Acadia National Park Travel Guide

  • One view from Park Loop Road
    One view from Park Loop Road
    by Jalona
  • Acadia National Park
    by goodfish
  • Things to Do
    by goodfish

Acadia National Park Highlights

  • Pro
    kazander profile photo

    kazander says…

     Maine smells good! 

  • Con
    Myndo profile photo

    Myndo says…

     Depends on the weather... 

  • In a nutshell
    worldtrekker profile photo

    worldtrekker says…

     Jewel of the Northeast 

Acadia National Park Things to Do

  • Ride/Bike/Walk a Carriage Road

    Recommended: From 1913-1940 John D. Rockefeller had 45 miles of crushed-rock carriage roads constructed within the park so that he (and others) could enjoy horseback and carriage riding away from automobile traffic. These roads are a unique feature of Acadia and were carefully constructed to disrupt as little of the landscape around them as...

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  • Sample the local Suds

    Mt. Desert Island has excellent local brews and you can sample them either at the breweries themselves or around town at various bars and restaurants. As Maine (when it isn't all about lobster) is famous for blueberries, try at least one of the several blueberry ales. I know, I know - that might sound ghastly to die-hard beer lovers but I found Bar...

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  • Out to Sea

    Recommended: take a trip on the ocean. While there's tons to do on land in the Acadia area, there's as many things to do on water. Most of the villages and islands in the area are lobstering/fishing communities and the ocean is a vital and historic part of the local culture. Among the many options are:1. Sea Kayak Tours (Coastal Kayak Tours -...

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Acadia National Park Hotels

Acadia National Park Restaurants

  • Lobster with a view

    The Husband's goal for this trip was to eat lobster - in some form or another - every day: mission accomplished. We chose Thurston's for our lobster pound experience because of the great views of Bass Harbor from the huge windows. Like any of the pounds, it's a no-nonsense, no-frills, paper-plate kind of place and we loved it. Both of us ordered a...

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  • Local Favorite

    Recommended: Our favorite bartender sent us here and we were glad he did! McKay's is a favorite with the locals 'cause it's one of the few restaurants that stays open all year. It's in an old Victorian house with original fireplaces, copper tables and a warm, cozy atmosphere. The menu ranges from pub grub (burgers, fish and chips, soups, salads,...

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  • Best Early-Bird Specials!

    Recommended: This place has great food and a large range of full dinners at special Early Bird (4:30 - 6:00 PM) prices. All of these $10.99 entrees are served either over, or with, pasta, a vegetable and bread basket. A baked potato can be subsituted for the pasta for $1.00 more. Entrees include Apricot Chicken, Shrimp Marinara, Eggplant...

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Acadia National Park Nightlife

  • Post-hike Brews

    (2011 update: This was the Garden Bar when we were there so name and ownership has changed since our last visit.)This was our very favorite watering hole in Bar Harbor. The indoor bar area is sort of small and cozy but they have a HUGE deck out back with trees growing out of it. There's an outdoor, covered bar on the far end of the deck and on...

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  • Jammin' at Geddy's

    This is one of the hottest spots in Bar Harbor and the one everybody finds first. It's very lively, very casual, has an extensive menu of reasonably-priced eats and lots of brews on tap. They also have some live entertainment (some big names have played here). We didn't eat here but bellied up to to the bar a couple of times for a beer and a chat...

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  • Sunrise/Sunset

    With the combination of a northerly latitude and a high altitude, Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park is the first spot in the United States to be touched by the rising sun for about six months out of the year. Many brave souls get up in the wee hours of the morning and make the trek up the mountain so they can have bragging rights of having...

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Acadia National Park Transportation

  • Island Explorer Shuttles

    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...

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  • Park Loop Road

    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...

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  • Carriage Roads

    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...

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Acadia National Park Shopping

  • The good, the bad and the ugly

    This is sort of a general tip as we're not huge shoppers on vacation. Our purchases on this trip were limited to wearables from the park, an ornament for the Christmas tree and some edibles to share with our officemates. Bar Harbor offerings range from very expensive to just a few dollars, and from really tacky t-shirts and poorly-made souveniers...

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  • For the Wee Folk

    I had to make special mention of this book as it was read to me when I was little and has been a favorite of millions of small people since 1948. It was written by award-winning children's author, Robert McCloskey, who summered for many years on Scott Island, Maine (the setting for the book) with his family. Great story about a very small girl, a...

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  • Downtown Bar Harbor

    Just about everywhere in downtown Bar Harbor you will be able to find cutesy knick knacks revolving around MAINE lobsters, blueberries etc

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Acadia National Park Local Customs

  • Gently, gently....

    Unfortunately for our National Parks, people are the biggest threat to delicate environments. Millions of feet pass through Acadia every year and all that activity takes a toll. While it may look rugged and wild, much of it is very fragile so to preserve this wilderness for the future it helps to be aware of how to enjoy the park responsibly. The...

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  • Blueberry Pancake Breakfast

    One of our best experiences on Acadia, along with the whale watching excursion, was going to a public blueberry pancake breakfast sponsored by the island's fire department. It was a fundraiser to restore a section of the historic fire department's building. I think my wife and I were the only two tourists there. We jumped into line and got a large...

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  • Lobstering on the Maine Coast

    Maine is famous for its lobsters and catching them is an everyday occurrence here on the Maine Coast. However, for a couple of tourists from Ohio, we found it fascinating to be able to watch the lobstermen pulling up their traps and emptying them into their boats. At several points along the coast on Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park we...

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Acadia National Park Warnings and Dangers

  • Don't fall in the tidepools!

    Walking the shore and looking for stranded sea creatures, sea glass, and what-have-you when the tide is out is a blast but the rocks and piles of wet kelp can be very, very slippery. Shortly after The Husband took this picture, I hit a slick spot and took a nosedive right into a tidepool. He had to come and help get me out as it was too slippery to...

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  • Wave bye-bye

    They caution against wandering out on the rocks just a little too close to incoming surf. Rogue waves have been known to carry off some pretty good-sized individuals.

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  • This is the trail?

    Folks from the Rockies may snigger a bit at what they call a mountain in Acadia (highest is 1,530 feet) but no joke: you will break a very decent sweat getting to the tops and back. Some of the mountain trails are more gradual than others and some have patches of soft soil but a fair amount involve scrambling over boulders for long distances,...

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Acadia National Park Tourist Traps

  • Cabana_Boy's Profile Photo

    by Cabana_Boy Updated Dec 12, 2002

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    As with a lot of places in Maine (and New England), the summer months bring loads of tourists into Acadia National Park. In fact, the busiest months from July to September see most of the 3 million annual visitors. Busloads and busloads of people clog the roads, rest areas (including bathrooms) and local accomodations. Huge cruise ships anchor off the coast near Bar Harbor and dump their thousands of passengers ashore and these people get into more buses that go into the park. I guess you get my point, it's too damn crowded in the summer months and that means no privacy to enjoy the nature wonders of Acadia National Park.

    Fun Alternatives: I have been to Acadia National Park during the late Spring (May), mid-summer (June - July) and early fall (September - October), so, I have seen the park virtually empty and completely filled. To avoid the crowds don't go in June, July or August. I thought the best month was May. It was fairly warm and there was nobody there. You could have the trails and lakes to yourself. Fall is also nice, but there are still quite a few people there watching the leafs turn, but not nearly as bad as mid-summer.

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Acadia National Park What to Pack

  • What to bring????

    Daypack big enough to carry any layers to peel off/put on plus usual supplies. As there's no backcountry camping, you won't need anything bigger than that. If day-tripping in a car around the park or island, a cooler for beverages and picnic supplies would be good as food is scarce inside the park (at Jordan Pond only). Layers! Bring layers! Short...

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  • TENT

    Do you want a roof over your head? Bring a tent cause sleeping under the stars I would discourage due to foggy night skys drenched in moisture. I hate the word moist, its like the word panties, ewww it irks me.

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  • Cameras

    When it comes down to documenting my travels, I am rediculous. On my person there is usually the huge digital vcideo camera, the digtal still cam. and a manual camera with color film and one with black and white. Its a heavy load, but so worth the muscle. With this intensive care taken to getting my every footstep recorded I have not forgotten...

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Acadia National Park Off The Beaten Path

  • The Mail Boat to Little Cranberry

    We pretty seriously overextended ourselves hiking one day and could just barely move the next morning. Should you find yourself in a similar predicament, this is a great little diversion that's also good for walking off those stiff knees. Little Cranberry is the second-largest of the Cranberry Isles, has one tiny village (Islesford), and is an...

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  • West side of the Park Often overlooked

    Acadia is a beautiful park and often the main park area near Bar Harbor is very crowded. When I hike I like solitude... living in NYC you really want to escape from people piled on top of each other. If you look at a map of Acadia the park spans across land masses that resemble a pair of lungs. Most folks stay on the right or East side near Bar...

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  • Bar Harbor

    Approximately half of Mount Desert Island is the site of Acadia National Park. The other half of the island is privately owned land, including half a dozen small towns. The largest of these is the town of Bar Harbor.Bar Harbor, on the northeastern end of the island, is a quaint seaside town and also a major hub of activity and commerce for the...

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Acadia National Park Sports & Outdoors

  • Mini golf anyone?

    Pirates Cove is a grandiose mini golf joint along Route 3. There are a few of them, I've also been to the one on Cape Cod. Well Lou just can't pass up mini golf, so it was a must for us. They have 2 courses, the regular and "Blackbeard's Revenge, a harder one, or you can do the 2 combined. It has interesting greens with waterfalls, caves and...

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  • Miles and Miles

    There are over 120 miles of hiking trails. The hiking range is very easy to extremely difficult. We found most trails to be easy to moderate. I will write a different tip to review each trail we hiked. The weather changes a lot. Be prepared for all kinds of weather. Even if it is sunny in the morning,,,later it may be raining.

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  • Sand Beach

    Although there are many miles of shoreline at Acadia National Park, they are mostly very rocky and dangerous. This one small but very pretty beach is the only spot of sand you will find, and it is very popular in summer. However, even on the hottest day, the water temperatures only reach about 55 degrees Fahrenheit (10-C) so only the hardiest...

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Acadia National Park Favorites

  • General info about the park

    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...

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  • Acadia in the Fall

    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...

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  • Entrance Fees

    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...

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Explore Deeper into Acadia National Park
Tour Bus Central: Acadia NP
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Pub Grub
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ice cream!
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VISIT "THUNDER HOLE"
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For Chocoholics
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Park Loop Road
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Bar Island Boogie
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Camping Acadia
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Explore the area
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Love the Fog!
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Pemetic Mountain
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Penobscot/Sargent Mountains
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Eat a Bug!
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Walk, talk, hike, drive or cruise with a ranger
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Jordan Pond Shore Path
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Abbe Museum and Sieur du Monts Spring
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Wiggle your toes in Sand Beach
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Start at Hulls Cove Visitor Center
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Walk/hike/stroll/bike/boat/picnic/nap/swim....
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Dorr Mountain East Face/North Ridge Trails
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Ugh! A bug!
Warnings and Dangers
Rainy Day Activity #2: Bar Harbor Whale Museum
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Rainy Day Activity #1
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Lots and lots and lots of people
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Nice seafood lunch
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Park Loop Road - Jordan Pond
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Thunder Hole
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Onions rings to die for
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A FUN PLACE TO EAT AND SHOP
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Excellent seafood served by an eccentric.
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Winding road up to the top of Cadillac Mountain
Warnings and Dangers
Jordan Pond
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Drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain
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Park Loop Road
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Bubble Pond
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Thunder Hole
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Otter Cliffs
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Sand Beach
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Fall Flutterbys
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Bringing the jam can get you into one!
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Map of Acadia National Park

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