Frenchman Bay in Maine, part of "Down East" Hancock County, is the large body of ocean between the northeastern shoreline of Mount Desert Island and the southern coast of Maine extending along the western shoreline of Schoodic Peninsula. It was named in honor of the famous French Explorer Samuel de Champlain who first sailed in and charted this area for France in early September of 1604. There are many islands in the bay area including Bar Island, Bald Porcupine, Sheep Porcupine, and Long Porcupine Islands.
Even though the largest (by population) and most well known town bordering Frenchman Bay is Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island, it is the municipality of Gouldsboro in which most of these islands are, including even Bar Island which is within walking distance of Bar Harbor at low tide when a natural land bridge appears.
The widest distance between the mainland, across Frenchman Bay, to Mount Desert Island is approximately 7 miles at its widest point. As “the crow flies,” this is not very far. However, driving from Bar Harbor (or other locations on Mount Desert Island) to the Schoodic Peninsula area can take up to about 45 minutes, depending on traffic and time of day. Fortunately, during the summer months, there is a ferry service provided between Bar Harbor and Winter Harbor (See below).
There are many great places to view Frenchman Bay from. One, of course, is from Cadillac Mountain on Mt. Desert Island. The image at the top of this page was captured from the summit. Another great place is along the western shore of Schoodic Peninsula and on the southern coastline of the mainland, south of Coastal Route 1. For up close viewing, by boat is the way to go. Last, but surely not least, is from an airplane (see Activities).
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