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rocky shore from warren island state park in maine

View from the shore at Warren Island State Park. Photo courtesy of Loop by Loop Studio, taken on a J&E Riggin windjammer cruise.

The old Maine adage that “you can’t get there from here” has a different spin to it when it comes to Warren Island State Park. Simply put: You can’t get here by car! Yes, you drive your vehicle as far as you can, then launch your boat, or one you’ve reserved, and head to the island.

This 70-acre park, located in West Penobscot Bay, is just ½-mile from Islesboro, a larger island off the coast near Lincolnville.

Warren Island State Park opens on Memorial Day and closes each year on September 15. As you read up about this spot, you’ll realize that the word ‘unique’ barely scratches the surface of what this island offers visitors. It’s primitive, yet has pretty reliable cellphone service and basic services.

Travel by vehicle from Portland to Lincolnville is almost two hours. One way to your destination is to take the Islesboro Ferry from Lincolnville. The crossing time is 20 minutes. Read on to learn about other options for the last leg of getting to the park.

Nearby Parks


“Serenity” is one word the state’s website uses to describe the experience here. That indeed translates into unlisted activities, such as star-gazing and cooking a campfire meal at your site’s firepit.

Right! You can day-trip here to explore the trails, or plan for a true camping adventure. There are 12 camping sites and three Adirondack shelters, plus some very basic necessities.

While visiting the park, you can fish, hike, sea kayak, and watch for birds and wildlife. There is a group day use area with picnic tables, restrooms, and shelter. The site can be reserved at
Group Picnic Areas.

This Maine state park is rated as having no ADA access due to the terrain and limitations of getting there by boat.


The park is part of the Maine Island Trail, a 375-mile stretch devoted to and for boaters. You’ll need one sort of boat or another to get here.

Of course that includes getting all of your gear and supplies here as well. There is a pier on the island’s eastern shore with several deep water moorings to use on a first-come basis.

Getting here by kayak or canoe is an option. Best to be experienced with waters like these as the ¼ and ½-mile paddles can present challenges depending on weather and tide. It’s worthwhile to check out Quicksilver charter services.

They provide various options and even accommodate loading and carrying your kayaks or towing a small boat.


Swimming is not listed as one of the island’s activities, yet rock and sand shoreline surrounds the island. You can take the trail to reach a beach on the island’s southern tip. The water is reported to be clear and quite possibly chilly, leaving it to you to decide if you’re fit enough to take a dip.


Hiking is one of the park’s featured activities. The 1-½ miles of trails loop in two connected sections of easy and moderate terrain. There are kiosks, landmarks, and restrooms along the way. The pet-friendly trails have varying surfaces of dirt, forest, rock, and gravel.


Even though there isn’t any biking here, you’ll find some trails on the mainland in Camden Hills State Park:

  • Frohock Trail is a 1.9-mile ride around rocks and roots, giving you a good workout.
  • Summer Bypass is an easy 0.8-mile trail that was designed for negotiating wet areas.

Fifteen miles north of Lincolnville you’ll find the Belfast Rail Trail. It’s a 2.2-mile, one-way, multi-use trail. Its surfaced with gravel and crushed stone, offering you a relaxing, easy ride.


There’s no guarantee you’ll catch anything, yet you’ll have fun and a few ways to try. There’s fishing from the pier and shore, plus from a boat if you brought your own. This area of the coast is known for reeling in mackerel, striped bass, black tuna, and shark.

The Maine Angler’s Guide is a good source for reading about coastal fishing, including licenses. Without a doubt, bring all the gear, lures, or bait you’ll want to have on hand.


The park affords rich birding opportunities over the water and along the island’s trails. You’ll find several vantage points for sighting eagles, osprey, various gulls, cormorants, common eiders, surf scoters, and black ducks.

The island itself is home to great horned owls, and various woodpeckers and hawks. There’s the possibility of seeing red-breasted nuthatches, golden-crowned kinglets, red-eyed vireo, American goldfinch, various warblers, and song sparrows during breeding season.

Nature & Wildlife

Penobscot Bay is known for sightings of large and small ocean-dwelling wildlife and nature. Starting small along the shore you’ll find mussels, crabs, and seaweed. While there, keep an eye out for whales, dolphin, and seals offshore anywhere around the island.


Your leashed pet is invited to stay with you at the park and venture out on the trails with you. Please clean up after them, taking what you collect off-island with all your other trash.


Camping here requires detailed preparation, including a close look at the map to familiarize yourself with what’s available. These are tent sites with 11 being reservable sites and one first-come.

Each includes a picnic table and fireplace. Bring your own local firewood. You can also check in with the park about access to firewood and supplies to absolutely have on hand. Like bug repellent.

Three of camping spots are group sites. And three other sites have Adirondack shelters. There are several restrooms, with each being a comfortable distance from each campsite.

There are two sources of drinking water, both being relatively close to the pier. Be prepared for the best way to haul your water, although there’s apparently a cart for campers’ use.

Another nearby camping option is Camden Hills State Park:

  • There are 108 family campsites for tents, popups, and RVs and campers, including those over 35 feet. There are some wheelchair accessible sites. Sites are both reservable and first-come, with some having electric and water hookups.

    Each campsite has a table and fireplace. Firewood must be purchased onsite. Family sites are for up to 6 people with fees that vary based on hookups, reservations, and your state of residence.

  • Added to that, there are 5 group camping sites for 7 to 35 people. There are bathrooms with hot showers. Each site has a per night fee with an additional per person fee for groups of more than 10.

Park Location

Warren Island State Park
1202 Warrens Is,
Islesboro, ME 04848
Phone: 207.446.7090




Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Warren Island State Park: