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West Sister Island, Swans Island

Located in outer Blue Hill Bay, this preserve’s cobble beach offers stunning views of the distant peaks of Acadia National Park and surrounding islands.

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West Sister Island is great for:

  • Camping – Spend a night at the island’s campsite, the perfect place to listen to the pounding surf while gazing at the stars.
  • Wildlife Viewing – Check out the preserve’s cobble beach, an ideal vantage point to scan the surrounding seas for harbor seals and sea ducks, as well as the sky above for bald eagles and common terns

How to get there

The closest mainland boat launch is in Bass Harbor on Mount Desert Island. There are also launches in Mackerel Cove and Burnt Coat Harbor on Swan’s Island. The best anchorage is just off of the northwestern cobble beach; all other areas around the island should be avoided due to an extreme rip tide and bottom substrate unsuitable for anchoring.


Get directions from Google Maps Printable Preserve Map

For a complete map with legend and guidelines, click on the Printable Preserve Map above.

Enjoy the island pavilion

When MCHT acquired the island in 2011, it had a rustic cabin. Most of the building was removed a year later. What remains is a 15-foot by 18-foot open-sided pavilion with a fireplace. This structure serves as a tent platform for overnight use as well as an inviting picnic spot during the day.

Notes on topography, flora, and fauna

Located in the town of Swan’s Island, West Sister is a 39-acre island preserve in outer Blue Hill Bay. Almost entirely forested, the preserve lies southeast of Swan’s Island, approximately 0.4-mile due east of Red Point. West Sister’s interior is dominated by a dense, spruce and northern hardwood forest. This shady habitat attracts river otter and mink, while providing a nice backdrop to the island’s ledge-covered shoreline. However, the preserve’s main draw is its cobble beach that can be found on the northwestern shore.

How this place became open to the public

MCHT acquired West Sister Island in 2011.

This place belongs to all of us. Help us take care of it!

Preserve information/guidelines

  • Camp At Established Campsite (see map)
    • Limit Stay to 2 Nights
    • Commercial Users by Permission Only. Please call 207-729-7366.
  • Fires By Permit Only – Maine State Law
    • Contact Maine Forest Service at 1-800-750-9777 for permit
    • Keep All Fires Below High Tide Line – Do Not Build Fire Rings
    • Do Not Cut or Break Tree Limbs, Dead or Alive
    • Leave No Fire Unattended
    • Completely Extinguish All Fires
  • Carry Out All Trash
    • Including Human and Pet Waste and Toilet Paper
  • Keep Pets Under Strict Voice or Leash Control
  • Do Not Remove Archaeological Artifacts