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Little Whaleboat Island, Harpswell

Located west of its larger namesake neighbor in Casco Bay, Little Whaleboat Island Preserve is wonderful as a daytime destination or for an overnight adventure.

An Aerial View Of Little Whaleboat Island In Maine's Casco Bay.

Little Whaleboat is great for:

  • Paddling – Carefully navigate the waters of Casco Bay to Little Whaleboat’s rocky shores – consider a stop at Whaleboat Island or the Goslings, two nearby MCHT preserves.
  • Camping – Get away for an evening or two by setting up camp under the stars at one of the island’s two developed campsites (available on a first-come first-serve basis). A small trail connects the two campsites.
  • Wildlife Observation – Scan the island’s forests for resident avian species, while looking across the surrounding waters for seals and other marine life.

Please avoid the southern end of the island before July 31st due to nesting birds.

How to get there

From the Mere Point Public Boat Launch (near southern tip of Mere Point in Brunswick), proceed in a southeasterly direction to the east side of Upper Goose and Lower Goose Islands. When Mitchell Field on Harpswell Neck is on your left, Little Whaleboat is approximately 1.5 miles southwest. Beware of significant ledges to the northwest and south of the island. The best landing beach locations are on the northwest corner of the island. Significant ledges extend north and south from the island. The best anchorage is off the northeast side of the island, east of islets Nate and Tuck. Make sure the anchor is well set, as holding can be tricky. Moorings are privately owned and not for public use.

Little Whaleboat East (the small island between Little Whaleboat West and Whaleboat, barred at low tide to Little Whaleboat West) is not part of this preserve and is not open to the public. Please be mindful of private property signs and respectful of preserve neighbors.

Get directions from Google Maps Printable Preserve Map

For a complete map with legend and guidelines, click on the Printable Preserve Map above.

Notes on topography, flora, and fauna

Little Whaleboat Island is a 22.2-acre island with approximately 1.5-mile shoreline in Casco Bay. It is part of a cluster of islands located southwest of the Goslings and west of Whaleboat Island. MCHT ownership does NOT include Little Whaleboat East (small island between Little Whaleboat West and Whaleboat, barred at low tide to Little Whaleboat West).

The islets of Nate and Tuck (west of the island and a part of the preserve) and the adjacent Little Whaleboat Island East (privately held and not part of the preserve) are barred at very low tides across a fine pebbles and sandy mud surface. Portions of the generally rocky shoreline and areas in-and-around the ledges/islets are classified as aquatic bed wetlands, featuring plentiful floating and submerged vegetation. Various types of seaweed and eelgrass are present.

The island hosts a typical spruce-fir forest community. Bald eagles, osprey, and great blue herons have nested and/or established rookeries on the island in the past (south end of island) and similar instances of these nesting bird species have been located on islands in the general vicinity in recent years.

How this place became open to the public

MCHT purchased the Little Whaleboat Island Preserve in 2021 with wide-spread financial support from a generous anonymous donor and hundreds of others including Paul’s Marina and Maine Beer Company. The latter released their Little Whaleboat IPA to celebrate the community effort to protect the island.

Preserve information/guidelines

  • Camp at Established Campsites Only
    • Limit Stay to 2 Nights
    • Groups Larger Than 6 and Commercial Users by Permission Only. Please call 207-729-7366.
  • Fires by Permit Only – Maine State Law
    • Visit 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