Southwest Harbor

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Photo: ThatMichael - Flickr

On the quiet west side of Mount Desert Island, busy Southwest Harbor is one of Maine's top destinations for cruisers under sail and power, due in large part to:

  • the protection it offers from Maine’s prevailing westerly winds;
  • the comprehensive range of marine services available;
  • the harbor’s proximity to the incomparable Acadia National Park.

Nearly a mile long by a quarter-mile wide, Southwest Harbor welcomes both cruising and working boats. It offers dockage and moorings in the harbor, and there’s a beautiful anchorage nearby, though anchoring in the crowded harbor itself is not allowed. The Town of Southwest Harbor is only a 10-minute walk from the marina and Upper Town Dock. Bar Harbor Airport, with scheduled airline service and rental cars, is only a 20-minute drive. For cruisers headed farther Downeast or to the Canadian Maritimes, Southwest Harbor is the last/best chance for extensive provisioning. With an estimated 2021 population of 1,794 people, Southwest Harbor may be a small town, but it’s earned a solid reputation with the thousands of cruisers who visit every summer. If you believe in the Goldilocks principle -- Southwest Harbor is one of those beautiful Maine harbor-and-town combos that’s “just right.”

Approach & Cautions

Photo: Google Earth annotated by author

Cadillac Mountain, 1,530 feet high, is the highest point on Mt. Desert Island and on the East Coast. On a clear day, the mountain is visible from 35 to 45 miles seaward. Southwest Harbor is on the SW side of Mt. Desert, inside a large group of islands and shoals. These well-marked waters are the approaches to several important towns and summer resorts. Southwest Harbor itself is used extensively as a harbor of refuge. The usual approach from the west is by way of Bass Harbor Bar, with a turn to the north at the green “1” buoy that marks the beginning of the Western Way, and up the marked channel to the harbor. Alternately, approaching from the south, leave Long Island to port, Duck and Little Duck Islands to starboard before approaching South Bunker Ledge (usually breaking), which can be left on either side. From there, follow the marked channel about 2.5 NM to Southwest Harbor, leaving Great Cranberry Island to starboard and Mt. Desert Island to port. From the east, approach by way of the channels on either side of Sutton Island.

Google Earth view of SW Harbor with labels identifying points around the harbor.

Click the chart to open Navionics

Not to be used for Navigation .

Docking, Anchorages, or Moorings

Marinas: The only marina in town is the 150-slip Dysart’s Great Harbor Marina, a short walk from the center of town. This marina is homeport for dozens of full-time summer slip holders, and the remaining berths fill up quickly, peaking in late July and August. The demand for slips in the summer is much greater than the supply, so savvy captains have learned to make reservations well ahead. The marina is situated at the head of the harbor and answers on VHF-09. Dysart’s offers floating concrete docks for yachts from 30 to 200 feet, plus 120/240/380-volt electric. Wi-Fi and excellent town water are available at every slip, and pump-out is available at the fuel dock. The marina is owned and operated by Ed Dysart. He and his wife Mary live on-site during the summer. The dockmaster is Micah Peabody, and office manager is Jane Peabody. Businesses located on-site include West Marine, Upper Deck Restaurant, Sail Acadia, Acadia Lobster Boat Tour, and Maine Point Embroidery, with Hamilton Marine not far away by car or dinghy. Reservations and payment for transient and seasonal slips, fuel sales, shore side rentals and correspondence are taken through the Dockwa portal, so it’s best for Dysart’s-bound captains who are not already members to get the Dockwa app and open a Dockwa account.

For other docking options, see the list below under “Getting Ashore.”

Anchorage: Anchoring inside Southwest Harbor is not permitted. See below for “Other Nearby Anchorages” including Norwood Cove.

Moorings: There are five sources of moorings: 1) Hinckley’s boatyard, 2) Town of SW Harbor, 3) Ellis Boat Company, 4) Beal’s Dock, and 5) A.W. Pettegrow, a local boatbuilder. More details are provided at the bottom of this page.


Dysart’s Marina - Ch 9 switch to 8 Hinckley's - Ch 10 SWH Harbormaster - Ch 16


Dysart’s – diesel and ethanol-free gasoline Hinckley – diesel only Beal’s – diesel and gasoline


Dysart’s Marina Hinckley Dock Lower & Upper Town Dock Manset Town Dock


Dysart’s Marina


Dysart’s Marina


Dysart’s Marina Hinckley Dock Pro31 Cleaning Services


Dysart's patrons obtain wi-fi codes from office Cell service in SW Harbor ranges from fair to poor.


Dysart's Fuel Dock Hinckley Dock


See "More Amenities" below


Dysart's - dumpster at top of ramp Hinckley - yard dumpsters Manset Town Dock - dumpster at pier Lower & Lower Town Dock - ditto


Community Health Center - SW Harbor Northern Light Primary Care Mount Desert Hospital in Bar Harbor See bottom of this page for more details


Clicking the name above links to the yard’s website.

Details about each are provided at the bottom of this page

Getting Ashore

Photo: Docks near Beal's Lobster by Milt Baker

  • Hinckley Dock (207-300-2025, VHF-10), just inside the harbor to port, has floating docks available only to yachts being serviced or taking on fuel (diesel only). Hinckley also offers a dinghy dock just east of the main dock. Heads, showers, and a laundromat for customers are all at the head of the dock. See info about Hinckley’s many moorings below.
  • Manset Town Dock is on the SW shore farther into the harbor to port. Tie-up times are posted on the floats and enforced.
  • Dysart’s Great Harbor Marina at the head of the harbor has a busy dinghy dock with a nominal $5.00 charge for dockage, but it’s free to anyone using businesses at the marina. Heading into the harbor, leave all the main floating docks at Dysart’s to starboard, then turn right towards the office on the pier. When you round the dock to starboard, you’ll see the dinghy dock ahead, close to the fuel dock.
Dysart's fuel dock and dinghy dock.
Dysart’s Marina fuel dock (left) and dinghy dock right. Leave the marina’s South dock to starboard, and bear right at the inner end of the dock. Photo by Milt Baker
  • Dysart’s Fuel Dock, just inboard of the dinghy dock, sells low-sulfur marine diesel fuel, ethanol-free gasoline and offers sewage pump-outs. You may take on water while refueling and leave garbage and trash at the dumpster beyond the Porta-Potties on the upper deck. The fuel dock has 5 feet of water at dead low tide. If your draft is an issue, it’s best to contact the marina before approaching near low tide.
  • Upper Town Dock is located in the NNW part of the harbor, the first large floating dock ahead to starboard after the second green can. Tie-up times are posted and enforced. Trash may not be left. This is the closest dock to town.
Southwest Harbor upper town dock.
The Southwest Harbor Upper Town Dock. Dinghies only please. Proceed deep into the harbor to the large breakwater right off Dysart’s Great Harbor Marina, then follow the buoyed channel to starboard, leaving the green navigation markers to port. Photo by Milt Baker
  • Beal’s Dock  (207-244-3202) is on the NNE shore, just beyond the Coast Guard Station, and sells diesel, and ethanol-free gasoline, ice, and lobsters, too. And Beal’s Lobster Pound on-site serves fresh-from-the-sea lobsters and offers take-out.
  • Lower Town Dock is on the NNE shore, just north of Beal’s dock. Tie-up times are posted.

Photo: Milt Baker


Boat Supplies

Photo: Blueberry pie a la mode - nothin' bettah!

Dine Out

The 2022 labor shortage curtailed restaurant hours, and hungry yachties found that getting a good meal ashore was often hit-or-miss, and that continues for summer 2023. Reservations are recommended, but not all the eateries below accept them. Days and hours open are known to change without notice, but here’s the latest info we have.

  • Red Sky Restaurant – White tablecloth dining with prices to match. Wednesday-Sunday, seating 5-8 pm.
  • Harbor Table – Sophisticated breakfast and lunch, but no more pizza. Changed hands in early 2023 and still a work in progress. Friday – Monday, 10 am – 3 pm, first come, first-served.
  • The Common Good – Good food for a good cause. Highly rated breakfasts, renowned for delicious fresh popovers and oatmeal with lots of toppings. Wednesday – Sunday 7:30 – 11:30 am.
  • Eat-A-Pita/Cafe2 – A SWH staple, plain good food, café dining inside and out. Excellent Italian cuisine in the evening. Daily, 8 am – 9 pm.
  • Little Notch Bakery and Café – Delicious pizzas and other fresh baked goods. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 10 am – 7 pm.
  • Next Level Sports Lounge – Pub fare and bar food: burgers, fries, beer and more. Open 7 days, usually 3 – 9 pm.
  • The Upper Deck – Right at Dysart’s, go for the view and music, food and service only so-so. Open 7 days 11 am – 9 pm.
  • Little Fern Restaurant at the Claremont – High-end dining with prices to match. Daily, 5 – 9 pm.
  • Harry’s Bar at the Claremont – Harry’s offers a curated list of wines and classic cocktails from simpler, more elegant times. Daily 3 – 10 pm.
  • Batson Fish Camp at the Claremont – Small plates right on the dock. Lunch: daily 12 – 3 pm, Happy Hour: daily 3 – 5 pm, Dinner: Friday – Tuesday, 5 – 8 pm. All weather dependent.
  • Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound – Delicious lobster, window service, and picnic tables. Her unique approach to cooking lobster made National Geographic. Saturday – Wednesday, 11 am – 8:30 pm
  • Beal’s Lobster Pound – Pricey fresh lobster at its best, right on the water, inside or out. Open 7 days, 11 am – 8 pm
  • MDI Lobster & BBQ – Fresh lobster and highly rated BBQ on picnic tables in a rustic setting overlooking the harbor. Monday thru Saturday, noon – 9 pm.
  • Clark Point Cafe – Freshly prepared breakfast. New 2023. Sunday – Thursday, 7 am – 1 pm.
  • Peter Trout’s Tavern and Inn – Well-known for its pan-fried chicken and fresh local seafood. A short walk from the Hinckley boatyard and Manset Town Dock. Wednesday – Sunday, noon – 8 pm.

Photo: Acadia National Park, including the Valley Cove area offers numerous excellent hiking trails


Southwest Harbor is located on what folks call the quiet side of Mount Desert Island, as opposed to Bar Harbor which is on the bustling, busy side. If you want to see a lot of the island, renting a car for a few days is a good investment. Rental cars are available at Bar Harbor airport, which is just off Mount Desert Island, about 20 minutes from SW Harbor. Enterprise in Ellsworth, about a 30-minute drive, also has rental cars. Advance reservations are essential.

Hiking in Acadia Park. Be sure to check out Acadia National Park’s excellent website. You can reach the Park at 207-288-3338. An experienced cruiser and local resident who spends summers in Southwest Harbor says you can find relatively easy Acadia National Park hiking and mountain trails within walking distance from the harbor and recommends getting a trail map. You can usually find several map varieties right in town at Carroll’s Drug Store. For more information see the Acadia webpages. If you want more hiking, consider renting a car that can take you to more challenging trails such as these:

Beehive Loop Trail. Near Bar Harbor. 1.5 miles. Hard. Looking for an adventurous hike with a spectacular view? Look no further than the Beehive loop! One of Acadia’s famous rung and ladder trails, Beehive Loop is a good way to get acquainted with these difficult trails. If choosing this hike, you can expect steep granite staircases, iron rungs, and exposed cliff faces. As one of the park’s most trafficked trails, people challenge their bodies and minds here as they ascend this 450-foot National Park Service cliff trail, and they’re rewarded with scenic views over Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, and the Gulf of Maine stretching to the horizon. The duration of hikes depends on your pace and the extent to which you stop and enjoy scenic areas. For an average pace, this hike takes 1 to 3 hours.

Cadillac North Ridge Trail. 2.1 miles. Moderate to hard. The North Ridge provides a shorter hiking route to the summit of Cadillac, compared to the 3.5 miles one way up the South Ridge. Note that the Summit Road also heads up the north ridge of the mountain, and the road is within hearing distance, and in sight of, the trail on occasion. The first half mile and the final half-mile of the trail to the summit are located a good distance away from the road. The trail begins up a moderate ascent through sparsely forested areas. It quickly begins to open up, as it climbs more steeply over granite ledges, and through occasional stunted red pine trees. Once out of the trees, there are views for almost the entirety of the trail along the ridge, to the north and east over-looking Frenchman Bay, the Porcupine and other islands, the Schoodic Peninsula across the Bay, and down to the village of Bar Harbor below.

Jordan Pond Trails. 3.1 miles. Moderate. Jordan Pond Path, a heavily trafficked loop trail located near the town of Mount Desert, features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and bird watching and is best used from April until October. Dogs are invited to use this trail but must be kept on a leash.

Photo: Captain Jason aboard Seven Bells

Other Things To Do

  1. Acadia Lobster Boat Tour from Southwest Harbor. Captain Jason takes up to six passengers out on his own Downeast lobster boat Seven Bells, a great way for you to see close-up-and-personal what lobstering is all about. The cruise departs twice daily from Dysart’s Great Harbor Marina. His hands-on cruise includes an onboard fresh lobster dinner and it has hundreds of fans.  A very popular cruise, so make your reservations in advance.
  2. Wendel Gilley Museum. If you love wood-carving and duck decoys, don’t miss Southwest Harbor’s Wendell Gilley Museum. Wendell Gilley is a name well known among carvers and carving collectors. Author of The Art of Bird Carving: A Guide to a Fascinating Hobby, one of the earliest instructional books on the subject, Gilley was a pioneer in the field of decorative bird carving. By his own estimate, he created “ten thousand birds of pine and paint” between 1931 and 1983. Gilley also loved alliteration; it should be noted that most of his carvings were made of basswood.
  3. Maine State Kayak. Whether you’re a first-timer, novice or expert kayaker, this Southwest Harbor operation gets high marks on TripAdvisor and Yelp. As one reviewer said, “We were able to see porpoises, harbor seals, bald eagles, and schools of fish. The paddling is very manageable and would be suitable for someone who has never kayaked before. Our guide was incredibly versed in all things on the water. He was full of fun facts about the area and an easy person to interact with.”
  4. Ferry to Cranberry Islands How about a visit to the scenic Cranberry Islands without the bother of taking your own boat? Consider the passenger ferry from Southwest Harbor. You can enjoy panoramic views of the mountains of Acadia National Park while crossing, then hike, bike, picnic, or visit a museum—and explore each island for no additional extra fare. The Cranberry Island ferry Sutton makes daily loops around the area with scheduled stops at the Upper Town Dock, the Manset Town Dock, Little Cranberry Island (Islesford), and Great Cranberry Island. It all starts Memorial Day weekend and ends on Oct. 1. Book your passage online at the link above or buy your ticket onboard.

What Brings So Many Mariners to Southwest Harbor?

Dysart’s Marina with Rainbow by Eric Thyrre

High on the list are Dysart’s 150-slip Great Harbor Marina, dozens of rental moorings in the harbor, and a wide array of nearby eateries. Upscale Northeast Harbor, the gorgeous Cranberry Islands, and scenic Somes Sound, the eastern seaboard’s only true fjord, all just an outboard ride away in a fast dinghy. And the welcoming attitude of local Mainers makes SWH one very friendly harbor for yachties.

Need stuff from town? You’ll find a small but worthy IGA supermarket on the edge of town, about 1½ miles from the Town Dock, plus an excellent hardware store and a good small pharmacy right in the center of town. Of course, there’s a post office and a couple of banks–First National and Bar Harbor. Nearby marine facilities include the original Hinckley boatyard, now grown to 16 acres, plus West Marine and Hamilton Marine outlets, and many other marine businesses. New restaurants include a popular sports lounge and a wood-fired pizzeria.

Covid and the 2021-22 labor shortage forced curtailed hours at most of the town’s restaurants, and hungry yachties found that getting a good eat-out meal was often hit or miss. Rental cars and taxis are very hard to find. And cellular service in the area is only fair. In a (rare) strong blow from the easterly quadrant, some parts of  SW Harbor are exposed to high winds and choppy seas. In this instance boats typically seek shelter in nearby Somes Sound, described in a separate listing.

With the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency, the State of Maine established a No-Discharge Zone in the municipal waters of Mount Desert, SW Harbor, portions of the Cranberry Isles, and Tremont. Within the zone, overboard discharge of sewage, whether treated or untreated, from all vessels is prohibited.

For a Closer View of the Approaches, Click on these Google Earth Images:

Mooring Details for Southwest Harbor

  1. Hinckley Yacht Services offers 56 rental moorings near the mouth of Southwest Harbor. Pick up a white mooring marked with the Hinckley logo, or call Hinckley Dock (VHF-10 or 207-300-2037) to check in or for further information. Mooring rental is $45/night (2021).
  2. The Town of Southwest Harbor offers six rental moorings off the Manset Town Dock. They’re better protected and located farther into the harbor, inboard (west) of the Hinckley moorings. They’re available on a first-come, first-serve basis for $35/night (2023). These are numbered 1 through 6 and painted Day-Glo yellow at the top, white in the center, and red at the bottom. Call the town office at 207-244-5404 and provide your credit card information–the town requests that you do that at the end of your stay. For further information, call harbormaster Jarrod Kushla at 207-244-8713 (office) or 207-610-2177 (mobile).
  3. Ellis Boat Co. has 8 rental moorings in the harbor. While some of those are always occupied by Ellis boats, the others are available on a first-come, first-served basis at $40/night or $200/week (2021). For information on availability and location, call the company at 207-244-9221.
  4. Beal’s Dock is another possibility at 207-244-3202 then press 2. Though they’re much more focused on processing, cooking, and serving lobster up on the dock, they sometimes have a rental mooring or two available at $50/night (2021).
  5. A.W. Pettegrow, a local boatbuilder, has two moorings mid-harbor for daily rental on a first-come, first-served basis for $40/night. For information, call Al Pettegrow at 207-244-5082 or 207-460-7266.


Nearby Anchorages

  • Norwood Cove.  The cove itself is not navigable, but this anchorage just off from the cove comes highly recommended. Depart Southwest Harbor, turn to port and leave the red flasher to starboard and Greening Island itself well to starboard. Follow the marked passage between Greening Island and Clark Point, which has a minimum depth of 14 feet and is extensively used. Note the green daybeacon on the W side of the channel, N of Clark Point. The best water from the south leads 100 to 150 yards W of the red buoy off the SW end of Greening Island and 100 yards E of the daybeacon. Follow the marked channel and proceed into the wide opening before The Narrows leading into Somes Sound. CCA San Francisco Station member Stafford Keegin, a longtime Maine cruiser, uses the passage between Greening Island and Clark Point a lot, and had this to say, “I find the red flasher off the SW end of Greening Island deceptively farther to the W than it appears from the chart, whether entering the passage from the E or from the SW departing from SWH.” Anchor in 10-25 feet MLW at approximately 44-17.28N 68-18.91W off Norwood Cove, or edge in a bit closer if you prefer. The anchorage is protected from prevailing winds, offers good holding, and is very popular in the summer, so you’ll likely have company. On the way in, you may spot the sleek blue 140-foot German Frers ketch Rebecca, lying to a nearby mooring. She’s usually there for most of the summer. Stafford Keegin comments, “Norwood Cove seems rather open to me. If anchoring there, I’d favor moving S to just outside the mooring field at the Claremont Hotel. Although boats transiting through this passage often have substantial wakes, you’d be better protected from any easterly.”
  • Somes Sound. The incomparable and well-protected Somes Sound offers many anchoring options. See a separate listing on this website.

Details About Nearby Boatyards and Repair Services

Southwest Harbor is home to the well-known Hinckley Yacht Services (207-300-2010), heart of the Hinckley legend. The Hinckley Company was founded here in 1928 as a small service yard, and today it’s one of Maine’s largest boatyards. The focus here is on serious stuff: commissioning, repairs of all kinds, refits, and on-the-hard storage inside and outside. The 16-acre yard offers over 100,000 sq. ft. of indoor storage for 200 boats, with outdoor storage for another 100. The yard has three Travelifts and can haul vessels to 160 tons and 12-foot draft. In addition, Hinckley offers a wide range of yacht upgrades. The yard’s craftsmen can handle rigging, mechanical, diesel engines, transmissions, jet drives, fixed and variable-pitch props, shafts, thrusters, windlasses, hydraulic systems, plumbing, and AC and DC electrical systems for sailing and power yachts. You’ll also find expert fiberglass and gelcoat work, marine carpentry, high-end painting and varnishing, and more at Hinckley. The yard offers dockage to yachts only while work is actually being performed, but it has 56 rental moorings near the harbor entrance. For a mooring, call Hinckley Dock at 207-300-2025 or on VHF-10.

Ellis Boat Company (207-244-9221) specializes in building, outfitting, repairing, maintaining and storing high-quality Downeast-style boats and offers a wide range of yacht maintenance and repair services to sailors and powerboaters alike. Ellis is a full-service and storage yard in Southwest Harbor. They’re open year-round and their staff of expert technicians includes marine mechanics and electricians (ABYC, CMET, and FCC certifications), and woodworking, fiberglass, and paint specialists. They offer competitive indoor storage rates and a comprehensive maintenance program. They also have 8 moorings for rent in Southwest Harbor.

Downeast Diesel. (207-244-5145). A factory-authorized parts and service dealer for John Deere, Lugger, Northern Lights and Yanmar, and offering parts and service for many other brands. The company has been a Southwest Harbor staple for more than 30 years. Owner John Spofford and his son George are ready, willing and able to lend a hand when you need diesel, mechanical service and parts. They have their own dock for heavy work or will come to you in or near Southwest Harbor by pickup or dinghy. Like many Maine marine businesses, they’re especially busy in the summer but do their best to work in both old and new customers.

A.W. Pettegrow, Inc. (207-244-7222) A busy boatbuilding and refit company based in Southwest Harbor. Owned and operated by Al Pettegrow, this company offers repairs, preventive maintenance, bottom and topside paint, varnish work, system upgrades, repowering, electrical and plumbing work, custom joinery work, custom metalwork, and winter storage.

Southwest Boat. (207-244-5525) Located on the Clark Point Road side of the harbor, this company focuses mainly on commercial boat owners, builders, and tradesmen, and has been at it for more than 25 years. Specialties include machine shop, metal fabrications, welding, underwater hull inspection, 25-ton crane service, 250-ton marine railway, year-round dockage, towing and salvage.

Kramp Electronics, Inc. (207-244-2035) Robert Kramp and his team specialize in marine electronics sales, service, installations, and repairs, and maintenance of AC and DC electrical systems. The company has more than 25 years experience in the Southwest Harbor area and is Better Business Bureau certified. They sell, install and service marine electronics such as autopilots, plotters, GPS systems, radar, depth sounders, navigation instruments, communication equipment, and satellite phones. The company is a dealer for most major marine electronics brands. ABYC certified, FCC licensed, NMEA advanced installer. Their primary market is commercial boats but they work hard to make time for cruising yachts. Highly recommended.

Outboard Motor Repairs. You might want to check with Hinckley, but your best bet is Bowdens Marine Repair – 207-288-5247. Located outside of Bar Harbor, they work on most brands and come highly recommended by CCA member George Marvin.

Communications & Other Useful Information

Downeast cruisers learn quickly that the Internet here is catch-as-catch-can. Cell service in Southwest Harbor has improved in the past few years, but while some cruisers say service is just fine, others call it so-so. Cell service on the Bar Harbor side of Mount Desert Island is much better.

As the link above shows, cell service varies with the carrier you’re using, with AT&T and T-Mobile rated best. My masthead cellular antenna and a booster amplifier have played a big role in helping me with better cell service using AT&T in Southwest Harbor—and elsewhere around Maine. CCA Gulf of Maine Post member George Marvin and his wife Nancy, said “We have used AT&T for years and have had very good to excellent services on our mooring in the harbor with no added cell antenna or booster. In fact, this summer (2021) we watched Netflix at our mooring using just our AT&T mobile hotspot.”

Dysart’s Great Harbor Marina has wi-fi service for marina guests (code required for each user), and captains with slips may obtain wi-fi codes from the office at check-in. The wi-fi works well for slip holders early and late in the season when there are few boats and Internet users in the area. In midseason when the marina is packed, however, the system is often overloaded and slows to a crawl. Learn to work around it. Move closer to one of the marina’s antennas, and if that one’s overloaded, move to another. Try sitting right outside the office with your laptop or iPad. Or do your online business very early in the morning or late at night

If none of the above helps, consider the library. The Southwest Harbor Public Library offers very good free wi-fi service, and many yachties take advantage of it each summer. Just go to the library in downtown Southwest Harbor, turn on your laptop or iPad, look for the network “Library OPEN Wi-fi”, find “Free Access” and select “CONTINUE”.

An experienced cruiser and businesswoman who has used it over several summers and had this to say about the library: For a number of summers, the Southwest Harbor Public Library has been a great “temporary office” for me, with fast, convenient wi-fi available to the public at no charge, and comfortable tables and chairs with plenty of space, except possibly on a rainy day when it can be crowded with land vacationers seeking indoor activities. About a 10-minute walk from Dysart’s, or a similar distance from the Upper Town Dock, the library at 338 Main Street is open in the summer from 9 to 5, with shorter hours on Saturday, and closed on Sunday.  However, the wi-fi works even when the library is closed, and in inclement weather, people perch outside the building, on the lawn or benches, and use the wi-fi signal. Although cell phone use is not allowed in the building, the small vestibule just inside the front door can be used by one person at a time for phone calls or even video meetings. I believe this vestibule is open 24/7 because the main entrance to the library is actually in the rear of the building. There is also an artisanal coffee shop across the parking lot. All in all, a perfect venue for catching up on email or other work requiring a strong internet connection. And, who knows, you might just find a good book to read! P.S.  Donations help support the library and wi-fi service so please be generous!

Shipping and Receiving

The Post Office is near the center of town at 21 Clark Point Road. UPS and Federal Express deliver to Southwest Harbor every business day. Because of the town’s rural location, UPS deliveries typically take a day or two longer than you’d expect. As of June 2023, FedEx envelopes can be deposited in the FedEx drop box at 120 Main Street in Northeast Harbor, and the closest UPS drop-off is Paradis Hardware, 31 Holland Street in Bar Harbor.  If your boat is at the Dysart’s marina you can receive FedEx and UPS shipments there. For FedEx deliveries, be sure to include Dysart’s P.O. Box in the address because UPS deliveries there go first to the Post Office.  The new shipping address: Dysart’s Great Harbor Marina, P.O. Box 1503, 11 Apple Lane, Southwest Harbor, ME 04679.  The marina receives many packages every business day in the summer, so be sure your package is addressed with your name and your boat name as well as the marina’s name.

Ground Transportation

Getting wheels in Southwest Harbor can be a serious challenge. If you have friends with a car in the area, turning to them for help may be the best option. If you’re staying in the marina, you can sometimes borrow the marina’s pickup for a short errand such as a grocery run or a trip to the airport.

Taxis, Uber, and Lyft seem to be endangered species in Southwest Harbor but rare sightings are reported. Getting a rental car in the summer is a moving target, but Enterprise rentals are sometimes available in Ellsworth and at the Bar Harbor Airport by advance reservation, but pickup service is not offered. If you need a rental car, we recommend reserving well in advance and verifying that your car is ready before going to pick it up.

Southwest Cycle in downtown Southwest Harbor is a full-service bike shop that sells and rents bikes, including Class 1 e-bikes which can be used on Acadia National Park’s carriage roads. Island Time E-bike Rentals downtown also rents e-bikes.

Here’s a list of current (2023) car rental and taxi services


For long-term parking, you have at least a couple of choices in SWH: the private parking lot located on the main street just beyond the town center, or town parking lot behind the town offices; coordinate with the Police Department (207-244-7911) when leaving your car. Both lots cost  $5/night (2023). For one-night overnight parking, you can leave your car in a 24-hour space in the Upper Town Dock parking lot.

Author’s Note:

Updates are welcome. Please send your updates, corrections, comments, and recommendations for improving this section of the CCA Cruising Guide to Maine on our Give Feedback page.

MANY THANKS to the following for their invaluable ideas, input, corrections, vetting, and proofreading of the information in this section. Without their help, this Southwest Harbor section would be far less complete and less accurate.

  • Milt & Judy Baker (CCA)
  • Nancy McKelvy (CCA)
  • Bob and Shirley Zinn (CCA)
  • George and Nancy Marvin (CCA)
  • Stafford Keegin (CCA)
  • Joanna Miller de Zwart (CCA)
  • Capt. Andrea Gaines, M.Y. Spirit of Zopilote


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