Last updated on September 22nd, 2023 at 08:08 pm
A hidden gem sitting just off the coast of Maine, Monhegan Island is the perfect destination for a day trip filled with adventure, breathtaking views, and the ultimate chance to reconnect with nature. With its rugged coastline, vibrant art community, and miles of pristine hiking trails, Monhegan Island promises a day full of unforgettable experiences. This blog post will delve into the top things to do on a day trip to this captivating island, providing you with the ultimate guide to exploring Monhegannorma’s incredible offerings. So, pack your bags and get ready to be immersed in the mesmerizing beauty of Monhegan Island, Maine.
About the Island
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 relaxed atmosphere, and its unhurried pace. Mohegan is authentic, beautiful, and rustic. Just 10 miles offshore, Monhegan is a mountainous island where about 70 residents live within a square mile of spectacularly scenic terrain with no cars! You can only get to the island via ferry, and we recommend taking Hardy Boat Cruises’ Monhegan Island Ferry Service out of New Harbor.
1. Hike the Island’s Trails
There’s no better way to explore Monhegan Island’s natural beauty than by taking a hike amid the island’s 12-mile trail network. With varying difficulty levels, the trails take you through lush forests, pass by vibrant wildflowers, and offer panoramic views of the rocky coastline.
The first stop on your day trip should be the breathtaking Cliff Trail. This stunning coastal hike offers unparalleled scenic views and the opportunity to explore the island’s rugged cliffs, which have inspired many artists from around the world. Not only do the dramatic views of the rocky shoreline offer amazing photo opportunities, but you might also spot some wildlife, such as seals and various bird species.
Another must-visit spot on Monhegan Island is the mystical Cathedral Woods. This magical hiking trail leads you through an enchanting forest filled with tall spruce trees, creating a cathedral-like atmosphere. The highlight of Cathedral Woods is the whimsical collection of fairy houses, carefully crafted by both locals and visitors using only natural materials found within the woods such as cut tree limbs, moss, and rocks. The fairy houses are a testament to the community’s creativity, and exploring them provides a delightful and spellbinding experience.
During a visit to Maine, author/illustrator Tracy Kane was inspired by the fairies of Monhegan Island to write a popular series of books on how to build a Fairy house. Portsmouth, NH, Kane’s hometown now hosts an annual Fairy House Tour. Unfortunately, the popularity of Kane’s fairy house books has increased the number of visitors coming to build fairy houses themselves. Consequently, to discourage the construction of fairy houses, locals have posted signs with the message. “These wildlands are all privately owned. Please help keep them pristine.” Some members of the anti-fairy movement are known as “Stompers,” because of their tendency to destroy fairy houses they discover. They believe that the fairy houses do not follow the “leave-no-trace” outdoor ethic and may degrade the forest ecosystem especially when people add things like bottle caps and plastic toys to enhance them. I personally like the ones that are all natural, and so small that you have to look closely to find them.
2. Visit the Monhegan Island Light and Museum
Standing tall since 1850, the Monhegan Island Light is an iconic lighthouse, a symbol of the island’s rich history. Make sure to stop at this historic site and take a moment to appreciate the picturesque views. Just beside the lighthouse, you’ll also find the Monhegan Museum, home to a diverse collection of the island’s history, art, and memorabilia. The museum offers a unique insight into Monhegan’s storied past, including its vast connections with artists and fishermen alike.
3. Relax and Picnic at Lobster Cove Beach
After a morning of hiking and exploring, it’s time for a well-deserved break. Lobster Cove Beach provides the perfect spot to relax and take in the natural beauty of the island. With its sandy shores and mesmerizing views of the ocean, Lobster Cove Beach is the ideal location for a seaside picnic. Bring a blanket and some locally caught seafood or a hearty sandwich from one of the island’s few eateries and enjoy a leisurely picnic while soaking up the sun and scenery.
4. Explore the Art Scene
Monhegan Island’s breathtaking landscapes have long drawn artists to its shores, leading to a flourishing art community. Immerse yourself in the local scene by visiting the numerous art galleries that showcase paintings, sculptures, and photographs. You might even catch a glimpse of many talented resident artists working on their next Monhegan masterpiece. Don’t forget to pick up a creative souvenir to remember your visit.
5. Enjoy Bird-watching and Botanical Bliss
For nature enthusiasts, Monhegan Island is nothing short of paradise. Home to a variety of migratory birds, the island is a hotspot for bird-watching, particularly during the spring and fall migration seasons. Moreover, its diverse plant life makes it a botanical haven, featuring more than 400 species of native and introduced plants. Keep an eye out for local wildlife habitats among the landscape for a chance to spot some incredible island creatures.
6. Savor the Scenic Ferry Ride Back to the Mainland
To conclude your day trip to Monhegan Island, sit back and embrace the scenic ferry ride back to the mainland. As you relax on the boat, take in the stellar views of the coastline and appreciate the unforgettable memories made on this enchanting island. With a little luck, you might even spot whales and dolphins in the distance or sea lions sunning on the rocks adding to the magical experience.
A visit to Monhegan Island is a stop not to be missed on your Coast Maine road trip.