At the southern end of Deer Isle off Stonington lies a collection of islands in Merchant Row, navigable by the Deer Island Thorofare. The islands are probably the best place on the entire East Coast to paddle because they are so plentiful and offer a great deal of protection; many are state owned and provide several camping options. Beyond that, all possess individual beauty, gravel beaches, dark green spruce, and clear Caribbean blue-green water.
You will probably feel more like Robinson Crusoe in Merchant Row than at any other place on the New England coast. Distances between the closely spaced islands are measured in yards, not miles. With the exception of Isle au Haut, 6 miles from Stonington, they are mostly uninhabited. Paddling choices abound— from island-hopping and picnics to landing for a hike, a long day trip to Swans Island, and an athletic circumnavigation of Isle au Haut. In short, kayaking in this area is wonderful.
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