I would really rather feel bad in Maine than feel good anywhere else.E.B. White
About the Park
Acadia is the crown jewel of the Northeastern Atlantic coastline and is the only National Park located in the Northeast. There is a natural beauty with the rocky shorelines and crashing waves, history with the old carriage roads, and incredible activities like hiking the many scenic trails and biking on the carriage roads. So it is not surprising that this park is always in the top 10 visited parks each year and is one of our favorites.
Check out the view from the top of Cadillac Mountain!
Live it up!
Best Things to do in the Park
- Eat the yummy popovers at Jordon Pond House (our fav). They are served with strawberry jam and butter
- Go for a morning run, walk, or bike ride on an Old Carriage Road
- Drive the 27 mile scenic Park Loop Road that connects the best spots
- See Thunder Hole and watch the waves and rocks create a thunderous sound
- Take a picture of the iconic Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
- Hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain and watch a sunrise
We have visited Acadia National Park twice. On this occasion, Bev captured this lovely moment between a grandmother and granddaughter, her mom, and our daughter, Ashley. Little did we know that a couple of years later, our daughter would marry a wonderful man from a nearby town of Cape Elizabeth, Thomas.
Size of Park
49,000 acres (fifth smallest park)
The park is named after a region in Greece that looks like the park land of Acadia.
Acadia National Park is one of the most beloved national parks in the country. Every year, millions of tourists flock here to escape into nature. It is the first National Park that was established east of the Mississippi River.
Sprawled across almost 50,000 acres of land, it has a special gift that was donated by John D. Rockefeller, the carriage roads and rock bridges. His investment was a gift to us, all and it is one of the most wonderful parts of the park.
Most of the landscape in Acadia National Park consists of Maine’s world-famous coastline with secluded coves, tree-topped peaks, rocky shores, and half of Mount Desert Island. The peak on Mount Desert Island is one of the first places in the nation to see the sunrise every day.
There are more than 150 miles of hiking trails in Acadia National Park. Whether you want to hike in the middle of forest trees, explore mountain peaks, or walk along rocky coastlines, this park has it all. Some of the hikes will also fall into all three categories as you will get to view lush forests, cliff tops, and lakes.
Beehive Loop Trail
First up is the Beehive Loop Trail, the most popular and thrilling trailhead in Acadia National Park. The Beehive summit offers breathtaking, panoramic views of Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, and the Gulf of Maine. Plus, the views are ten times better at sunrise or sunset.
This trail is recommended for intermediate or experienced hikers since the route begins by scaling a 450-foot tall cliff using only metal ladders as support. Although, first-timers should give this trailhead a try. Just be sure to come equipped with the right shoes!
Great Head Trail
Starting at the end of Sand Beach, the Great Head Trail features granite steps that give travelers superb views of The Beehive and the rocky coastline. As you ascend further on the trail, you will also encounter the ruins of a tea house first built in 1915.
Despite the rocky terrain, the Great Head Trail is perfect for hikers of all skill levels. It is a relatively short loop trail, only 1.9 miles round trip, with an option to cut it to 1.3 miles.
Precipice Loop Trail
Last is the most challenging trail in Acadia, the Precipice Loop Trail. It is ideal for experienced hikers, as the trailhead ascends about 1,000 feet and features many cliffs. You must use the iron rungs to climb and it is not advised to do so in damp weather. It is not for the faint of heart, as it can be challenging for the average hiker. However, if you are very brave and conditioned, the challenging trek is worth it once you reach the top of Champlain Mountain.
Be on the lookout for the Peregrine falcons that reside there. The fascinating birds are native to Acadia National Park, with many overwintering in the area each year. However, the Precipice Trail is usually closed during nesting season to ensure their safety.
Camping in Acadia
One of the great ways to experience this park is by camping. Luckily, there are four campsites inside the park including Schoodic Woods Campground, Seawall Campground, Blackwoods Campground, and Duck Harbor Campground.
People can go for classic tent camping or modern camping in their RVs. Most of the campsites have running water and showers nearby along with bathrooms. However, people who are interested in more traditional and rudimentary camping can opt for Duck Harbor Campground.
Seawall Campground is closer to many popular attractions in the park and is known for its rugged beauty. Blackwoods Campground, on the other hand, is the most popular campsite because campers here can easily explore the sandy beaches and towering cliffs during their stay. Meanwhile, Schoodic Woods Campground offers a more secluded and intimate camping experience.
Most of the sites are available year-round, however, campsites have to be reserved in advance at least 2 months before your visit. Firewood is available locally and you cannot bring your own as its non-native insects will be harmful to the forests.
Most of the tourists in Acadia National Park come here for its hiking trails. However, if you do not have enough time or are not a fan of hiking, there are some overlooks that you can drive to in your car.
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
The Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse was built in 1858. The structure is built of brick on a stone foundation and it stands more than 50 feet above the water. The car parking is free and tourists can visit the grounds between 9 am and sunset. The entire drive to the lighthouse is scenic. You will also find plenty of hiking trails on your way from/to the lighthouse.
Maine’s coast is famous for its rocky landscape, and if you want to experience the thunder of the sea, there is no place better than Thunder Hole. One thing that makes the park road particularly unique is a small inlet that is carved by the incoming waves. When the air is forced out by the incoming waves, you can hear a crashing sound that very much resembles a loud thunder. You can stop off at this point and look over the waves crashing on the rocks as you become a spectator of this unique natural phenomenon.
Cadillac Mountain is the highest point in the park and has an elevation of almost 1,530 feet above the coastline. Many people come here to experience a beautiful sunrise. Even if you are not a morning person, don’t worry as this site will offer beautiful views any time of the day. Some people hike to the summit, while others choose to go up through the road which is right off the Park Loop Road.
Getting to the Park
You can fly directly from Boston’s Logan Airport and land at the Hancock County Airport, only 10 miles from Acadia National Park. If you are driving, it is about a 3-hr drive from Portland, Maine. Bar Harbour, Maine, is the best place to make your base for exploring this beautiful park.
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