Freeport is so much more than shopping. For those who love to hike and paddle, the mid-coast region of Maine is a spectacular destination. Casco Bay is home to 365 islands covering 200 square miles of the spectacular Atlantic Ocean. Running from Cape Elizabeth (just south of Portland) to Cape Small (in the north), we live alongside some of the most scenic and accessible paddling, and sightseeing, in the country.
Here are 5 opportunities for the day paddler, all within 30 miles of James Place Inn in Freeport:
- Cow Island: Cow Island is a great island to begin your paddling with as it is close to the mainland. The island is owned and operated by Rippleffect, a you and community development organization that is based on the island. While Rippleffect reserves the eastern side of the island for running their programs, the western side of the island is available to the public. The paddle is just three miles, making it great for beginners, and the scenery its own reward.
- Whaleboat Island: Located west of Harpswell Neck (one of our favorite places) and is the largest undeveloped island in Casco Bay. It was named Whaleboat Island due to its whaleboat shape. The island has two forests with a low grassland meadow in the center. How scenic is that?! While there is not a formal set of trails, the island has many well-worn paths and a rocky shoreline to explore. There are structural remains on the island to explore and discover as well.
- The Goslings: Located off the southernmost tip of Lower Goose Island, west of Harpswell Neck, these islands afford the visitor a beautiful island getaway that is sheltered in what seems to be your own private cove of islands. The wildlife here is also impressive with its multitude of bird species and the occasional spotting of a white-tailed deer.
- Jewell Island: This is a fairly long haul for paddlers, so experienced paddlers only, please. Nearly nine miles off the coast of Portland, it is a great spot to set up camp for a night. There are over three miles of interconnected trails to explore, including two standing WWII towers at the southern end. A climb to the top of these towers will be rewarded with a 360 degree view of the bay. Spectacular!
- Richmond Island: One mile off the shore of Kettle Cove State Park in Cape Elizabeth yet feeling so remote. This island is 226 acres and has beautiful and varying landscape. There is also a herd of wild rams residing here year round, grazing and roaming freely.
Have a yearning to get out and experience the outdoors and summer in Maine? There is still plenty of summer left and more islands to visit!