Experience the breadth of Casco Bay and its hundreds of islands by joining this three-day journey on the Maine Island Trail. This is our most popular trip, and it includes visits to some of the most fascinating islands on the Maine coast.
Casco Bay Overnight
- Adult Ages 18+
- Child Ages 13-17
- Private Tour Contact to book
A Two-Day Adventure Camping on the Maine Island Trail
This trip offers a chance to experience the joys of kayak camping in the gorgeous and rugged islands of Casco Bay. Some of our favorite campsites on the Maine Island Trail are found in this bay, along with abundant wildlife, fascinating historical landmarks, pristine beaches, wave-battered headlands and sheltered coves. The Casco Bay Overnight is a shorter version of our three-day Casco Bay Traverse, making it a great way to get a taste of sea kayak touring on the Maine Island Trail for those who can’t commit to a longer trip.
Where You’ll Paddle
There are hundreds of islands in Casco Bay, creating endless options for exploration. The island you spend the night on will be determined by the sea and weather conditions, as well as by the group’s pace. One common destination is Jewell Island, a wild island with gorgeous vistas and an extensive network of hiking trails. Other potential island destinations include Little Chebeague, ringed by sandy beaches, Whaleboat Island, a wild preserve beside the open Atlantic, or Bangs Island, a rarely-visited gem with gorgeous vistas of the open bay.
You’ll start out kayaking past fishing vessels as you leave the harbor and towards the exposed shorelines of the bay’s wilder islands. Along the way, you’ll pass hidden beaches and rugged, rocky headlands. As you paddle across the bay you’ll encounter abundant wildlife like seals and seabirds, and you’ll experience a diverse range of marine environments, from exposed ocean shorelines to the calm waters of coastal estuaries. You’ll also witness fascinating remnants of the past, like abandoned forts and centuries-old lighthouses, and glimpses of the working waterfronts that are the heart of Maine’s island communities.
The itinerary will depend on the conditions and the group. You can expect to paddle for several hours each day, with many breaks along the way. Your guide will choose a route that takes maximum advantage of the wind direction and tidal currents, while ensuring that the group moves at a pace that is comfortable for all participants.
You’ll meet your guide and the other participants at 8:30am on the first day of the trip. After checking in and unloading anything you plan to bring on the trip, our staff will direct you to an area where you can park overnight. Then your guide will offer a brief overview of the itinerary, select a kayak for you, help you pack your boat and deliver a brief paddling lesson. Next, it’s time to hit the water!
We ask participants to pack a lunch for the first day of the trip, but after that all meals are provided (dinner, breakfast and the second lunch), along with snacks and drinking water, tea and coffee. Portland Paddle also provides all the necessary kayaking gear and dry bags for packing your belongings. Tents are provided at no extra cost, though some people prefer to use their own. There is a small rental fee to use a sleeping bag and sleeping pad if you are not able to bring your own. Cold water paddling gear such as wetsuits and neoprene booties are also available for rent, and are recommended early in the season (May & June) when the water is still especially cold.
In some cases this trip ends at a different location than it starts. In that case, you will be driven back to Portland. Either way, you can expect to arrive back at the starting point in Portland between 3:30pm and 4:30pm.
- Camping alongside the ocean at an island campsite
- Views of lighthouses, abandoned forts and working lobsterboats as you paddle out of the harbor
- Paddling along stunning rocky coastlines exposed to the open ocean
- Visiting several other islands along your route
- Learning the basics of sea kayak touring — a great introduction for those interested in longer expeditions!
- Three well-rounded, delicious meals (dinner, breakfast and lunch)
- Kayaks and other paddling gear
- Two dry bags for packing your belongings
- Licensed Maine guide
You don’t need to have experience with kayak camping or long sea kayaking trips to join. This trip can be a great fit for first-time kayak campers. However, since the group will paddle for several hours each day we ask that each participant meet the following requirements:
- Prior experience paddling a sea kayak (sea kayaks are somewhat different than the “recreational” kayaks common on lakes and rivers)
- Ability to paddle at a moderate pace for several hours in one day (with plenty of island breaks)
- Ability to walk comfortably on uneven surfaces (such as following a short, rocky trail from a beach to a campsite)
- Comfort with tent camping
If you would prefer to book a private trip that is just for your group we would be happy to make that happen. A private trip allows your guide to customize the itinerary to fit the interests and experience levels of those in your group. It’s also a good option if the dates of our public trips listed on the calendar above don’t work for your group.
To get more information and request a private trip please submit the form on this page.