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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
Favorite thing: Mooning, I thought went out of style with those stupid Mr. Mooneys that people would put in their rear windows of their cars to MOON the people behind them. I was wrong, along the Ocean Walk Trail, this was blaring in my face. Baby gots back. Can anyone tell me what this is really about, I would love to know.
I hereby proclaim, "I will not ever pay more than 1.75 for cash machine use again."
I tried a few of Bar Harbors machines and all were 2.50 to dispense cash. This is ludicrous. What are they doing that is worth that much? One time in Tampa I broke this promse, but I guess at that point I didn't even have this proclamation. I was in a strip club called Mons Venus. I rolled in there with 9 other dirty skateboarders with maybe, at best, 20 dollars between all of us. This was going to need strategy to pull a night off here without angering the performers. So the dancers shaked and slid up and down polls intermittently walking to the end of the stage to get grubby man hands to sink some dollars into her thong waistband. The green papers were dwindling quick and soon we all ran dry. The girls can sense it as we all played the "give me a better performance card". Thats when things got ugly, and the women lashed out. Women one takes my freinds head and seriously busts his glasses with her chest chubbies. Women two walks by me offering me a swift jab and later the same to another of my friends. These ladies are agressive. In an attempt to quell the violence I head to the cash machine. I figure 20 dollars would hold them at bay, I inject my bankcard, push buttons and pay a service charge of 5 dollars. They got me, acting on scaretactics like the Bush administration. The 20$ blows to ashes within the next 10 minutes. We plan for an escape. We all run for the door in concert. My friend drove all of us there in a County Esquire Stationwagon with four inoperable doors. Our only choice into the escape vehicle was all piling into the back gate door, which already had no window due to disfunction. We rip out of the parking lot as a few of the strippers and bouncers offer us the middle finger for our departure. We thank them with a toot of the horn and head home.
Food was cheap in Bar Harbor though. Check the price on one of the best breakfast's I have ever had.
Waking up in the semidarkness as the sky just turns pearly gray, no sounds can be heard besides our whispering voices as Lou and I conspire to venture out and watch the sunrise. Driving around the empty island and finding the perfect spot nestled in between Otter Point and Thunder Hole to watch the sunrise by ourselves while everyone else was either in bed or up on Cadillac Mountain..
Fondest memory: The wonderful smells of pine, flowers and the sea on the breeze, the sound of the waves and the seagulls as the country's 1st rays of sunlight came over us.
On our second morning in Acadia, we were greeted by huge amounts of rolling fog after a very rainy night. We were determined to make the best of it so we figured on a foggy day, a visit to the lighthouse was in order. Though visibilty was a bit limitted, Acadia was still beautiful, and we got to see things we might have skipped if the sun was shining and the beach was calling. Besides it wouldn't be a visit to Acadia without the park wearing a fuzzy, soft, fog mantle for at least one day!
Fondest memory: Standing on the rocks by the lighthouse, hearing the occasional foghorn and the bells on the buoys clanging, watching ships mystically appear out of the fog, and dolphins playing in the surf
Favorite thing: Acadia is about so many things, so many landscapes, so many feelings, and most of all...so many different weather patterns. Take the fog for granted for this is a major piece of Acadias backdrop. Don't expect clear blue days all the time, I know that is nice but, FOG is pretty as well. I was natures audience as she rolled fog in and swallowed Mt. Desert Island whole.