My wife and I will be going to the mid coast of Maine (Thomaston)in August, anyone been there, where did you paddle and how was it? Thanks
You can’t go wrong there. Best paddling on the east coast, IMO.
From Thomaston, you have access to Penobscot Bay, Muscongus Bay & Boothbay Harbor, all within a 45 minute or so drive. I’d recommend Muscongus Bay highly — you can launch from the town ramp in Friendship & be right in the middle of the bay.
You can also launch out or Rockland, Rockport, or Camden to see Penobscot Bay. Boothbay Harbor is worth a daytrip, too. Definitely get a chart for anywhere you go — tide range is about 9 feet, and you can get lost easily because your launch site looks nothing at high tide like it does at low tide.
And be careful where you park — municipal facilities and fee launches are preferred, as the local fishermen don’t take kindly to out of state cars with kayak racks on them (Lots of vandalism to “flatlanders” cars there). A little caution will save you some headaches.
Girlfriend & I are heading to Castine & then on to Stonington this friday for a 3 day symposium & then 2 days of paddling on our own. Can’t wait!!!
I’m writing from the Rockland Public Library. My wife and I are in the middle of three weeks on Flood’s Cove in Friendship.
Muscongus Bay is fabulous for paddling! Inumerable islands, great array of seas.
There are a couple of good books and the best source may be MITA (Maine Island Trail Association). Sort of a coastal ADK (Adirondak Mountain Club). With membership you get a great guide book and access to islands. Well worth the price.
I think their web site is They have offices in Rockland and Portland.
We’ve been coming to Mid-Coast Maine for 14 years and it is my favorite place to paddle.
BTW - GOMSKS was fantastic!
A bunch of us went kayaking from Stonington, exploring the many little islands on the first half day we got there and on the second day, we paddled out to the Isle au Haut lighthouse on the western side and ate lunch at Kimbell (sp?) island. Most of the island is private so you can’t really pull up except at the southern part where the campground is and where it’s part of Acadia. A very nice paddle, I felt almost jipped because the day was perfect. We did this on July 4th and the conditions were like no wind, the water was like glass, I’ve paddled in small lakes that was rougher. We also saw a bald eagle perched up in a tree which was fitting for July 4th…
Already mentioned here is Camden, Rockland, and Rockport. You can paddle out to Warren Island to camp there too, MITA is an obvious reference point too…
Have fun, it’s great!
I dont know if you are daytripping or overnighting, but this is closest to Thomaston. You didnt come to Maine to drive right?
These islands are very similar to those off Stonington, without the parking and launch hassle.
Public launch at Tenants Harbor off Rt 131 (which goes to Thomaston).
There is also a launch on the George River in THomaston.
Other access: Wheelers Bay Marine on Clark Marine($3 per boat)
South Thomaston public launch (except at dead low when it muds out)
Birch Point State Park.
The Muscle Ridge Islands are lovely with lighthouses and are seldom used as people go to the more famous areas, which I personally wont go to until after August! Boothbay Harbor and Camden are lovely but not in the summer.
De Lorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer is indispensible; it has all the launches indicated.
Yep, it was a good time! I got in all the classes I wanted, paddled around Castine every day, and saw Walter Cronkite in a restauraunt (I didn’t buy the meal plan) I was having a beer at while it was raining saturday night. Wayne Horodowich’s surf class and Nigel Foster’s boat control & strokes classes stood out for me.
Speaking of Nigel, my girlfriend can’t stop talking about demoing his Silouette…I demoed it, too, and it’s one of the best sea kayaks I’ve ever paddled. Looks like there might be another boat in the stable soon, though we may have to cull one out (We have 6 sea kayaks at the moment & one doesn’t get used much).
And Stonington was just spectacular, especially the day we paddled to Isle au Haut.
You can’t go wrong up there…
Like other folk, my favorite area is Muscongus Bay, particularly when the waves get bouncing off the southeast side of Pemaquid Point. I’ll be up there the next two weeks. We stay on Damariscotta Lake (14 miles long, freshwater, with a sandy beach at the north end), which empties into the amazing Great Salt Bay (where we often stay in the winter) and through a set of reversing falls in the Damariscotta River, which opens into Muscongus Bay. I paddle with my family on the lake, then head out myself into the Bay, usually launching from Round Pond, on the opposite side of the bay from Friendship–no worries about ferries from Round Pond. There are many easy launch sites. I highly recommend Dorcas Miller’s “Paddling the Maine Coast” and Lee Bumsted’s "Hot Showers.’
The little harbors, like Rockland and Thomaston, are charming. You can paddle from there out to the Muscle Ridge Islands, which are gorgeous. My personal favorite is Christmas Cove, which has a great circumnavigation through ‘the gut’ and past the Thread of Life islands. I did it mid-winter once, and it might have been my all-time favorite paddle.
Have a great time!
A highlight of GOMSKS was having Nigel Foster fit me into a Legend. Nigel confirmed my feeling from previous demoes that I’m too big for a Silhouette and the Legend is just right. My wife spent a bit of time with him on the beach on Saturday and she liked both the Silhouette and the Legend.