Top-Rated Things to Do on Peaks Island, ME


By Christine Hitt

Peaks Island, located just off the coast of Portland, Maine, is a hidden gem that offers a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re a nature lover, history enthusiast, or simply looking for a relaxing seaside escape, Peaks Island has something for everyone.

One of the top-rated things to do on Peaks Island is to explore its breathtaking natural beauty. The island is home to numerous hiking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding ocean and lush greenery. You can also rent a bike and cycle around the island, immersing yourself in the tranquility of its picturesque landscapes.

If history is your passion, a visit to the Fifth Maine Museum is a must. This historic site offers a glimpse into the island’s past and showcases artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of Peaks Island and its role in Maine’s maritime history. The museum is housed in a historic building and is a popular destination for history buffs.

For those seeking adventure on the water, kayaking and paddleboarding are popular activities on Peaks Island. You can rent equipment and explore the island’s coastline at your own pace, enjoying the fresh sea breeze and the sound of waves crashing against the rocks. If you’re lucky, you may even spot some seals or dolphins during your adventure.

Finally, no visit to Peaks Island is complete without experiencing its vibrant arts scene. The island is home to numerous art studios and galleries where you can admire and purchase works by local artists. From paintings and sculptures to jewelry and ceramics, there is something to suit every taste and budget.

Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, historical discoveries, or artistic inspiration, Peaks Island has it all. Plan your visit to this charming island today and discover why it is one of Maine’s best-kept secrets.

Explore Beautiful Beaches

Peaks Island is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Maine. Visitors can spend their days exploring the sandy shores and enjoying the refreshing ocean waters. Here are some of the top-rated beaches to visit:

  • Sandy Beach: This beach is known for its soft, white sand and crystal-clear waters. It’s perfect for sunbathing, picnicking, and playing beach games.
  • Backshore Beach: Located on the eastern side of the island, this beach offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a great spot for walking, collecting seashells, and enjoying the sound of crashing waves.
  • Halibut Point State Park Beach: This beach is part of Halibut Point State Park and offers a picturesque setting with rocky cliffs and panoramic ocean views. Visitors can swim, kayak, or simply relax and take in the natural beauty.
  • Lion’s Mane Beach: Named after a jellyfish species commonly found in the area, Lion’s Mane Beach is a secluded stretch of sand that offers peace and tranquility. It’s a great spot for beachcombing and wildlife spotting.
  • Cliff Island Beach: Located on the nearby Cliff Island, this beach is accessible by ferry and offers a quieter and more secluded beach experience. Visitors can swim, picnic, or take a leisurely walk along the shore.

No matter which beach you choose to explore on Peaks Island, you are guaranteed to be surrounded by natural beauty and a peaceful coastal atmosphere.

Take a Cycling Adventure

One of the best ways to explore Peaks Island is by taking a cycling adventure. With its small size and picturesque scenery, the island is the perfect destination for cyclists of all skill levels. Whether you’re an experienced rider or just looking for a leisurely ride, Peaks Island offers a variety of cycling trails and routes to suit every type of cyclist.

One popular cycling route on Peaks Island is the Backshore Loop. This scenic route takes you along the island’s coastline, offering stunning views of the ocean and neighboring islands. The trail is relatively flat, making it accessible to riders of all abilities. Along the way, you’ll pass by historic landmarks, charming beaches, and colorful cottages, providing plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the island’s unique beauty.

If you’re looking for a longer cycling adventure, consider exploring the entire island. Peaks Island is only about four miles long, making it easy to navigate on two wheels. You can cycle along the main road, which circles the entire island, or venture off onto the numerous side streets and paths that crisscross the island. Regardless of the route you choose, you’re sure to discover hidden gems and hidden viewpoints along the way.

For those interested in a more challenging ride, Peaks Island also offers off-road cycling trails. The island has a network of dirt paths and trails that wind through wooded areas, providing a thrilling off-road biking experience. These trails are perfect for mountain bikers looking to test their skills and explore more of the island’s natural landscapes.

If you don’t have your own bike, don’t worry – there are several bike rental shops on the island that offer a variety of bikes to suit your needs. You can rent a traditional bicycle, an electric bike, or even a tandem bike if you prefer to ride with a partner. Most rental shops also provide helmets and maps of the island, ensuring you have everything you need for a safe and enjoyable cycling adventure.

Cycling Adventure on Peaks Island
Explore the Backshore Loop
Discover the entire island
Experience off-road cycling
Rent a bike from a local shop

Enjoy Scenic Hiking Trails

One of the top-rated things to do on Peaks Island is to explore its scenic hiking trails. Whether you’re an avid hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, there is a trail for everyone to enjoy.

One popular trail is the Battery Steele Trail, which offers stunning views of the coastline and the surrounding natural beauty of the island. This moderate trail is perfect for those who want to immerse themselves in nature and take in the fresh air.

For a more challenging hike, you can check out the Robinson Woods Preserve Trail. This trail takes you through a dense forest and offers a great opportunity to spot local wildlife. It’s a favorite among nature enthusiasts and photographers.

If you’re interested in history, you won’t want to miss the Centennial Woods Preserve Trail. This trail not only offers picturesque views but also showcases historic remnants from the island’s past. You can learn about the island’s history while enjoying a scenic walk.

For those who want to experience the island’s coastal beauty, the Casco Bay Loop Trail is a must-visit. This trail takes you along the shoreline and provides breathtaking views of the ocean. You can also catch glimpses of the nearby islands and passing boats.

No matter which trail you choose, be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring plenty of water. Don’t forget your camera, as you’ll want to capture the stunning beauty of Peaks Island.

Visit the Historic Fort

One of the top attractions on Peaks Island is the historic fort. This fort played a crucial role in defending the harbor during World War II. You can take a guided tour to learn about the fort’s history, explore the various rooms, and see the massive cannons that were used to protect the island.

Inside the fort, you’ll find a museum that showcases artifacts from its military past. You can see uniforms, weapons, and other items that were used by the soldiers stationed at the fort.

While visiting the fort, take a moment to appreciate the breathtaking views of the surrounding ocean and nearby islands. It’s a great spot to capture memorable photos or simply relax and soak in the beauty of the area.

If you’re interested in history or enjoy exploring historic landmarks, a visit to the fort is a must. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the island’s past and offers a unique experience for visitors of all ages.

Tip: Bring comfortable walking shoes as there are stairs and uneven terrain inside the fort.

Embark on a Kayaking Excursion

One of the top-rated things to do on Peaks Island is to embark on a kayaking excursion. With its stunning coastline and beautiful natural scenery, kayaking on Peaks Island is an experience like no other.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced paddler, there are several options available to suit your skill level. You can rent a kayak from one of the local outfitters and explore the island’s hidden coves and secluded beaches at your own pace. With calm and clear waters surrounding the island, it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy kayaking in a peaceful and tranquil setting.

For those looking for a more guided experience, there are also kayak tours available. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who will take you to the best spots around the island, pointing out interesting landmarks and sharing fascinating stories about the area’s history and wildlife. It’s a great way to learn more about Peaks Island while enjoying a fun and adventurous activity.

While kayaking, keep an eye out for the diverse marine life that calls these waters home. From seals popping their heads up to say hello to colorful fish swimming beneath your kayak, there is always something exciting to see. Don’t forget to bring your camera along to capture these amazing moments!

Before you embark on your kayaking excursion, make sure to check the weather and sea conditions. Dress appropriately, wear a life jacket, and bring plenty of water and sunscreen. Safety is important, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared.

So, why not make kayaking on Peaks Island a part of your itinerary? Whether you prefer a leisurely paddle or an adrenaline-filled adventure, kayaking is a delightful way to explore the natural beauty of this enchanting island.

Indulge in Local Seafood

Peaks Island, ME is known for its abundance of fresh and delicious seafood options. Whether you’re a fan of lobster, clams, or fish, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

One of the best ways to indulge in local seafood is by visiting one of the island’s many seafood shacks. These casual outdoor restaurants offer a variety of seafood dishes cooked to perfection. From classic lobster rolls to fried clams, you’ll find all your favorites here.

For a more upscale dining experience, head to one of the island’s seafood restaurants. These establishments serve the freshest catches of the day, prepared with a touch of gourmet flair. Don’t miss the chance to try the catch of the day or the seafood chowder – both are local favorites.

If you prefer to cook your own seafood, you’re in luck. There are several seafood markets on the island where you can find the freshest seafood straight from the local waters. Pick up some lobster tails, oysters, or scallops and cook up a feast in the comfort of your own rented cottage or vacation home.

Indulging in local seafood on Peaks Island is a must-do for any seafood lover. Whether you dine at a seafood shack, restaurant, or cook your own meal, you’ll be treated to the freshest and most delicious seafood that this charming island has to offer.

Take a Relaxing Ferry Ride

When visiting Peaks Island, a must-do activity is taking a relaxing ferry ride. The ferry ride from Portland to Peaks Island is not only the most convenient way to reach the island, but it also provides stunning views of the Casco Bay.

As you board the ferry, you’ll feel a sense of excitement and anticipation as you set off on your island adventure. The ferry ride itself is an experience to remember, with a gentle breeze in your hair and the sound of seagulls in the distance.

During the ride, you can enjoy the scenic beauty of the surrounding islands and the sparkling blue waters. Keep your camera ready as you might spot some marine wildlife like seals or dolphins along the way.

Once you reach Peaks Island, take a moment to savor the feeling of being a world away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland. The ferry ride allows you to leave your worries behind and embrace the island’s laid-back atmosphere.

Whether you’re a solo traveler looking for a peaceful escape or a family seeking a fun-filled day trip, the ferry ride to Peaks Island is a perfect choice. So sit back, relax, and let the ferry transport you to this charming island paradise.

Discover the Island’s Art Galleries

Peaks Island, Maine, is a haven for art enthusiasts with its thriving art community. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the local artistic scene, exploring the island’s art galleries is a must-do activity.

Here are some top-rated art galleries on Peaks Island:

Gallery Name Description
Gallery 302 Located on the main road, Gallery 302 showcases the works of local and regional artists. The eclectic mix of paintings, sculptures, and photographs makes it a must-visit for art enthusiasts.
Bayview Gallery Offering stunning views of Casco Bay, Bayview Gallery is known for its collection of contemporary art and fine crafts. The gallery features a variety of mediums, including paintings, ceramics, jewelry, and more.
Richard Boyd Art Gallery This gallery represents a selection of established and emerging artists from Maine, New England, and beyond. From traditional to contemporary, the diverse range of artwork on display is sure to captivate visitors.
Stonefish Gallery Nestled in a charming historic building, Stonefish Gallery showcases a mix of local and international contemporary art. The gallery hosts regular exhibitions and events, bringing the works of talented artists to the island.

Exploring these art galleries not only allows you to appreciate the incredible talent in the area but also gives you the opportunity to purchase unique pieces to commemorate your visit to Peaks Island. So, take some time to discover the island’s art scene and be inspired by the creativity that thrives here.

Attend a Live Music Performance

One of the top-rated things to do on Peaks Island is to attend a live music performance. This charming island is a hub for talented musicians, with several venues offering regular performances.

Experience the vibrant local music scene by checking out the schedule at the Lion’s Club Hall, a popular venue that hosts various live music events throughout the year. From jazz and blues to folk and rock, there is always something for everyone.

If you prefer a more intimate setting, consider visiting the Peaks Island House, a cozy inn and restaurant that often features live music acts. With its cozy ambiance and delicious food, it’s the perfect place to enjoy some great tunes while relaxing with friends or family.

For a unique experience, don’t miss the opportunity to attend a concert at the 5th Maine Regiment Museum. This historic building not only offers fascinating exhibits but also hosts occasional live music performances, creating a memorable fusion of history and music.

Whether you’re a fan of jazz, rock, folk, or any other genre, you’re sure to find a live music performance that suits your taste on Peaks Island. Make sure to check the schedule ahead of time and mark your calendars for an unforgettable evening of music and entertainment.

Join a Guided Nature Walk

One of the best ways to explore the stunning natural beauty of Peaks Island is by joining a guided nature walk. These walks are led by knowledgeable local guides who will take you through the island’s wooded trails, along its rocky coastline, and to its hidden gems.

During the guided nature walk, you will have the opportunity to learn about the island’s unique ecosystem and the diverse plant and animal life that call it home. Your guide will point out interesting flora and fauna, explain their significance, and answer any questions you may have.

As you walk through the island’s picturesque landscapes, you will discover breathtaking views of the surrounding Atlantic Ocean and Casco Bay. You may even spot some wildlife, such as birds, deer, or maybe even a seal or two.

Whether you are a nature enthusiast, a photographer looking for the perfect shot, or simply someone who enjoys being outdoors, a guided nature walk on Peaks Island is a must-do activity. It provides an opportunity to connect with nature and gain a deeper appreciation for the island’s natural wonders.

Guided nature walks are typically organized by local tour companies or nature conservation organizations. They usually last for a couple of hours and are suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes, bring a bottle of water, and don’t forget to pack your camera!

Explore the Island’s Lighthouses

One of the must-see attractions on Peaks Island is its historic lighthouses. These lighthouses not only serve as navigational aids for sailors but also showcase the island’s rich history and maritime heritage. Here are some of the top lighthouses to explore during your visit:

  • Battery Steele: Located on the southeastern part of the island, Battery Steele is a former military fort that was converted into a lighthouse. Explore the underground tunnels and learn about its role during World War II.
  • Portland Harbor Light: Also known as “Bug Light” due to its unique shape, Portland Harbor Light is a charming lighthouse that offers panoramic views of Casco Bay. Take a stroll along the waterfront to admire this picturesque landmark.
  • Ram Island Ledge Light: Located just off the southern coast of Peaks Island, Ram Island Ledge Light is a distinctive red cast iron lighthouse. Although it is not open to the public, you can view it from a distance and capture some stunning photos.
  • Spring Point Ledge Light: Situated in nearby South Portland, Spring Point Ledge Light is another iconic lighthouse that overlooks Casco Bay. Walk along the breakwater to reach the lighthouse and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

Exploring the island’s lighthouses is a great way to immerse yourself in its maritime history and enjoy the beauty of the Maine coastline. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning views!

Visit the Island Museum

If you want to learn more about the rich history of Peaks Island, a visit to the Island Museum is a must. Located in the heart of the island, this small but charming museum is home to a fascinating collection of artifacts and exhibits that provide insight into the island’s past.

As you explore the museum, you’ll discover the stories of the island’s early settlers, the industries that flourished here, and the cultural heritage that shaped its identity. From the fishing industry to the historic forts, the museum showcases the diverse aspects of life on Peaks Island.

One highlight of the museum is the collection of artwork by local artists. From paintings to sculpture, these works of art celebrate the island’s natural beauty and capture the spirit of the community. Don’t miss the opportunity to appreciate the talent of these talented individuals.

Another fascinating exhibit is the display of historical photographs. These images offer a glimpse into the past, allowing you to see how the island has evolved over the years. From old fishing boats to bustling streets, these photographs will transport you to a different time.

During your visit, be sure to take advantage of the knowledgeable guides who are available to answer questions and provide additional insights. They are passionate about the island’s history and are always happy to share their knowledge with visitors.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply interested in learning more about the island you’re visiting, a trip to the Island Museum is an enriching experience that shouldn’t be missed. Immerse yourself in the island’s vibrant past and gain a deeper appreciation for the community that calls Peaks Island home.

Don’t forget to take some time to explore the museum’s gift shop, where you can find unique souvenirs and locally made crafts to commemorate your visit. So, make sure to include the Island Museum in your list of things to do on Peaks Island, Maine for an unforgettable cultural experience!

Go Whale Watching

If you’re a nature enthusiast and want to witness majestic creatures in their natural habitat, don’t miss the opportunity to go whale watching on Peaks Island. Located just off the coast of Portland, Maine, this charming island provides a perfect vantage point for spotting whales.

There are several reputable tour companies that offer guided whale watching excursions from Peaks Island. These tours are led by experienced naturalists who are knowledgeable about local marine life. They will provide you with interesting facts and insights about the different whale species you may encounter.

During the whale watching tour, you’ll have the chance to see a variety of whale species, including humpback whales, fin whales, and even the elusive minke whales. Keep your eyes peeled for their blows, breaches, and flukes emerging from the water. It’s a truly mesmerizing experience.

Make sure to bring your camera with you to capture these incredible moments. Watching these magnificent creatures in person is something you’ll want to remember forever.

Remember to dress appropriately for the excursion. It’s a good idea to wear layers, as the weather can change quickly on the water. Don’t forget to bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and binoculars to enhance your whale watching experience.

Whether you’re a seasoned whale watcher or it’s your first time, going whale watching on Peaks Island is an unforgettable adventure that will leave you in awe of the beauty of the ocean and its inhabitants.

Attend a Local Festival

Peaks Island is known for its vibrant community and lively festivals throughout the year. Attending a local festival is a great way to immerse yourself in the island’s unique culture and connect with the locals.

One of the most popular festivals on Peaks Island is the PeaksFest, which takes place every summer. This festival features live music performances, local food vendors, and a wide variety of arts and crafts. You can relax on the beach while enjoying the music or explore the booths to find unique handmade products.

Another festival that draws a large crowd is the Peaks Island Regatta. This event celebrates the island’s rich maritime history and showcases various sailing races. Whether you participate in the races or watch from the shore, the regatta offers a fun and exciting experience for all ages.

If you’re visiting Peaks Island in the fall, be sure to check out the Harvest Festival. This family-friendly event highlights the island’s agricultural heritage with activities such as apple picking, pumpkin carving, and hayrides. You can also indulge in delicious seasonal treats like apple cider and homemade pies.

Attending a local festival on Peaks Island is not only entertaining but also a great opportunity to support the island’s community. So, make sure to check the festival calendar and plan your visit accordingly to make the most of your time on this charming island.

Try Stand-Up Paddleboarding

If you’re looking for a fun and adventurous activity to try on Peaks Island, stand-up paddleboarding is a must-try! This popular water sport offers a unique way to explore the beautiful coastlines and crystal-clear waters surrounding the island.

Stand-up paddleboarding, also known as SUP, involves standing on a large, stable board and using a long paddle to navigate through the water. It’s a great way to stay active and enjoy the great outdoors while also enjoying the calming and peaceful atmosphere of Peaks Island.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, there are plenty of options available for stand-up paddleboarding on Peaks Island. You can rent paddleboards from local shops or join a guided tour to learn the basics and explore the best spots on the island.

During your paddleboarding adventure, you’ll have the opportunity to spot marine life such as seals, dolphins, and various seabirds. The clear waters surrounding the island also provide excellent visibility, making it a great place for snorkeling and observing the underwater world.

Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen, water bottle, and a sense of adventure! Stand-up paddleboarding on Peaks Island is an activity that caters to all ages and skill levels, and it’s a fantastic way to enjoy the natural beauty of this coastal gem.

So, grab a paddleboard and get ready to explore the stunning coastline and have an unforgettable experience on Peaks Island!

Capture Stunning Views from the Island

As you explore Peaks Island, be sure to bring your camera along to capture the stunning views that this picturesque location has to offer. From the shores of the island to the top of its hills, there are plenty of photo opportunities that will take your breath away.

Start your photography adventure by heading to Battery Steele, an abandoned military base that provides a panoramic view of Casco Bay and the surrounding islands. The juxtaposition of the dilapidated concrete structures against the beauty of the natural landscape creates a unique and captivating image.

For a different perspective, take a walk along the rocky shores of the island. With the Atlantic Ocean stretching out in front of you, you’ll have the chance to capture images of crashing waves, colorful sunsets, and the rugged coastline. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as seals or birds, as they can also add an extra element of interest to your photos.

If you’re feeling adventurous, make your way to the highest point on the island: Peaks Island Head. Here, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views that extend as far as the eye can see. On a clear day, you might even spot the iconic Portland Head Light in the distance. This vantage point offers the perfect opportunity for landscape photography, allowing you to capture the beauty of Peaks Island and its surrounding area.

As you explore the island, don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path. Hidden gems and unique perspectives can often be found in unexpected places. From quaint cottages to blooming gardens, there are countless photo-worthy scenes waiting to be discovered. So grab your camera and get ready to capture stunning views and unforgettable memories on Peaks Island.


What are some top-rated things to do on Peaks Island?

There are plenty of top-rated things to do on Peaks Island. Some popular activities include exploring the stunning beaches, hiking along the scenic trails, visiting the historic Fifth Maine Museum, taking a boat tour around the island, and enjoying the vibrant art scene.

Are there any beaches on Peaks Island?

Yes, Peaks Island is known for its beautiful beaches. Some of the top beaches to visit include Sandy Beach, Back Shore, and Centennial Beach. These beaches offer stunning views, soft sand, and opportunities for swimming and sunbathing.

What can I do if I visit Peaks Island with kids?

If you’re visiting Peaks Island with kids, there are several family-friendly activities to enjoy. You can take a walk along the beaches, have a picnic in one of the scenic parks, rent bicycles to explore the island, visit the Umbrella Cover Museum, or go on a scenic boat ride around the island.

Is there a museum on Peaks Island?

Yes, there is a museum on Peaks Island. The Fifth Maine Museum is a popular attraction that showcases the history and heritage of the island. It offers interesting exhibits, artifacts, and educational programs for visitors of all ages.


Best Things To Do in Portland, Maine

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Christine Hitt

Christine Hitt, a devoted Hawaii enthusiast from Oahu, has spent 15 years exploring the islands, sharing her deep insights in respected publications such as Los Angeles Times, SFGate, Honolulu, and Hawaii magazines. Her expertise spans cultural nuances, travel advice, and the latest updates, making her an invaluable resource for all Hawaii lovers.

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