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Favorite thing: I never know where to put this stuff so am sticking it here... Acadia is virtually open all year, although much of Bar Harbor shuts down between Columbus Day and mid May. Its peak season (when you'll encounter the biggest crowds) is from the beginning of July through Labor Day: hotel reservations are almost mandatory during this time! If you DO risk coming during peak season without a reservation, see the helpful staff at the Thompson Island Visitor Center - they will have a list of vacancies. Late May and June, and Sept. to early Oct. are great times to go if you're looking for a little more solitude.
Park passes can be obtained at:
Hulls Cove and Thompson Island visitor/information centers
Sand Beach Entrance Station (on Park Loop road)
Blackwoods and Seawall camping areas
Acadia Natl. Park info center near Village Green in Bar Harbor
Acadia Park Headquarters (summer weekdays only) on Eagle Lake Rd.
Entrance fees are $20 per vehicle from June 23-early October, and drop to $10 from May 1 - June 22 and early Oct. - Oct. 31. No fee from Nov 1 - May 1.
The free (and eco-friendly) Island Explorer shuttles run to most park sites from late June to Columbus Day: schedules are available at visitor and Info centers or you can view them here.
You can access the Acadia NPS site here.
Updated Jan 5, 2012
Favorite thing: This is not an activity or a specific site but a best time to visit the park: it's spectacular in the fall! Mt. Desert Island is one of the last places in Maine to see peak foliage and timing is somewhat unpredictable but figure on color from the last week in Sept. to the first two weeks in October. There wasn't much when we got there (last week of Sept.) but we watched it turn a little more every day and by the end of the week there were reds, oranges and yellows everywhere. The other benefits are cooler temps for hiking, and missing the big summer crowds.
Bar Harbor virtually closes down after Columbus Day and some of the gallerys and such close after Labor Day but the majority of restaurants and shops stay open until mid-October so you won't really miss much but piles of people.
Fondest memory: It's impossible to pick a favorite memory but I had a thing about the fog. Hiking up Dorr Mountain and taking early-morning pictures at a silent, deserted Jordan Pond - both in very dense fog - was pretty special. Love the fog: it intensifies sounds and colors and is such a part of the romance and mystery of Acadia.
Updated Jan 4, 2012
Favorite thing: As with all US National Parks, there is an entrance fee to Acadia National Park. When I was there we purchased a now discontinued National Parks Pass,( Which will still be honored for 1 year from the date we received it) The NPS have since introduced a new system. The "America the Beautiful" Passes. These will replace the traditional pass, the Golden Eagle, Golden Age and Golden Access passes. The new standard pass is $80, which is $30 more expensive then the pass we bought but does allow access into the areas that were only formerly available with the Golden Eagle pass (which at $15 more that the regular pass was still $15 cheaper than this new one) Ah but time marches on and prices keep going up, what can you do? It's still more than worth it to support the parks. You can of course still buy a weekly pass to each park, which is $15 per vehical, $7 if you are on foot or bike.
Check out the NPS website for more details on ALL passes.
Written Feb 20, 2007
Favorite thing: From the mid-1800s and into the early 1900s, Mount Desert Island was the summer home of some of the wealthiest people in America. Inspired by the landscape painters of the Hudson River School, the socially elite came in droves to enjoy the cool splendor of the Acadia coast - a welcome respite from the sweltering heat of the cities.
Especially during the 1880s and the "Gay Nineties" many of America's most affluent families chose to spend the summer here. These included the Rockefellers, Morgans, Fords, Vanderbilts, Carnegies, and Astors. These and others built elegant summer estates, euphemistically called "cottages." Some formed "Village Improvement Societies" which constructed hiking trails connecting the Island's villages to its interior mountains. The Great Depression, World War II, and a great fire in 1947 marked the end of that extravagant era.
A few very wealthy people still have homes on the island. For the most part, Acadia today is a vacation destination for the average citizen, with accommodations ranging from rustic to posh.
Enlarge the photo to get a better look at one of the newer mansions on Mount Desert Island.
History of Acadia National Park
Updated Dec 20, 2006
Favorite thing: A user fee is required anywhere you go within the Park. This fee is $20 per vehicle for a 7-day pass.
The National Parks Pass allows entrance for your entire family into all parks, and is availiable for $50 per year. www.nps.gov
Written Mar 27, 2006
Favorite thing: There are 4 entrances to the Popular Park Loop Road section of the Park on Mount Desert Island:
1) Hulls Cove Entrance- located on Route 3
2) Cadillac Mountain Entrance- located on the outskirts of of Bar Harbor on Rt. 233
3) Sieur de Monts Entrance- located on Rt.3 south of Bar Harbor
4) Stanley Brook Entrance- on Rt. 3 in Seal Harbor
Written Mar 27, 2006
Favorite thing: As we were leaving the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, I realized that from the parking lot you have a great view of the signal. The lighthouse blinks a red signal ... 4 seconds red and one second off (I think). It was fun to stop a while and just watch the signal from the land.
Fondest memory: This is one of the areas we visited in 1990 when my Mom and Dad were traveling with us. It brings back some great memories.
Written Jun 12, 2005
Favorite thing: The information about the park indicated that you might see several types of wildlife. Mostly we saw friendly sea gulls ... they were even willing to pose for pictures.
Fondest memory: My best memory of Acadia National Park on this trip is that the weather was good and we were able to view the scenery. This was not true the last time we visited.
Written Jun 11, 2005
Favorite thing: C'mon, don't be lazy, click on the photo. Within the velvety mist theres a surprise. This is my favorite photo of the Acadia trip. We were walking a path that led to THE BASS HARBOR LIGHT and presented before us, was this Sail boat mast tearing through the fog. Great!
Updated Sep 23, 2004
Favorite thing: I have never gotten close enough to a seagull to see the iris lines in his/her eye. Yuki brought this detail via the camera lens. I want to thank you seagull for standing so still for the photos. As in most coastal areas along the eastern seaboard, seagulls take up residence, only up north they grow in size.
Updated Sep 21, 2004
2 Reviews and 53 Opinions Only one of 2 campgrounds actually in Acadia National Park, Blackwoods is really in the middle of it...