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A group of Atlantic Puffins.

A group of Atlantic Puffins.

Two puffins on a rock.

Two puffins on a rock.

An Atlantic Puffin prepares for landing with a mouthful of Herring.

An Atlantic Puffin prepares for landing with a mouthful of Herring.

Puffins at Machias Seal Island off of the coast of Maine.

Puffins at Machias Seal Island off of the coast of Maine.

puffin tours maine

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Puffin Watching

Maine ocean islands provide the only nesting sites for Atlantic puffins in the United States. Eastern Egg Rock in the midcoast region, Seal Island and Matinicus Rock at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, and Machias Seal Island and Petit Manan Island off the downeast coast provide habitat for more than 4,000 puffins each summer.

The small, photogenic birds have a black back and head, white belly, orange legs and feet, a white face and a stout but powerful beak outlined in orange. Their white face and small black eyes give them the look of a clown with wings.

Puffin Tours

The best months to see puffins from tour boats are June and July, but excursions to the islands happen from May through August. Early in the day the birds can be seen flying between the nest and the water bringing food to their young, while late-day activity is more relaxed with loafing on the rocks or rafting together on the surface of the water.

Tour boats depart from Jonesport, Cutler, Bar Harbor, Millbridge, Stonington, Rockland, Boothbay Harbor, New Harbor and Port Clyde depending on which puffin colony you wish to visit. Some have naturalists on board to share details about the birds and their island homes. You can head out to Eastern Egg Rock on a tour from Boothbay or New Harbor narrated by National Audubon’s Project Puffin so you get the history of puffins and the Eastern Egg Rock restoration directly from people involved with the project. Machias Seal Island is the only island that visitors can land on and view puffins from close range behind blinds.

The Project Puffin Visitor Center in Rockland is a great place for people of all ages to learn about the puffin and experience hands-on exhibits.

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Maine Moose Watching Tours

Experience Moose up close! Small and private moose watching tours offered daily. Maine's top outfitter and guide service for Fishing, Moose watching, ATV offroad rentals and tours. Canoe and kayak rentals.

Phone: 2076953288, 8662231380

Website: www.maineoutfitter.com

Address: 5 Lily Bay Rd , Greenville

Maine Photo Safari

Maine Photo Safari provides tours guided by Maine Artist and photographer Doug Mills to some of the...

Phone: (207) 691-6209

Address: Pleasant Street , Rockland

The Stanton Bird Club - Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary

Founded in 1919 and named in honor of Dr. Jonathan Y. Stanton, a professor at Bates College. A...

Phone: 207-782-5238

Website: www.stantonbirdclub.org

Address: PO Box 3172 , Lewiston

Wells Reserve at Laudholm

Open every day and easy to access, it's a place to discover.

Phone: (207) 646-1555

Website: www.wellsreserve.org

Address: 342 Laudholm Farm Rd , Wells

Katahdin Photo Tours

Guided photo tours in the Katahdin area of Northern Maine near Baxter State Park.

Moose Watching Tours

Maine Moose watching trips offered daily! Voted #1 in New England by Yankee Magazine for the best chance of finding Moose!

Phone: 207-695-3288, 866-223-1380

Address: PO Box 160 , Greenville

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The Best Places To See Puffins In Maine

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close up of adult puffins in maine

Maine is known for its lighthouses and lobsters rolls, but you haven’t truly experienced the best of this beautiful state until you’ve seen the puffins. Penguin-like in their appearance, these seabirds call the Maine ocean islands home. If you’re a bird lover or simply can’t wait to see and learn more about these beloved birds, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a handy guide of the best places to see puffins in Maine.

The Best Time Of Year To See Puffins

Since puffins are seabirds, they only come to land during their nesting season. Luckily, it just so happens to be between May and July, which are some of the best months to visit the Maine coast during the summer season.

Puffin Viewing on Machias Seal Island

In an effort to protect the species, visitors are not permitted on most of the nesting islands. However, Machias Seal Island is one exception. This island is home to one of the largest puffin colonies on the coast of Maine and is one of the best places for close-range observation. You’ll arrive by boat to this one-of-a-kind birding destination that is one of Maine’s most unique and breathtaking experiences. All that’s left to do is book your tour guide from our recommended list .

Puffin Viewing from Boat Tours

If you’d prefer to observe the puffins from afar, several reputable tour boat operators offer guided tours through the nesting islands on the Maine Coast. Eastern Egg Rock, Petit Manan, and Seal Island are among the most popular. Depending on the weather and the tour guide, you’ll have opportunities to spot some other seabirds, whales, seals, or some of the coast’s great lighthouses. Choose your preferred puffin viewing experience by exploring what our list of recommended tour boat captains have to offer.

Learn More About Atlantic Puffins

We welcome you to continue your education and understanding of these remarkable birds at the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Rockland, Maine. We’ve created educational exhibits and an outdoor replica of Seabird island to provide a more in-depth look at the nesting habitats of puffins and their fellow seabirds. These exhibits are also a fun and educational activity for children to learn more about these birds in a safe environment.

We’re a non-profit and community-based organization dedicated to seabird conservation and preserving Maine’s coast in hopes that we can preserve the habitats of Atlantic seabirds and other wildlife. Come see us at the Visitor Center Monday to Friday, from 8:00-4:30. Follow us on Facebook to find out about future events and to follow along as we work to protect our great coast.

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long tailed ducks maine

Puffin & Nature Cruises

Come aboard for a puffin & nature cruise.

Every time we steam out of Port Clyde, Maine harbor, we know we’ll encounter some intriguing wildlife amid the stunningly beautiful seascapes that surround us. On this 2 ½ hour cruise, you will encounter a variety of other marine life. 

Available from mid-June to mid-August, our cruise takes you out to Eastern Egg Rock off the coast of Maine to see an Atlantic puffin nesting site and learn about Audubon’s Project Puffin , a model for restoring seabird populations all over the world.

We also keep a lookout for other nature sightings. Have you ever watched a family of harbor seals frolic in the shallows? Or seen a pair of porpoises speed through the water, or a minke whale rise from the surface in a slow arc? 

As we go along, we always provide expert commentary on all that we see, including the area’s rich lobstering history and nature. Watch and learn as we haul a lobster trap just as lobstermen have done for centuries. This cruise always receives rave reviews from passengers of all ages.

2024 Puffin Cruises

Cruises available mid-June to mid-August.

Depart at 11:30 am and return at 2pm (2 ½ hours)

June schedule: Wednesday through Saturday

July & August schedule: Tuesday through Saturday

Fares: $47.00 per adult $16.00 per child

Reservations required: Call 207-372-8848

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The Project Puffin Visitor Center celebrates the success of Project Puffin in bringing Atlantic Puffins and other seabirds back to their historic nesting islands in the Gulf of Maine. Featuring interactive exhibits, educational programs, a gift shop, and more, the visitor center has activities for all ages.

Regular season programming includes:

  • Wednesday Night Lecture Series
  • Tuesday Kids Science Programs
  • “Project Puffin” Mini-Documentary
  • Interactive Exhibits
  • Art Gallery
  • Gift Shop (Online Store)

…and more!

EDUCATION PROGRAMS

Are you an educator looking for special, seabird-centric programming? Learn about Seabird Institute curriculum and programming available at the Project Puffin Visitor Center or in the classroom !

Project Puffin Visitor Center 311 Main Street Rockland, ME 04841 Telephone: 207-596-5566 Email: [email protected]

ALSO, PLEASE CHECK US OUT HERE:

BUSINESS HOURS   

May:  Open Wed-Sun, 10AM-5PM June-Oct: Open Daily, 10AM-5PM. Note: In July and August, the PPVC is open until 7PM on Wednesdays. The PPVC is closed for holidays on July 4th, Labor Day, and Columbus/Indigenous Peoples Day.. Nov-Mid Dec: Open Thu-Sun, 10AM-4PM Dec 18 – May 1: Closed for the season. Please shop in our  online store !

ONLINE STORE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

Do you ship outside of the US? No, sorry, we do not ship outside the US at this time.

What is your return policy? If we ship the wrong size or item, or an item is damaged, we will replace and ship the item at no additional charge. However, to exchange for a different size, we are not responsible for additional shipping fees.

Project Puffin Visitor Center

A look at the Project Puffin Visitor Center in Rockland, Maine

Learn about birds and take action

Adopt-a-puffin.

Adopt now and receive: A Certificate of Adoption, A biography of "your" puffin, and The book How We Brought Puffins Back To Egg Rock by Stephen Kress.

puffin tours maine

Donations and Puffin Adoptions are tax-deductible. Your tax-deductible donation will help us protect important nesting islands for puffins and other rare seabirds in Maine. 

puffin tours maine

Visitor Center

The Project Puffin Visitor Center (PPVC) is located at  311 Main Street in downtown Rockland, Maine. The center opened its doors officially on July 1, 2006. 

puffin tours maine

Maine Puffin Tours | New England from the Water

The celebrity puffins on Maine’s tiny Machias Seal Island have made it one of the hottest tickets around. Learn more, plus our guide to Maine puffin cruises.

By Yankee Magazine

Apr 06 2020

5_Cruising-New-England

B lame it on the beak, that striped spectacle of orange, yellow, and black. Or maybe the adorably plump shape that evokes a mini penguin. Whatever the reason, the Atlantic puffin is a bona fide wildlife star. Just ask Coca-Cola, which gave the bird a leading role in one of its most successful TV spots a few years ago, in which a puffin struggles to open a bottle of Coke before putting that flamboyant bill to work.

Atlantic puffins enjoy such a high profile, in fact, that getting a seat on a boat to go see them can be a tall order. At Bold Coast Charter Company, which operates out of Cutler, Maine, all of the puffin cruises for 2020 were sold out by the first week of January.

“We’ve seen a steady increase in demand for this tour over the years,” confirms Bold Coast’s Andy Patterson, the only U.S.-based tour captain permitted to bring folks ashore at Machias Seal Island, a major nesting site for Atlantic puffins.

I count myself among the lucky few as I make my way at dawn to Cutler’s small harbor, where I find Patterson waiting with a dozen or so bleary-eyed bird lovers. At 7 a.m., it’s anchors aweigh, and we head out on his 40-foot boat, the Barbara Frost .

Delivered Daily: The Latest in Travel, Food, and Living in New England

We glide past working lobster boats returning with their morning haul, and then past salmon farming nets that extend out from the harbor into the Atlantic. This is the Maine shoreline north of Bar Harbor, where summer estates give way to lighthouses standing sentinel above powerful tides and rugged coast. Our destination is about a dozen miles out, at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy: a tiny unspoiled sanctuary for the largest puffin colony in the Gulf of Maine.

Technically part of Canada (and not without controversy over its governance), Machias Seal Island is the Atlantic puffins’ southernmost major nesting site. Though there are smaller colonies farther south—places like Eastern Egg Rock in Muscongus Bay and Matinicus Rock in Penobscot Bay—visitors can view those puffins only from the sea. But if you come to Machias Seal Island on a specially permitted cruise like Patterson’s, and if the weather allows, you can actually climb onto the seaweed-slick rocks and see puffins up close.

After an hour’s ride, we arrive just offshore from the low-lying island and transfer to a small skiff for the landing. Hundreds of seabirds are soaring overhead, searching the waters for breakfast. Some have hooded black heads, like Batman’s; these are the razorbill auks. Others, with their clownish beaks and parrotlike eyes, are unmistakably Atlantic puffins.

The puffins may be rotund, but wow, are they fast, especially when skimming over the sea at speeds of up to 55 mph in pursuit of herring and hake. However, they’re not known for graceful landings on the water, and this is the cause of much merriment for our crew, who hoot and holler at every tumbling splash-down.

The eastern part of Machias Seal Island is also thick with Arctic terns, the puffins’ more aggressive neighbors who keep predators like seagulls away from the eggs of all the island’s nests. If you stray off the main path after landing, you may well be startled by the sharp click-click-click of an irate tern swooping a foot above your head.

After a brief orientation in the middle of the island, we are led to small enclosed observation blinds where we set up shop and watch the puffins return with their catch, some passing within a few feet of our hiding place. The time goes quickly, and after about two hours we reluctantly have to say good-bye to the island.

As we begin heading for home, the Barbara Frost glides around a small hump of land known as Gull Island, where harbor seals can be seen bobbing in the waves. By then, though, most of us are oblivious, lost in sharing our close-up photos of puffins with one another. — Steven Jermanok

Maine Puffin Tours

When to see puffins: Mid-May through mid-August

Ballpark cost: $160 for an on-island visit; $40 for a cruise

Puffin tour companies: Only Maine’s Bold Coast Charter Co. and New Brunswick–based Sea Watch Tours land on Machias Seal Island, and when tickets go on sale in January, both sell out fast. But several companies offer viewing opportunities from the water, especially at Eastern Egg Rock in Midcoast Maine. For an overview of options, see the Audubon Project Puffin website .

Get our full list of 25 inspired ways to see New England from the water” in “Float Your Boat,” our guide to top New England windjammer cruises, scenic ferry rides, adventurous animal tours, and more.

New England With Love

Where to See Puffins in Maine: 5 Great Places (2024)

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When visitors start planning a trip to the Maine coast, a few things immediately come to mind— lobsters , lighthouses, diminutive fishing villages, and lots of scenic vistas.  But if you time your trip just right and are up for some planning, you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a rare treat: the Atlantic puffin.  

Puffin peeking up from a weathered sunny rock in Maine

Puffins in Maine

You’ve likely seen puffins before in calendars, on wildlife shows, or in tourism brochures for far-flung, frigid destinations like Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands, but never in person.  While most of their lifecycle is out to sea—and way far north of what a sane person would call a fun summer vacation!—a few rocky islands off the Maine coast, the southern reach of species’ distribution, host summer colonies where puffins mate and rear their young in burrows. 

One puffin perched on a sunny rock with green foliage behind it for puffins in Maine

Though Iceland accounts for more than 60% of the world’s Atlantic Puffin population and Newfoundland has the world’s largest single colony, this small summer window of mating season (mid-May through mid-August) means you can have a lobster roll, a beach hang, and see puffins all in the same day.  Take that, Faroe Islands.  So here are our suggestions for the best ways to see puffins in Maine.

Puffin Cruises to Eastern Egg Rock

Several puffins swimming in the ocean in Maine

Six miles out to sea in outer Muscongus Bay you’ll find Eastern Egg Rock.  Though tiny in stature (about a tenth of a square mile), Eastern Egg Rock is hugely important to the conservation efforts of coastal bird species.  Back in 1973, the Audubon Society and Maine’s Department of Island Fisheries and Wildlife set out on an ambitious project to reintroduce Puffins and Terns to the island. 

The birds had last been seen on the island in the 1880s when hunting for birds and their eggs essentially killed off the summer colony.  Scientists used a variety of methods to entice puffins; most notably, they played recordings of puffin calls and eradicated huge numbers of predatory seagulls. The efforts worked and the project became an international roadmap for reintroducing seabirds to delicate ecosystems.  

People standing in line to board a boat for a puffin tour in Maine; other boats are out in the ocean beyond under a pale blue sky

The restoration efforts have gone so swimmingly well that visitors can now responsibly observe the birds from Audubon-approved cruises to Eastern Egg Rock from both New Harbor and Boothbay Harbor .  

From the comfort of a boat, you’ll see puffins darting in and out of the water to feed, floating along in groups, and buzzing around in the air like brightly colored nerf footballs.  You may not get close enough for a zoomed-in Nat Geo-style photograph from the boat, but you’ll most certainly get some great group shots of birds and nonetheless have a stunning opportunity to watch and enjoy a unique species in the wild.  

The trip to Eastern Egg Rock has a lot more to offer than just puffins—you’ll pass a number of small rocky outcroppings charitably classified as islands where seals are often sunning themselves and napping on beds of seaweed as the waves crash over their bodies to keep themselves moist.

Sea birds of all kinds, too, will be visible on the trip to and from Boothbay or New Harbor with knowledgeable staff calling out species and information. The stunning and infrequently-visited Franklin Island Light will come into view, too: a photogenic navigational beacon on a small island and wildlife refuge.  We sure love all of Maine’s lighthouses , but there’s something special about the ones that are a little harder to see. 

White lighthouse with red roof, railings, and window panes in Maine with blue skies in the background

Last but not least, there’s the Eastern Egg Rock “Hilton.” Researchers spend weeks at a time out on Eastern Egg Rock observing and cataloging data on Puffins during mating season; an odd-looking, low-lying building called the Hilton is their only communal space for living and eating during those scientific outings. A moody shot of the Eastern Egg Rock Hilton with seabirds flying in the background is a photographer’s dream. 

Cap’n Fish’s puffin cruises leave from downtown Boothbay Harbor, mid-May through mid-August.  Tours offer enough time for a leisurely on-board lunch (and an adult beverage, if you should so wish), some puffin watching, and ample daylight afterward for exploring the region at its summery best.

Cap’n Fish’s also offers daily lighthouse cruises, whale watching, sunset cruises, and regional tours. Boothbay Harbor has a number of iconic lighthouses and stunning shoreline properties worth exploring from the water as well as a burgeoning restaurant and nightlife scene. 

Close up of puffin bird with orange beak and black background

For the New Harbor cruise to Eastern Egg Rock, Hardy Boat offers daily runs late spring through mid-to-late summer. The Hardy Boat run is a ninety-minute trip, but they’re geographically closer to Eastern Egg Rock—so the amount of time watching puffins is about equal to the Boothbay option.

Plus, New Harbor is a great little village to spend time in, as well. 

There’s Shaw’s for noshing—a legendary fry shack and lobster pound with excellent food—as well as plenty of rental options for quaint coastal cottages.  It’s worth noting that Hardy Boat also offers daily ferry service to Monhegan: a lost-in-time island ten miles off the coast with a small yearly population, a thriving summer artists’ community, and a surprising number of options for lodging and food. 

Bold Coast Charter to Machias Seal Island

Maine puffin perched on a weathered rock with spots of moss

Cruises to Eastern Egg Rock are an easy, logistically-simple way to spend some quality hang time with the Atlantic Puffin.  But what if you what to get up and personal—like really, really close? To get that once-in-a-lifetime Nat Geo puffin photo, you’ll need to take a Bold Coast Charter trip to Machias Seal Island.

There you can get off the boat, onto the island, and into a bird blind with puffins mere feet away from you, all in a responsible way that won’t spook the birds while they tend to their burrows and offspring. It all sounds pretty dreamy, but it takes some serious planning and involves a longstanding border dispute between the United States and Canada.

“Wait , what!?” you’re likely asking yourself right now.  Yup, you read that right.  Machias Seal Island may host an enormous summer puffin colony complete with a research team, bird blinds, a lighthouse, and landing zones—but it’s also got a complicated back story and some tense political history. 

Ten miles out to sea at the entrance of the Bay of Fundy, the small rocky island covered in low scrub shouldn’t really be all too important.  Yet since the Treaty of Paris in 1763 that ended the French and Indian War, both Canada and the United States claim ownership over the island due to the inexact language in the treaty.  This wouldn’t matter all that much if the waters around the island weren’t so important to the lobstering industry. 

Lighthouse and lighthouse keepers house on rocky island in Maine with tall evergreen trees and blue skies behind it

As the Gulf of Maine warms due to climate change, lobsters are migrating farther northeast for cooler temps and consistent food—all the way out to the pristine waters around Machias Seal Island.  The area is currently the most profitable haul along the Maine coast.  Due to differences between Canadian and US lobstering regulations (season, haul limits, gear, etc.), boats from both countries feel slighted at times. News reports of one country’s fleet fishing the others traps and violent altercations are an unfortunate mainstay of Maine public radio. 

To make matters worse, the commercial value of the lobstering industry around Machias Seal Island means neither country is willing to arbitrate in international court; whichever country loses the case will suffer huge economic impacts. It sure seems like a tense stalemate will remain indefinitely.  Don’t let the Canadian signs and the Canadian-run lighthouse fool you: the island is hotly contested.

Given the tense situation, it’s no wonder that one American and one Canadian boat each have permits to bring tourists on the island. Your one option on the US side of the border: Bold Coast Charter Company in Cutler, Maine.

Cutler Harbor, nestled into a quiet stretch of Downeast coastline, is worth a visit regardless. As you leave the calm waters of Cutler Harbor you’ll pass Little River Lighthouse with a bright green copper top on the light station and a bright red roof on the adjoining house. 

The calm waters end there, however—the ten-mile journey through open water to an island completely surrounded by unprotected ocean can and will get choppy.  In fact, Bold Coast Charter Co won’t even confirm departure until the evening before, and a landing on the island is by no means guaranteed. 

If you’ve got tickets and a reservation, make sure you have a day or two buffer for a rescheduled cruise due to rough seas.  Some avid birders will go through multiple rescheduled cruises to finally get out on the island.

People working to anchor a small boat to board a Maine island; everyone is wearing lifejackets and the ocean can be seen behind them

If you’ve got luck on your side and get out to Machias Seal Island on a calm-enough day to board the island, you’ll be shuttled via skiff in small groups to an old concrete wharf covered in a few inches of slippery seaweed (have we conveyed yet how much work this whole thing is?!)

Once you’re safely on the island, some important rules kick in to help keep the birds feeling unbothered and content: you can only navigate your way around the island on designated, raised boardwalks to and from the bird blinds.  You’ll pass the lighthouse and the residence for the researchers, but once you’re in a bird blind you’re stuck there until your time on the island is up. 

After a few minutes in the blind, puffins will start appearing and you’ll be viewing them from just a few feet away.  With a decent zoom lens you’ll have amazing views of their bright beaks and adorable dance-like hopping from rock to rock. 

So what is the best way to view puffins in Maine? In my opinion, it’s a long drive to Cutler (five and a half hours from Boston), a ten-mile boat ride through rough seas, some decent luck for good weather, a sketchy landing on a slippery old wharf, and crouching in a small wooden box with three other people for hours. 

But if you ask just about anyone that’s done the trip, they’ll tell you the once-in-a-lifetime journey is beyond worth it.  

Two puffins perched on a sunny rock in Maine, the background is blurry but is greenery with a pale blue sky

All that being said, getting tickets might itself be the toughest part.  As the only American tour boat with permission to land on the island, the demand is insanely high.  So set a calendar reminder, an alarm, check the website, and be awake and frosty for the ticket drop.  It’ll absolutely be worth it!

You can also visit 16-acre Petit Manan Island to hike, where puffins have been coming to nest since the 1970s, but if you’d like to increase your chance of seeing them there, you can book a Puffins and Seabirds Cruise through Robertson Sea Tours . Departing from Millbridge, Maine, their puffin cruise lasts about two and a half hours long and is one of the best ways to see the Petit Manan Lighthouse, the puffins’ favored place to nest on the island.

To learn more about Project Puffin and puffins in Maine, be sure to visit the Project Puffin Visitor Center in downtown Rockland, Maine. The National Audubon Society provides the narration for Hardy Boat Cruises and Cap’n Fish’s Cruises, as well.

Read these next:

  • Where to Find the Best Whale Watching in Maine
  • 4 Beautiful Maine Islands Worth Visiting
  • 9 Breathtaking Maine State Parks
  • Where to See Moose in Maine
  • 11 Fun Maine Lighthouse Tours for All Ages
  • Best Moose Tours in Vermont: Where to See Moose in Vermont

Maine Bold Coast Puffin Tour on Machias Seal Island

Home » Blog » Maine Life » Downeast & Acadia » Maine Bold Coast Puffin Tour on Machias Seal Island

Bold Coast Charter Company's puffin photography tour from Lubec, Maine

The puffin tour offered by Bold Coast Charter Company in Cutler, Maine has been on my bucket list for years and this summer I finally did it …  And it was incredible!

This isn’t your average puffin tour … 

There are several other puffin tours on the coast of Maine, but Bold Coast Charters is the only company in Maine authorized ashore Machias Seal Island (or any island for that matter) where thousands of puffins, razorbills, common murres, arctic terns and other seabirds nest every summer.  The only other tour company authorized ashore leaves from New Brunswick.

Puffin Photography

Machias Seal Island has the largest puffin colony on the Maine coast!

The island is located about 10 miles east of Cutler, Maine.  It’s about a 5 hour drive from the Maine New Hampshire border, and about as far northeast in Maine as it gets!  Ownership of Machias Seal Island is actually disputed between the U.S. and Canada, but no passport is required to visit.

Booking The Puffin Tour

The cost of the five hour tour is $150/person and it’s in such high demand that they usually book the entire summer in the first week that they start taking reservations in January.  I think that this year they sold out in just a few days.  That’s why it took me so long to go here!

Visit Bold Coast Charter Company’s website in December to get the date that they’ll begin taking reservations.  Mark it on your calendar and call them to book a date before they sell out!

Bold Coast Maine Puffin Photography Tour

Bold Coast Charter Company offers tours from late May until August 12.

Departure times vary depending on weather and tides and may leave as early as 7:00am, so you’ll probably want to stay nearby in Lubec, Maine.  Since departure times vary, you must call them the evening before to confirm your reservation and get the departure time.

Bold Coast Maine Puffin Photography Tour

Our Puffin Tour

We booked our trip for June 2nd, 2019.  A bit early in the season but there were tons of puffins and other seabirds.

The only drawback to going this early in the season is that it was colder than usual on the island, and especially on the water.

Regardless of when you go, bring warm clothing!  Always a good idea when you’re out on the water in Maine!

Our puffin tour departed at 10:30am from Cutler’s harbor.

As you leave the harbor, you have a fantastic view of Little River Lighthouse.  This is one of the nicest lighthouses I’ve seen in Maine and I never knew it existed because you can only see it from the water.

Little River Lighthouse, Lubec, Maine

The trip to the island took about 45 minutes on thankfully relatively calm seas, although it was cold, windy and foggy!  The boat is 40 feet long and there were about a dozen people on our tour, plus Captain Andy and his first mate.

There wasn’t much to see on the ride there, but I suppose you could get lucky and see a whale, seals or porpoise in the water.

It wasn’t until the lighthouse on Machias Seal Island was visible that we began to see a few seabirds.  They were all on the island!

Machias Seal Island

Machias Seal Island

Going on land isn’t a guarantee.  They’ll only take you on land if it’s safe to do so, and thankfully we could!  They take you in smaller groups to the island on a small boat and you’ll see hundreds of puffins the second you’re ashore.

Puffins on Machias Seal Island

Once everyone was on land, they escorted us to the blinds.  These are small structures, pictured below, where you can open small windows to stick your camera out and photograph the birds.

Blinds for viewing puffins

We were in the blind for about 2 hours of nonstop photographing!  Don’t bring your kid or anyone who isn’t a photography enthusiast, or they’ll be bored in the tiny dark room, but we of course loved every second of it!

Photographing Puffins

You’ll want a camera with at least 150mm lens (about 6x zoom).  Cell phone cameras aren’t adequate.  You wouldn’t know it by looking at the photos, but puffins are really tiny, so you need to zoom in close to get the best pictures.

Bold Coast Maine Puffin Tour

The puffins are everywhere, on every side of the blinds, even on the roof, and you have windows on every wall that you can slide open.  They’ll be as close as 5 feet away from you!  Our photographs were taken at between 40mm and 500mm (about 2x zoom up to about 20x zoom).  Anything more than that is probably unnecessary.

Bold Coast Puffin Tour

The blinds are really small so don’t bring a tripod, but a compact monopod would be fine.  All of our shots were handheld.  The most difficult part was keeping the puffins in focus because they hop around so much!

Puffins looking straight at the camera

Puffins Video

See what it’s like photographing the puffins from the blinds.  I recorded these video clips in between the hundreds of photos that I took!  The birds are very vocal!  Listen for the sound of the puffins landing on the roof!

Bonus: Seals!

After getting our fill of puffin cuteness, on the way back to Cutler, we stopped briefly at a large ledge near the island where there were several seals sun bathing on the rocks and swimming in the water.  Later in the summer it’s also more likely to see dolphins and porpoises.

Seals on a ledge viewed on the tour

More To See In Bold Coast Maine

While you’re in this beautiful part of Maine, see some of the sights!

Check out my blog on the places to see, things to do and where to stay on Maine’s Bold Coast .

Bold Coast Charter Company's puffin photography tour from Lubec, Maine

3 thoughts on “Maine Bold Coast Puffin Tour on Machias Seal Island”

What an amazing and lovely bird I have never seen in my life.

Thank you, I was trying to remember our tour of the island about twenty years ago. I was there again. Ellen from Massachusetts

I’ve have visited the island since the 70’s. Super great ornithological and photographic experience!

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The ULTIMATE Guide to Seeing Puffins in Maine

If you aren’t intrigued by puffins in Maine, we encourage you to keep reading! These colorful and elusive birds with boisterous calls and curious tendencies were once extinct, but thanks to the dedicated efforts of scientists at Puffin Project, the birds came back to the Pine Tree State.

Wait until you hear how they had to be tricked into returning!

Now, puffin tours in Maine are among the most popular activities during the high season, offering visitors scenic views and a chance to see these majestic birds.

But the trips take some careful planning and generous understanding from the visitors who want to get a peek at puffins. Read on to find out how you can see puffins for yourself!

Matinicus-Puffins

Getting to Know the Puffin

You’ll find Atlantic puffins in Maine, one of four puffin variations in the world. The scientific name is Fratercula arctica, meaning “little brother of the north.”

Puffins are known for their striking black and white plumage. They also have a black back and white chest, with distinctive orange-red webbed feet. The most iconic feature is their brightly colored, triangular beak.

This has earned them the nicknames “sea parrot” and “ocean clown.”

As the name suggests, Atlantic Puffins are only found in the Atlantic Ocean. Iceland is the top destination for puffins and is home to the world’s largest colony of puffins.

LISTEN : The distinct (and rather mind-boggling) mating call of an Atlantic Puffin .

Puffins live at sea most of their lives, only coming to land to build a nest and mate. Puffins love being around each other, but don’t like people so much; that’s why the puffin tours in Maine have to be carefully planned.

Puffins measure a foot to a foot and a half tall and grow to about the weight of a soda can. Their daily diet consists of small fish and some crustaceans with adults feasting on up to 40 fish a day.

These colorful birds live about 20 years on average, living on the open ocean for most of the year before returning to remote islands during the breeding season. The birds mate for life, returning to a colony once a year to produce an egg.

Eastern Egg Rock-Puffins

How Did Puffins Disappear from Maine?

One hundred years ago, puffins were hunted for their feathers, eggs, or meat. Overfishing caused the food supply to dwindle as well. Puffins eat small fish from nearby waters, and when the sea is overfished, parental puffins don’t have enough to feed their pufflings, which can eat up 100 fish a day.

DID YOU KNOW? : In 2008, Sex & the City fans watched Carrie Bradshaw famously say, “I put a bird on my head, ” referring to her bridal gown accessories. Turns out, Carrie was tapping into a fashion trend of the past. Another reason puffins were hunted was for “millinery purposes,” meaning the fashion trends in the late 1800s included feathers and stuffed birds on women’s hats.

In 1901, just one pair of puffins returned to Maine. Fast forward to the 1970s, the Puffin Project attempted to bring the colorful birds back. Since puffins only want to go where other puffins are, Stephen Kress and his team of scientists put decoy puffins on the island and created burrows for the birds.

This project worked and now most estimates put Maine’s puffin population at around 3,000.

How Puffins Eat

Have you heard the saying, “A bird and a fish may fall in love, but where would they live?”

Puffins seem to be the answer to that riddle. These birds who love to live at sea can swim up to a minute underwater and dive up to 200 feet. They are essentially flying underwater using wings for speed and webbed feet to steer.

Their beaks have spiny points inside that allow them to carry fish back to shore. While one dive usually catches about ten fish, one count holds the record at 62 fish in one beak! Once above water, they can fly at speeds up to 55 miles per hour!

Petit Manan Island-Puffin

Planning a Puffin Tour on Your Maine Vacation

Since puffins love to live at sea, you can only take a puffin tour in Maine from May through August when the birds come to their colonies.

They need isolated spaces away from predators and people. That means you must travel to isolated places to see them but can’t get too close.

It’s important to know that puffins won’t come to the mainland, so dash any hopes of a puffin pack coming to beg for your lobster roll in Kennebunkport or Portland.

To start your puffin excursion, you can visit the Puffin Project offices in Rockland, Maine.

If you’d like to save time, you can watch this documentary , which is shown at the offices.

A few things to know before you book a puffin tour:

  • Most cruises can’t and won’t stop at the island to give puffins the solitude they need. Many of the nesting habitats are protected by the Audubon Society.
  • Only ONE island tour allows visitors to walk on land, and that number is VERY limited (more on booking that tour can be found below).
  • The islands are remote, some more than others, so visitors prone to seasickness should know this in advance.
  • You will see a lot more than just puffins on the tour, with the potential to spot whales , seals, and dozens of other birds.
  • You’ll want to bring binoculars and a camera with a long lens.

Machias-Seal-Island-puffin

Where to Find Puffins in Maine

Puffins aren’t found on just any islands. As noted above, they return to the same colonies year after year, so only certain islands are part of official puffin tours.

Below, we’ve detailed the location and the port of call for many different tours.

Eastern Egg Rock

This seven-acre island is most synonymous with puffins. It’s where the puffins were first reintroduced to Maine.

The National Audubon’s Project Puffin Seabird Restoration Program team narrates two puffin tours to Eastern Egg Rock, an experience you can’t get with any other vendors. You’ll hear directly from those who made puffins come home again.

Eastern Egg Rock is also one of the closest islands to shore, offering calmer seas than the more distant trips.

Three tour boats can take visitors around Eastern Egg Rock.

  • The Hardy Boat : Departs from New Harbor daily during puffin season.
  • Cap’n Fish’s Cruises : Departs from Boothbay Harbor four times a week, with options for a puffin and whale-watching tour.
  • Monhegan Boat Line : Departs from Port Clyde four times a week from mid-June through August.
Is Monhegan Boat Line still operating? In late September 2023, an out-of-control fire burned through the historic buildings on the Port Clyde dock. The Monhegan Boat Line office was badly burned , but the boats kept running. Visitors are welcomed and encouraged to visit this seaside community as it heals.

Machias Seal Island

The Machias Seal Island (not to be confused with Seal Island below) excursion is hands-down one of the best puffin tours, most unique experiences, and hardest boat seat to get in Maine. Several aspects make this an epic tour.

First, there’s the land dispute about who owns the island. Canada and the United States have each claimed ownership. Luckily, they share the land nicely. Let’s be honest – the puffins really own this island — thousands of them.

This is the only puffin tour in Maine that allows you to go onto the island where puffins live. Only one tour is given each day, and seats are limited to no more than 15 people .

Once you’re on the island, you’ll be guided to blinds, where you stand inside to be surrounded by the puffins, getting as close as three feet to the majestic birds.

Those who don’t want to ride the dinghy to the island or walk the treacherous trail are welcome to stay on the boat. You’ll still get great puffin views. Plan for 5+ hours for this trip.

Only one tour company on the U.S. side offers this trip: Bold Coast Charter Company out of Cutler Harbor.

Machias-Seal-Island-Puffins

Matinicus Rock

The distant island of Matinicus is one of the most underappreciated islands in Maine, though that’s how the locals like it.

Remember earlier when we said just one pair of puffins survived the harvesting in the early 1900s? Those puffins were on Matinicus Rock, five miles southeast of Matinicus island and plantation.

You’ll be a good 23 miles off the coast of Maine, so strong sea legs and an appetite for adventure are a must.

Just one boat option is available to visit Matinicus Rock, where the puffins play. That’s Matinicus Excursions departing out of Rockland.

The island, where Matinicus Rock Lighthouse also stands, is off-limits to foot traffic during nesting season.

Petit Manan Island

This 16-acre island is 10 miles east of the Schoodic Peninsula, making it one of a few options for those visiting Bar Harbor, Winter Harbor, and Acadia National Park . The second-tallest lighthouse in the state is on Petit Manan.

The island is part of the Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge . As with many other islands, no island walking is allowed during nesting season, but you have four tour options to explore the perimeter of the island.

Bar Harbor Whale Watch

You have two ways to see puffins on a cruise from this Bar Harbor departure point.

First, a whale-watching cruise will go by Petit Manan Island for puffin fans. Second, take a puffin and lighthouse tour to see more of the waters off Mount Desert Island and the Schoodic Peninsula.

Acadian Boat Tours

Another Bar Harbor favorite, this tour promises puffins, lighthouses, and seabirds in less than four hours.

You’ll explore the shoreline of the mainland Petit Manan island while passing three lighthouses. These boat tours only fill to half capacity, offering plenty of room to explore two boat decks.

Acadia Puffin Cruise

Here’s a piece of privy puffin information — if you’re tired of booked puffin cruises or concerned you won’t get close enough, take the journey to Steuben, Maine, less than 50 miles from Bar Harbor.

The departure dock is about as close as you’ll get to Petit Manan Island, offering respite from rough seas while still getting closer to the island than most other boats can.

Three tours a day are offered, making it easy to schedule around your itinerary.

See Schoodic Peninsula: While you’re on this side of Acadia National Park, explore the Schoodic Peninsula and don’t miss Schoodic Point!

Robertson Sea Tours

Also on the Schoodic side, you can head to Millbridge and catch a puffin cruise on a lobster boat. The seabird sightings are just part of the fun. You’ll get the lighthouse views and help pull in a lobster trap if you’d like.

Since this is a smaller boat, you’ll be able to get closer to the puffin colonies while still being the required distance away.

Seal Island

Even farther out than Matinicus Rock, Seal Island is also a wildlife refuge.

Be sure you’re looking at Seal Island with a Vinalhaven address since there are several Seal Islands in Maine.

If you’re a bird fan, you should also know this tour will include Great Cormorant sightings in addition to puffins. The tours kick off yearly with the Wings, Waves, and Woods festival on Deer Isle.

Your options include:

  • Isle au Haut Boat Services : Tours are held on Sundays during puffin season, with a few Wednesday trips. Departs from Stonington.
  • Swans Island Charters : You’ll need to take the ferry to Swan’s Island from Bass Harbor on the southwest side of Mount Desert Island to reach the charter departure point. You’ll get two stops on Isle au Haut during this adventure but check the price tag. It might be outside of many travel budgets.

Maine Coastal Islands Refuge-USFWS-Puffins

You’re Prepared for Puffins

We hope this article has been helpful for planning a trip to see puffins in Maine. Puffins have made quite the comeback in Maine, and while it’s hard to guarantee puffin sightings, it’s a rare trip that doesn’t see any during the height of puffin season.

To prepare for puffin cuteness and to get excited for a future puffin tour, here’s a live camera with recorded sightings if you’re viewing during the off-season.

Jennifer Hardy is a journalist and content creator with more than 30 years of experience covering news, travel, and safety from coast to coast. When she's not behind a keyboard, she's out in nature with her golden retrievers.

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Copyright VisitMaine.Net 2023 Images Courtesy Greg and Heather Burke unless otherwise noted.

Book Your Boat Cruise Adventure Today! Whales, Puffins, Lighthouses, Acadia, Lobster Fishing & More!

Bar Harbor Whale Watching Company

PUFFIN & LIGHTHOUSE CRUISE

Quick Details

  • Clock Duration: 2.5 - 3 hours
  • Calendar Available: Mid-May to Mid-August

One of Bar Harbor’s most popular wildlife and sightseeing cruises!

Join us for an adventure out into Frenchman Bay and the Gulf of Maine to see the most sought-after iconic symbols of Maine: Puffins and Lighthouses!

Ride aboard state-of-the art catamarans with professional and knowledgeable naturalists and crew to see three island lighthouses, including Petit Manan, the second tallest lighthouse in Maine!

The tour begins in Frenchman Bay and visits Egg Rock which is home to the first lighthouse of the tour and a nesting colony of cormorants and gulls. Be on the look out for seals and eagles at Egg Rock! This island is part of the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge ! After visiting Egg Rock, the boat will pick up speed and head out to an offshore island called Petit Manan . This location, another National Wildlife Refuge island, is home to a nesting colony of Atlantic puffins! See not only puffins, but razorbills, guillemots, as well as common and Arctic terns!

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We might also have a chance to talk with the researchers based on the island! We collaborate with Friends of Maine Coastal Islands NWR to educate the public about the seabirds that utilize the Refuge as critical nesting habitat. The research interns on the island talk with us via radio, giving us the chance to learn about their work on the island, the status of the puffins and other nesting seabirds, and history of Petit Manan Island.

The summer island intern program is vital to the seabird colony on Petit Manan.  The interns keep a wonderful blog throughout the summer. We learn are great deal from them during the cruise!

The tour then stops by Schoodic Island in search of eagles and other wildlife. The boat then takes a scenic ride along Schoodic Peninsula to view the shoreline of Acadia National Park and visit Winter Harbor Light.

Keep an eye out for ospreys and harbor porpoise or watch lobstermen haul up their traps. After a cruise through the Porcupine Islands on Frenchman Bay, the boat then returns back to Bar Harbor.

Binoculars and/or a long zoom lens are strongly recommended for closer views, however they are not required to see puffins.

Binoculars are also helpful for viewing other wildlife such as seals and eagles.

Photos featuring puffins were taken with a zoom lens. Puffins are about the size of a pigeon.

We follow wildlife viewing guidelines in order to prevent disturbance of the seabirds.

  • Chevron down Amenities
  • Galley has light snacks and bar, including hot and cold beverages.  CASH ONLY  for galley purchases.
  • Restrooms available onboard.
  • Indoor and outdoor seating available. Seating is first come, first serve.
  • Passengers are welcome to move around the boat during the trip to view wildlife and scenery from from different levels.
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  • Vessels are wheelchair accessible.
  • Wheelchairs are available at our facility-please contact us prior to your cruise if you would like to use one of our wheelchairs.
  • Scripts are available upon request.
  • Certified guide dogs are welcome.
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  • When booking, please make sure to have tickets for all members in your party, including infants , as our vessels are certified to carry a specific number of passengers.
  • If you need to cancel or change your reservation, please make sure to contact our ticket office no later than 24 hours before trip departure at: [email protected]  or (207) 288-2386.
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  • WARM & WATERPROOF LAYERS! It is much colder out on the open ocean, even on a hot summer day, and the ride is windy when the boat is underway.
  • Camera: this cruise provides many photography opportunities of wildlife, lighthouses, and coastal scenery.
  • Cash for galley purchases including renting binoculars.
  • Passengers over 18 years of age must bring a valid photo ID for renting binoculars.
  • Chevron down Cancellations
  • Trips will depart rain or shine, however we will cancel for high sea conditions, thunderstorms, and dense fog. Cruises can cancel up to 30 minutes prior to departure.
  • In the event of a cancellation, you will be notified via email and text.
  • To rebook your cruise, please contact our office at 207-288-2386  or email us at [email protected] . Refunds will be processed automatically by the end of the day.
  • Chevron down Don't Miss the Boat!
  • We recommend arriving at the dock 45-60 minutes before departure. Please arrive no later than 15 minutes prior to trip’s scheduled departure.
  • Municipal paid parking is available in downtown Bar Harbor and the town pier. Parking is limited in town, and gets very difficult to find later in the day. Please arrive early to find a spot to park!
  • Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. is not responsible for any parking fees or tickets due to the duration of trips or cancellations.
  • The Island Explorer buses are a free, environmentally-friendly, shuttle service and available during most of our season. Our dock is short walk from their location at the Village Green in downtown Bar Harbor.
  • Taxi services are also available for drop off and pick-up at our location.
  • Chevron down Seasickness Tips & Tricks

Due to the conditions of the seas heading out to the puffin nesting island, sea sickness can be an issue for some.

Here are some tips:

  • Stay hydrated.
  • Try ginger chews, ginger ale, or candied ginger
  • Over the counter sea sickness aids should be taken 1-2 hours before the trip leaves the dock. They usually don’t work once the boat is underway.
  • Acupressure wrist bands.
  • Stay outdoors, looking to the horizon, and avoid the front or upper level parts of the boat.
  • Avoid racing to the restrooms or cabins if you start to feel queasy. These locations will make you feel worse.
  • The captain and crew will inform passengers of the sea conditions. If worried about getting seasick, passengers have the chance to step off the boat, prior to trip’s departure, to reschedule for a different trip or get refunded.
  • The crew are available at all times if you need assistance.
  • Chevron down Kid Friendly?

Yes! All ages welcome and kids can certainly enjoy this trip and learn a great deal!

Just a few things to keep in mind:

  • Safety- it is crucial that kids have an adult with them at all times. We are out on the open ocean and kids, being curious, tend to wander off, attempt to jump, run, swing and climb on things they shouldn’t and could potentially get seriously injured. It helps to make sure parents are reinforcing the safety rules!
  • Seasickness- kids tend to get seasick more easily. Keeping kiddos hydrated, in the open air, and avoiding sugary foods will help keep them from getting seasick.

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Bar Harbor Nature Cruise

Join us for a spectacular nature cruise among the islands and shorelines of beautiful Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island. Take in breathtaking scenery, rugged maritime landscapes, and ocean teeming with wildlife.

  • Clock 2.5 - 3 hours

Lighthouse, Wildlife & Acadia National Park Cruise

Coming to Bar Harbor in late summer and fall? If yes, this is a boat cruise not to be missed! Join us as we explore the waters of Mount Desert Island and beyond to enjoy spectacular views of historic lighthouse, coastal islands, and Acadia National Park. This cruise can feature a variety of wildlife including harbor and grey seals, bald eagles, and seabirds.

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CAP'N FISH'S CRUISES

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HARBOR CRUISE WITH SEALS, LIGHTHOUSES, & LOBSTER TRAP HAUL

This is our original tour and the fastest way to see the harbor! Includes lobster trap hauling. Pass by two lighthouses and visit seals at seal rocks.

  • Hour Glass Approx. 3.5 hours

BOOTHBAY HARBOR WHALE WATCHING CRUISE

See whales, dolphins, sharks, seals, and more at Maine’s prime whale feeding grounds and enjoy a tour of the Boothbay Harbor region!

  • Hour Glass Approx. 4+ hours

WHALE WATCH & PUFFIN COMBO CRUISE

Spend an afternoon packed with the wonders of nature on this incredible tour. See puffins at Eastern Egg Rock and whales at the feeding grounds.

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Visit Maine and see the beautiful coast, whales , puffins , and other wildlife with Cap’n Fish’s Cruises –  the most experienced coastal boat tour company in the region! Departures leave from historic Boothbay Harbor, Maine seven days a week from mid-May to mid-October.

Learn about Maine’s coastal history and a few fun facts and have fun listening to our interactive Naturalists and Captains, who are local landmarks and wildlife experts. Relax on our efficient, modern, and comfortable boats, boasting plenty of room to spread out, 360-degree views from the top and lower decks, and a galley featuring snacks, beverages, beer, wine, and cocktails! Join us on a Boothbay boat trip and explore the beauty of Maine!

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We care deeply about our work and we are dedicated to our team.

While we take our jobs seriously, we don’t take ourselves seriously. We provide our guests with a fun, safe, and memorable experience.

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We believe in providing an elevated guest experience. The surrounding coastal environment, along with guest safety, take center stage.

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Everyone on staff was helpful and knowledgable. Easy to book online, easy to find. The kids love seeing seals and we had a great time. Everyone else on the boat seemed to be having fun too and there were great photo opportunities. Would definitely go again!

Have done several tours in the past and this one was better than I remember!. Boat comfortable, captain a wonderful tour guide. Would love to repeat the tour again soon. Dont hesitate this is the best you will find.

This was a great way to see the coast line around Boothbay! Beautiful fall day. The ship guide/captain was very informative and they took their time going around the islands and sharing lots of information about the landmarks and wildlife. We really enjoyed to ride, it was well worth the time and money!

We took the Captain's Combo trip and were extremely pleased. The boat, Pink Lady II was clean and in excellent condition.The captain not only piloted the boat well, he was also a very knowledgable narrator.The route taken on the trip included lighthouses, bays, wildlife, and our favorite, the working fishing village of South Bristol. Great trip.

Cruise was excellent. Captain was excellent. Running commentary was very informative. Cruise was just the proper length, not too long and not too short. All in all a very pleasant experience. I would recommend this for anyone in the area who would like to see the area by sea.

This was my second time on this cruise and I liked it just as much. The water was rougher this time so the captain changed the route just a little to get us in calmer water. We saw seals sunning on the rocks and trees just starting to turn color. I took my adultdaughter who's from New York city and she thought the views were beautiful. It gave her a very realxing change of scene. Both the captain's narration and the demonstration of lobstering were full of intriguing facts.

We took the 2 hour cruise around islands and rivers near Boothbay Harbor. The boat was first class and the captain was excellent. Very knowledgeable about the marine life and landscape and the crew was most accommodating. An excellent value as well. Highly recommended.

I can honestly say that this was the best boat see tour we ever did. We did the captains special the first time and were so pleased with the knowledge of the captain explaining everything along the trip that we decided to do the Kennebec River tour two days later. We saw seals, lighthouses, bald eagles and all kinds of birds. We had the same captain on both rides and were so impressed with his narration during the trip. Would highly recommend this to anyone. The price was decent too for all the sights you get to see and the great personality of the captain.

ALL TRIPS DEPART FROM 119 EDEN ST-THE ATLANTIC OCEANSIDE HOTEL- 5 MIN DRIVE FROM DOWNTOWN BAR HARBOR

Acadian Boat Tours

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  • Our trips depart daily from the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel at 119 Eden St. (located 1 & ½ miles – a 5 minute drive, from downtown, Bar Harbor)

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Our Acadian Boats

Come aboard the Acadian, Eden Star, Islander, Rambler and the Jennifer Ann. Our boats are clean and family-oriented and the Acadian & Eden Star are pet-friendly! The larger boats offer a snack bar and indoor heated cabin. All boats offer clean restrooms. Our boats are USCG Safety Inspected yearly.

About Our Boat Tours in Bar Harbor, Maine

Located at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel, 119 Eden St. in Bar Harbor, Maine, Acadian Boat Tours offers Sightseeing/ Nature cruises ,  Puffins/Lighthouses & Seabird Tours ,  Tours of the Somes Sound Fjord, Lighthouse and National Park trips, Family Friendly Fishing trips as well as private family charters  aboard our vessels.  Explore the rich wildlife population and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of coastal Maine, Acadia National Park, the islands of Frenchman Bay, and the shoreline of Bar Harbor.

We also feature views of lighthouses, the vintage homes of Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor, and Seal Harbor, and the quaint village of Southwest Harbor. Cruise with us through Frenchman Bay or Somes Sound into the only fjord on the East Coast. Take in the historical lighthouses of our area! We have  naturalists  who will keep you informed about the wildlife we are seeing and are happy to answer any questions you may have.

We have four boats , the  Acadian , the Islander the Eden Star AND our six-passenger private charter boat — the  Rambler . Our Bar Harbor cruises are clean and family-oriented and the Acadian & Eden Star  are pet-friendly!  The boats offer a small snack bar, restrooms, and the large boats also have a heated, indoor cabin. However, please bring a warm jacket or sweater with you on all of our cruises, as temperatures on the water are cooler than they are on shore.

We provide great trips for the entire family or group. Reservations are always recommended. Dates and times vary by trip chosen. Please see our  trip schedule for details. We have plenty of free parking on site for guests while on one of our Acadian nature cruises.

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2,245+ 5-star Reviews of our Bar Harbor Cruises!

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Great adventure, saw seals, lighthouses and listened to interesting facts on the area. Bit hard to hear at times, just need to find the right place to sit. Beautiful scenery. Would highly recommend and would love to go back and do the puffin trip in the right season!

I have always had a fear of going on the ocean. Facing my fears to experience everything I have always wanted to do. What an amazing experience! Educational & Fun! We saw whales, seal, bald eagles and amazing scenery.

Such a beautiful and scenic boat ride. Even though it was October in Maine, the sun was shining and it couldn't have been a prettier day. We saw a lighthouse, lots of seals, and even a couple bald eagles. Definitely glad we did the boat tour!

Everything is very organized, they take you out at the bay, you hear very cool stories about each island, about lobster fishing and about the animals that leave in the area. We got to see seals, bald eagle and a lot of others!

Really outstanding tour of Bar Harbor and Frenchman’s Bay! Boat was nice and clean and comfortable and Captain Phil guided it skillfully. The tour narrator, Abbie, was outstanding and pointed out all the landmarks and wildlife. We were able to see seals, dolphins and other wildlife. Highly recommend this boat tour!

Once More to the Shore

Writing the waves of coastal travel

Puffin Cruise to Eastern Egg Rock, Maine, with Hardy Boat

A pair of Atlantic puffins pose for the camera. Photo by Dino Garmy from Pexels.

Following the Black Hole of travel writing that was 2020, I’ve been fortunate—and hugely relieved—to have a steady flow of assignments since the early spring. One of my favorites was a story on the new Empire State Trail for National Geographic , and the experience of working with them was such a joy that I immediately talked my editor into a story on birding ecotours and conservation that I’ve been wanting to write for over a year. (Look for that in September.) Wanting to add firsthand experience to the piece, I started researching an Atlantic puffin cruise off the coast of Maine.

I got lucky: one tour company had an opening the very next weekend. I immediately purchased the tickets, knowing I’d figure out a coastal Maine road trip itinerary later.

Find out more about the road trip and the best places to stop in this post . Here we’re going to get into the experience of the puffin cruise. 

How to Choose a Puffin Cruise

In North America, your two best options for seeing Atlantic puffins are:

  • Machias Seal Island, in the disputed waters between the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of Maine. Tours for Machias Seal Island generally, but not exclusively, depart from New Brunswick, Canada.
  • Eastern Egg Rock, in Muscongus Bay, off the coast of Maine.

Given that I live only a few hours’ drive from Maine, I went with a US-based puffin tour.

Puffin landing on rock. Scene from a puffin cruise. Photo by Dino Garmy for Pexels.

Though there are several puffin tour operators, I chose Hardy Boat for a couple reasons. Their tours are shorter, but the company guarantees puffin sightings—or you’ll be credited toward a future tour. They also partner with National Audubon’s Project Puffin , which helped create the first restored seabird colony in the world more than 40 years ago. To date, Hardy Boat has donated $200,000 from its ticket sales to Project Puffin. Our tickets cost $35 per person, for a 1.5-hour Saturday-evening cruise. An Audubon naturalist narrates each cruise, which gives invaluable insight into the birds and their habitat.

A quick PSA: Hardy Boat did not subsidize this trip or compensate me in any way. I paid for the entire Maine coastal road trip out of pocket.

Although I was able to book a same-week cruise, I don’t recommend it unless you’re already planning to be near the harbor where the boat launches—in my case, this was New Harbor, across from Boothbay Harbor. Making a last-minute reservation means you’re limited on tour days and times, and also makes it exceptionally difficult to find a decent local hotel with availability.

Preparing for the Puffins: What You Need to Know

It gets pretty chilly out on the water, so make sure you dress in layers. Rubber-soled shoes with good treads will help you maintain traction on the boat deck even if the seas are choppy. Tours usually run in the rain (unless it’s extremely heavy), so take a poncho or a rain jacket with a hood.

If you’re planning to use a digital SLR or film camera to photograph, make sure your equipment is charged and packed. You’ll find it nearly impossible to capture a decent shot in rough weather, so consider taking a rail mount, plus a lens hood in case of rain. While my photos were uniformly disappointing, my friend Aisha, who is a talented photographer and took the same cruise the day after ours, posted some nice shots on her Instagram .

Muscongus Bay, location for puffin cruises. Photo by Robin Catalano, travel writer.

And don’t forget your binoculars; unless you have excellent distance vision, you’ll be squinting to see birds hundreds of feet from the boat.

If you’re prone to even the slightest bit of motion sickness, take your favorite meds at least an hour before climbing aboard. Meclizine, also known by the brand name Bonine, works best for me, and doesn’t cause as much drowsiness as Dramamine.

Perhaps as important: be prepared to line up early.

Hardy Boat Puffin Cruise

The e-mail confirmation for our trip with Hardy Boat said to arrive on the dock 45 minutes prior to departure. We got there an hour before, and were surprised to find that the line was already at least 15 deep. People also weren’t especially observant of social distancing, but that’s a different story. We joined the queue, keeping as much distance as we could, and were excited to spot several seabirds, including two kinds of gulls and cormorants, right there on the docks.

Boarding time finally arrived. It is a truth rarely spoken that no one wants a lower-deck seat on a tour boat. Unless, perhaps, it’s raining, or you feel the need to stick close to the snack bar. Being early to queue up meant we were able to stake out a bench at the back of the Hardy III ’s top deck, as the seats around us quickly filled.

The approach to Eastern Egg Rock during a puffin cruise. Photo by Robin Catalano, travel writer.

Then the captain’s voice came over the loudspeaker: the waters were especially rough that evening—a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10 for rolling. (The man and woman in front of us, the latter of whom was sporting a transdermal patch behind her ear, immediately disembarked. Hardy Boat will rebook you on a future cruise when this happens.)

My husband flashed me a look. Motion sickness and I have a long, long history. With a proprietary cocktail of one Bonine and two ginger capsules every four hours, I can usually manage it well enough on planes, trains, and buses. But stop-and-go car traffic and choppy waters are my nemeses. We’d gone on a rolling-seas whale watch in Cape Cod several years ago, during which a handful of people were unable to hold down their breakfasts. How I managed not to toss mine overboard remains a mystery, but I’d walked off the boat on shaking legs.  

I’d already swallowed my motion-sickness meds, we’d driven all this way in mood-killing traffic, and I had an article to write. On top of that, my desire to see the puffins was becoming a bit white whale-ish. I slouched into my seat and resolved that I would not leave, nor would I get sick, damn it .

We motored out into Muscongus Bay, en route to Eastern Egg Rock. I was fine, at least for the first half of the trip. Yes, the boat rolled—so much that I don’t have a single good photo from the trip. But we saw dozens of birds: laughing and herring gulls, cormorants, arctic terns, common eiders, Northern gannets, and black guillemots, whose white wing patches and bright red feet make them easy to spot while they’re in the air. Although we didn’t see nearly as many puffins as gulls, we did see about a half-dozen—floating on the water, taking off into the sky, and swooping over the boulders of the treeless island.

Puffins fishing in the water of Muscongus Bay. Photo by Robin Catalano, travel writer.

Every sighting was an event for me. I’m a lifelong animal lover, and I still stop what I’m doing to observe the deer browsing along the edges of my yard, or a fox bounding into the air and then diving into my pasture grass in pursuit of a rodent snack. When we’re out hiking and I see or hear a songbird I don’t recognize, I immediately pull out the Merlin app to make an ID. I won’t even bother to recount how much time I spent stalking a great blue heron that decided to go fishing in my neighbor’s pond.

Suffice it to say that on the puffin cruise, each flash of yellow-dimpled white cheeks, bright orange beak, and webbed feet brought a new wave of excitement. If my mother were still alive, she’d have reminded me to stop grinning like a chimp, lest my face freeze that way.

Cormorants and gulls on Eastern Egg Rock, Maine. Photo by Robin Catalano, travel writer.

A couple of times, my husband motioned for me to stand up and come over to the starboard side for a better look. This was my big mistake. As the boat slowed to a crawl along the edges of Eastern Egg Rock, the rolling became more pronounced. I started to feel the first telltale waves of nausea, but stubbornly wanted those last view avian views as the boat turned around and headed back to harbor.

I spent the 30-minute return trip berating myself for not taking some Queasy Drops with me, and reciting I will not throw up, I will not throw up in my mind. Behind me, a fellow passenger asked his companion if she’d liked the trip, and she whined, “We barely saw any puffins.” If I’d been able to open my mouth without undigested objects flying out, I’d have said to her, “Are you kidding? For $35, you went on a tour narrated by a National Audubon Naturalist, and you did see puffins. Plus you got to see a couple hundred other birds, many of which you’d never see from shore.” Instead, I stared morosely at a fixed point on the horizon, unable to savor the views of Muscongus Bay, and tried to hush my roiling stomach.

Did this taint my experience on the puffin cruise? Only slightly. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, just to catch a glimpse of these spectacular birds in their summer habitat.

Post-Puffin Cruise

Back on land, we walked very slowly back to the car. It took about 15 minutes for the imminent-barfing sensation to subside, replaced by fatigue and low-grade but not unmanageable queasiness. After reminding my husband not to drive so close to other cars that we might have to stop short, I tipped my head back against the car seat, closed my eyes, and let myself drift into a brief nap, one of the best ways I know of to calm an upset stomach.

Eastern Egg Rock from a puffin cruise boat. Photo by Robin Catalano, travel writer.

We’d bypassed the touristy-looking restaurant at the dock where we’d disembarked—I hadn’t been up to eating at that point, anyway—in favor of driving toward our hotel, 40 minutes away in Boothbay Harbor. At about the halfway mark, we stopped in Damariscotta, a sweet little riverfront town where we’d spent a couple hours that afternoon.

At 8:00 p.m., the crowds had vanished, and we had our pick of restaurants. Not up to seafood, we stopped at Best Thai , in the middle of Main Street, where I sipped a Coke to further ease my stomach, before digging into a mango curry (not very spicy, but pretty good nonetheless).

As I scrolled back through my photos from the puffin cruise, none of which were especially good, I cursed the fact that I hadn’t been able to get something worth posting on Instagram. Then I reconsidered: I’d had an experience not everyone gets to enjoy. I’d seen the birds live, with my own eyes, as they splashed in the water and took off into the air. And I’d even observed some birds I’d never seen before. I’d gotten to do something I’d always wanted, and that was something to remember, long after a fleeting post on social media gets a paltry number of likes.

It also got me thinking about how I’d like to go on a puffin cruise again, and what I’d do differently. In the meantime, there’s always the Puffin Burrow Cam .

Like what you see? Share it!

Panoramic view of The Narrows in Eel Bay on Wellesley Island. Photo by Robin Catalano, travel writer.

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Hardy Boat Cruises

HARDY BOAT CRUISES

Monhegan island ferry & boat tours in new harbor, me.

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SELECT YOUR HARDY BOAT TOUR!

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  • Hour Glass 1 Hour Outbound, 1.25 Hours Inbound

Monhegan Island Ferry Service

Enjoy the beautiful waters and scenery of Bristol with our ferry services between New Harbor and Monhegan Island!

  • Our award-winning trip!
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Puffin Watch with National Audubon

Experience our award-winning puffin watching trip narrated by a National Audubon Project Puffin naturalist! This tour has been recognized as a high quality ecotourism experience.

SELECT YOUR ADVENTURE!

Hardy Boat Cruises is a small, eco-tourism business dedicated to the environment, sustainability, conservation and education. We offer an authentic experience with a genuine love for the Maine Coast, our community and the people we serve. Join us on the ferry to beautiful Monhegan Island and see the famous Atlantic puffins on our puffin watch !

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Great customer service! We went to Monhegan Island for the day and had a wonderful experience. Captain was very knowledgeable and made us very comfortable!

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I always travel Hardy Boat when going to the islands and birding. Great boat line. Great staff. No Boothbay traffic and a quicker trip to Monhegan Island, giving you more time on the island.

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We went on a puffin tour and had an outstanding experience. The puffins were amazing! Excellent tour guide, beautiful scenery, and smooth logistics.

We had the best day. The captain and crew were knowledgeable and friendly. Saw many seals and eagles. Beautiful day to be on the water. We loved every minute.

Grey Havens Inn

Where to See Puffins in Maine: Your Guide to the Best Places

Atlantic puffins are one of the most easily recognized birds in the world, but did you know that they live exclusively in the North Atlantic Ocean? The next time you visit Maine, don’t miss out on the opportunity to see these beloved birds in action! Read on to discover everything you need to plan the perfect bird watching trip, including educational resources, interesting facts, and where to see puffins in Maine . Afterward, find more outdoor adventure in our free Travel Guide . Our local guide is full of recommendations for whale watching , sailing charters, kayaking, and more.

Introducing the Puffin

At first glance, you may think that the Atlantic puffin is a pint-size penguin. Yet, despite some similar features, the puffin and the penguin belong to separate families. Puffins fly, and penguins do not. In addition, puffins are residents of the Northern Hemisphere while penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere. These small, adorable birds have orange legs and feet, a black back and head with a white face, and an iconic multicolor beak. The  Project Puffin Visitor Center  in Rockland is a great place for people of all ages to learn about the puffin and experience hands-on exhibits.

The Best Place and Time to Enjoy Puffin Watching in Maine

The ocean islands of Maine are the only nesting sites for the Atlantic Puffin in the United States. Eastern Egg Rock is one of Maine’s most popular islands for puffin watching; it’s the best spot in the midcoast Maine area, Eastern Egg Rock is only six miles from the shore, making it extremely accessible. Here, you may also spot bald eagles and even seals. Puffin watching season in Maine only lasts four months out of the year. Trips to view typically run from May through August with the best viewing in June and July.  About the second week of August, the birds head out for the season.

For those who wish to view puffins on Eastern Egg Rock, trips head out from nearby Boothbay Harbor  – we highly recommend Cap’n Fish’s Audubon Puffin Cruise. The cruise is narrated by the National Audubon’s Puffin Project so you get the history of puffins and the Eastern Egg Rock restoration directly from the project’s staff. Please note that Eastern Egg Rock is only visible from a boat. Boats run frequently are are well appointed. Visit their website for dates, times, and tickets . Our past guests have loved their trips!

Other Popular Maine Sea Islands for Puffin Viewing

Eastern Egg Rock isn’t the only Maine sea island where puffins live in the spring and summer. Although some of these islands are not as accessible as Eastern Egg Rock, puffins make them all worth the journey.

  • Seal Island and  Matinicus Rock
  • Machias Seal Island (United States/Canada)
  • Petit Manan off the downeast coast

The Maine Tourism site indicates that puffin tour boats depart from Jonesport, Cutler, Bar Harbor, Millbridge, Stonington, Rockland, New Harbor and Port Clyde depending on which puffin colony you wish to visit.

Fun Facts & Tips for Your Trip

  • When you lay eyes on your first puffin, his size may surprise you. Atlantic puffins are as tall as a quart of milk and weigh about as much as a can of soda. Remember to bring binoculars on your puffin tour !
  • Look into your binoculars, because you’re in for another treat! Atlantic puffins can carry an impressive amount of fish in their beaks at once. In fact, they usually catch about 10 fish or so per hunt.
  • If you want to learn even more about Atlantic puffins, make a trip to Project Puffin Visitor Center in Rockland, ME. The puffin center is about 60 minutes away from Grey Havens Inn.
  • CBS Sunday Morning visited with the puffins in 2023 and posted this nature video featuring many of these cute birds that you will enjoy (may require login).

Stay Near it All

The Tides Room at Grey Havens Inn

When you book any of our elegant accommodations, like The Tides Room , you can always look forward to the best amenities, packages , and top-notch service. Complimentary breakfast is always included in your stay, and our onsite restaurant means you’ll never need to worry about where to go for dinner. When you are ready to plan your spring/summer getaway, check our availability and book your stay. We can’t wait to host you at Grey Havens Inn!

IMAGES

  1. Puffin Tours- Maine Tourism Association

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  2. Maine Bold Coast Puffin Tour on Machias Seal Island

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  3. Best Time for Puffin Watching in Maine 2024

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  4. The 4 Best Ways to See Puffins in Maine

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  5. Puffin Tours

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  6. Best Time for Puffin Watching in Maine 2024

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COMMENTS

  1. Audubon Puffin Cruise Maine

    Join a 2.5-hour boat trip to see puffins and other wildlife on Eastern Egg Rock, a National Audubon Society project. Learn about puffins, seals, lighthouses, and more from the narrator.

  2. Puffin Watching: Land Tours & Cruises

    Learn where and when to see puffins on Maine ocean islands, and how to book tours and cruises to the islands from various locations. Find out about the Project Puffin Visitor Center in Rockland and other resources for puffin enthusiasts.

  3. Puffin tours to Machias Seal Island from Cutler, Maine

    Join a half day excursion to see puffins and other seabirds on the largest colony on the Maine coast. Cruise aboard the BARBARA FROST, a custom vessel with heated cabin and restroom, from Cutler Harbor, a scenic fishing village.

  4. Acadia Puffin Cruise

    About Acadia Puffin Cruise. Set sail aboard the 40′ Tricia Clark, Maine's original puffin boat. This is a two hour tour out of Pigeon Hill Bay to the stunning Petit Manan Island. During this tour, you will also experience the breathtaking views of the Petit Manan Wildlife Refuge and Bois Bubert Island. After the tour, we recommend hiking ...

  5. National Audubon Puffin Watch

    Puffin Tours in Maine from New Harbor . New Harbor is only 5 miles from Eastern Egg Rock (EER) making it the closest, easiest and most convenient way to see these fascinating birds. On the way to the EER during our puffin cruise you will see Franklin Island Lighthouse, Monhegan Island, the islands of Muscongus Bay and a spectacular view of the ...

  6. The Best Places To See Puffins In Maine

    If you'd prefer to observe the puffins from afar, several reputable tour boat operators offer guided tours through the nesting islands on the Maine Coast. Eastern Egg Rock, Petit Manan, and Seal Island are among the most popular. Depending on the weather and the tour guide, you'll have opportunities to spot some other seabirds, whales ...

  7. Puffin Boat Tours

    Puffin tours begin in early June and run through mid-August, occur rain or shine, and are dependent on sea conditions. Bring appropriate attire - include a sweater or windbreaker and sunscreen. Additionally, binoculars are strongly recommended to enhance your viewing experience. Other Puffin Tours in Maine

  8. Puffins, Lighthouses, & Seabirds Cruise

    Take a two hour, fully-narrated nature cruise of Frenchman Bay and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of coastal Maine, Acadia National Park, and the Bar Harbor shoreline. ( Pet friendly!) Book online today! Book Now. Learn More. Prettiest Trip of the Day! From $47. 1.5 - 2 hours.

  9. WHALE WATCHING & PUFFIN CRUISES

    See whales, dolphins, sharks, seals, and more at Maine's prime whale feeding grounds and enjoy a tour of the Boothbay Harbor region! Learn More From $ 96. Approx. 4+ hours ... Spend an afternoon packed with the wonders of nature on this incredible tour. See puffins at Eastern Egg Rock and whales at the feeding grounds. Learn More From $ 59. 2 ...

  10. Puffin & Nature Cruises

    Puffin & Nature Cruises Come Aboard for a Puffin & Nature Cruise! Every time we steam out of Port Clyde, Maine harbor, we know we'll encounter some intriguing wildlife amid the stunningly beautiful seascapes that surround us. On this 2 ½ hour cruise, you will encounter a variety of other marine life.

  11. Puffin tours to Machias Seal Island from Cutler, Maine

    Bold Coast Charter Company in Cutler, Maine - seabird watching excursions to Machias Seal Island - largest puffin colony in Maine! ... Atlantic Puffins in their nesting habitat - Machias Seal Island. Return to the home page. BOLD COAST CHARTER CO. P.O. BOX 364 CUTLER, ME 04626 207-259-4484 e-mail: [email protected].

  12. Project Puffin Visitor Center

    The Project Puffin Visitor Center celebrates the success of Project Puffin in bringing Atlantic Puffins and other seabirds back to their historic nesting islands in the Gulf of Maine. Featuring interactive exhibits, educational programs, a gift shop, and more, the visitor center has activities for all ages. Regular season programming includes:

  13. Maine Puffin Tours

    When to see puffins: Mid-May through mid-August. Ballpark cost: $160 for an on-island visit; $40 for a cruise. Puffin tour companies: Only Maine's Bold Coast Charter Co. and New Brunswick-based Sea Watch Tours land on Machias Seal Island, and when tickets go on sale in January, both sell out fast. But several companies offer viewing ...

  14. Where to See Puffins in Maine: 5 Great Places (2024)

    Puffin Cruises to Eastern Egg Rock. Photo Credit: Justin Smulski. Six miles out to sea in outer Muscongus Bay you'll find Eastern Egg Rock. Though tiny in stature (about a tenth of a square mile), Eastern Egg Rock is hugely important to the conservation efforts of coastal bird species. Back in 1973, the Audubon Society and Maine's ...

  15. Maine Bold Coast Puffin Tour on Machias Seal Island

    There are several other puffin tours on the coast of Maine, but Bold Coast Charters is the only company in Maine authorized ashore Machias Seal Island (or any island for that matter) where thousands of puffins, razorbills, common murres, arctic terns and other seabirds nest every summer. The only other tour company authorized ashore leaves from ...

  16. Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co.

    The Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. do a great job of narrating while exploring and showing off the beautiful coast of Maine. During our adventure we saw seals, the infamous puffins, bald eagles along with many other critters as well. The crew were accommodating, professional, a little humorous, and knowledgeable.

  17. Want To See Puffins In Maine? We'll Tell You Where And How

    Bar Harbor Whale Watch. You have two ways to see puffins on a cruise from this Bar Harbor departure point. First, a whale-watching cruise will go by Petit Manan Island for puffin fans. Second, take a puffin and lighthouse tour to see more of the waters off Mount Desert Island and the Schoodic Peninsula.

  18. Puffin Lighthouse Cruise

    Cruises can cancel up to 30 minutes prior to departure. In the event of a cancellation, you will be notified via email and text. To rebook your cruise, please contact our office at 207-288-2386 or email us at [email protected]. Refunds will be processed automatically by the end of the day. Chevron down.

  19. Boothbay Harbor Boat Tours & Whale Watch

    Visit Maine and see the beautiful coast, whales, puffins, and other wildlife with Cap'n Fish's Cruises - the most experienced coastal boat tour company in the region!Departures leave from historic Boothbay Harbor, Maine seven days a week from mid-May to mid-October. Learn about Maine's coastal history and a few fun facts and have fun listening to our interactive Naturalists and ...

  20. Acadian Boat Tours

    About Our Boat Tours in Bar Harbor, Maine. Located at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel, 119 Eden St. in Bar Harbor, Maine, Acadian Boat Tours offers Sightseeing/Nature cruises, Puffins/Lighthouses & Seabird Tours, Tours of the Somes Sound Fjord, Lighthouse and National Park trips, Family Friendly Fishing trips as well as private family charters ...

  21. Puffin Cruise to Eastern Egg Rock, Maine, with Hardy Boat

    They also partner with National Audubon's Project Puffin, which helped create the first restored seabird colony in the world more than 40 years ago. To date, Hardy Boat has donated $200,000 from its ticket sales to Project Puffin. Our tickets cost $35 per person, for a 1.5-hour Saturday-evening cruise.

  22. Boat Tours & Ferry Service

    Hardy Boat Cruises is a small, eco-tourism business dedicated to the environment, sustainability, conservation and education. We offer an authentic experience with a genuine love for the Maine Coast, our community and the people we serve. Join us on the ferry to beautiful Monhegan Island and see the famous Atlantic puffins on our puffin watch!

  23. Where to See Puffins in Maine: Your Guide to the Best Places

    The Maine Tourism site indicates that puffin tour boats depart from Jonesport, Cutler, Bar Harbor, Millbridge, Stonington, Rockland, New Harbor and Port Clyde depending on which puffin colony you wish to visit. Fun Facts & Tips for Your Trip. When you lay eyes on your first puffin, his size may surprise you. Atlantic puffins are as tall as a ...