Need Experience & Motivation - Maine Island Trail & Other Trips

Hi everyone,

In addition to other trips, I’ve wanted to do the Maine Island Trail in full for a little over a decade. In 2020 I buckled and bought a sea kayak and marine safety gear (flares, radio, etc). I also have a 7 footer for easy river/lake trips.

The thing is, I understand how dangerous a trip like that would be without proper experience (I have very little in the ocean, mostly just enjoying the calm bayside), but I feel like I have no idea where to even begin to get that experience. I don’t want to become an example of “what not to do”, and I’m not rushing to getting started without being prepared.

That said, I feel like I need some motivation as I’m not really connected to a community (currently in Richmond, VA), and I’d like some help identifying smaller trips, events, or even just routines, to help me start doing anything really. I’m in my later 30s, have spent a lot of that time focused on work & the grind, and I don’t want to wait any longer to build a life around some remarkable kayaking/biking/backpacking trips.

Please help if you can.



Go with a professional outfit on a guided trip. I’m sure someone else with knowledge of who is good in Maine will come by and give you specific recommendations.

There is over 3500-6500 miles of coastline in Maine.
Yes the discrepancy is a thing
For discussion elsewhere
Some of the coast is exposed and some not
I take it you have the MITA guidebook
which is invaluable for finding camping and learning the danger areas
If not become a member. Its worth it
Muscongus Bay is quite sheltered and has a good week of paddling
Some of the islands feel very wild
We usually have launched from Broad Cove Marina
Another possibility but more boat traffic is Casco Bay

Look for gatherings of sea kayakers with skills training. It’ll cost some bucks but totally worth it for that goal. For ex Kiptokepe Sea Kayaking symposium at Cape Charles or Midcoast Sea Kayaking Rendezvous in October.

And as kayamedic suggests look for doable chunks. While going around Pemaquid Point is a weighty passage as is exiting Muscongus on the eastern side, there are numerous options within this bay that provide somewhat sheltered options. Just be aware that MITA has a sense of humor. There are a couple of single person camping sites that anyone who uses them successfully should get a medal.

Casco Bay has l believe similar levels of accessibility, but may be pretty crowded. Pemaquid Bay has become challenged on any place to leave a car for a spell. The Bold Coast is IMO not a place for an initial try given the impacts of those tides.

IMO minimal skills should include a pretty solid roll for this solo. And yeah dry wear. Especially if you are used to more southern climes.


In VA? Have you looked into Chesapeake Paddlers Association?

Quite a good organization. They have groups spread out around the Bay region. They do classes and quite a few group paddles. Lots of resources listed on their site. I think there’s some instruction available in the Northern Neck area near you also.

A wonderful paddle is from
Winslow Park in Freeport to thr Goslings
No tidal races three to four miles
Goslings are free camping. Maine Coast Heritage Trust owns them
From there its a ahort hop to Whaleboat or Little Chebeague
All are in Casco Bay
I don’t understand why people think its crowded
Aside from working lobster boats there is plenty of room. I live there year round

More big boat traffic when Jim and I were there trying out boats. Like commercial freight and cruise boats.

the cruise lines have to go between Peaks and the peninsula
If you were at Maine Kayak that is a busy area and Id never recommend it to a paddler from away
Launching from Eastern Prom avoids any of that
Even my dear kayaking friend from Peaks does not always kayak to work downtown and hes been a resident for 70 years
However Celia that is a tiny part of the bay

Good to know, for me and others from away. Portland is a neat city, that and Cape Elizabeth not so far away likely to catch someone’s eye.

hey Celia. an aside but the seas were sone gnarly today
Many years ago we did explore Franklin Island in outer Muscongus Bay
How in the hockey sticks we did it on foot I have no idea
It must have been dead calm and high tide
The waves were crashing today even at low tide
Even the mini beach under the dock remains was iffy
No paddling today I touristed on the Laura B

Yeah, marine forecast made today an errand day. Lovely to look at, not to be out in solo. Bigger sailboats were having a ball though.

I know someone who camped on Little Marsh. Wish he had someone take pictures of how he got his gear and his kayak secured in that maybe 20 sq ft at the top.