Camp on Your Own Island

Without paying a fortune

The Maine coast

The Maine coast via Shutterstock     Photo: Doug Lemke

You don’t have to go all the way to the Maldives to find a deserted island. Around 250 of Maine’s 3,000 coastal islands are uninhabited and open to the public for camping. Check out 120-acre Whaleboat Island, part of the Calendar Islands (one for every day of the year) in Casco Bay, just northeast of Portland. “It’s just enough of an effort to get to that you’ll have it to yourself, even on weekends,” says Marc Bourgoin, owner of Portland’s Lincoln Canoe. Whaleboat has all the hallmarks of a classic Maine island—granite outcrops and rocky beaches topped by spruce and maple, nesting bald eagles, and surrounded by waters filled with harbor seals and lobster pots. Pick up kayaks and charts from Lincoln ($125 for three days) and drive 20 minutes northeast to the launch on Meerpoint. From there paddle five miles south through Middle Bay, past Upper and Lower Goose Islands, and land on the rocky beach in Whaleboat’s eastern cove to set up basecamp for a long-weekend of exploring. Paddle a mile southeast to the Admiral Perry museum on Eagle Island and then swing by Bailey Island to pick up live lobsters for dinner from the market. Go in August, and pick your own blueberries to sprinkle on your morning oatmeal.

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