We’ll be hopscotching through Maine soon, and will be in Acadia N.P. for a couple of days. My hubby doesn’t paddle, and I won’t have my own boat. Can anyone recommend a good company which offers a nice half-day kayak tour for the Desert Island environs? Of course they all look good online, but very few seem to offer anything but tandem kayaks for their tours, and all of them seem rather boilerplate in their descriptions, catering to families/no experience/etc. Since I’ll have only one opportunity to paddle, I’d like to make a good choice. Thanks in advance for any recommendations you have! w.d.
Ocean or lakes?
The lakes on Mount Desert Island are very small and no tour guide is needed.
Not all lakes are small
Long Lake is just that…near Somesville.
as far as Bar Harbor it is sometimes possible to go solo. The guide can actually be an asset with local knowledge.
Aquaterra and Carpe Diem Kayaking
Aquaterra knocks out tours of the harbor and environs - good tours, but that’s what they do.
Carpe Diem is a couple of individuals who used to work more with Aquaterra but have focused on more individualized teaching and guiding the last couple or so years. They are great folks, and if you can get a hold of them to arrange something I suspect you could get a trip more customized and less the standard harbor thing than from a larger outfitter. Personally I’d rather launch out of some place like Seal Cove than the harbor area for a good kayak tour with a lot of Maine flavor to it. Carpe Diem has a web site - give them a call.
Long Lake is a fairly large lake in length, but pretty narrow. To me the worst problem is that the only place you can pull out for a break is the main beach at one end - mucho private ownership around it. The smaller pond is quite so and it’d be hard to fill three hours with that unless you really like observing flora up close. In sum, I think you’d enjoy the ocean more.
I appreciate all your suggestions, and since we’ve got lakes galore in Michigan (!), I would like to experience paddling on coastal ocean water. I’ll check out Aquaterra and Carpe Diem, Celia. Thanks again. w.d.
those two mentioned are good
and if you want to see the western part of the island (Blue Hill Bay) National Park Sea Kayak—or take a detour to Stonington–and go with Old Quarry Ocean Adventures
Carpe Diem is top notch, and offers the most customized experience. Mel and Mark only have singles, and their boats are high end (Impex, NDK, etc). You won’t be part of a group of tourists if you can book these guys - it’ll just be you and the guide. (disclosure - I’m friends with these guys)
I think most of the outfitters in Bar Harbor only offer tandems, although Aquaterra had singles as of last year. I’d guess that’s probably still the case.
Old Quarry (disclosure - I work there) also offers singles, and has a variety of Necky boats, but all poly. Old Quarry can get you to Acadia on Isle au Haut (during a 2-night kayak trip, for example, or on a day trip aboard their tour boat), but you won’t get very close to Mount Desert Island with Old Quarry. Great area with tons of small islands and an out-of-the-way feel, but not quite as bold and ocean-y as the waters off Mount Desert Island.
If you’ve got the time, take a custom tour out of Bar Harbor, and go see the caves and cliffs of Ironbound Island (about 2-3 miles from Bar Harbor). You may need more than 4 hours for that though, if you’re not pretty fast paddlers. The regular group tours won’t go out there so you’d have to set that up with the outfitter.
Have a nice visit! Great place!
Thanks to JonSprag and NateHanson
Thanks very much for more recommendations. I wish I could paddle all the areas you’ve suggested, but it wouldn’t be fair to my hubby who will be landbound! Perhaps Carpe Diem will have an appropriate tour for me, and renting a quality boat is a major plus as well. w.d.
Woops, you’re right
It’s 4 miles long. Thanks for the correction.
Acadia park kayak tours
I did a trip with Brescian from Acadia park kayak tours and it was the highlight of my trip to Maine. Enough that I bought a kayak upon my return from vacation - and the Maine trip was only the second time I was in a boat. Brescian is a fantastic guide and young man.
Check out his reviews on trip advisor as well. The best way to experience frenchman's bay.