Best Peaks Island Golf Cart Rentals to Explore Island off Portland Maine

Peaks Island Golf Cart Rentals are a great option when you’re exploring this picturesque island off the coast of southern Maine for a few hours or more. That way, you’ll maximize your visit, whether it’s a day trip from Portland ME or you’re staying on Peaks Island. Keep reading to find out more about getting around Peaks island by golf cart, and what you’ll see when you’re on this delightful little island.

CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn all about Peaks Island, Maine and how best to see it, including:

Exploring Peaks Island in Peaks Island Golf Cart Rentals

If you’re headed to Peaks Island, a Peaks Island golf cart rental is a great way to get around. They are affordable, easy to drive, and electric. They will help you get around the island and maximize your day trip to Peaks Island.

Where Is Peaks Island, Maine?

Peaks Island is just off the coast of Portland ME

You’ll find Peaks Island, Maine just off the coast of Portland Maine. This small, picturesque island is a short ferry ride from the mainland. It only takes about 20 minutes to get there by taking the Casco Bay Ferry. That makes it a perfect day trip, especially if you’re staying in Portland ME.

This charming island is part of the city of Portland, located 3 miles (4.8 km) from Portland’s downtown. It’s only 1.5 miles long by 1.25 miles wide, but offers an amazing coastal drive that circumnavigates the island.

It’s home to about 1,200 residents year round, but the population swells to about 4,000 in peak summer season. The island has its own elementary school, library, and police station and is one of the most populated islands on Casco Bay — but you wouldn’t know it exploring.

Brief History of Peaks Island

In the late 19th century, Peaks Island was a popular vacation destination known as the “Coney Island of Maine.” Visitors would come to enjoy the variety of hotels, cottages, theaters, and amusement parks.

During World War II, the island played an important military role. In fact, you can still explore the remnants of the island’s military history, from the WWII military fortification, Battery Steele, to the cement bunkers along the coastline, to the Fifth Maine Regiment Museum, which explores Civil War battles and more.

Today, Peaks Island is a beautiful breath of fresh air away from the city scene. A visit here is sure to include a taste of nature, wildlife, and of course, stunning coastal scenery.

You’ll still find a handful of inns and rental cottages, along with a restaurants, cafe, and an ice cream parlor. In addition, there’s a grocery store, kayak rentals, art galleries and Peaks Island golf cart rentals. And don’t forget the unique Umbrella Cover Museum.

You can spend the better part of a day on Peaks Island if you explore at a leisurely pace, and you can stay overnight at one of the charming inns. You can also see quite a bit of it in just a few hours when you rent a golf cart.

How to Get to Peaks Island

You can pick up the Ferry at the Casco Bay Lines Ferry Terminal at corner of Commercial & Franklin Streets in downtown Portland. It departs Portland for Peaks Island 14 times daily and will cost you just over $4 for a round-trip ticket.

If you’re staying at the Portland Harbor Hotel, like we did, you’re within walking distance of the ferry terminal.

If you have to find parking, make sure you leave plenty of time to find a spot and get to the ferry terminal.

You can also take your car over on the ferry, but it’s not recommended. That’s because there’s limited space on the ferries, and it’s not really that big of an island. If you do decide to bring your car, you’ll need to buy a round trip ticket and be sure to be in queue at the ferry terminal at least 15 minutes early. Also note that the driver’s ticket is included in the fare, but passengers are extra.

Dogs are welcome on the ferry, but require a ticket and must be on leash at all times.

The Ferry Ride to Peaks Island

On the ferry ride over, you’ll take in a gorgeous views of Portland’s waterfront, pass Fort Gorges, and you’re likely see both large and lovely sea vessels on Casco Bay, too.

On the ferry, you are free to bring food and drink, which you can eat on the ferry or plan ahead for a picnic on Peaks Island. The ferry ride is comfortable and short, and there are restrooms available on board.

When you step off the ferry, you’ll be at Forest City Landing on Peaks Island. This landing has been used since the 1880s!

If you don’t want to take the ferry, you can also charter a private boat or take your own boat to Peaks Island.

Note: The ferry terminal and the ferry itself are federal properties, so at the time of this writing, you’ll need to wear a mask in the ferry terminal and indoors on the ferry even if you’re vaccinated.

Related Article: Read this detailed review of the Portland Harbor Hotel.

What to Expect on Peaks Island

Peaks Island an excellent destination to visit by yourself, as a couple, or as a family. There’s not a lot to do on Peaks island – and yet at the same time, there is.

It is a breath of fresh air from the busy city, and an ideal getaway to enjoy a taste of nature, wildlife, beautiful scenery, and more.

When you disembark the ferry onto the island, you’re steps from the island’s humble center. Depending on the season, you’ll be welcomed by climbing roses and other beautiful flowers as you ascend Welch Street toward the intersection. 

It’s worth noting that you’ll find public restrooms and Mike’s Golf Carts to the right. Opposite that is Peaks Cafe where you can grab a tasty sandwich or fresh-made pastry and some coffee before you begin exploring the island. (We recommend the cinnamon buns!)

If you continue up Welch Street, you’ll see the The Inn on Peaks Island on the diagonal. There, you might make dinner plans for a locally-sourced meal, and even consider staying overnight. Their luxury guest rooms feature Jacuzzi tubs, private decks, and skyline views of Portland. They even offer an apartment-style suite with four bedrooms that sleeps up to eleven if you’re traveling with your family or other couples.

At the intersection of Welch and Island Ave., turn left. You’ll find Brad’s Bicycle Rental, Peaks Island Golf Carts, a grocery store, and The Cockeyed Gull restaurant (which has waterfront views) along this way.

These businesses are a good start once you arrive, but the real attraction is in fully navigating this beautiful island.

Best Ways to Get Around Peaks Island

There are more than a few ways to get around Peaks Island. After all, the island isn’t very big and the scenic loop trail (best traversed from March to November) is about 4 miles long. The loop goes from the ferry landing straight up Welch Street, right on Island Avenue, and then you’ll follow the signs to the scenic route.

Here are some of the most common ways to get around Peaks Island:

  • On Foot – You can easily walk, jog, or run this mostly flat 4-mile route that circumnavigates the island
  • Ride a Bicycle – For a small fee, you can bring your own bike with you on the ferry; or rent bikes on island
  • Take a Taxi – You’ll usually find taxi service at the ferry stop from 7:30 AM – 7:30 PM in season
  • Rent a Golf Cart – Get a Peaks Island golf cart rental for a few hours or weeks at a time if you’re staying on the island
  • Take a Guided Tour – Peaks Island Tours offers 75-minute guided tours on the island
  • By Car – If you bring your own car over on the ferry, this is also an option, although not recommended

With only a few hours to spend on this island, we chose to explore the scenic beauty on a Peaks Island golf cart rental. Peaks Island Golf Carts provided us with a lovely, electric golf cart rental for two hours so I could write this review based on our experience.

We were very happy motoring around on a golf cart! It was exactly what we needed to explore the beauty of Peaks Island for the afternoon.

Benefits of Renting A Golf Cart on Peaks Island

What I loved about seeing Peaks Island by golf cart is that:

  • You can see whole island in a short time
  • You’re protected from sun under the canope
  • You can carry your belongings with you without being burdomsome, such as your backpack, camera, water bottle, and lunch
  • There are plenty of pull offs to the side of the road where you can walk down footpaths, sit on benches overlooking the water, and get a closer look at other scenic places
  • It’s really easy to drive a golf cart (who knew?!)
  • The island isn’t very big, and the scenic coastal route is well-marked so you can’t get lost
  • You can fully explore the inland roads to see beautiful cottages nestled in the woods for an authentic glimpse of island life
  • It’s fun!

What to Expect When Renting A Golf Cart on Peaks Island

At Peaks Island Golf Carts, you can rent a golf-cart by the hour, day, or week. For two hours, the rate for our electric golf cart was $40 (plus tip), which is very affordable. If you’re visiting Peaks Island for an afternoon, two hours is plenty to scout around the island.

But if you are vacationing for the weekend or longer, you’ll want to consider the weekly rate.

For Peaks Island Golf Cart rentals, you must be at least 21 years of age with a valid driver’s license and major credit card. Anyone driving the golf cart must be 18 years or older with a valid driver’s license.

You’ll want to make reservations in advance for day or weekly rentals–at least the day before and earlier during peak season. Hourly rentals are on a first-come first served basis.

Getting to Peaks Island Golf Carts for a Rental

Peaks Island Golf Cart is a small, family run operation that’s open between May and October. It was the first golf cart rental service established on the island. Those in the know bypass the crowds at the ferry landing and head on up to Peaks Island Golf Carts on Island Ave.

Take a left at Down Front ice cream parlor and you’ll find Peaks Island Golf Carts located before the Umbrella Cover Museum.

If you reserve a golf cart in advance, Peaks Island Golf Carts’ friendly and knowledgable staff will have it ready and waiting for you. In fact, if it’s close to the end of the season, I highly recommend reserving in advance even for hourly rentals because toward the end of October, the rentals are by reservation only.

The full fleet numbers 20 quality golf carts. Most of them are electric, which are more quiet and better for the environment than their gas-powered counterparts.

About the Golf Carts – How to Drive & Road Rules

When we walked up the hill from the ferry to pick up our golf cart, it was ready waiting for us. Matt gave us a short, easy lesson on driving the golf cart and the road rules.

There really isn’t much to driving a golf cart. Of course, you have a key, a steering wheel and an accelerator pedal to make it go. It has two gears, forward and reverse, and a break pedal.

In some ways, it’s a bit like riding in a jeep, with two comfortable seats before the windshield, a covered roof, and no doors – but much slower.

The golf cart seats four passengers. In the back is a rear-facing bench, sort of like a trundle seat. It opens up to a storage space for your belongings.

As far as island rules go, you can drive all over the island – and don’t worry, you can’t really go too fast in the golf cart. Top speed is about 14 mph downhill. But you do have to yield to–basically everyone and everything. And if there is a car behind you, you need to simply pull over and let them pass by. 

Where to Go Around Peaks Island | Things to Do

So, we talked a little bit about where to go on Peaks Island at the ferry landing. When you’re riding in a golf cart, you can explore further.

You’ll want to travel the coastal loop for incredible vistas of the ocean. You can make a few stops along the way as your curiosity is piqued, or you want to stroll along the beach or the rocks looking for sea glass or other souvenirs of your trip..

There are several beaches on Peaks Island, both rocky and sandy. However, they are not all open to the public. The three public beaches on Peaks Island are:

  • Sandy Beach
  • Cairn Beach
  • Centennial Beach

If you’re looking to swim, opt for Sandy Beach or Centennial Beach.

Along the way, you’ll pass by the expansive Peaks Island Nature Preserve, home to all kinds of birds and wildlife. You’ll also pass by a World War II bunker and Battery Steele.

As you follow some of the roads that lead to the interior of the island, you’ll see lots of victorian cottages with gingerbread trim, lobster boats, and plenty of other beautiful homes along the way.

You’ll also come across many working artists’ galleries worth a visit.

Final Thoughts on Peaks Island Golf Cart Rentals

If you’re expecting a vacation on par with Martha’s Vineyard, you’ve got the wrong idea about Peaks Island. Instead, you’ll find a peaceful retreat on a small island where you might feel like you’ve pleasantly stepped back in time to quieter days. The closer to the off-season, the better, and preferably by golf cart.

If you love exploring these beautiful Islands off coastal Maine, then read about Bailey Island, next!

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This article may contain affiliate links. As always, all opinions expressed are my own. For more information, please see the following Disclosure.

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Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.

16 thoughts on “Best Peaks Island Golf Cart Rentals to Explore Island off Portland Maine

  • March 16, 2022 at 3:31 pm
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    This is a great idea! I haven’t really thought about using golf carts but it’s indeed a great way to get around. Will keep this in mind should we have a chance to visit Peaks Island. Thank you for sharing these tips.

    • March 17, 2022 at 7:44 am
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      My pleasure, Clarice. I’m glad you found this information helpful!

  • March 15, 2022 at 9:58 am
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    Peaks Island sounds like an amazing day trip from Portland! Riding the ferry and feeling the ocean breezes and the sun would be perfect. I would love exploring by bicycle but the golf cart sounds fun too — perhaps a little more economical and fun to share with friends.

    • March 17, 2022 at 7:48 am
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      There are so many ways to enjoy the trip to Peaks Island, Tami. Biking is a great option, too!

  • March 14, 2022 at 8:49 am
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    There is no doubt that the island is naturally pretty. However the thing that got me the most excited is that you can explore it with a golf cart. I have always wanted to do that and this place is built for it. Love the fact that you can stop almost anywhere and even stumble upon artists at work. Love the tips you have included to plan the trip!

    • March 14, 2022 at 8:54 am
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      I agree, Ami – It was so fun to ride around this beautiful island in a golf-cart! And I’m always partial to artists’ havens. 😉

  • March 12, 2022 at 10:45 am
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    We stayed in Bangor, Maine for three weeks a few years ago. We never heard of Peaks Island. From your pictures and description, it sounds like a smaller Martha’s Vineyard. Lobster should be plenty and cheap! And I would love to see the Umbrella Cover Museum~

    • March 12, 2022 at 2:03 pm
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      Hi Carol, Peak’s Island is much smaller than Martha’s Vineyard: It’s just over a square miles (while MV is about 88 sq. mi). You can tour the whole thing is a few hours! If you happen to stop into Portland for the day on your way up to Bangor again, a tour over to Peak’s Island is a great take.

  • March 12, 2022 at 6:28 am
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    I have driven golf carts before and I know how much fun they can be. However, I never drove them outside of golf courses. Renting a golf cart to explore Peaks island sounds like a great way to see all the sights in a short time.

  • March 11, 2022 at 2:00 pm
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    I love Maine! Although, I never really thought about visiting one of the islands. Interesting. My husband would totally go for the golfing. It looks like such a fabulous place to explore!

    • March 11, 2022 at 6:17 pm
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      I love Maine, too, Jennifer! You’ll find so many islands to visit next time you go…and Peaks Island is cool!

  • March 11, 2022 at 1:38 pm
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    Peaks Island looks beautiful! Too bad I haven’t heard about it when we went to Maine last summer. And I think $40 fee for golf cart rental is affordable. I would like to visit this island next time we go to Maine.

    • March 11, 2022 at 7:51 pm
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      I hope you have a chance to revisit Maine and check out Peaks Island, Umiko. It’s a great way day trip from Portland!

  • March 8, 2022 at 10:19 am
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    Never heard of Peaks Island but if it’s the Coney Island of Maine, then we’re absolutely convinced of going! My family is a part of a country club where we’re from and growing up, I would driv around the club with a golf cart. I can only imagine the sceneries and views we would get if we would tour around a place like Peaks Island instead. Thanks for the rental tips, will bookmark this if we get the chance to visit Peaks Island!

    • March 8, 2022 at 10:55 am
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      That is absolutely true about the scenery, and if you already have experience driving a golf cart, you’ll feel right at home! Hope you get a chance to visit this little island gem in Maine.

Comments are closed.