Maine’s magnificent coastline measures 230 miles as the crow flies but a remarkable 3,500 miles when each and every undulation is accounted for between Portsmouth Harbor and Passamaquoddy Bay. Among the peninsulas, headlands, bays, coves, inlets, and river mouths are 2,400 islands.

Here’s a look at seven of those island gems that are easily accessible year-round and feature nice hiking trails and lots of scenic, salty beauty.


Chauncey Creek, Brave Boat Harbor and the Gulf of Maine encircle this island in Kittery. A sector of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge protects 750 acres of salt marsh and estuary habitat in the area, and through this, the Cutts Island Trail meanders for nearly 2 miles. The views are big sky, and a series of interpretive displays fill you in on the interesting natural and human history of the place. The mixed woods include some impressive specimens of white and red oak. Info:


Timber Point in Biddeford is a 97-acre peninsula bordered by the Little River estuary and the Gulf of Maine. Just off the south end of the point is the 13-acre Timber Island, which is accessible by a gravel bar at low tide. Most of the peninsula and all of the island are preserved as part of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. Follow the universal trail 1.4 miles to an observation platform and tide chart at the point’s end. Circumnavigate the island if you’ve timed it right. Info:


Mackworth Island features a popular 1.5-mile circuit hike and a bounty of Casco Bay views. Carey Kish photo


This 100-acre island in Falmouth is owned and managed by the state of Maine. In 1946, Mackworth was donated to the state by Gov. Percival Baxter, who also famously donated the lands around Katahdin to establish Baxter State Park. A “sanctuary for wild beasts and birds,” a popular 1.5-mile trail loops around the island. Expansive Casco Bay vistas, frequent access points to the pebbly tideline, sitting benches, Gov. Baxter’s pet cemetery and a fairy house community punctuate the route. Info:


Higgins Mountain (262 feet), one of the highest points on this Midcoast island, was burned over in the Great Georgetown Fire of 1908 and subsequent blazes. The Billie Todd Loop and Lichen Loop wind for 1.2 miles over the pretty peak, where you’ll find pitch pines, blueberries and the rare crowberry, and treetop views east to Robinhood Cove and south to Sheepscot Bay. Billie Todd donated 41 acres on the mountain to the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust in 2000. Info:

Hike the narrow spine of the Devil’s Back on Orr’s Island for excellent views over Long Cove. Carey Kish photo


Part of the town of Harpswell, the narrow northern tip of Orr’s Island is known as the Devil’s Back. Route 24 runs along the top of this rugged spine, and on both sides of the road are the Devil’s Back Trails. Owned and managed by the town, this 2.5-mile system threads a scenic route along Long Cove to the west and Gun Point Cove to the east. At low tide, you can scramble out on the shoreline rocks to laze in the sun, drink in the views and maybe spy an osprey or eagle. Info:



Located at the head of Penobscot Bay and connected to Bucksport and Prospect by bridges, Verona Island is bounded by the Penobscot River to the west and the river’s Eastern Channel to the east. Along the latter, the 25-acre Joost Family Preserve protects a half-mile or so of shoreline. A 1-mile loop leads through fields and woods to lovely water views. A picnic table partway through the walk is a nice spot for, well, a picnic lunch. The property is under the care of the Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust. Info:

The highest summit on the Six Peaks Circuit in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, Sargent Mountain, rewards hikers with extensive open terrain and outstanding panoramic views. Carey Kish photo


Maine’s largest island is home to a 31,000-acre chunk of Acadia National Park, 150 miles of trails, and some of the most spectacular coastal scenery anywhere on the planet. The Six Peaks Circuit is a 6-mile ramble that gains over 1,300 feet of elevation across all or a portion of seven trails. From Bald Peak, Parkman Mountain and Gilmore Peak to Sargent Mountain, Penobscot Mountain and Cedar Swamp Mountain, you’ll be treated to extensive open terrain and outstanding panoramic vistas. AMC’s “Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast” and the AMC “Maine Mountain Guide” are good references for this hike.

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island is the author of “Beer Hiking New England,” “AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast” and the AMC “Maine Mountain Guide” (the new 12th edition is now available). Follow more of Carey’s adventures on Facebook and on Instagram @careykish

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