Travel to the island requires an adventurous spirit and a little bit of planning. Most folks will begin by driving to Rockland, Maine, the mainland terminus for the Vinalhaven ferry; but it is also possible to travel to Rockland by bus (Concord Trailways) and by air (Knox County Regional Airport). Mid-coast Limo Service will pick you up at the Portland Maine Jetport and deliver you to the ferry terminal. TheAmtrak Downeaster provides rail service to Portland, and connects with the bus service to Rockland.
The Maine State Ferry Service provides daily service between Rockland and Vinalhaven for passengers, cars, bicycles and cargo trucks. The 15 mile scenic trip takes approximately 1 hour 15 minutes each way and provides a unique tour of Penobscot Bay. The schedule changes seasonally; current information regarding fares and schedules is available on their website or by calling 207-596-5450.
Foot passengers and bicyclists will almost always find space available on any ferry run, but the procedure by which one gets a car on the ferry can be confusing. A brief description of the car system follows:
Departures from Rockland: this is basically a first come, first served system. You put your car in line for the ferry, and move up in the line as ferries depart until you are close enough to the head of the line to make it on the ferry. The exception to this arrangement is to purchase one of four car reservations available on three out of six trips each day. Reservations are sold beginning one month in advance of the day of departure through two hours prior to departure, based on availability. During the summer months, reservations are usually sold out by 7:00 a.m. of the day one month prior to departure.
Departures from Vinalhaven: to get a vehicle off of Vinalhaven by ferry requires a line number. To obtain a line number, one must call on the morning of the day before one wishes to travel. Phone calls are queued in the order received, starting at 5:30 AM sharp. Line numbers may also be obtained in person at the office on Vinalhaven after 6 AM. The phone number to call for a line number, or for further clarification, is 207-596-5450.
Penoscot Island Air provides limited passenger service to Vinalhaven. For further information, contact them at 207-596-7500. Please note that there is no public transportation or cab service on the island—it will be necessary to make arrangements in advance for pick-up at the island landing strip.
RENTING A CAR ON ISLAND
The Tidewater Motel does have a few cars available for rent if you are coming for more than a day. You can contact the motel at (207) 863-4618 and link to their website at Tidewaterwater.com