Picturesque seascapes, rocky beaches, rolling mountain trails, historic carriage roads, and welcoming villages define Acadia National Park and its surroundings. Hop on the Park Loop Road to take in popular sites like Sieur de Monts, Thunder Hole, Otter Point, and Cadillac Mountain. Get out of the car to ride bikes along the Carriage Roads, have tea and popovers at Jordan Pond, go swimming at Sand Beach, hike the Acadia Mountain Trail, stroll around the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, or go on a whale watching tour. Other nearby must-dos include the Asticou Azalea Gardens, the Abbe Museum, a sunset cruise on Frenchman's Bay, and strolling along the Shore Path in Bar Harbor. Get off the beaten path to explore sites like the Schoodic Peninsula and Isle au Haut.
Located in what is referred to as Downeast Maine, Mount Desert Island embodies Acadia National Park, the bustling tourist town of Bar Harbor, and a handful of quiet towns including Northeast Harbor, Southwest Harbor, and Bass Harbor. Each town offers a mix of unique restaurants and quaint lodging properties. Travel to the area is easiest with your own wheels via Ellsworth along Highway 1. Bangor International Airport (BGR) is 50 miles from Bar Harbor and Boston Logan Airport (BOS) is 280 miles. Once on Mount Desert Island, the Island Explorer is a free bus service that provides transportation around the island and the park during the peak summer months. Two local ferry companies also offer service between Bar Harbor and Winter Harbor (on the Schoodic Peninusla). Summer and fall is peak season in Acadia and while most businesses close up shop for the off season and winter months, parts of the park are still accessible.
Things to Do
Cadillac Mountain: Whether you drive or hike to the top, this scenic destination is one of the most popular in the park. Hit it at sunrise or sunset for magical views.
Carriage Roads: Rent a bike and explore the park's network of historic carriage roads, connecting sights like Eagle Lake, Bubble Pond, and Jordan Pond.
Schoodic Peninsula: Head to the quiet side of the park and enjoy fewer crowds with equally spectacular views and trails.
Thunder Hole: Head to this unique attraction, mixing rowdy ocean waves and hard granite rock. If you time your visit at about 2 hours before high tide, you might just capture a photo of a 40 foot spray.
Jordan Pond House: Enjoy the lake views while you indulge in tea and popovers at this historic house.
Isle Au Haut: Hop aboard the local ferry to Isle Au Haut to explore 18 miles of hiking trails in this remote corner of the park.
Sand Beach: Featuring one of the only places to go swimming in Acadia, Sand Beach is an idyllic destination for a hot day.
Sieur de Monts: Explore the Wild Gardens of Acadia, the Nature Center, Abbe Museum, and the trailhead for a handful of park hiking trails.
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse: Visit the only lighthouse located within the park and meander along the short trails around it.