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On the Water

Sea Kayaking

A group of individuals kayaking in the ocean.

A group of individuals kayaking in the ocean.


Maine’s 3,500 miles of coastline provide you with a variety of environments for sea kayaking adventures, ranging from the calm to the challenging. As you explore, you can watch for seals, porpoises, ducks, ospreys and eagles. Your choices include:

  • paddling the seas of Downeast Maine from Acadia east to the Bold Coast while enjoying scenes of rugged spruce and fir-studded headlands and steep cliffs of pink granite;
  • exploring the long, sheltered peninsulas and secluded islands of the Midcoast, from Penobscot Bay to Casco Bay, where many inland rivers flow to meet the sea;
  • enjoying the waters and waves along the sandy beaches of the southern coast from Portland to Kittery;
  • or paddling along the 375-mile Maine Island Trail—America's first water trail designed to protect the fragile coastal environment and provide an organized recreational route for sea kayakers—which winds through the Maine coast. Along the way, you'll find 180 designated islands and campsites. You can plan a trip for a few hours, a day, or a week or more.

You might want to land your kayak on a remote island ledge or beach, have a hearty lunch, enjoy a swim, go beachcombing, or take a hike through the fragrant woods. On the other hand, you might want to paddle into a working harbor, land your boat, and take in the sights and sounds of fishing boats plying the waters as you enjoy a dinner of fresh-cooked lobster, corn-on-the-cob and chowder at a dockside restaurant.

Numerous outfitters provide complete sea kayak equipment rental packages, as well as instruction for paddlers from beginner to intermediate. Expertly guided tours range from a few hours, to half- and full-day excursions, to multi-day trips that include meals, instruction and camping on offshore islands. You could also arrange to stay at an inn and take advantage of meals, warm beds and hot showers.