New England Travel

This Maine island just ranked higher than Nantucket on a national list

The island is home to Acadia National Park.

Mount Desert Island
In this May 2, 2013 file photo, the sun's rays strike the rocky coast of Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island in Maine. The Associated Press

Maine’s Mount Desert Island is flexing its charm, ranking higher on this year’s Travel + Leisure list of top islands than Massachusetts’ iconic Nantucket.

Mount Desert Island ranked No. 4 on the publication’s list of 15 favorite islands in the continental U.S. for 2023, released Tuesday as part of its annual World’s Best Awards.

The destination, home to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, is the largest island off the coast of Maine, and the park’s Cadillac Mountain is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard. Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island’s largest community, offers restaurants, galleries, shopping, and outdoor adventures that include boating, hiking, and biking.


Readers scored the islands based on their value, natural attractions/beaches, activities/sights, restaurants/food, and people/friendliness, according to the publication.

Nantucket, full of beautiful beaches, seaside restaurants, cobblestone streets, and quaint shops, came in at No. 12. The No. 1 island is Golden Isles in Georgia.

Mount Desert Island received a score of 86.77, and Nantucket received a score of 82.48. The highest score, by Golden Isles in Georgia, was a 92.15 and the lowest score, by the Outer Banks in North Carolina, was an 81.61.

Nearly 165,000 Travel + Leisure readers completed a 2023 travel survey between October 24, 2022, and February 27, 2023, to determine the results of this year’s World’s Best Awards, which highlight the year’s top hotels, islands, cities, cruise lines, airports, and more.

The results are featured in the August 2023 issue of Travel + Leisure

Check out the list of 15 favorite islands in the continental U.S. for 2023.


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