I think Grand Manan is only accessable from Black's Harbour.
You would save time by taking the ferry to NS only if youre heading to Halifax or points further east (Cape Breton, Pictou). Black's Harbour is about 40 minutes from the Calais, Me. Border crossing, so maybe 6.5 hours from Boston.
Make sure you have a place to stay before going to GM; and bring a warm jacket.
Sorry, no recommedations, but there's no problem getting kayak rental or whale watching info on the island... and be careful sea kayaking if you havent dont it before.
Grand Manan has some lovely little cottages, several B&B's, a couple of inns, a motel, & 3 campgrounds.
There are some 70km of hiking trails, including some spectacular clifftop scenery on the west side of the island. Trails range from a wheelchair-navigable boardwalk to real steep rocky-&-tree-rooted strenuous hikes. You can get a little trail guide at the museum's information center. A tour boat goes to Machias Seal Island puffin colony until mid to late July. Expensive if you want to go ashore, but a neat half-day trip. There's a free ferry (20 minutes) to neighbouring White Head Island -- very quiet, with a couple of pretty beaches. Kayaking & bike rental place in North Head. It's a good idea to be in Blacks Harbour half an hour before the ferry leaves. Tourist traffic can mean cars left behind, although tourism is down this year again.
Good overview of the island at the previous poster's recommended website, http://www.grandmanannb.com/
If you come during the summer months you can however, come through Campobello Island (Route 1 North to Route 189 at Whiting) Turn right and drive to Lubec, Maine and then cross the FDR Bridge to Campobello Island, New Brunswick
From there, after a tour of the island, which is a MUST SEE. You can take the ferry service (charge) from Campobello Island to Deer Island (another must see) and then to the other end of the island where you can catch the free Government ferry from Deer Island to Le'Tete, NB. From there you drive to St. George and then east toward Saint John where you will then take the road to Black's Harbour to catch the ferry to Grand Manan Island.
If, on your trip to Grand Manan you would like to stay on Campobello for a night, check out our web site at
Hit the MORE tab top left
Hit STAY AT which will provide you with places to stay depending on your preferences.
Also the Grand Manan website is listed in this thread and they will have their listings as well. It is always wise to make reservations especially during the month of August and the last two weeks in July.
Have a great trip
Mermie, Campobello Island NB
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