Acadia National Park was the first national park in the East. It is located on Mount Desert Island in Maine. In many ways, this is a unique park and it is definitely one of my favorites.
Some national parks have rugged mountains while others have amazing rock formations or canyons. Acadia has the ocean. The mountains in Acadia are lower than in other places. Cadillac Mountain is 1,530 feet. But, climbing Cadillac Mountain gives you the chance for some great views. Driving along Park Loop Road offers the chance to visit other interesting places such as Thunder Hole. The Thunder Hole area is a rocky landscape where the waves crash in and is a must see. One thing you might not expect in Maine is a beach. Yet, Sandy Beach is a really nice beach with soft sand. You can get an interesting mix of sun and fog that you might not experience on a beach farther South.
Another great hike is visiting Bubble Rock. This huge boulder lies perched on the edge of a cliff, looking like it is about ready to fall off. If biking is more your thing, try the Carriage Road.
A final must-do activity at Acadia is to visit Jordan Pond. There is a great hiking trail around the lake in a U-shaped valley left by receding glaciers. And, when you have worked up an appetite, you can visit Jordan Pond House to try one if their famous popovers. I had mine with ice cream and it was an amazing treat.
Like all national parks, Acadia has great programs including ranger talks and the junior ranger program. Check out a talk on tidepooling explaining all of the marine animals like starfish that you might find a low tide.
Near the entrance to Acadia is the town of Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor is a nice small town. There are many shops and restaurants to explore. Note that this is a dog friendly place. If you find it isn’t always easy traveling with your four legged friend, Bar Harbor might just be the place for you.
There is a sandbar that connects Bar Harbor with Bar Island. At low tide, you can walk to the island. Just be sure to watch the time so you can make it back again before the ocean covers the bar. This sandbar is perfect for tidepooling. You can wade in the shallow water and find many types of marine life. You can even touch or pick up some of the animals. Just be careful as many can’t be out of water for too long.
One more great attraction on Mount Desert Island is the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. This picturesque lighthouse is perched near the edge of a cliff. You can hike near it for some great views.
Acadia has two campgrounds; Blackwoods and Seawall. Like other National Parks, there are no hookups and few amenities. Camping here is a chance to engage with nature and disconnect for just a while.
If you prefer, there are several very nice private campgrounds in the area. For example, we stayed at the Bar Harbor Oceanside KOA. This oceanfront campground is just 15 minutes driving from Bar Harbor and Acadia. There is a mix of sites. Some are right on the ocean, but have only water and electric. Others are set back a bit but offer full hookups. There is no pool but you can use the pool at Bar Harbor Woodlands KOA which is a short drive away. Bar Harbor Woodlands would be a good selection for tent camping or smaller campers. It is much more wooded than Oceanside. Larger rigs should probably select Oceanside. Note that the Bar Harbor Oceanside KOA campground is expensive. You can expect to pay approximately 90.00 per night.
I highly recommend visiting Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor Maine. Have you been there? Do you have any tips or stories to share? Please leave a comment.
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