It’s worth the trip!
Since the Light Station is on an island, it takes some planning to visit us. We’ve gathered all the information you need about getting to the island and some basic travel logistics…
Getting to Swan’s Island by Ferry
You can reach Swan’s Island by Maine State Ferry service. The ferry makes several round trips each day between Bass Harbor and Swan’s Island. The trip takes about 30 minutes each way. The Light Station is about 3.5 miles from the ferry landing. You can drive your car on to the ferry, take your bicycle, or walk on. See Ferry FAQs below for information you need to know about making a ferry reservation and getting on to the ferry.
For more information about taking the ferry, see the information below. For an up-to-date schedule with fares, visit http://maine.gov/mdot/ferry/swansisland/
Where do I get the ferry?
The ferry leaves from the Bass Harbor Ferry Terminal, which is at 45 Granville Rd., Tremont, ME, phone 207-244-3254.
How often does the ferry run?
Most days, the ferry makes six round trips. The last ferry from the island back to Bass Harbor is at 4:30 pm. Be aware that ferry runs can sometimes (rarely) be canceled or delayed because of weather conditions, medical emergencies or equipment malfunctions. See Maine State Ferry Service website for timetable, fare information and phone numbers.
Can I bring my car to the island?
The ferry usually can take 17 cars. There are four reservations available for each ferry trip. You can make a reservation up to 30 days in advance. If you are bringing your car to the island, it is highly advisable to have a reservation both ways. If you miss getting your car onto the 4:30 ferry, which is the last ferry back to Bass Harbor, your car will be spending the night on the island.
I have a reservation to bring my car. What do I need to know?
Pull into the marked reservation area at the front of the ferry line, and then go into the ferry terminal to confirm your reservation. You must check in fifteen minutes before the ferry’s departure time. If you miss by even one minute, you will have to go to the back of the line. The clock in the ferry terminal is the one that counts. Play it safe, and be in line and check in at the service window at least twenty minutes before departure.
What do I need to know if I want to bring my car but have no reservation?
Park at the end of the ferry line, then go buy a ticket.
Is there parking at the ferry terminal?
There is parking near the ferry terminal at Bass Harbor and also on the island. During the summer months, there is a parking fee for the Bass Harbor parking lot. Pay inside the ferry terminal for your parking permit.
What do I need to know if I want to travel to the island without my car?
You do not need a reservation to be a walk-on passenger. You should be at the ferry terminal 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time. If you plan to return to the mainland immediately (ie, a round trip without staying on the island) check out the Excursion Ticket fares, which are less expensive than a regular round trip ticket. See also Maine State Ferry Service Excursions.
If you take the last morning boat to the island and the first afternoon boat back to the mainland, you will have about an hour and a half to walk around on the island.
What about bicycles?
There are about 20 miles of paved road on the island, and all island attractions are accessible by bicycle. However, roads are narrow and some are quite busy. Cyclists need to exercise care and observe the rules of the road.
Is transportation available on the island?
There is no bus or taxi service on the island.
Are dogs allowed on the island?
Yes. But dogs must be kept on the leash when on public property.
Getting to Swan’s Island by Private Boat
Moorings are available in Burnt Coat Harbor (near the lighthouse) and Mackerel Cove (adjacent to the ferry terminal). The irregular shoreline provides interesting views and perspectives and the harbors provide secure anchorages for visiting boaters. For more information on moorings and other secure anchorages around Swan’s Island, refer to standard cruising guides. For harbor anchorages, contact harbor master Josh Joyce, 207-266-1937
Places To Stay And Places To Eat
Where Can I Stay On The Island?
The Harbor Watch Inn, www.swansisland.com, check the website for availability or call 207-526-4563, Jennifer Helman & Dale Joyce Innkeepers, offers a 1 bedroom suite along with four rooms, two with kitchens. Fine views of Burnt Coat Harbor. Located at 111 Minturn Road.
Carter House B&B is located on the Minturn Loop. It is a traditional island house with wonderful harbor views. Proprietor: Nancy Carter, 207-526-4198, or 207-266-0958. Search for @CarterHouseBedAndBreakfast to find it easily on Facebook.
How About Rentals?
The upstairs apartment at the keeper’s house is available for rental. www.swansislandvacations.com/Lighthouse.html
Additional rental properties are available and there are listings on several websites. For local information, check out www.swansislandvacations.com, also on Facebook.
Several properties are listed on the Town website, www.swansisland.org.
Camping and Campfires
There are no public campsites on the island. There are Maine Island Trail Association campsites on and around Swan’s Island. These are pack-in, pack-out campsites (no facilities) that will accommodate one or two small tents. Contact Maine Island Trail Association for more information. Campfires are allowed only with permission from the fire chief. In the summertime, campfires usually are not permitted.
The island’s general store, The Island Market & Supply (TIMS) is open year round. During summer months TIMS offers a substantial takeout menu, and outside tables are available. A more limited takeout selection is offered year around. The address is 40 North Road. It is on the left, just past the Methodist church. Proprietors, Brian and Kathy Krafjack, 207-526-4043
During the summer months there are frequent pot lucks and church suppers, pancake breakfasts at the Oddfellows Hall, an annual lobster dinner at the Atlantic Fire House, etc. Check the bulletin board at the Town Office.
Shopping For Food And Gas
There is a small but well stocked general store and takeout, TIMS (The Island Market and Supply) that is open year round.
You can buy fresh, live local lobsters and clams and a variety of fresh fish at The Island Market & Supply (TIMS), 40 North Road. Fresh, live lobsters are also available at the docks. To buy clams directly from a clammer, check the bulletin board at the Town Office, or ask at the Fisherman’s Co-op.
Where can I buy beer or wine?
Not on Swan’s Island. This is a dry island. No alcoholic beverages are sold on the island, and no public consumption of alcoholic beverages is allowed.
Where can I buy gas?
You can buy gas at the Fisherman’s Co-op, 15 Morses Hill Rd., or at Kent’s Wharf, 31 Steamboat Hill.
Swan’s Island Churches
Year round churches:
Atlantic Baptist Church
417 Atlantic Road
Church of God
76 Rose Hill Road
Advent Christian Church
192 Minturn Road
Swan’s Island Methodist Church
9 North Road
Restrooms are available at the ferry terminal, the library, the Town Office, and the keeper’s house, when open. There is a vault toilet (always open) next to the summit parking lot in the lighthouse park.
There is a short handicapped-accessible trail on Hockamock Head. About 150′ long, it goes to the summit of Hockamock Head, where there is a natural stone bench and panoramic views. The keeper’s house is handicapped-accessible from the light station parking area. There is a handicapped-accessible vault toilet adjacent to the Hockamock Head summit parking area. When the keeper’s house is open, there is a handicapped accessible toilet in the house. Picnic tables at Mill Pond Park are accessible. See map.
Other Island Businesses
Harbor View Studio, Dale Joyce – Fine Art Photographer, member of Maine PPA. www.harborviewstudio.com, located at 253 Harbor Road, in Swan’s Island Village, 207-479-6362
There are several small shops that open seasonally. They are not grouped in a single “downtown” area. Eye of Creation is located on Stanley Point Road, Iver’s Antiques is at 152 Minturn Rd., Blue Buoy Thrift Shop is on Harbor Road.
The Island florist and event planner, Island Dreamweaver, is available to plan special events (including catering), also for flowers, welcome or gift baskets, and floral arrangements. Call Tammy Tripler at 207-664-4898.
Saturn Press offers a unique selection of Cards, Papers and Bookplates produced using authentic Letterpress techniques. Phone (207) 526-4000, address 463 Atlantic Rd., Swan’s Island, ME 04685
Real estate: Burnt Coat Harbor Real Estate, 207-526-4430, Belinda Doliber and Christal Applin (also known as Swan’s Island Properties) located at 223 Harbor Rd.
Boat Charter and Boat Deliveries, Whale Watching and Deep Sea Fishing: Contact Capt. Jason Joyce, 207-479-6490. Haul a lobster trap, visit a seal colony, view eagles and porpoise around the outer ledges. 2 1/2 hour cruise, $500, up to 6 passengers. Take a trip to Marshall Island. Jason will drop you off and pick you up at an agreed time – $200. Also available — very limited amount of June – Sept. all-day offshore whalewatch, cod/pollack/halibut fishing trips. Maximum 3 adults. $1200 per trip. All tackle provided, or bring your own. Boat deliveries by arrangement. Email: [email protected] or call Capt. Jason Joyce at 207-479-6490.