Casco Bay is right off Portland and is the greater name for lots of small islands, both inhabited and not. To get a feel for these islands and a glimpse into island life, we hitched a ride on an actual mail boat making deliveries!
Casco Bay Lines Ferry Terminal
56 Commercial St
Portland, ME 04101
Tickets Adult: $17.00, Senior/Disabled: $14.50, Child: $8.50 as of October 2021.
Casco Bay Lines provides ferry service to the islands for pedestrians, vehicles, freight and the postal service. We took one of three daily mail boats as they made late afternoon rounds. We watched as passengers, deliveries and bins of mail boarded or debarked at each island port. The mailboats do not load vehicles. There are other more direct and faster ferries for that.
This is a very economical way to get out on the water for a couple of hours and we really enjoyed it. They estimate 2.5 to 3.5 hours depending on how much they have to deliver. It was fun to see postal delivery cars drive out to the ports and load/unload bins of mail. Interesting too to see new appliances dropped off on the docks and waiting to be picked up by their new owners. Passengers were varied. Some were in work attire, others more casual. Some pulled coolers full of groceries and juggled bags of supplies from their shoulders. Two women were carrying long loaves of freshly baked bread. People waited with their dogs on the dock for their families to arrive. It looked like a great way to live.
You can park in a designated garage that has placard spots on each floor near the elevators. From there it was easy to follow the path along the pier and docks to the ticket office at the end. We purchased our tickets and rushed over to our dock. It was not too difficult to wheel myself down the ramp to the boat. They had people standing by that could assist, but I went myself with someone in front of me and someone behind, for a bit of help over bumps.
There were plenty of seats available both indoors and out. This boat was ADA accessible! They had an elevator to the second floor where there was more indoor and outdoor seating. We stayed outside and up on the second level, where we had views off each side of the boat. There was even an accessible restroom. Amazing!