Visiting the Cranberry Islands is a great way to spend a day when you’re on Mt Desert Island, especially if you like laid back small towns with friendly people.
There are ferries that will take you from either the Northeast Harbor or the Southwest Harbor to each of the islands and back. Day passes start at around $30 for an adult, less for children, and pets are free.
You can stay on the islands for the night as well, but they are small islands, so you can do most of the island in a few hours. There are a few lighthouses you can see using certain ferries.
Great Cranberry Island has a great restaurant called Seawich Café. It’s expensive but they have amazing clam chowder. You can take a bike and ride the whole island, or there’s a free tour called the Cranberry Explorer. We just walked around for most the day talking to locals and exploring a yard sale we came across. Everyone was super friendly and used to visitors to the island.
On Little Cranberry we did more walking but we came across an ice cream shop with a trail in back leading to a rocky beach and the ocean. It was a great walk over log trails through a forest, watching our dog chase seaweed in the surf, then homemade ice cream for the walk back to the ferry.