Cliff Island is one of several islands in Casco Bay that is a part of the City of Portland. The island is located on the eastern edge of Casco Bay and has approximately 8 miles of coastline. The island has a distinct H-shape, which creates great natural harbors. Cliff Island has extensive land in conservation easements, which help to permanently protect its rural atmosphere.


  • Cliff Island Association
  • Cliff Island Community Memorial Fund
  • Cliff Island Historical Society
  • Cliff Island Library
  • Cliff Island “ACE” Organization (Athletics,
  • Conservation and Education)
  • Cliff Island Seventh Day Adventist Church
  • Sustainable Cliff Island
  • ACE Ball Field
  • Tennis Court
  • Cliff Island Store and Cafe
  • Two Playgrounds

Population - Cliff Island


The island has undergone many changes in the last century. With a past full of inns and hotels, there are no longer any hotels on the island. Reflecting national trends, the hospitality industry on Cliff Island has shifted to vacation rentals through online platforms such as Airbnb, allowing the tourist industry to continue to thrive on the island. Year-round residents also lobster, work for local island-related businesses, or commute to the mainland for work.


Cliff Island has a one-room school serving students from pre-K through 5th grade.
Part of Portland Public Schools, students in grades 6-12 commute daily to the mainland. The school participates in the Outer Islands Teaching & Learning Collaborative to connect virtually with peers on other small islands.


School Stats - Cliff Island


After completing renovations of the Cliff Island Association Hall, including a new Wellness Center in 2020, the Sustainable Cliff Island group is looking to address the remaining of its restoration efforts. The group purchased 16 Fishermen’s Cove from
the City of Portland, and will pursue the following components of their plan:

  • A rebuilt, affordable year-round home
  • A small year-round store and chandlery
  • A dock
  • Fuel storage

In addition to the planned renovations at 16 Fishermen’s Cove, in early 2020 the group purchased a large, former year-round home to turn into two modern apartments. One of these dwellings will be reserved for the island’s teacher, which is particularly helpful as housing has been a concern for previous teacher applicants.

How to get there

Cliff Island is served by the Casco Bay Lines ferry, departing from Portland Harbor. The approximate travel time 60-120 minutes, one-way. Trip times vary based upon route and cargo volume. Cliff Island is the smallest year-round island in Casco Bay and the last stop “down the bay” on the Casco Bay Lines ferry. There are five round-trip ferry runs each day year-round, but times vary based on season and holidays.

The island is the only year-round island in Casco Bay that has all unpaved roads and, while cars are allowed, most people walk, bicycle, or use golf carts for transportation.


for data questions, contact:
Meghan Grabill: mgrabill@islandinstitute.org

With gratitude to our community reviewers: Roger Berle and Cheryl Crowley


Telling stories of island and coastal life