"Acadia National Park, Maine" Top 5 Page for this destination Acadia National Park by goodfish

Acadia National Park Travel Guide: 258 reviews and 493 photos

Gift of the People

The priceless national treasure that is Acadia exists due to the thoughtful foresight of people who gifted and protected its wonders for the enjoyment of all. In 1901 a group of Mt. Desert Island residents created a public land trust to preserve large parts of the island from future development. The first National Park east of the Mississippi, Acadia received park status in 1919, and doubled in size over the next decade due to donations of additional land. It was the first of the National Parks to consist of parcels given by the private sector, and today covers over 46,000 acres.

Although much smaller than many of the parks, Acadia's breadth includes forests, mountains, ponds, ocean shoreline, sand beaches and even an island or two. Outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds will find more to do here than hours in the day, and those less mobile will enjoy the views of lovely Jordan Pond, a drive up Cadillac Mountain or along the Atlantic coastline. Honestly, you can easily spend a week or two here (and exploring the general vicinity) and not be able to see/do it all.

Most of the park is on Mt. Desert Island, about 45 miles from Bangor. The other two pieces are on the Schoodic Peninsula, and on Isle Au Haut (pronounced I'll-a-HO). Schoodic is east of Mt Desert Island and is accessible by car, free seasonal park shuttle or ferry (fee), and Isle Au Haut is accessible only by ferry (fee) from Stonington. To reach this island involves backtracking north off of Mt Desert Island to Ellsworth, and then driving south to the southern tip of Deer Island (Stonington). Isle Au Haut (which we didn't get to) has 18 miles of hiking trails, 60 year-round residents, a few unpaved roads, a small general store, and only allows 48 visitors a day. There are about 6 primitive lean-tos for overnight camping that must be reserved well in advance, and it's pretty much BYO everything but great for peace and quiet. Call the park or visit their site for more details if interested.(www.nps.gov/acad).

While most people choose to stay in busy (and somewhat expensive) Bar Harbor, there are many rentals in smaller, quieter corners of Mt. Desert Island as well as 2 campgrounds in the park (reference the park site for details). Rentals include B&Bs, single hotel rooms, luxury suites, guesthouses and everything in between. They have free park shuttles all over the island during peak season but you pretty much need a car to get here in the first place, and shuttles don't go to all island locations. If you have time, you'll definately want to check out some of the other villages around and outside of Mt. Desert so will need wheels for that.

Lucky us for the good folk who made this park possible a century ago, and for those (N.P.S. and The Friends of Acadia) who continue that work today!

Note: My beloved Canon Powershot died before this trip and the local camera store talked me into replacing it with a different brand. It's a beast. Apologies in advance for the tilted, fuzzy and altogether crummy shots I have to use on some of my tips!!!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Gorgeous, great hiking, easy access from Bar Harbor
  • Cons:Can be crowded during peak season,
  • In a nutshell:A ton to see/do in a relatively small National Park
  • Last visit to Acadia National Park: Sep 2006
  • Intro Updated Jan 13, 2013
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Reviews (45)

Comments (9)

  • blueskyjohn's Profile Photo
    Feb 7, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Great page Kate! I am only a 9 hour drive from Acadia and I still haven't made it up here. I'm dying to kayak and hike the park. I'll be visiting your page often, hopefully I can get there this year.

    • goodfish's Profile Photo
      Feb 7, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      That is a honey of a park, John. The trick is to go in shoulder season to miss the summer crowds. Some great hikes there that that bus-tour people don't do (which is a good thing).

  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo
    Oct 28, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    Rainy day activities. Great idea! Many places you visit you hope for good weather. Having a backup plan is always a good idea.

    • goodfish's Profile Photo
      Oct 30, 2012 at 5:32 AM

      You got that right! As much as I love the trails, they can be beastly in a downpour. Acadia is one gorgeous park that's largely overlooked by VT'ers - can't figure out why. I think the Acadia forum has had only ONE question in the entire history of VT. Go figure... Thanks for stopping by!

    • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo
      Oct 30, 2012 at 10:24 PM

      I've thought about going to Acadia many times but it's a bit of a drive. Pretty much the opposite side of the country. Lot of other parks stop my progress whenever I head East.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Jan 4, 2012 at 3:37 AM

    Oh gorgeous!! Arcadia was always high on my US park wishlist but somehow I ended up always in Southwest.... I love the fog and mist and especially your first stone bridge photo looks like I could hop into the monitor and walk forever :-) Oh yes and this during Indian Summer :-) I'd love to eat lobster but... have zero experience. Haha, I try to imagine me to look like the idiot from abroad when I would go and ask how to eat it... And... in reference o the guided tours in our Italy forum: we do like ranger tours, so we also rely on their knowledge :-)
    And... now I know where your passport photo comes from.
    Excellent page, Kate, you make me want to go there! Only... when....?

  • RickinDutch's Profile Photo
    Jun 17, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    Beautiful spot! Birthday greetings from Alaska.

  • Fullmoonfever's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2010 at 7:04 AM

    nuthin up with me...waitin for spring.

  • rcsparty's Profile Photo
    Dec 10, 2009 at 11:52 PM

    Me and my wife spent wkdn in Oct in Acadia, I agree it is absolutely beautiful, especially with the fall colors. Also enjoyed Poor Boys for dinner.

  • margaretvn's Profile Photo
    Apr 5, 2009 at 1:32 AM

    what a great page and lovely photos - I really enjoyed it. Will have to get there!!

  • madamx's Profile Photo
    Mar 28, 2007 at 2:23 PM

    Kathy, fantastic page on Acadia National Park. It's been years since I've been there, and after reading your page, I need to go again!! Thanks for stopping by :o) ~ Helen

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo
    Jan 28, 2007 at 2:01 PM

    Kathy, I'm honored to be the first to rate this page. Loved your description and I'm quite envious. :) Sounds like you guys had a fantastic time. Thanks for sharing!

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