Wondering where to see puffins in Maine? If you are visiting Acadia National Park, all you need to do is book a Puffin tour with Bar Harbor Whale Watch and you'll likely see whales and seals, too!
This post has been sponsored by Bar Harbor Whale Watch, however, as always, all opinions are my own. #ad #bhww
During our recent family vacation, were were lucky enough to see puffins in Maine during an awesome tour in the Gulf of Maine. Our experience was pretty incredible!
The whale and puffins tour is narrated by staff that teach about the different species seen. It is a very informative experience for kids and adult alike.
Atlantic Puffins in Maine
Atlantic Puffins are an adorable seabird that are making a comeback in Maine thanks conservation efforts like those on Petite Manan Island. The rocky ledges surrounding Petit Manan and other nearby islands provide nesting habitat for puffins.
Maine Puffin and Whale Tours
All you need to do is book a tour with Bar Harbor Whale Watch and they'll take you where to see puffins in Maine. Along the way, you may see whales, harbor seals, porpoises and lots of sea birds.
Unfortunately, we did not see any whales on our trip. However, Bar Harbor Whale Watch will take you out on another of their tours until you do see a whale! If you don't have time to take advantage of this offer right away, you can save your tickets (which act as vouchers) for any time in the next three years. Pretty cool, right??
We did see loads of sea birds, including tons of puffins. We also saw harbor seals and porpoises, beautiful coastline, and lots of lobster boats, too.
Bar Harbor Whale Watch always follows Whale SENSE guidelines for the safety of both the wildlife and passengers.
Atlantic Puffin or "Maine Puffins" Facts
- Maine Puffins are actually called Atlantic Puffins and they are the smallest of the puffins.
- Puffins are diving birds that eat mostly fish.
- The birds only spend time on land when they are nesting.
- Because of their special tongues, puffins can hold fish in it's mouth while still hunting for more!
- While fishing, puffins can dive up to a minute if needed.
- Puffins only lay one egg each season.
Are puffins in Maine endangered?
Maine puffins were over-hunted by early settlers for food and feathers. The colonies were harvested for the maximum number of birds and eggs that could be taken without thought to whether the colony could support that level of hunting. By 1900 the puffins were gone from the Gulf of Maine except for 2 isolated colonies.source
Scientist Stephen Kress began the “Project Puffin” in 1973 which helped repopulate Maine puffin colonies over the course of twenty years.
FAQ About Puffins in Maine
Maine is actually home to the southernmost colonies of Atlantic puffins in the world.
Machias Seal Island is the only spot in Maine where visitors can land and see wild puffins.
It is estimated that more than 4,000 puffins nest in Coastal Maine in the summers.
June and July are the best months to see puffins as they are actively nesting, fishing and bringing food to their young.
Petit Manan Island & Light
The island, managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, is of course closed to visitors during the spring and summer to protect the nesting puffins and other seabirds.
At 123-feet, Petit Manan Light Station is the second tallest lighthouse in the state. Our guide said that he's been to the top and it sways in the Gulf of Maine breezes! I don't think I would enjoy that at all!
What to Bring Along
Because these tours take you out into deep ocean waters, it can be quite cool, even on a hot summer day. Temperatures can drop 25-degrees F or more so be sure to dress in layers! Here are some things I recommend for your comfort and enjoyment:
- Sweatshirt and wind breaker or other coat - while it may be pleasant at the dock, you'll be happy to packed these items once you get out into the Gulf of Maine!
- Hat and gloves - yes, even in the summer! Not only is it cool on the open ocean, but the weather can change very quickly. Trust me, you'll be happy you have these items!
- Binoculars - these come in quite handy for seeing wildlife up close.
- Camera with zoom lens - yes, you can use your cell phone for photos, but for really great shots, you're going to want a camera with a great lens.
- Cash - there are hot and cold beverages and snacks available for purchase, but they only take cash.
- Snacks - even with the concessions available, you may find it helpful to bring a few snacks. Most tours are at least 3 hours, so having a little something is helpful. We packed water, crackers and fruit.
What about Sea Sickness?
If you are prone to motion sickness, I highly recommend you purchase something before your trip. We all wore sea bands, which we found most helpful. However, because Mr. Juggling Act easily gets motion sickness, he also took Dramamine.
Where to See Puffins in Maine
If you go on a tour to see puffins in Maine, here is what you need to know:
Please note: We strongly recommend that you double-check the website or call for more up-to-date information on this site.
- Address: 1 West Street, Bar Harbor
- Cost: varies by type of tour
- Website: Bar Harbor Whale Watch
- Phone: 207-288-2386
Free Acadia National Park Pass
Visiting Acadia National Park is a must when you are in Bar Harbor, Maine. Did you know there are several ways to get a FREE national park pass? You're going to love this!
More Travel Ideas
- Visit West Quoddy Head - the only candy-cane striped lighthouse in the US located at the Eastern most spot in the country!
- Pemaquid Point Lighthouse - go inside and climb the lighthouse for stunning views of the bay.
- Jasper Beach - one-of-a-kind rocky beach where all the rocks look like jasper!
- Summer Road Trip Packing List - everything you need for your summertime road trip in a free printable.