Acadia National Park Trip Tips

Acadia National Park Trip Tips

Josh GilbertNov 27, '19

Guest post courtesy of Chimani.

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Where? Acadia National Park (Maine)

Nearby Cities

  • Boston, MA (4.5 Hours)
  • Providence, RI (5.5 Hours)
  • Portland, ME (3 Hours)

Destination Highlights

With 49,000 acres and the tallest mountain on the Atlantic coast of the U.S., Maine's Acadia National Park offers an abundance of hiking, biking and sightseeing options to visitors.

Located mainly on Mount Desert Island and a portion of the Schoodic Peninsula near Bar Harbor, Acadia's dramatic landscape of mountains and valleys was created by glaciers that carved through a granite ridge during the last ice age. Somes Sound, a valley flooded as the glaciers retreated, is the closest thing to a Scandinavian-style fjord on the eastern seaboard.

Explorer Samuel Champlain named Mount Desert Island when he landed here in 1604, and the famed artists of the Hudson River School of Art helped put the region on the tourism map by portraying its beauty in their works during the mid 19th century. Wealthy summer residents built vacation homes linked by carriage roads, which today serve as highly accessible hiking and biking paths throughout the park. Hikers and autos alike can summit 1,528-foot Cadillac Mountain for dramatic views of the Maine coastline, an outing that's especially popular at sunrise.


Day 1

Head to the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. Here you'll learn about the unique cultural and natural history of the park. It also serves as the starting point for the famed Park Loop Road. Spend the afternoon visiting the numerous scenic outlooks to capture views of rocky Maine coastline. Finish your day with a drive up to the top of Cadillac Mountain in time for sunset. Here you can capture endless views as the sun sets in the west.

Day 2

Start your morning early with a hike up the North Cadillac Ridge Trail in time to experience the sunrise. This moderate 4.0-mile round-trip hike will bring you to the summit of Cadillac Mountain—where the sun shines first in the United States each morning. Next, head over to the Jordan Pond House to enjoying lunch and classic “pop-overs.” Enjoy a relaxing afternoon visiting Bar Island, a small island off the coast of Bar Harbor which is accessible only during low tide.

Day 3

Begin your day at Eagle Lake Parking lot—the starting point for exploring the park's famous Carriage Roads. Originally built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Acadia's 45-mile network of carriage roads is the ideal bicycling destination. From here, you can start (and end) the 15-mile Around-the-Mountain route which features a number of Acadia's stunning mountains, including Sargent, Parkman, Cedar Swamp, and Penobscot.


Suggested Gear

  • Hiking boots
  • Hiking poles
  • Mountain bikes
  • Headlamps
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bags
  • Sleeping pad
  • Dining package (plates, forks, knives)
  • Camping stove

Park Passes

Recommended Campground

Blackwoods:  $20 per day, up to 306 camping sites available for reservation. To reserve, go to or call 877-444-6777 up to six months in advance of your reservation.

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