How to get there
Bass Harbor and Northeast Harbor, Maine, are both about a six-hour drive from Boston. Take Interstate 95 to Bangor and Route 1A to Ellsworth. Pick up Route 3 to Mount Desert, then Route 102 to Bass Harbor. For Northeast Harbor, take Route 198 off Route 102.
Maine State Ferry Service
Car and passenger service six times daily except Wednesdays. Round trip: Adults $12, children $5.25, bicycles $11.50, cars $34.50.
North End Shipyard, Rockland
One of the last classic Gloucester fishing schooners to be launched; restored by current Captain John Foss. Three-, four-, and six-day cruises, accommodating 26 passengers in 14 double cabins, with all meals. From $495 for three days to $855 for the six-day Aug. 1 cruise that includes the Swans Island Music Festival.
Maine State Ferry Service
One round trip Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday; passengers only on Friday.
Little Island Marine, Bass Harbor
Lunch cruises (3 1/2 hours) to Frenchboro daily, weather permitting. Adults $25, children $15.
LITTLE CRANBERRY ISLAND
Beal & Bunker
Northeast Harbor Town Dock
The 20-minute trip six times daily. Round trip: Adults $15, children $10.
Cranberry Cove Boating
Upper Town Dock, Southwest Harbor
Stops at Manset and Great Cranberry six times daily. Adults $20, children $12.
Where to stay
Swans Island Vacations
Rentals include apartments, cottages, and houses; $500-$1300 per week.
Harbor Watch Motel
On Burnt Coat Harbor, pleasant double rooms $95, units with full kitchen $120; pick up provided from harbor.
49 Scofield Lane
A tastefully furnished, classic 1850s house with two upstairs guest rooms, water views, and a remote feel although not far from the ferry. It can be rented whole or by the room, $80-$100 with breakfast.
Jeannie's Place Bed & Breakfast
Burnt Coat Harbor
Three homey bedrooms, shared bath. Rooms $45-$55 with full breakfast.
FRENCHBOROKaren and Paul Charpentier, owners of the island's former bed & breakfast, still rent a cottage sleeping two to five for $140 per night. The three-bedroom island parsonage can be rented through Swans Island Vacations (above) for $800 per week.
LITTLE CRANBERRY ISLANDBraided Rugs InnPO Box 15, Islesford
Common space includes the big old-fashioned kitchen in which Franny-Jo serves a full breakfast, also dinner on request; guests may also fix their own. From the wraparound porch, you can watch island life go by. Pets are possible, children welcome. Three guest rooms share a big, spanking-clean bathroom. Rooms $80, including breakfast.
Where to eat
Islesford Dock Restaurant
At Islesford Dock, Little Cranberry Island
Dan and Cynthia Lief grow their own herbs and many vegetables and secure seafood and other produce within a boat ride. Crab cakes are a big seller and the menu always includes vegetarian dishes. Full bar. Entrees $14-$17. Lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. except Mondays; Sunday brunch 10-2; dinner nightly, 5-9 p.m.