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Why the Midcoast is one of our favorite paddling destinations!

Sunrise on a midcoast paddle

Spotlight on: Midcoast Maine!

Just a short drive from the greater Portland area, the midcoast is the home to two of our multiday trips, the brand new Midcoast Expedition and the perrenial favorite Muscongus Bay! Each trip is an approachable three days long (two nights of camping) and gives you a delicious taste of what kayak camping is all about!


Why is the midcoast such a great place to paddle? Well…

Map of the Southern Midcoast from the Kennebec to Pemaquid

The southern Midcoast, sometimes called the “six rivers” region

  1. Rich in both Indigenous and European history! – The midcoast has some of the densest sites of archaeological shell middens, evidence of Indigenous habitation ranging from post contact back to paleo times. It is also the site of some of the first European settlements in New England, where fishermen would dry cod and haddock before returning to England and France.
  2. Wildlife galore! – The mixing of the ocean environment with some of Maine’s largest river systems means that there is abundant food for seals, porpoise, sea birds, and sturgeon! The region is also a robust fishery, with clam, oyster, mussel, lobster, bloodworm, and urchin all being regularly fished. A number of Maine’s sea bird island nesting reserves are found off of the midcoast as well, increasing your chances of seeing rare and endangered birds!
  3. Diverse paddling environments – The midcoast looks like the whole coast of Maine smooshed together, bringing the vibes of southern and downeast Maine together in one place! Sand beaches, rocky cliffs, grassy saltmarshes, and seaweed covered boulders nestle side by side, backed by diverse forests of oak, maple, hemlock, and pine!

    Map of Muscongus Bay

    Muscongus Bay, the nothern Midcoast, from Pemaquid to Port Clyde

  4. Numerous forts and lighthouses – Including the iconic Pemaquid Point Light, civil war era fort Popham, and Seguin Island Light, home of the only surviving crystal 1st order Fresnel Lens north of Massachusetts!
  5. A taste of “real Maine” – tiny harbors, working lobster boats, peaceful day sailors, and not much else, remind us of a simpler way of life and give visitors a taste of “the way life should be”!
Seaweed covered rocks with an island lighthouse in the distance

Cuckold’s Lighthouse off of Southport Island – photo courtesy of Portland Paddle guide Garrison Wickerd

We don’t want you to just take our word for it though, so we asked our guides and staff what their favorite things are about paddling in the midcoast. Here were their thoughts:

“The midcoast is basically all water, there are so many secret, hidden waterways, which unlock such beautiful spaces! The area around the Back River and Boothbay Peninsula is one place that I love and that I would love to explore even more!” – Melanie C

“My favorite memory of the midcoast is sitting on the Sheepscot river on a warm fall day watching the Monarch Butterflies migrate south. I didn’t know before that they travel thousands of miles, many of them over open water” – Alex K

“One of my favorite sites is the shipwreck off of Loud’s Island in Muscongus Bay! It’s wicked large and mostly intact, really cool!” – Carter M

“Listening to Sturgeon jump at sunset while my group cozies up with a hot drink around the campfire on an island in Knubble Bay!” – Eric N

“The Midcoast region of Maine is a amazing place for both experienced and new kayakers to explore. Look at a map or chart of the area, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’ll be a trip worth remembering!” – Garrison W

“I love how quiet paddling in Muscongus Bay is, so few people!” – Josh

A Kayak on the beach with Fort Popham in the background

Fort Popham – photo courtesy of Portland Paddle guide Garrison Wickerd