Acadia National Park might just be one of the massive National Park System’s hidden gems. Tucked away on the rugged Maine coastline, this park is actually the oldest east of the Mississippi, having been around for almost 100 years!
What makes Acadia truly special and unique is the vast variety of terrain and ecosystems that thrive within the park boundaries, including wooded forest, lakes, oceanfront shoreline and even mountains. With over 47,000 acres of land, including multiple islands, there is always something new to explore. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular (and beautiful) spots.
What to See in Acadia National Park
Park Loop Road
The main draw to the park has to be Mount Desert Isle, which comprises much of the acreage of the park. It was once attached to the mainland but became an island over years of melting glaciers raised the sea level.
To really get a nice overview of what the park has to offer take the Park Loop Road. It offers 27 miles of stunning vistas with plenty of pull-outs for you to stop, have a picnic or take a few pictures.
Feeling adventurous? Then head to the top of the highest mountain in the East and take in incredible 360-degree views. It is debatable, but of the two options to reach the summit, hiking or driving, it’s actually the driving that’s a bit more adventurous!
For hikers, take the Loop Trail to get in a bit of exercise, and remember to pack accordingly, the temperatures at the top of Cadillac Mountain will be much cooler, and windier, than below.
For the more experienced hiker, head toward Champlain Mountain and take up the Precipice Trail. The trail is easy to pick up right from Sand Beach, which is located off of the main Park Loop Road.
This trail is best for experienced hikers, though while it is a relatively short hike (only about 90 minutes round-trip), it features a good amount of climbing up ladders and rungs on the exposed mountain face.
Bar Island Sand Bar
If you’re looking for a more relaxing way to spend your afternoon, and especially if you have kids, head to the Bar Island Sand Bar and explore the tide pools. This feature is something that is special among National Parks, so you don’t want to miss it.
Reach this area from Bridge Street and be sure to pay attention to the tides! Usually once low tide has hit the area is easily accessible for about 90 minutes, plenty of time to explore some sea life.
When to Visit
Acadia National Park is open year round, however keep in mind that the Maine winters generally are cold and feature heavy snow, so parts of the park may not be accessible by car. The visitors center is open from early April through October, with most of the heaviest traffic coming in mid-summer.
If you want a special treat, and fewer crowds, consider visiting in September, the temperatures will be cooler but you will have a first hand view of some spectacular foliage across the park.
Where to Stay
If you want to get the best of both worlds while visiting Acadia, then stay in nearby Bar Harbor. This beautiful historic seaside town has been the stomping ground for the rich and famous for well over a century and is located right at the entrance to the park for easy access.
All images courtesy of National Park Service.