World-class paddling opportunities abound for adventurous visitors to Acadia National Park along the many miles of scenic coastline of Mount Desert Island. Myriad islands, inlets, and coves await exploration, while inland are a variety of sparkling lakes and ponds bordered by quiet forests. Grand mountain vistas, rugged sea cliffs, abundant bird and animal life, refreshing coastal air, and spectacular sunrises and sunsets all make for a memorable park experience by either sea kayak or canoe.
Ocean kayakers can paddle Mount Desert Narrows at the north end of the island or make loop trips through the archipelago of the Porcupine Islands in Frenchman Bay east of Bar Harbor for a chance to see harbor seals, porpoises, eagles, and ospreys. Make a visit to Bear Island Light and Sutton Island southwest of Seal Harbor, or tour the waters of Somes Sound, the only natural fjord in eastern U.S. Poke about the quiet western side of Mount Desert Island at the Pretty Marsh Harbor or Seal Cove in Blue Hill Bay or make the full-day trek in and around the historic Cranberry Islands.
Novice and experienced sea kayakers alike will enjoy going out on an organized group tour with an experienced outfitter. Tours range from a couple of hours or a half-day to a full day or overnight paddles in single or tandem boats. Multi-day kayaking and island camping trips can be arranged as well. Special tours for sunsets, fireworks and the like are available. Outfitters provide all the necessary equipment, friendly and knowledgeable guides plus instruction.
Savvy kayakers without gear who prefer to go out on their own can rent a boat complete with paddle, personal floatation device, maps, and advice. Sea kayak launch sites are located at Hadley Point, Bar Harbor, Seal Harbor, Northeast Harbor, on Sargent Drive on the east side of Somes Sound, Manset, Bass Harbor, and Seal Cove.
There is plenty of quiet water paddling to be had on the many lovely lakes and ponds of the interior of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. From the seat of your canoe or kayak, enjoy wildlife sightings and views of spruce and pine-studded, pink granite mountains. Official boat launches are located at the north end Eagle Lake, the south end of Jordan Pond, the north and south shores of Long Pond, at Ike’s Landing on Echo Lake, and at Seal Cove Pond, but you can slide a canoe or kayak into numerous other ponds too.