Thomas Island, Bar Harbor
The largest of a three-island archipelago in Mount Desert Narrows, Thomas Island offers an off-the-beaten path experience just minutes from Acadia National Park.
Thomas Island is great for:
- Kayaking – Launch your kayak into the well-protected waters of Mount Desert Narrows to explore Thomas Island and its surroundings.
- Picnicking – Picnic along the shore while scanning the area for resident wildlife including migratory shorebirds during the late summer and early fall.
- Camping – Spend a night at the island’s campsite after watching the sun set on the horizon.
How to get there
Thomas Island can be accessed from the beach located on Hadley Point (Bar Harbor), a little over a mile to the east. The island can also be accessed from a boat launch site in Trenton (just south of the Hancock County-Bar Harbor airport), or from a landing at Lamoine State Park. Thomas Island is most easily accessed by boat along its northeast shore. Be careful when anchoring as the island flats out a long way.
Please note: Browntail moth has been particularly bad on Thomas Island this year (2021). Take care!
For a complete map with legend and guidelines, click on the Printable Preserve Map above.
Notes on topography, flora, and fauna
The 64-acre Thomas Island Preserve is located on the south side of Mount Desert Narrows in the town of Bar Harbor. Thomas Island’s much smaller neighbors North and South Twinnie are part of the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Together, the three islands are frequented by bald eagles and form a panoramic backdrop that motorists enjoy while crossing onto Mount Desert Island while traveling to Acadia National Park.
Predominately covered by a Maritime spruce-fir forest, Thomas Island is surrounded by extensive tidal flats that support a productive shellfishery and marine worm habitat used by waterfowl, shorebirds, and local fishermen. In fact, there is evidence that humans have visited the area for at least the last thousand years, most likely using the island as a base for fish and shellfish harvesting.
Please stay clear of the eagle nesting site on nearby South Twinnie Island.
How Thomas Island became open to the public
MCHT acquired Thomas Island in 2005, thanks to a bargain sale by the previous owner and with support from a National Coastal Wetlands Grant.
This place belongs to all of us. Help us take care of it!
- Camp at Established Campsite (see map)
- Limit Stay to 2 Nights
- 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 Build Fire Rings
- 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 Strict Voice or Leash Control
- Do Not Remove Archaeological Artifacts