In 2016, Down East Magazine published a story highlighting 12 spectacular Maine swimming holes.

They all sounded enticing, but one in particular really captured my attention: Green Island, with its swimmable quarry, not far off the coast of Stonington. I made a promise to kayak there, follow the trail to the quarry, and spend a summer afternoon frog-kicking in the water and jumping from the quarry’s edge.

PJ and Heather picnic at the edge of the quarry on Green Island. Shannon Bryan photo

It took four years, but I finally made it. And it was every bit as wonderful as I imagined.

Heather, PJ, and I were gifted ideal sea conditions for our paddle and a sunny and hot summer day that was well-suited for a swimming hole adventure.

Stonington Harbor was remarkably quiet that weekend. Let’s face it, all of 2020 was a bit off. Due to travel restrictions and passenger limits on their ferries, we also lucked out with easy parking on the Isle au Haut Boat Services wharf, right around the corner from the Colwell Boat Ramp.

Isle au Haut Boat Services in Stonington. It was unusually quiet for a summer Saturday. But everything was unusual in 2020. Shannon Bryan photo

Scoring two parking spots at Isle au Haut Boat Services, so close to the boat ramp, was particularly sweet since we were in Stonington the weekend after Old Quarry Campground officially closed. The campground was a popular public-access launch point into Stonington Harbor – the loss of it means paddlers will have a much harder time launching in the area.

Dropping off boats at the Colwell Boat Ramp. Shannon Bryan photo
Ready to launch and head to Green Island. Shannon Bryan photo

Green Island is about 3/4 of a mile from the boat ramp. Both paddlers and boaters can access Green Island via a small cover on the eastern side of the island. The quarry is a short walk from there. We opted

Our route from the Colwell Boat Ramp to the cove on Green Island. Bing aerial map
Heather paddles toward Green Island. Shannon Bryan photo
PJ on his way to swim in a quarry. Shannon Bryan photo
Perfect sea conditions. Shannon Bryan photo
Paddling around Green Island, looking for the small cove. Shannon Bryan photo
Found the small cove on Green Island. Shannon Bryan photo
Drag up your boats and grab your snacks. We’re hanging out at a quarry all day. Shannon Bryan photo
The view of the cove – including a ledge for boats to tie up, complete with ladders, in the background. Photo courtesy Heather Steeves
It’s a short walk from the cove to the quarry. Shannon Bryan photo


Quarry in sight! Shannon Bryan photo
Welcome to the quarry. Shannon Bryan photo
Swimmers in the swimming hole. Shannon Bryan photo
Leaping from the ledge. Shannon Bryan photo
Hanging out. Shannon Bryan photo
Heather and PJ jump together. Shannon Bryan photo
Departing Green Island. There is no camping on the island, so off we went to find another island to sleep on (we ended up on Hell’s Half Acre), but we’ll be back to Green Island to swim again. Shannon Bryan photo


Kayak to Green Island, swim in the quarry

Boat launch: Colwell Boat Ramp, Colwell Lane, behind Isle au Haut Boat Service. We reserved parking in advance at Isle au Haut Boat Services. To reserve, call: 207-367-5193

More info about Green Island and other preserves managed by Maine Coast Heritage Trust: