9 Things To Do on Monhegan Island, Maine

Yvonne Jasinski Avatar

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.

Things to do on Monhegan Island, Maine. Hiking along the ocean delivers spectacular vistas.
Hiking along the ocean on Monhegan Island, Maine delivers spectacular vistas. Photo by Yvonne Jasinski

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.

view of the shores of Monhegan Island Maine against water and blue skies with puffy white clouds, beach plum bushes can be seen in the foreground
Monhegan Island in Maine welcomes you with a fjord-like scenery. Photo by Yvonne Jasinski

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!

beautiful hilltop view of white adirondack chairs looking down over the water and several boats on monhegan island maine
Take a front seat and watch the waves rolling. Photo: Yvonne Jasinski

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.

two artists painting seaside on monhegan island
Monhegan Island lures artists to reflect its beautiful scenery. Photo: Yvonne Jasinski

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!

view of gray house against the water in maine
Things to do on Monhegan Island, Maine: Doing nothing may be just what you need. Photo: Yvonne Jasinski

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.

monhegan island home with red trim against blue sky with pink flowers in the foreground
Take a walk around Monhegan Island to enjoy its charm. Photo: Yvonne Jasinski

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!

collage of hiking spots with ocean backdrops on monhegan island
Explore beautiful hiking trails in Monhegan Island. Photo: Yvonne Jasinski

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.

white rocking chairs on a porch looking over the ocean
Get into your seat and enjoy the night from the porch of Monhegan Island Inn. Photo: Yvonne Jasinski

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.

ferry on atlantic ocean with passengers heading to island
Not the best boat ride of my life. I got very sick, but I would do it again just to visit the island. Photo by Yvonne Jasinski

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.

ocean view of coastal maine
Enjoy the peace and beauty of Monhegan Island near The Island Inn. Photo: Yvonne Jasinski

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?

5 “must-see” spots for family fun in Southern Maine 

4 responses

  1. 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.

    1. 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.”

  2. Never heard of it but now in my bucket list!
    Hope your return by boat was more pleasant than your arrival!

  3. 4.5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *