One of the benefits of living along Maine’s rocky coasts are the many islands in the region. However, not every one of those islands has a causeway leading over to it from the mainland and a trail wandering around the perimeter. Thankfully, Mackworth Island, sitting just 10 minutes north of Portland in Falmouth, has both.
Mackworth Island is the current home of the Baxter School for the deaf, which is located in the center of the island. The deed to the island itself was acquired by the state of Maine in 1943. The trail sticks to the perimeter, making a 1.25 mile loop around the island. It is well-maintained by the Maine Bureau of Land and Parks.
What Makes It Great
Mackworth has a lot to offer visitors. There are frequent side trails leading down to the water’s edge. At low tide you are able to walk out a little further and can examine different sea creatures such as snails and crabs. You will also find the occasional swinging bench with beautiful views of Casco Bay. You can sit for hours watching the boats come in and out. If the tide is high enough, swimming is also a possibility.
The forest on Mackworth is very old and surprisingly dense in some areas. As you reach the back of the island, you may start to notice little structures made out of sticks, pine cones, and shells leaning up against trees. You will reach a sign that welcomes you to the Mackworth Island Community Village. But this is not ordinary village. Among the towering pines, you will find hundreds a little huts and structures built as homes for the local fairies. Feel free to stop and admire them, and if you are inspired, to build one for yourself.
Who is Going to Love It
Families in particular will enjoy the loop around Mackworth. The trail is easy to follow without any major hills. But there are plenty of interesting places for kids to explore. Take them down to the water’s edge or stop with them in the fairy forest and build a tiny home for the fairies. If you are looking for a quick escape from the city, Mackworth Island is hard to beat.
If you are just looking for a quiet stroll along coastline, Mackworth Island is a great destination. Pick one of the swinging benches and soak up the views of Casco Bay while enjoying the salty breeze.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Take Route 1 north and turn right onto Andrews Ave. There is a parking area off to the right but it can fill up quickly. Try to arrive early or at times when it may not be full. There is no parking allowed on the causeway or in the neighborhood on the other side of it. The admission fee is $2 for Maine residents, $3 for non-residents, and $1 for children 5-11 and seniors.
Dogs are allowed, but they must be leashed the whole time. The trail hours are from sunrise to sunset. No alcohol is permitted and all trash must be carried out.