Life on Star Island, second largest of the group of nine rocky islands lying nearly ten miles southeast of the mouth of the Piscataqua River, is much like living on a boat. On every side one sees and hears the sea. The shores of New England are visible to the west and north, but to the east and south are only sky and sea. The boundary line between Maine and New Hampshire passes through the islands and ledges so that five of the islands, Appledore, Cedar, Duck, Malaga, and Smuttynose, lie within the State of Maine while four of the islands, Lunging, Seavey, Star, and White, lie within New Hampshire. Star Island is in the Town of Rye Historic District and on the National and State of New Hampshire Historic Registers.
The Isles of Shoals reveal numerous traces of the great ice age, which ended some 10,000 years ago and marked the islands with erratic boulders and a rounding off of the rock masses and scouring of the soil. Life – aquatic and terrestrial – is abundant. While essentially all the soil for the islands is post glacial, and the thin earth and cold winter winds have kept trees and woody plants to a small number, more than 250 land plant species have been identified on the islands. A checklist of the marine flora and fauna of the Isles of Shoals, compiled by the staff of the Cornell University Shoals Marine Lab on Appledore, included 256 species of invertebrates, 139 species of algae, 49 species of fish and 145 species of birds.