The Isle of May is located in the north of the outer Firth of Forth, approximately 8 km (5.0 mi) off the coast of mainland Scotland. It is 1.8 km long and less than half a kilometre wide. The island is owned and managed by Scottish Natural Heritage as a National Nature Reserve.
Most visitors to the island are daytrippers taking the ferry from Anstruther in Fife, although up to six visitors can stay at the bird observatory, usually for a week at a time. The only way to get there is by ferry, the journey taking 45 minutes from the small ports of Anstruther and Crail, and also from North Berwick.
The island is closed to visitors from 1 October until Easter to prevent disturbance to the large number of seal pups.