Richmond Island

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Photo: David Pratt

Richmond Island, on the south side of Cape Elizabeth at the northern end of Saco Bay, is an easy stop in gentle weather when you don’t need services or prefer not to travel too far inshore. It is a large empty island connected in the middle to the mainland by a stone breakwater. In the summer, there may be a caretaker for the private owners present in a cabin near the breakwater. 

Approach & Cautions


In settled weather, you can anchor on either side of the breakwater. There are clusters of rocks, especially on the eastern side of the island, that are to be avoided. These are shown clearly on the chart.


Google Earth image of Richmond Island

Click the chart to open Navionics.

Not to be used for Navigation.

Docking, Anchorages, or Moorings

The bottom is generally sand. The eastern side may have slightly less swell after a summer sea breeze and is more protected in a westerly. The western side has better protection in an easterly swell. At high tide, the breakwater is almost completely submerged but can’t be crossed. If you are coming from the north, the eastern side is easier to access; from the south, both are easy, but a quicker exit to the north will be on the eastern side.

Getting Ashore

Photo: David Pratt

You can row ashore to a small beach where the breakwater meets the island. You are encouraged to observe any signage restricting your movement on the island. Walk the perimeter trails only.

There are two permit campsites on the island. One is located at Clam Cove and the other at John’s Cove. Caretakers are on the premises throughout the week and weekends. Overnight camping is allowed with a permit only, issued by Richmond Island Caretakers and The Sprague Corporation.  Camping is permitted Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings only. No dogs are allowed on Richmond Island.

Aerial view of Richmond Island showing the breakwater, awash, heading straight out to the island.


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