Saint Croix Island International Historic Site

Overview

The National Park Service preserves Saint Croix Island International Historic site as a monument to the beginning of the United States and Canada. In 1604, Pierre Dugua (sieur de Mons), accompanied by Samuel Champlain and 77 other men, established a settlement on St. Croix Island. Preceding Jamestown (1607) and Plymouth (1620), Pierre Dugua's outpost was one of the earliest European settlements on the North Atlantic coast of North America. More specifically, it was the first attempt by the French at year-round colonization in the territory they called La Cadie or l'Acadie (Acadia). The settlement was short-lived, however, and in the summer of 1605, the French moved to a more favorable location where they established the Port Royal Habitation on the shores of the present-day Annapolis Basin, Nova Scotia. The experience of the French on St. Croix Island taught them much about the "New World" environment and about interacting with the native peoples. From St. Croix Island, Samuel Champlain explored and charted the coast of Norembegue (Norumbega), including the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic coast as far south as Cape Cod. The valuable insights gained from both the St. Croix settlement and further exploration formed the foundation for a more successful settlement at Port Royal, and an enduring French presence in North American continuing to the present day.

The mainland historical site provides scenic views of the island and the Saint Croix River. Visits to the island itself are not encouraged due to its fragile nature.

Map

Seasonality / Weather

The site is open daily from sunrise to sunset. During the winter, however, the displays and bronze statues along the interpretive trail are covered to prevent damage from inclement weather.

During certain times of the year, park rangers are available at the mainland site to answer your questions.

* June 15 through September 30 - A bilingual (French-English) park ranger is stationed at the site seven days a week.
* October 1 through October 31 - A park ranger or park volunteer is available by chance.
* November 1 through June 15 - On-site staff at the mainland site are not regularly scheduled.

Halfway between the Equator and the North Pole, Saint Croix Island IHS is exposed to weather conditions typical of the eastern Maine coast. In general, you can expect the following conditions:
* Spring - Temperatures are cool, with occasional fog later in the season.
* Summer - Rain is common, with some fog early in the season. Onshore breezes often make the area seem cooler than a temperature reading in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit (21-27 degrees Celsius) might indicate.
* Winter - Temperatures are moderate, with snow possible from October through March (sometimes later).

When you visit, it is best to be prepared for any weather, as conditions change frequently.

Directions

Driving: 

Saint Croix Island International Historic Site is best reached by private vehicle. The site is located eight miles south of Calais, Maine, on U.S. Route 1, and can be reached either by Route 9 from Bangor or U.S. Route 1, the coastal route from Portland and points south. The parking lot is located on the left after entering the mainland site.

The mainland historical site in Bar Harbor provides scenic views of the island and the Saint Croix River. Visits to the island itself are not encouraged due to its fragile nature.

Flying: 

Several different airlines service airports at Bangor, Maine (103 miles), or Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada (80 miles). Car rentals are available at both airports.