Explore Appledore Island Walking Tour

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Spend the day on Appledore Island, one of the nine beautiful Isles of Shoals off the coasts of Maine and New Hampshire, and visit the Shoals Marine Lab. Travel out to Appledore on the University of New Hampshire research vessel, the R/V Gulf Challenger, with UNH Marine Docent tour guides. Investigate the intriguing intertidal creatures and zooplankton collected from the ocean at informal science stations on the boat.

On Appledore, explore the natural history of the island with the Docents. Look down to magnificent rock formations of eons past and up to a sky filled with birds that live on the island today. Learn about the plants that withstood the salty sea air to provide colonial settlers with remedies and today supply nutrition for the long voyages of migrating birds.

Discover the important role the Shoals played in the fishing economy of the 17th century. Find out about the amazing resort hotels on the Shoals in the 19th century and the people who flocked to the Isles for the healthy sea air. Visit the recreated garden of famous poet and essayist Celia Thaxter, who once lived on Appledore, and learn of her family's life on the Shoals.

Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy while looking from the Isles to the coast or gazing at the long line of the horizon where the sea meets the sky. Taking an Appledore Island Walking Tour with the Docents is a voyage you'll never forget.

This cruise is open to members of the public on a first come, first served basis - adults and youth 10 years of age and older (must be accompanied by an adult).

  • View of Appledore Island while cruising in
    Cruising in
  • Cruise participants disembarking the Gulf Challenger onto Appledore Island
  • Participants hiking from the dock to Kingsbury Hall
    Leaving the dock
  • View of water and housing on Appledore Island
    What a view!
  • View of Devil's Dancefloor on Appledore Island
    Devil's Dancefloor
Yankee Magazine July 2016

Read the Yankee Magazine article, The Mysterious Siren Call of Appledore Island

  • Cruise guests must accompany Marine Docents at all times while on Appledore Island.
  • All cruise guests must be able to walk several miles. Terrain of the island requires moderate hiking exertion.
  • There is limited parking at the public parking lot at the pier, so please carpool if possible. 

Times & Price

8:00 am - 8:30 am: All guests check in
2:00 pm: Return to dock

Adults ages 18 and up:$50
Youth ages 10-17: $40

Directions to UNH Pier

Required Waivers

Each passenger is required to have a signed waiver in order to participate.

Download the Cruise Waiver

Bring the signed waiver with you on cruise day. Docents will have blank waivers to sign at the dock as well.

Important Information

Transportation to and from the Appledore Island is provided by UNH's Research Vessel Gulf Challenger. This is a working research vessel providing insight on how marine research is conducted and therefore does not provide amenities one might find on a passenger vessel. Participants must be prepared to stand for the duration of the trip to and from Appledore Island (~45 minutes one way) and will have limited protection from sun, rain or spray. There is limited seating available below deck and it is only accessible via a steep set of stairs. Toilet facilities, in addition to being small, are accessed by using a steep set of stairs. Participants are encouraged to use the toilet facilities located at the Judd Gregg Marine Research Complex and on Appledore Island prior to boarding the vessel.

The R/V Gulf Challenger departs from UNH's Judd Gregg Marine Research Complex. This is a working research pier. Access to the vessel is via a steep floating ramp. The slope of the ramp varies with the tide.

Appledore Island is a rugged landscape, with uneven, slightly steep and rocky paths. Access on/off the island is via a floating dock, two sets of steep stairs, and ledge. Participants must be in good physical condition. Participants must be prepared to spend a majority of the day walking. Toilet facilities are available on island.

Participants requiring the use of an American Sign Language interpreter or assistive listening device should contact Dari Christenson at dari.christenson@unh.edu at least two weeks prior to cruise date.

As an additional option to visit Appledore Island, the Shoals Marine Laboratory offers Celia Thaxter's Garden Tours. These tours are also led by our UNH Marine Docents.

Full payment is required to reserve a space. You will receive a full refund only if you log into the reservation system and cancel your reservation up to three business days before the cruise or if the cruise is canceled. Cruises go rain or shine and will only be canceled in cases of severe weather and/or inadequate reservations. In case of severe weather, registrants will be called early in the morning the day of the cruise.