Thacher Island and Straitsmouth Island are both accessed by ramps which may only be used by the Thacher launch, a dinghy or kayaks. 

The distance to Thacher Island from Rockport Harbor is about 3 miles and the Association asks kayakers to use caution, pay attention to weather conditions, and turn back if you feel uncomfortable. It is not a simple paddle for novice kayakers or those with limited endurance. Straitsmouth Island is closer to shore but kayakers must beware of rocks when approaching the ramp at low tide.

Groups larger than 5 boats must call the keepers in advance with their expected arrival time. A $5 donation is suggested for each person arriving by kayak. The islands close to the public at 5pm.

North Shore Adventures and Outdoor Center on Bearskin Neck rents kayaks and also runs guided kayak tours to both islands.

Neither Thacher Island nor Straitsmouth Island has a dock. Access to both islands is by ramp only. 

Thacher Island has 3 guest moorings adjacent to the ramp, about 50 yards offshore. You must call the keeper on the island in advance at 508-284-0144 to tell him you are coming. Moorings are free on a first come, first served basis. 

Straitsmouth Island has no moorings, but normally allows dinghies to land on the ramp. Boaters must move their dinghies off the ramp to the adjacent shoreline once they land.

A $5 donation per person is suggested. The islands close to the public at 5pm.

The Thacher Island boat launches operate trips to Thacher Island on Wednesdays, Saturdays and limited Tuesdays from June through August, along with trips to Straitsmouth Island on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month. Reservations are required for all passengers and are available now. Links to reserve your tickets are posted under Launch Reservation Information. 

Note: Each trip is limited to 6 passengers so we suggest you make reservations early. Launch trips to the islands cannot carry children under 3 years of age due to our U.S. Coast Guard restrictions. Both islands are wildlife refuges and are off-limits to pets.

Departure location: All launches leave from Rockport Granite Pier at the end of Wharf Road off of Granite Street. Parking is available on the upper deck of Granite Pier.

COVID precautions:  Masks are suggested for all enclosed spaces including the museum and lighthouse.

Walking Thacher & Straitsmouth Islands

Thacher Island has 3 miles of groomed walking trails of varying difficulty. Click for the Thacher Island Map on the Thacher Island page.

Straitsmouth Island has one primary trail and wonderful bird life. Click for the Straitsmouth Island Map on the Straitsmouth Island page.

Don't forget to wear sneakers and bring water with you.

Climbing the Lighthouses

The identical Thacher Island towers are each 124-feet tall, with 156 steps to the top, and stand about 164 feet above the waterline. Each summer, either the North Tower or South Tower lighthouse is available to be climbed by visitors.

The Straitsmouth Island lighthouse stands 37-feet tall and is also open to the public during the summer.

Rockport, Massachusetts