It Shouldn't Come as a Surprise That Acadia is the Perfect Place for Kayaking. We Are on an Island, After All.
Breathtaking opportunities abound for adventurous paddlers who visit Acadia National Park. We are on an island, after all. Sea kayaking around Mount Desert Island equals miles upon miles of scenic coastline to explore. Outer islands, inlets, and coves await your personal discovery. Take in views of the mountains and sea cliffs, while you breathe in the deliciously refreshing coastal air. Come face-to-face with sea life, as you gracefully paddle into locations that larger boats can’t.
One place to begin sea kayaking around Mount Desert Island is at Mount Desert Narrows, at the north end of the island. At high tide you can pass directly under the bridge that connects Mount Desert Island with the mainland. Another amazing paddle is to start from Bar Island in Bar Harbor, looping through the Porcupine Islands in Frenchman Bay. You’re likely to see harbor seals pop-up their dog-like heads, while eagles and ospreys soar overhead. For those more experienced with open ocean paddling, consider visiting Bear Island Light and Sutton Island or have a full-day adventure out to the Cranberry Islands.
Novice kayakers or those without equipment can make reservations to paddle with a local outfitter. Tour options include anywhere from a couple of hours of paddling to full day or overnight paddles. Outfitters may offer special sunset tours or tours for special events. Outfitters provide all the necessary equipment (transportation, boats, PFDs, paddles). In addition to personalized instruction for all skill levels, guides are able to provide information about the area’s natural history.
Fresh water kayaking is also a beautiful experience in the part. Please refer to the Canoeing in Acadia for detailed information on launch locations. Equipment rentals are available locally.
When launching from any coastal area, please be sure to obey all posted signage regarding parking and other regulations. Respect private property. Remember to check the tide chart and remember that the difference between low tide and high tide in the Mount Desert Island area can reach twelve feet; if you start paddling from somewhere at low tide, it may be underwater when you return. Plan accordingly.
A Very Important Note on Safety: If you plan to head out on your own, always be aware of your personal safety. Kayaking in the ocean is for experienced paddlers only. It is VERY easy to get into trouble in the waters off the coast of Maine. The impact of tides, fog, wind and cold water temperatures (usually less than 55 degrees Fahrenheit) can quickly create difficult conditions. Know your personal skill level and consider always traveling with a partner. Knowledge about how to perform a self-rescue, nautical chart, compass and bilge pump are essential items for sea kayaking. You might also consider carrying a safety whistle and flare.