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Thacher Island is accessed by a ramp which may only be used by the Thacher launch, a dinghy or kayaks. You can get to the island by kayak (which can be rented in town) or by your own boat. The distance 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. This is not a reliably good paddle for novice kayakers or those with limited endurance. A $5 landing fee is required for all people arriving by kayak or dinghy.

Groups larger than 5 boats must call the keepers in advance with their expected arrival time. The island closes to the public at 5pm.

Thacher Island does not have a dock, but does make available 3 guest moorings adjacent to the ramp, about 50 yards offshore. You must call the keeper on the island in advance to tell him you are coming at 508-284-0144. Moorings are free on a first come, first served basis. A dinghy is provided at the mooring for your use to land on the ramp. Only small rowboats and kayaks are allowed to land on the ramp. Landing fees apply.

Please note: The Thacher Island North tower will be closed to climbing in 2020 due to repair work.
The South tower will be available to climb, although entrance to the outdoor parapet will be restricted.

Climbing Thacher Island Twin Towers

The Thacher Island towers are identical and were completed in 1861. They are each 124 feet high, with 156 steps to the top, and stand about 164 feet above the waterline. Each tower is 22 feet in diameter at the base and narrows to 13 feet at the lantern room. They are constructed of solid granite on the outside with a two-foot thick inner wall of brick. Each block of granite weighs over 10 tons.

From the tower one is able to see the skyline of Boston to the south, and the mountains of Maine to the northwest. Looking down to the southeast about a half mile offshore you may see an iron pole jutting out from the water. This marks an area called the “Londoner” so named because of the reef just below the surface which has claimed hundreds of vessels, most bound to Boston from London in the early 1700s. This reef was one of the reasons the original twin towers were built by the British of Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1771. The other reason was to be able to differentiate Cape Ann Light Station from Boston Light to the south and Portsmouth Light to the north.

Walking the Island


Anne's Way Walk

Thacher Island has 3 miles of groomed walking trails. This picture shows Anne's Way which leads to the south end of the island. Don't forget to bring water with you.

Camping - June through September
Reservations Required - call keeper at (508) 284-0144

Thacher Island has a small campground which is available from June 1st to September 15th. A donation of $5 per night per person is required, along with a landing fee of $5 per person. Payments may be made by cash, check (made out to the Town of Rockport) or credit card and given to the keeper on duty in the boathouse. You must reserve ahead of time by calling the resident keeper at (508) 284-0144.

Camping is basic: without water, fireplaces or electricity. Open fires are prohibited and campers must bring their own water. The site has an environmentally-friendly solar-powered composting toilet and picnic tables, as well as a large covered pavilion to provide campers with sun and rain protection. No pets are allowed. 


Pick up the Thacher launch at T-Wharf

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