Acadia National Park is one of those parks that has something for everyone, from active outdoor adventurers to history buffs with a penchant for finding that perfect slice of solitude. Here’s a sampling of everything Acadia has to offer.
Pedaling Acadia’s famed carriage roads takes you to the heart of the park. Forty-five of the 57 miles of gravel roads are open to bicyclists, and many are accented with rough stone bridges. All are mapped and signposted, so you won’t get lost. While there are some ups and downs, none of the roads are very steep.
Twenty warbler species are among the 338 bird species that have been sighted on Mount Desert Island. Plan a day with Down East Nature Tours to sight eagles, ospreys, peregrine falcons, shorebirds, and warblers as well as rare birds such as the Nelson’s sharp-tailed sparrow.
Make advance reservations for Acadia’s Blackwoods Campground on Mount Desert Island, which has the greatest concentration of trails, with options for all abilities. Consider adding three nights on Isle au Haut for a primitive escape.
Don’t miss Castine, a seemingly bucolic town fought over by the French, British, and Dutch thanks to its strategic location.
No experience is required to climb Acadia’s cliffs, but you will need a guide or a lesson. Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School and Atlantic Climbing School, both in Bar Harbor, will tailor instruction to your needs and help you find the perfect route.
Scenic Driving Tour
Drive the Park Loop Road on Mount Desert Island and then loop together the Schoodic National Scenic Byway, wrapping around the Schoodic Peninsula, with the inland Black Woods Scenic Byway.
One of the best ways to see Acadia is from the water, and paddling a sea kayak along the shoreline allows you to explore all the nooks and crannies. Outfitters in Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor, and Stonington offer guided trips. Experienced kayakers seeking island-hopping experiences should join the Maine Island Trail Association.
Plan well in advance to book a campsite on Isle au Haut, home to a remote section of Acadia National Park that sees fewer than 130 visitors daily.
Whale-watching excursions go up to 20 miles out to sea, which means not only will you likely spot whales, seals, and seabirds, but you’ll also get grand views of the island-salted seascape.
Park Fees and Passes
The entrance fee is $25 per vehicle ($20 for motorcycles) late June-mid-October, and it is valid for seven days. Acadia’s other fee options include:
- Individual Pass ($12): Valid for seven days.
- Acadia Annual Pass ($50): Valid for one year from the day of purchase.
- Interagency Annual Pass ($80): Allows unlimited entrance for one year to all national parks.
- Access Pass (free): Lifetime access to all national parks for any blind or permanently disabled U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- Senior Pass ($10): Lifetime entrance to more than 300 national parks for U.S. citizens and permanent residents age 62 or older.
- Interagency Volunteer Pass: Accumulate 250 service hours for this one-year pass.
There is no lodging within Acadia National Park. Reservations for Acadia National Park’s Seawall and Blackwoods Campgrounds on Mount Desert Island are available online or via telephone (877/444-6777). Reservations for the park’s Duck Harbor Campground on Isle au Haut open April 1; contact the park for a reservation form (207/288-3338). Reservations for the new Schoodic Woods Campground on the Schoodic Peninsula, opening in July 2015, should be available online in 2016; until then, call the park for more information.
Excerpted from the Fifth Edition of Moon Acadia National Park.