Campsite reservations can be made beginning on April 1st each year at 10:00am (EST). The first night to book a campsite is May 15th.
Duck Harbor Campground is located on Isle au Haut, a rugged island off the coast of Stonington, Maine. Remote and inaccessible to automobiles, Isle au Haut is linked to the mainland by mailboat.
Isle au Haut offers excellent hiking. The remoteness of the island provides a quiet experience along primitive trails with many great views of rocky cliffs and coastal scenery. Bicycling is allowed but is very rigorous, on loose rock, and unpaved road. No trail biking. You must bring your own mountain bike. Bicycles can only be unloaded at the Town Dock. No bicycles may be loaded or unloaded at Duck Harbor Landing.
This small campground contains five campsites. Each campsite has a fire ring, picnic table, and a lean-to shelter which is three-sided with roof and floor. Dimensions are 8' tall, 8' deep, and 12.5' wide. Use of tents is limited to what can fit inside the shelters. There are three composting toilets at the campground and a hand pump for water located 0.3 miles from campground.
There is a ranger station 4 miles from the campground but only 0.3 miles from the Isle au Haut Town Landing. The ranger station is open mid-April to mid-October, when there are rangers on Isle au Haut for the season. While the rangers are typically out in the field and not at the ranger station during most of the day, the lobby remains open, allowing visitors access to maps, reading material, water, and the only public restroom in town. Boat service to Duck Harbor is only provided from mid-June to mid-September. Please review the Know Before You Go section below.
Isle au Haut provides opportunities to explore rocky shorelines, wooded uplands, marshes, bogs, and a mile-long freshwater lake. A section of Acadia National Park covers about half of Isle au Haut. The campground is situated on the western side of Isle au Haut. It is just south of the Duck Harbor Boat Landing. The island is approximately six miles long by two miles wide.
There is a small, traditional village near the Isle au Haut Town Landing where one can find a general store, seasonal gift shop, a seasonal food shack, and post office.
Charges & Cancellations
If a camper does not arrive at his/her campsite by 11:00am check-out time the day after the scheduled arrival date, their reservation will be cancelled, the camper will incur a $20.00 service fee, and forfeit the first night's camping fee. Making Changes to Your Reservation
A $10.00 service fee will apply if you make any changes to your reservation. Cancelling Your Reservation
If you cancel your reservation the day before or on the day of your scheduled arrival date, you will incur a $10 service fee and forfeit your first night's camping fee. If you cancel your reservation 2 or more days before your scheduled arrival date, you will only incur a $10 service fee. Please review Rules & Reservation Policies below for more information.
ADA Access: N
Camping on in the Duck Harbor Campground is nearly the stuff of legends. This remote island off the coast of Maine only has 5 campsites in this part of Acadia National Park, and reservations are required. The Park’s website describes this in classic Park Service understatement, “Duck Harbor Campground is very popular. Please plan your trip in advance.” What they mean is if you don’t go online within 10 minutes of opening day, April 1st, at 10 am EST, you will miss your chance to stay here for the whole year. You won’t be the first to get denied and certainly not the last. You might however, get lucky if you’re in the area for long enough and there is a sudden cancellation.
I believe I’m right in saying that the hype is worth it here, more than just because it’s difficult to get here and difficult to get a reservation. This is a beautiful place to camp and an amazing island to explore by bike, by kayak, and on foot.
Each of the 5 sites offers a classic lean-to structure with a campfire ring and a picnic table. But it’s not the site which makes this place so special. Sticking out into the Gulf of Maine, this is one of the most remote islands with established camping and recreational trails on the coast. It feels like another world entirely than Mount Dessert Island, where the rest of Acadia National Park is located. By comparison, MDI feels like Central Park.
There is fresh water a short walk away from the campground, and a bear proof food storage locker at each lean-to. Mosquitoes can be bad during the summer, so I would recommend bringing a bug net or small backpacking tent which you could set up in the lean-to for more protection and privacy.
Getting to the island is possible through the daily mailboat which goes directly to Duck Harbor from Stonington, but the best way to get there is to paddle up in a sea kayak as we did!
I describe this as "backpacking light". You need to bring everything with you (except water) on the mailboat and then walk on a short distance to one of 5 campsites. It is a great place to just get away. There are several miles of moderate hikes. Starting in 2018 reservations will be online starting April1. The campground is open mid May to mid October but the mailboat only goes to the campground from late June to late September; otherwise a 5 mile walk from town.