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Whaleboat Island

Located between Chebeague Island and the southern end of Harpswell Neck, 122 acre Whaleboat is the largest wild island in Casco Bay. A grassy meadow and dense shrubland separate wind-ravaged spruce forest at either end of the island. The island's uplands are bordered by cobble beaches, fringing salt marsh, ledges, and dramatic cliffs. There are no trails on the island, but the rocky shoreline invites exploration at low tide.

Osprey, bald eagles, and migratory songbirds are all common sightings on Whaleboat, and migrating raptors are often seen in September when the wind blows from the north. In addition to outstanding scenery and natural resources, the remains of early settlers still stand on the island, including stone walls, a dug well, and a crumbling foundation.

Whaleboat Island offers three established campsites:

Meadow: The Meadow is located just inland from a shallow cove on the southeastern shore, and is a beautiful place to picnic or camp in the open. If it’s windy or rainy, this site offers no protection, and there is little privacy from other visitors. Small boats can land on the gravel beach in the cove at mid-high tide, and larger boats will find good anchorage just outside the cove. The Meadow site is first come, first served. Groups larger than 10 please contact MCHT for permission before camping.

North Site: Nestled in the woods along the northwestern shore and just north and inland from the red #2 channel marker, the North Site is mostly forested, and offers a few secluded grassy patches for campers to set up tents. There is good anchorage off shore, but the site is exposed to the prevailing southwesterlies. The North site is first come, first served, and best for groups up to 6.

Northwest Site: The Northwest Site is located a little further north along the shore from the North Site, and is just inland from a subtle dogleg in the shoreline. This site is available by reservation only, and is well-suited for guided groups and other commercial users. There is good anchorage just off of an all-tide gravel beach. This site is best suited for commercially guided groups, and offers 5-6 private places to set up tents. You can reserve this site online.

The entire 122-acre island was acquired by MCHT in 2002 with generous donations from area residents. The state's Land for Maine's Future program provided funds to help with the purchase.

Parking note: If you plan to park at the Mere Point Boat Launch you need to contact the Brunswick Department of Marine Resources to acquire a special parking permit. Overnight parking is not allowed in this lot without this permit. Please contact the Brunswick Harbor Master, Dan Devereaux by email or phone (207-721-4312), for more information about how to acquire this permit.

---------- Preserve Boundary

Download a printable preserve map (PDF)

Preserve information/guidelines

  • Camp At Established Campsites 
    • Limit Stay to 2 Nights
    • Use of Northwest Site by Reservation Only 
    • Groups Larger than 10 (Meadow Site) or 6 (North Site) and 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
    • 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

How to Get There

Whaleboat Island is located west of Harpswell Neck in Casco Bay. The closest public boat ramp is the Mere Point launch in Brunswick, just over 5 miles to the north-northeast, and the Dolphin Marina in Harpswell is roughly one mile to the southeast.

Whaleboat Island © 2005, Paul Rezendes