Avoid Portland’s congestion and head 40 minutes north to Bailey Island. This is a Maine vacation paradise you shouldn’t overlook. The quieter setting is ideal for true rest and relaxation where you can leave your doors unlocked while you wander down to the beach and not worry about crime.
At two miles in length and no more than a half-mile in width, you might think Bailey Island is too small for any notable attractions. This is completely untrue.
North of Harpswell Island, the Cribstone Bridge is Bailey Island’s connection to the mainland. The Bailey Island Bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places and worth a closer look. Granite slabs formed the structure of this curved, narrower bridge that uses natural spacing between the slabs to allow water through during high tide. There’s a pedestrian-only path to the side so that you can walk from one island to the other without worrying about traffic.
The Giant Stairs is accessible via a well-groomed trail that covers about 1/3 mile on the eastern side of the island. There’s parking near the church off Washington Avenue. The actual “stairs” are huge rocks that take the form of a staircase leading down to the water. There’s also a marker honoring Captain Henry Sinnett and his wife who donated the land to public use. Pets are welcome on this trail.
Take time to view the Fisherman Statue at Lands End. The statue honors Maine’s fishermen who “devoted their lives to the sea.” The statue sits adjacent to walking paths and rocks that overlook the waters and rocky Lands End Beach on the southern tip of Bailey Island. Be careful when strolling the area as the roses are intermixed with patches of poison ivy. The Lands End store does carry a remedy, as well as homemade fudge, Maine goods, and clothing.
Mackerel Cove is the place to watch lobstermen hard at work. You can watch lobsters being sorted, banded, and crated here. There’s a small sandy beach and a Red Cross monument in the small park. It’s also part of the Johnson Field Preserve, so you can spot birds in the surrounding fields and shrubbery.
There are four restaurants on the island, including the popular Cook’s Lobster House. Save money and eat at Morse’s Cribstone Grille. The food is amazing, service is excellent, and prices are far more reasonable.
Where to Stay on Bailey Island
Bailey Island is home to four suitable hotels: Bailey Island Motel, Cook’s Island View Motel, Driftwood Inn, and Log Cabin Inn. All four hotels are on the northern end or center of the island. If you want to be closer to Lands End and the public beach on the south end, your best bet is to rent a cottage.
There are dozens of rentals available to tourists. Prices depend on the season, but the cost often is lower than a week in one of the area hotels, and you enjoy privacy by having a home to yourself. This home includes a kitchen, which helps you avoid the expense of meals out every night.
Getting to Bailey Island
Bailey Island is south of Brunswick, Maine. After exiting Route 1 or the 295, follow Route 24 all the way south.