Those who would rather not drive their own vehicle may use the fare-free Island Explorer to visit the sights of Acadia. The buses run on eight routes, linking the park with all the neighboring village centers from late spring through early autumn. They run about every 30 minutes.
The buses are propane-powered and are designed to help reduce traffic congestion, parking and air pollution problems on the island. You can pick up a schedule at the Hull's Cove Visitor Center or at Bar Harbor Village Green. The buses may also be flagged down anywhere it is safe to stop along their routes.
Many of the most interesting sights in Acadia National Park, but not all of them, are to be seen along the 27-mile-long Park Loop Road. The best way to see the Park is to drive this road in a private vehicle, although bus tours are also available. Bicyclists also use the road.
Those who take the Park Loop Road, which is highly recommended, will have to stop and pay an entrance fee of $20 per car shortly after entering the road.
Along the loop are numerous overlooks, beaches, trailheads, historical sights and other points of interest. Also, the very popular drive up Cadillac Mountain is off of the Loop Road.
People driving RVs and other tall vehicles should be forewarned that there are a few bridges the Park Road Loop passes underneath, with a clearance as low as 10- feet 4-inches.
A unique feature of Acadia National Park is the 45 miles of rustic carriage roads which weave around the mountains and through the valleys of the Park. The roads were originally built between 1913 and 1940 as a gift of philanthropist John D Rockefeller, Jr., and family. Rockefeller had a selfish motive in building the roads. He was a skilled horseman and desired to travel on motor free byways via horse and carriage into the heart of Mount Desert Island, when it was still the exclusive domain of the rich and famous. The carriage roads have sweeping vistas and close up views of the landscape.
Acadia's carriage roads are made of broken stone, commonly used throughout America a century ago. They are about 16 feet wide and made with three layers of rock, stone, culverts, wide ditches and a six to eight inch crown of crushed stone.
The beauty of the graded roads is enhanced with stone retaining walls and numerous stone bridges which follow the contours of the land.
Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the carriage roads, which are very popular with hikers, bicyclists, horses and horse drawn carriages.
Between 1913 and 1940, John D. Rockefellow, Jr 's love for a slower pace of life lead him to have 44 miles of carriage roads built throughout Acadia National Park. Today these roads have been maintained for bicycles, hikers and carriages. There are several stone bridges on these roads that the loop road passes over. These were built to blend with the natural environment.
Use your feet, use a bike, use your car if you must. Many might tell you to use the Island Explorer buses which have routes all around Mount Desert Island, but I can't bring myself to suggest it because one of them hit my car and nearly took the door off. I wouldn't trust their bus drivers, the one who hit me was not a very nice person at all. I've got your number Sheldon!!!!
It is tough to get around the park without a car though a bike is perhaps a more environmentally friendly option. There is also a free shuttle bus in summer and as I have said numerous times, you can drive into the park and then walk from one sight to the next. You'll probably save time and surely gas/aggravation. Cruise ships and ferries also ply the waters surrounding Bar Harbor. Check out this beauty from the top of Cadillac Mountain.