Activities and Services

Island Tours

Island Systems and Sustainability Tours

Tour the island’s water facilities, power plant, solar array, garden, wastewater systems, and resource recovery center!

Availability: 2:00 p.m. Tuesday/Thursday, (also runs at 11:00 a.m. on Saturdays) (by request in September)
Duration: 1-2 hours
Location: Meet on the porch in front of Elliott

Behind-the-Scenes “Underworld” Tour

Interactive tour conducted by the Island Manager or a member of the Star Island staff. Takes conferees “behind the scenes” through the kitchens, laundry, staff dining areas, and other areas of the island operation. Ask questions and chat about how the island is run as you walk.

Availability: 2:00 p.m. Wednesday (or by request for September conferences)
Duration: 1-2 hours
Location: Meet at the Well House

Pelicans-in-Training “Underworld” Tour for Kids 

Interactive tour of pelican jobs. See the “kitchies” and other staff in action behind-the-scenes. Led by island programs manager.

Availability: 10:00 a.m. Tuesday
Duration: 1 hour
Location: Meet at the Well House

Island Amenities 

Rutledge Marine Lab

The Rutledge Marine Laboratory provides a home for a portly spider crab (Libinia emarginata), yellow sea slug (Cadlina laevis), and a school of Mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus). There are also the usual visitors, of course, including blue mussels (Mytilus edulis), green crabs (Carcinus maenas), frilled sea anenomes (Metridium senile), rock crabs (Cancer irroratus), jonah’s crabs (Cancer borealis), northern sea stars (Asterias spp.), hermit crabs (Pagurus spp.) and plenty of barnacles (Semibalanus balanoides) and periwinikles (Littorina spp.).

The lab works with other organizations like the Blue Ocean Society, the Seacoast Science Center and the Shoals Marine Laboratory on Appledore Island to enlarge its collection and explore educational opportunities for the summer. For example, the lab recently recreated several traditional marine science experiments including testing the photosensitivity and behavior of hermit crabs, examining the composition of the benthic community at the Isles of Shoals utilizing fouling plates, and implementing several transect surveys to measure the diversity of intertidal zone ecosystems on Star Island.

The lab offers science education experiences for all ages from the unique perspective of an island community that looks reflectively and critically at our culture and the future it is choosing. As a part of this mission and in line with Star Island’s sustainability initiative, the lab will host several discussions on sustainable living throughout the summer.

Check out the Rutledge Marine Lab blog by clicking here.

Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day during the summer.

The Rutledge Marine Lab offers the following tours:

Bird Walks   Tuesday     6:00 AM

Early mornings are a quiet time on Star, and a time of peak activity for many species of birds. After the Island Naturalist led bird walk on Tuesday, interested conferees can continue bird watching on their own throughout the conference. Binoculars, bird guides, and birding checklists are available for use.

Low Tide Walks     Wednesday     TBD

Explore tidal processes, intertidal zones, and the animals and organisms that are likely found in each. Specimens are often collected and brought back to the marine lab. For low tide times during your week: Gosport Harbor Tides

Botany Walks     Tuesday     4:00PM

The Island Naturalist will conduct a tour of the vast island flora, including a discussion on edible and medicinal plants native to the Shoals.

Geology Walks     Monday     4:00PM
The geology walk provides some information about the fascinating geological processes that have shaped the Isles of Shoals into the islands they are today.

Celia Thaxter Museum – Vaughn Cottage

Star Island has its very own museum containing a library, research room, and various artifacts pertaining to Celia Thaxter and the Isles of Shoals. Be sure to browse the Thaxter Museum Collection and check out the Vaughn Cottage Blog.

Vaughn Cottage offers the following tours:

History Tour     Sunday 1:30PM     Meet on the Front Porch

Interactive tour of Star Island providing an overview of the history of Star Island and the Isles of Shoals from the 1600s through the present. Learn also about the pre historic era when Native Americans lived on the islands, as long ago as 4000 B.C.E.

Ghosts and Graveyards Tour     Tuesday 7:30PM     Meet at Vaughn Cottage

Spooky tour of the island’s cemeteries, led by the Vaughn Cottage Curator.

School Programming Pilot Project 2017 

During the 2017 season on Star Island, we’re piloting educational activities for school and recreational groups, as well as conference youth groups, as we develop formalized school programming opportunities.

If you are a youth leader, please let us know if your group is interested in participating in activities focused on social studies, environment, or art.

Please let us know if you are interested in helping to design program activities for visiting youth on Star Island. Ask at the front desk for details or e-mail

Massage Therapy

Star Island is a relaxing and restorative place. Thanks to our talented team of licensed massage therapists, you can relax a little extra during your stay.

Interested guests may request a 1-hour session through the front desk.

The massage fee can be added to individual room & board bills. Massages cost $80 for an hour. A large portion of the massage program proceeds go directly to Star Island!

Please let a front desk staff member know if you need to cancel an appointment. Cancellations within 24 hours of the scheduled appointment will be charged the full amount.

If you are a licensed New Hampshire massage therapist and would like to participate in the program, please email

M/V Thomas Dudley Launch Tender

Since 2015, the M/V Thomas Dudley has been servicing boater visits to Star Island. Call the Dudley on VHF Channel 9 for pick up and transport to Star. Visit the Gosport Grill for a burger or grab an ice cream cone at the Snack Bar, and enjoy the island!

Gosport Grill 

Every Shoaler’s favorite lunch spot. 

A picnic by the sea…hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, lobster rolls and more!

Stay tuned for 2017 Gosport Grill hours of operation

Follow us on Instagram! @gosportgrill

M/V Utopia Tours and Cruises

The following trips are available to conferees wishing to experience the islands. Sign up at the Oceanic Hotel Lobby writing desk by 1:00 p.m. on the day prior to the trip or e-mail

Sunset Cruise

Enjoy a spectacular Star Island sunset aboard the Utopia while cruising around the Isles of Shoals. Cost is $30/adult, $15/youth.

Availability: Monday – Departs half and hour before sunset (June – July 20th 7:45-8:45, July 27 August 10 7:30-8:30, August 17-21 7:15-8:15)
Duration: 1.5 hours
Location: Meet at the dock

Lobstering Tour

Cruise aboard the Utopia and pull actual lobster traps around the Isles of Shoals. The cost is $30/adult, $15/youth.

Availability: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday
Duration: 1.5 hours
Location: Meet at the end of the pier.

Appledore/Shoal Marine Laboratory Tour

Appledore Island is leased by the Star Island Corporation to Cornell University, which operates the Shoals Marine Laboratory. The Vaughn Cottage Curator accompanies your group to the neighboring island, and discusses Celia Thaxter & fishing village era history, visits Celia’s Garden, and tours some of the Lab facilities. Return trip includes a cruise around Duck Island. The cost is $25/adult, $12/youth. Appledore does not have paved roads and mobility-impaired individuals may have difficulties negotiating the terrain.

Availability: 1:30 p.m. Tuesday for main season conferences
Duration: 2 hours
Location: Meet at well house on front lawn.

Lobster Dinner Cruise

Celebrate a special occasion, surprise a loved one, or just treat yourself to a lobster dinner aboard the M/V Utopia. Music, lime rickeys, and dessert included!

Availability: 6:30 Wednesday for main season conferences. Limited to 8 passengers. Others by request to Ally Miner

Duration: 1.5 hours
Location: Meet at the end of the pier.

The cost is $65/adult, $32/youth.

Seals and Sights Tour

Explore the Isles of Shoals aboard the Utopia including historical sights and a view of the seals of Duck Island. Cost is $30/adult, $15/youth.


Availability: Friday 4:45 p.m.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Location: Meet at the dock

Available by request:

  • Whale Watch
  • Boon Island Excursion

To make requests, please see the front desk or contact Ally Miner at