The Maine Island Trail offers 200 islands in which to sea kayak camp and Saddleback Island is one of the many gorgeous options in the Deer Isle Archipelago. The free camping spots and beaches are maintained by the Maine Island Trail Association (MITA), which is a non-profit membership organization. This island is perfect for a few small tents or you can rent the island’s cabin through MITA.
The camping spot is simple and similar to most backcountry sites: a flat space to pitch your small tent, no toilet, no drinking water, no picnic table, and no reservations possible. But, what this island lacks in “amenities” is made up for in beauty all around! With a deep, rocky shore, it’s the perfect place to make dinner and watch the sunrise or set, all with beautiful views of Mount Desert Island, the home of Acadia National Park.
The closest town is Stonington, which has all the things you will need for an island camping adventure. You can even rent kayaks and nearly all the gear you need at Old Quarry Ocean Adventures.
Things to consider when sea kayak camping in this area: 1) the fog can roll in at any minute so come prepared with a chart, compass, bearings between islands/markers and a marine radio, 2) you are required to use Wag Bags instead of digging a cat hole to dispose of human waste, 3) since all of the islands are first-come, first-served, have a back-up plan for camping on another island, 4) there are no docks, so the islands are not accessible to large boats, 5) you may get awakened by the sound of lobster boats motors, as they start their day pretty darn early; bring ear plugs if you are light sleeper, 6) the tide in this area is significant (9-14 vertical feet), and landing at high tide is nearly impossible on Saddleback (and many other islands), and 7) file a float plan before you go out (Old Quarry Ocean Adventures is the perfect spot to do this, as well as launch and park for a small fee).