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Lanes Island

Located near the mouth of the Royal River, Lanes Island has drawn visitors to its sandy shores for centuries.

Lanes Island is great for:

  • Picnicking – Paddle across the short, well-protected route leading to beaches that are ideal for an afternoon picnic.
  • Camping – Spend a night on a Casco Bay Island and listen to the waves lapping the shoreline. Scroll down for more information.
  • Duck Hunting/Birdwatching – Take advantage of the island’s rich habitats that lure waterfowl and other birds throughout the year.

How to get there

Lanes Island is easily accessible at mid-to-high tides from Freeport’s Winslow Park or the Town of Yarmouth’s Royal River boat launch. There is a fee for parking and use of ramps at both facilities, and be sure to check the tides before visiting – or you could find yourself stuck, or dragging a kayak through the mud! Also, note that the shallow, south-facing cove drains completely at low tide, despite what nautical charts indicate.

The two best landing sites are a small, gravelly beach near the northern end of the southeastern shoreline, and the western sandy beach closest to the mouth of the river. Of these, only the former is accessible at all tides – though at low tide, the water is still only a few feet deep.

Get directions from Google Maps

Places to camp

There are two campsites on the island. The eastern site is a large group site (groups up to 15), and available by reservation only. The western site is available on a first-come, first-serve basis for two nights at a time (groups up to 6).

Watch your step

Please be aware and avoid poison ivy and invasive fire ants found outside of established campsites.

Help protect the surrounding clam flats

Lanes is important to local shellfish harvesters, who stage gear and await the right tides on the island while harvesting the important clam flats surrounding it. A note to visitors with dogs: please be especially scrupulous cleaning up after your dog, since waste seriously threatens the health of these flats and the livelihoods of harvesters!

Many have walked here before

Lanes Island has an important cultural history. The island was used by Abenaki people during pre-settlement times, and was also farmed by European settlers beginning in the mid-17th century (including James Lane, for whom the island was named). If you encounter any cultural relics, please do not tamper with them.

Notes on topography, flora & fauna

The 28-acre Lanes Island Preserve lies just east of the mouth of the Royal River in Yarmouth. The island features a few stretches of sand beach and fringing salt marsh, and is nearly surrounded by mud flat at low tide. Steep, eroding embankments characterize much of the island’s shoreline.

How this place became open to the public

Lanes Island was generously donated to MCHT in 2013. After spending decades acquiring shares of the island and uniting it under single ownership, the island’s previous owners wished to see it permanently conserved for public enjoyment and wildlife habitat.

This place belongs to all of us. Help us take care of it!

Preserve information/guidelines:

  • Camp At Established Campsites
    • Limit Stay to 2 Nights
    • Use of large group site by reservation only
    • Commercial Users by Permission Only. Please call 207-729-7366.
  • Fires By Permit Only - Maine State Law
    • Contact Maine Forest Service at 1-800-750-9777 for permit
    • Keep All Fires Below High Tide Line or in the large stone fire ring in the western campsite
    • Do Not Cut or Break Tree Limbs, Dead or Alive
    • Leave No Fire Unattended
    • Completely Extinguish All Fires
  • Carry Out All Trash
    • Including Human and Pet Waste and Toilet Paper
  • Keep Pets Under Control
  • Do Not Remove Archaeological Artifacts

These are just a few of our preserves, be sure to check out the full list of beautiful places to visit along the Maine coast.