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If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like for time to stop, you’ll want to make a trip to Monhegan Island, Maine. With no cars, streets or shopping malls, you’ll fully immerse yourself in the crisp air, the sound of birds singing, and the sight of waves crashing against the rocky shore. Read on for 9 of the best things to do on Monhegan Island, including viewing the art of a famed American artist, hiking 12 miles of trails, and sinking your teeth into lobster scrambled eggs.
I love Maine, my favorite state in the East, for its outstanding scenery, crisp air, old world charm, and of course the lobster! Surprisingly, I did not hear about Monhegan Island until I started to plan my third trip to the state. This time, I skipped major attractions and dug deeper into the soul of the area. After extensive research, I discovered the island. Its rocky shore overlooking blue waters and dream-like charm caught my attention.
Things to Do on Monhegan Island, Maine
Monhegan Island, which is about 1.7 miles long and 0.7 miles wide, offers an exceptionally beautiful environment, two-thirds of which is protected as a nature preserve by the Monhegan Associates. Things to do on the island concentrate on its serene beauty, but you will also find man-made attractions like the Monhegan Museum of Art and History, featuring the work of American artists who found their inspiration on the island, including Andrew Wyeth.
I made my reservation way in advance and I stayed at The Island Inn. I could not resist its spectacular location right on the water.
1. Watch the Waves of the Atlantic Ocean
The Island Inn sits right on the shore and overlooks a beautiful little bay. From many areas, you can take in the views and sounds of the ocean. Just pick a chair and enjoy!
2. Read with a View
When was the last time you had enough time to read without feeling rushed? Bring your own book to the island, or take one from the large selection available at the inn.
3. Paint Outdoors
For more than 100 years, Monhegan has been a summer haven for artists and other visitors who appreciate its isolation, the beauty of its wilderness areas, its quiet relaxed atmosphere, and unhurried pace.
4. Take Pictures
Every step you take on the island delivers a new photo opportunity: village scenes, flowers, sunsets, little bays, high cliffs and vast vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. From a beautiful landscape to macro photography, it is all there waiting for you to be captured.
5. Talk to Strangers on Monhegan Island
What makes The Island Inn special is its relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Forget TVs and cell phones, people are actually talking to each other. The “Chat room” is located on the wooden front porch. I even got to speak Polish, my native language!
6. Eat Lobster
What is one thing you have to do when visiting Maine? Eat lobster! At The Island Inn, you will find a fantastic menu for that. Try lobster scrambled eggs for breakfast.
7. Visit Monhegan Museum of Art and History
The Museum is located in the historic Monhegan Light Station. Founded by artists and islanders in 1968, the museum’s art collection features works by leading American artists who have painted on Monhegan, including Andrew Wyeth, one of the best-known U.S. artists of the middle 20th century.
8. Hike Along the Cliffs
About 12 miles of trails, often steep and strenuous, lead through wooded areas and over rocky ledges up to the highest ocean cliffs on the Maine coastline. This is Maine at its best – rough and beautiful. No crowds, crisp air, and the ocean at your feet!
9. Enjoy Stargazing
Close your day by looking at Monhegan’s amazing sky. With so little light pollution, the island delivers a show to remember.
Important Things to Know About Visiting Monhegan Island, Maine
Getting to Monhegan Island, Maine
Monhegan Island, 12 miles off the Maine coast, can be reached from three ports: Port Clyde – boats operated by Monhegan Boat Line; New Harbor – Hardy Boat Cruises; and Boothbay Harbor – The Balmy Days II. Parking is available at each port. There are no car ferries to the island. If you have a sensitive stomach, watch out, the ride can be challenging. Monhegan can only be explored on foot via dirt roads.
Where to Stay on Monhegan Island, Maine
Make your lodging arrangements way in advance, as your choice will be limited to a few inns and few houses for rent. I stayed at The Island Inn. I highly recommend it for its great location, beautiful scenery, and an old world charm. It is the only full-service hotel on Monhegan Island. Rooms are small, some with shared, some with private bathrooms. The dining room is large and overlooks the bay. Plan to spend around $200 per night.
Best Season to Visit Monhegan Island
Monhegan serves as a summer destination. It opens to visitors mid-May and practically shuts down after Columbus Day.
Want to see more of Maine?
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Kim Murdock says
Love Monhegan, but this is not a very comprehensive review. Monhegan House and Trailing Yew, Shining Sails, Fish & Maine, are among the other establishments offering rooms. Cottage rentals through 3 sources. And that’s not “bay”, it’s the harbor.
Yvonne Jasinski, Credit Card SheBuysTravel says
Thank you for your interest and comments. This post was not meant to be a comprehensive review. It is about “things to do” and based on my experience and where I stayed. I did not say there were no other options of accommodation. As far as bay versus harbor, ” bay is body of water connected to an ocean or lake, formed by an indentation of the shoreline. Harbor is place where ships may shelter.”
Jim Cook says
Never heard of it but now in my bucket list!
Hope your return by boat was more pleasant than your arrival!