The Royal River Estuary, Cousins River Estuary, and Casco Bay provide diverse boating, fishing, paddling, birding and more. At low tide, narrow river channels and a crowded harbor require courtesies to other boaters. Casco Bay and its islands include many sand bars, clam flats, and quiet coves but also cold- water ocean experiences requiring attention to safety.
Access points and destinations:
- Yarmouth Town Landing: Boat access and overnight parking for a fee is available at Yarmouth Town Landing, off Bayview Street, in Yarmouth.
- Winslow Park: Boat access and overnight parking for a fee is available at Winslow Park in Freeport, along with camping, picnic tables, trails, a beach and more.
- Lanes Island: The beaches and overnight campsites on Lanes Island are owned and managed by Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Caution: the island is surrounded by mud flat much of the time. Please respect camping limitations and reservations.
- Maine Island Trail: The Maine Island Trail provides more trail and overnight experiences in Casco Bay, and informs boaters on more public access points and safety information.
- Land-based trails: Land-based trails and conserved land on this map segment are managed by many entities including Freeport Conservation Trust, New England Forestry Foundation, and Royal River Conservation Trust, Town of Yarmouth, Town of Freeport, and more
- Littlejohn Island Preserve (located just off this “Estuaries & Bay” map). The Royal River Conservation Trust’s preserve at the end of Littlejohn Island is a destination by boaters for a picnic. Daytime use only. No boat access (no boat launch) from the preserve.
- Sandy Point Beach. Hand-carry boat access and daytime parking is available at Sandy Point Beach (Cousins Island) in Yarmouth, along with trails.
- Cousins River upper reaches and Pratt’s Brook tidal access: The upper reaches of the Cousins, and the tidal stretches of Pratt’s Brook have no public access, and are impassable at low tides. Public launches at Winslow Park and Yarmouth Town Landing allow for exploration of these stretches. Be aware of tides, and respect private landowners or private restaurant or marina access.
- Private marinas and private land: Several private marinas and restaurants in Yarmouth Harbor and on the Cousins River provide services, meals, and access for boaters. Please contact businesses, tides, and charts to explore options. Please always respect private landowners and private businesses with water access, especially respecting “posted” signs and parking rules.
All rivers — and especially exposed coastal waters — require attention to safety. Paddling conditions vary according to weather and season and tide. Always exercise caution and always wear a life jacket. With good judgment and proper equipment, risks can be reduced. Paddlers should seek to avoid causing erosion, trampling vegetation, disturbing wildlife, and harming water quality.
Carry-in, Carry-out, Leave No Trace
Please plan to pack out your own trash as well as any left by others, to improve the experience for everyone.