If you are planning a visit to Lincolnville, consider spending some time in nearby scenic Islesboro. Located three miles off Lincolnville Beach, this small island is a well-known resort community that is accessible via the Islesboro Ferry, departing from the Lincolnville terminal. Are you ready to discover why this is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Midcoast Maine?
Accessible via the Maine State Ferry Service: Visit the Islesboro Ferry website
Maine State Ferry Service
P.O. Box 214
Lincolnville, ME 04849-0214
Islesboro Island Office
Maine State Ferry Service
In just 20+ minutes, the "Margaret Chase Smith" (island ferry) will bring you on the three-mile journey from Lincolnville Beach to Islesboro.
Once known as Long Island, Islesboro is a fourteen-mile-long island (shaped like a curled leaf) that divides the surrounding waters into East and West Penobscot Bay, positioned near the top of Penobscot Bay. With a width of about 1.5 miles across at its widest point, it's considered a fairly narrow island.
Unlike many Maine coastal towns, this island has remained fairly free of commercialization. In fact, life hasn't changed that much since the 1900s and this feeling of a quieter time is palpable as soon as you step foot onto the island. Maybe this back-to-basics refuge is the reason why so celebrities choose to visit – and live here. Summer of the more well-know residents (past and present) include: Kirstie Alley, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, John P. Morgan, and Chris O'Donnell. These celebrities, along with other summer tourists, are responsible for the population surge in the summer that triples the 650 year round resident total. So, why do so many people make the trek to this little island? There is simply so much to see and do!
Warren Island State Park is one the island’s most popular spots. Spanning over 70 acres, this park is located just off the shores of Islesboro, toward the southern side of the island. It was the first Maine state park designed specifically for boaters and while there is no public transportation available, you can reach the island by kayak or the Quicksilver Water Shuttle. Located on the coastline, most people use their own boat to get here. If you want to stay here, there are a handful of campsites and two Adirondack shelters. Firewood, fresh drinking water and rowboats are available on the island as are docking and mooring facilities on the lee side.
If you can't make it to Warren Island State Park, there are plenty of places to explore - by foot and by bicycle. You can also check out the natural surroundings around Ryder's Cove or see the geological formations and carvings at Turtlehead Point. Sailing is absolutely fantastic here, too.
Of course, you can't miss out on seeing Grindle Point Light [link to lighthouse article] when you're in Islesboro. They have a great Sailors’ Memorial Museum, home to an impressive collection of maritime and lighthouse related items, open to the public in the summer.
While this is a beautiful island, Islesboro is more about enjoying some time off the treadmill and enjoying nature as opposed to boutique shopping. If you happen to come here in the summer, you may be fortunate enough to catch some of the island’s unique art showings and local group musicals. And, here are a few dining options, shops, and spots that you can enjoy during your visit:
As a non-profit land trust serving the community of Islesboro, this organization has been a critical protector and advocate for this beautiful space for the past 27 years. In fact, they have protected more than 940 acres of land and twelve miles of shoreline on Islesboro. As leaders of “environmental conscience,” there are a couple great programs to enjoy:
Island Explorations: This “nature day camp” is home to nature-themed activities and games for children ages 3 to 7.
Adult Nature Walks and Talks: Open to the entire community, IIT staff and local experts guide you on walks to learn more about the Islesboro great outdoors. You might come across Herbert Preserve, a serene spot instantly recognizable by a carpet of moss underfoot. All schedules and additional information are posted online.
Phone: (207) 734-6672
Shake and Loony (David and Linda Mahan) own this island general store – serving residents and tourists alike. Groceries, spirits and beverages, meats, fish, produce, live lobsters, hardware and cleaning supplies, gas, and ice are available from 6 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday – Saturday and open on Sundays (in July and August only) from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
For Loony’s famous desserts and baked goods, keep reading...
Call them directly to place an order!
207-734-6672 (Island Market)
Before they ran The Island Market, Shake and Loony operated the Blue Heron Restaurant. It was here that they were able to test out and discover some amazing recipes that locals loved. Soon, Loony’s friend Mark (graduate of the Culinary Institute of America) joined the island and Loony's Luscious Food was born.
In addition to serving island residents, they also ship these amazing handmade creations throughout the country.
The signature dish? The Lobster Pot Pie stuffed with tender pieces of Maine lobster meat and drenched in a rich pernod cream sauce. Yes, please!
Check out some of these other mouth-watering options (made with eggs from their own chickens) made in small handmade batches:
• Chicken Pot Pie
• Banana Bread
• Chocolate Chip Cookies
• Lemon Blueberry Bread
• Peanut Butter Pie
• Sour Cream Pecan Coffee Cake
If you’d like to order something to be shipped your way, call them directly.
867 Main Rd
Islesboro, ME 04848
This is another great general store to stock up on provisions or grab a quick bite. They have pizza and plenty of sandwiches and wraps!
515 Pendleton Point Rd
Islesboro, Maine 04848
Everyone waits for the summer to start here, as it kicks off ice cream season! Their scoops are delicious. You can also order frappes and grinders, perfect for a warm sunny day.
111 Derby Road
Islesboro, Maine 04848
This is a wonderful find that you need to discover. Located in Dark Harbor Village, Artisan Books & Bindery carries plenty of best sellers and classics, ranging from all genres including Maine and Islesboro authors. Although, they do specialize in books on American History, Art, Architecture, Interior Design, Fine Press, and Signed First Editions. More notably, they have a one-of-a-kind rare volume selection (seen on the website or by appointment) and they produce quality journals, albums, and guest books with their in-house bindery. They also have the ability to repair family heirlooms and other treasured volumes.
The shop is open October – May (Thursday and Friday) from 1 – 5 p.m., July – August (Tuesday – Sunday) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and June – September (Tuesday – Saturday) from 1 – 5 p.m. Be sure to call ahead before your visit, especially if you are looking for something specific.
Quicksilver provides water shuttle service to Penobscot Bay, including Islesboro and other islands, filling in the blanks left by the ferries and private boats. This water taxi is very popular with locals and smart travelers – especially after fun-filled days with good drinks in the hot sun! They also offer transportation to the surrounding area, as well as charter and sightseeing cruises and picnics. For more information, give them a call!
The actual trip between departing Lincolnville Beach and arriving in Islesboro is about 20+ minutes in crossing time, but delays are almost inevitable during the summer season when the traffic load is high. Please keep this in mind when you are planning your day trip. Winter, fall, and summer schedules are all available online at the Maine State Ferry Service’s (Islesboro Ferry) website.