With its spectacular coastal scenery, Mount Desert Island is a great location for ocean kayaking. Beginner paddlers can join a number of private companies for guided kayak tours in Frenchman Bay. Experienced paddlers may opt to head out without a guide; public boat ramps are available in Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor, and Southwest Harbor. Additional access sites include:
- Seal Cove (sponsored by state of Maine)
- Bass Harbor (sponsored by state of Maine)
- Seal Harbor Beach
- Hadley Point
- Bar Island Gravel Bar
When parking at any of these areas, please obey all posted signage regarding parking and other regulations. Respect private property. Remember that the difference between low tide and high tide can reach twelve feet; the spot where you park at low tide may be under water at high tide.
If heading out on your own, be careful. Kayaking in the ocean is for experienced paddlers only. It is easy to get in trouble in the waters off the coast of Maine, where tides, rough seas, fog, and cold water temperatures (less than 55 degrees Fahrenheit) often create difficult conditions. Know how to perform a self-rescue and always travel with a partner.
The park's lakes and ponds offer a different type of kayaking experience; see watercraft restrictions for more information about launch facilities.
For more information about kayak tours or rentals, contact local chambers of commerce.