About Straitsmouth Island

Lighthouse on Straitsmouth Island © Thacher Island Association
© Thacher Island Association

Encompassing most of a rocky island 500 feet from the mainland in Rockport, the wildlife sanctuary is adjacent to the town-owned historic lighthouse and lies within a designated Important Bird Area (IBA).

The island is covered with a dense vegetation of shrubs, brambles, and poison ivy, which make access to and across the island difficult. Mass Audubon is working with the Town of Rockport and the Thacher Island Association to restore and maintain the lighthouse and lighthouse keeper residence, which are both historically significant structures.

Please sign in island keepers; the island is open June 1-August 31, or when the keepers are in attendance.



Trail Mileage

0.33 miles
Details & map >

Sanctuary Highlights

  • Thacher Island Association volunteer keepers staff the island from June 1 through August 31.
  • Visitor amenities like a composting toilet, walking trails and a small visitor center are works in progress in summer 2019.
  • The current lighthouse was built in 1896 and the newly restored keeper residence was built in 1878.
  • Part of the Essex County Coastal Bird Islands IBA, the island hosts colonies of nesting seabirds and wading birds such as Common Eider, Double-crested Cormorant, & Little Blue Heron.


Off the coast of Rockport (accessible by kayak) 
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Managed by Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, in partnership with the Thacher Island Association


Open June 1-August 31, sunrise to sunset



Property Regulations

All of the land at our wildlife sanctuaries is protected. By conserving these open spaces, Mass Audubon, along with our members and partners, is able to fulfill its mission of protecting the nature of Massachusetts. When visiting, please take note of the following regulations: 

  • No dog walking or horseback riding; please leave all animals and pets at home (service animals welcome
  • No walking off trail.
  • No running, swimming, or camping.
  • No collecting or picking natural items.
  • No operating drones or other remote-controlled vehicles.  
  • No fishing, hunting, trapping, or releasing of animals.
  • No feeding wildlife.
  • No smoking.