This post is produced in partnership with Downeast Acadia Regional Tourism. I only work with brands and destinations I’m passionate about, and I work hard to ensure I bring you the best information and share genuine reflections of my travel experiences.
With thousands of islands and 3,478 miles of coastline to choose from, how do you even begin to decide where to go on the Maine coast?
The bridge-accessible Deer Isle, home to the towns of Deer Isle and Stonington, has been capturing the hearts of artists for decades, entrepreneurs today, and even this inland-loving saltwater skeptic. And while every coastal town has its own charm, here are 5 reasons I think Deer Isle should be at the top of your Maine vacay list.
1. Get stunning views of the Maine coast (maybe all to yourself!).
If you’ve read this blog before, you may know I have a long-held love affair with inland Maine. The woods, the sparkling clean freshwater, the mountains.
But Deer Isle—and more specifically, heading out onto the water with a lobsterman one gorgeous summer morning a few years ago—is what changed all that.
Okay, it didn’t make me love inland Maine any less.
But being out on the water that day, I felt myself falling for the Maine coast, and Deer Isle has been beckoning me back ever since.
Turns out, it’s just crowds I’ve always wanted to escape, and Deer Isle is the perfect place to do that. Just like other spots on the coast, there are plenty of stunning Maine coast views to soak in—minus loads of people.
2. You’ll see the busiest lobster port in Maine.
You don’t have to drive very far on Deer Isle to see lobster buoys adorning garages or fishing boats heading out to haul their traps. Despite fluctuations in lobster prices and total landings from year to year, Stonington leads the state in lobster harvest (by pound and dollar).
This is a true working harbor, and you’ll see lobstermen (and women!) bringing in their catch throughout the day.
3. There are tons of nooks and crannies to explore.
From former granite quarries to a barred island to an archipelago of 50+ islands, Deer Isle has tons of places that are every bit as scenic as the more popular areas on the coast.
And with dozens of preserves and off-shore islands, plenty of it is not only open to the public, but is being conserved for future generations by Island Heritage Trust.
If you want to reconnect with nature, this is the place to do it.
Wondering what else to do in Maine? Head here for a 5-minute guide to Maine travel.
4. You can enjoy the slow pace of island life.
I’m over here telling you about how wonderful Deer Isle is, but really, it’s not for everyone.
If you love the buzz of people crowding the sidewalks outside of countless downtown shops and restaurants, it might not be for you. If you want an hour-by-hour itinerary filled with activities that will have you racing from place to place, it might not be for you. If you crave nightlife, it’s probably not your scene.
But if you’d love sitting out on the deck in Stonington Harbor with nothing but a book, the smell of saltwater, and the sounds of gulls and lobstermen hauling their catch…
If you’d prefer an itinerary that says “Wake up, eat breakfast, and drive around”…
If you want to follow roadside signs to discover some quirky little shop or farm…
If you want to ditch the internet and instead ask locals what to do…
If you want to get away from the crowds with a simple drive over the bridge…
Deer Isle may just be your style.
5. Locals really are that friendly.
Get invited on a lobster boat at 4 AM? Maybe. Have a birding fanatic offer to show you around a local preserve? Perhaps. Meet interesting locals while hanging out in a coffee shop on a rainy day? Probably.
Deer Isle is the kind of place where all that might happen. (I didn’t make those scenarios up—they all happened to me or someone I met!)
I can’t guarantee where your stay on the island will take you, but if you slow down and really get to know those you meet, I’m certain you’ll have some unexpected adventures and interesting conversations.