now home to history and art exhibits. The tower, which is about 35 feet high, boasts tremendous views. There are also 1.8 miles of nearby hiking trails, including the Long Point Beach Trail which, on clear days, offers great views of the surrounding islands. The lighthouse is located at the tip of Hockamock Head, about 4.2 miles from the ferry terminal. More information at burntcoatharborlight.com
Fine Sand Beach
One of the most beautiful beaches in Maine. On a hot summer day, there’s no better place to swim and soak in the sun. The beach is accessible via a short hiking trail through the woods.
Lobster & Marine Museum
Located in a historic building northeast of the ferry terminal, this small museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the human history of Swan’s Island, from native times to the present day. There are several rooms of fishing and nautical artifacts, plus a display on natural history. (207-526-4423) swansislandlobsterandmarinemuseum.org
Tims Island Market & Takeout
This tiny market and food trailer is the social hub of Swan’s Island. Basic food and supplies are available in the market, and the adjacent trailer serves seafood rolls, burgers, sandwiches and pizza. (207-526-4043, 207-526-4410)
Swan’s Island Library
Home to books, wifi and rotating historical exhibits. (451 Atlantic Road, 207-526-4330)
Mill Pond Park
Located just down the hill from the Mill Pond Health Center, this lovely park features picnic tables, grills and terrific views of Burnt Coat Harbor.
The island’s old granite quarry is now used as a swimming hole. Even if you don’t go swimming, the road to the quarry offers classic views of the harbor, lighthouse and piers full of lobster traps and colorful buoys.
Since 1986 this high-end print shop has been making stationary and greeting cards using antique letterpresses. (463 Atlantic Road)
Sweet Chariot Music Festival
In early August Swan’s Island plays host to a three-night music festival, which is very popular with boaters. sweetchariotmusicfestival.com
Swan’s Island Hotels & Lodging
Harbor Watch Inn