You are currently viewing Visit Maine’s Majestic Acadia National Park

Visit Maine’s Majestic Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is the crowning jewel of the Northeast. It may be a small park but it captures all the beauty Maine has to offer, from its rugged mountains to the pristine lakes, lush forests, diverse wildlife, and rocky glacier-carved coastline. Acadia has it all.

Acadia is primarily on Mount Desert Island but has some acreage at the point on Schoodic Peninsula and the Isle au Haut. Mount Desert Island has two ‘fingers’, the Northeast Harbor where you will find Bar Harbor and the Southwest Harbor where you have Bass Harbor. Both are beautiful but different. In fact, all four areas of the park are different and offer their own unique views and special features.

Cadillac Mtn, Acadia
On top of Cadillac Mountain

This is how our family spent our time in the park. The summer is a very busy time in Acadia so we planned ahead. We divided our time between driving the loop road, playing in the water – ocean, and lakes – hiking, and just exploring. On this trip, we stayed on Mount Desert Island but explored both ‘fingers’ as well as spent some time in Bar Harbor proper.

Our First Day in Acadia

We started our first day off by going to the Hulls Cover Visitors Center to get our park pass and also the girl’s Junior Ranger booklets. My kids love becoming Junior Rangers anytime they can. We decided to hike Acadia Mountain first. There are signs along the road where you can park and where the trail starts. The trail is a little steep in some places so beware. The girls had to work a bit to make it up but it was still very doable for them. The reward for our efforts was amazing views of Somes Sound and the islands at the entrance to the sound. Since the weather was warm and sunny we were really glad we hiked in the morning.

After our hike, we had lunch in Southwest Harbor. The girls were tired and enjoyed sitting down and having a cold drink while we ate lunch. It’s the simple things that mean so much. Next, we went to see the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. This light is precariously clutching to the rocks under it. This lighthouse is special as the light is red. I’d not seen that before. We weren’t able to climb the light so I couldn’t inspect it up close which was disappointing. Nor was there anyone to speak to about it. Still, it is an amazing lighthouse.

lighthouse, Acadia
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
lighthouse, Acadia
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

Paddle Boarding on Long Pond

We spent the rest of the afternoon paddleboarding on Long Pond. At the top of Long Pond, there is a shop you can rent paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes from. Since we had our kayaking adventure earlier in the week we opted for paddleboards. We rented 2 boards and took turns going out on the water. It was fun to be out there but necessary to rest at times. I’m really glad we only rented the two boards.

paddle boarding on Long Pond, Acadia
Paddleboarding on Long Pond

Our Second Day

We drove the loop road which always offers spectacular views. Instead of stopping at Sand Beach we drove down closer to Thunder Hole to explore the shoreline. We all loved climbing the rocks to get down to the water. I loved all the wildflowers growing in the rocks on the shore. In fact, as we continued to drive the loop road we saw more varieties of flowers and wildlife.

The rocky coastline of Acadia

Carriage Roads of Acadia

Another special feature of the park are the Rockefeller bridges. There are 17 beautiful styles throughout the park for you to find. You will find some as you drive the park loop road. But for others, you will need to get out onto the carriage roads themselves to see. Taking a hike or bike ride along the carriage roads will take you away from the cars and any crowds. You can hear the wildlife as they scurry in the forest around you. We enjoyed the tranquility of being on these trails around Jordan Pond and I think you will too. The girls were able to work on a few activities in their Junior Ranger activity book as well.

John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s determination to preserve extraordinary scenery and the horse and carriage lifestyle, combined with his love of road-building, resulted in a carriage road system (45 miles long) flanked by sweeping panoramas and intimate views of Acadia.

We were hot and sticky after our short walk on the carriage roads. Flavored ice back in Bar Harbor was our afternoon treat for our ‘hard work’. After dinner, we went back to see Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse for sunset. We clambered onto the rocks below the light and were handsomely rewarded with great views. The sunset was a bit hazy from the heat of the day but still quite lovely.

Lighthouse, Acadia
Sunset at Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

Pin for Later

Pinterest banner

Our Third Day

We started our day going up Cadillac Mountain when we knew there wouldn’t be too many people there. I’m glad we waited until the morning. It was cool and a bit windy. However, with fewer people to maneuver around, we really were able to enjoy the views. Next, we stopped at Jordan Pond and again were able to have the place mostly to ourselves. I do really like the quietness of mornings in the park.

Jordan Pond, Acadia
Jordan Pond
carriage road bridge
Carriage road bridge
Peregrine Falcon nesting, Acadia
Peregrine Falcon’s were nesting on this rock face

On our way to Sand Beach, we stopped by the Precipice Trailhead. The trail was closed but rangers had telescopes out to look for peregrine falcons. They had the telescopes fixed on the nests on the rock face above us. It is always fun to look through telescopes, never knowing what you might see. Unfortunately, the birds were all out flying around at that time.

We finally made it to Sand Beach and the girls were thrilled. The girls loved the cool ocean water and played for a while in the surf. Meanwhile, Clint and I relaxed on the sand. We enjoyed the picnic lunch we brought and lounged most of the day away admiring the scenery.

showing off at Sand Beach, Acadia
Dancing about at Sand Beach

The girls playing in the surf at Sand Beach

For the Love of Sea Glass

Evelyn loves to collect sea glass. Wherever we go she tries to add to her growing collection. Thus, Acadia was no different. After we left Sand Beach, we stopped along the road at Otter Point and don’t you know she found a few pieces. She has the best eye for finding sea glass. I’m jealous at times especially when she finds blue and turquoise pieces. We topped off the day with a dip in the hotel pool.

on the beach, Acadia
Trying to find sea glass

Our Fourth Day

Sieur de Monts is a special place within Acadia. There is the Wild Gardens of Acadia, a Nature Center and the Abbe Museum at this location. We heard there could be a special surprise for the girls if they turned in their junior ranger booklets there. Well, that was enough of an incentive for us to go and see what the surprise could be. Before going into the Nature Center, we took part in the junior botanist scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt took place in the wild gardens. This is a very special garden with lots of different plants and animals. There was a lily pond as well as a river running through the garden. Clint teamed up with Evelyn and I helped Ainsley. It wasn’t a competition but Ainsley said we won since we found everything first.

foot bridge in Wild Acadia
A little footbridge over the river in the Wild Gardens of Acadia

In the Nature Center, there is loads of information on the wildlife and plants of the park. We enjoyed the exhibit and asked a few questions about plants in the park. The girls then turned in the junior ranger booklet, said their pledge and signed their books as did the ranger. Then they learned why Sieur de Monts is ‘the place’ to turn in your junior ranger booklet. I won’t tell you what the surprise is but my girls were happy with the choices.

Junior Rangers of Acadia
The girls saying the pledge to become Junior Rangers

Have you been to Acadia National Park? If so, what is your favorite area?

This Post Has 41 Comments

  1. Cathy

    Awesome post! Great photos! I’ve been to Maine but didn’t have time to stop..wish I had!

    1. Leeanne

      Thank you Cathy, I’m glad you liked my post. Acadia is always worth the stop in our books. It’s just amazing scenery.

  2. Leeanne

    Thanks, Jamie. Acadia is a special place. I hope you can make it there sometime.

  3. Kate

    I love the look and feel of your website and blog post. I’m from across the country from Maine, in Washington State. They seem to look quite similar. I really liked the beach glass picture. Great job!

    1. Leeanne

      Thanks, Kate, I appreciate it.

  4. Jamie

    All of the pics look beautiful. We are looking int o a trip for next year. We def want to explore this area!

    1. Leeanne

      It is so beautiful. I’m sure you will love it.

  5. Steven Jepson

    My wife and I were just talking last night about how Maine might be someplace to consider later this summer if we can’t reschedule our now-cancelled international trip. Acadia looks beautiful!

    1. Leeanne

      Maine truly is beautiful. I hope you do make it there and get to enjoy not just the park but other parts of Maine too.

  6. Alison

    What a fabulous trip! Looks like the park has something for everyone – and the pictures are beautiful! We’ve been looking into more of the National Parks lately, definitely adding Acadia to our list!

    1. Leeanne

      Acadia is a beautiful park and I’m sure you will love it.

  7. Pam

    Acadia is absolutely on my list of places I’d like to visit someday. This trip sounds perfect!

    1. Leeanne

      Thanks, Pam. I’m sure you and your family will love it. It really is a special place.

  8. kmf

    Majestic indeed! Definitely want to visit Acadia soon! So beautiful!

    1. Leeanne

      I’ve love to hear your comparison of Maine’s coastline with Minnesota’s. It would be interesting.

  9. Tricia Snow

    I just want to spend a whole summer in Maine! What an awesome trip!

    1. Leeanne

      We love to camp in Maine and we meet so many people who do just that. Set up camp for the summer and just relax. I wouldn’t mind doing just that this summer.

  10. Stacey Billingsley

    I’d love to go there. We were hoping Maine would be part of our New England road trip this summer, but we’ve had to change plans. Hopefully, we can make the trip in the next year or two. That lighthouse is cool, and I’d love to look for sea glass. Great post!

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, Otter Cove is a really cool place to stop along the loop road. Lots of driftwood too and the flowers were amazing.

  11. Lisa Manderino

    We love the junior ranger program. They are so amazing!

    1. Leeanne

      Agreed, Lisa. I love how much the kids have learned about the different parts we have visited.

    1. Leeanne

      You won’t be disappointed, Adrian.

  12. Lucy

    these are some great pictures with beautiful views! 😍

    1. Leeanne

      It’s hard to find a bad view in the park.

  13. Sara

    We’ve never been to Acadia, but it looks like a great park that my family would enjoy.

    1. Leeanne

      They will love it, Sara. There are so many places to explore and hike.

  14. Casandra

    I would love to go paddle boarding there, it looks so serene and beautiful.

    1. Leeanne

      It’s a lot of fun. We were able to rent our paddle boards right at the lake. I hope that continues this year.

  15. Cindy

    Near and dear to my heart, we visit every year and sometimes twice.

    1. Leeanne

      We totally understand why. It’s such an amazing park.

  16. Cindy

    What a fun four days! So much to see and do. I love that your girls enjoy taking part in activities like the junior rangers. I’m sure they are learning a lot.

    1. Leeanne

      I’m amazed at some of the stuff they learn through the Junior Ranger programs. It’s a lot of fun getting them to enjoy the parks as well.

  17. Eva Keller

    This looks like a great place to visit. I’ve never been to this area of the country, but I’ve always wanted to do a road trip through that whole area. My husband and I are working on visiting all of the National Parks.

    1. Leeanne

      That sounds wonderful Eva. I want to bring my kids to all the National Parks too.

  18. Missy

    We have not been to Acadia National Park yet. It is on our list. Your photos got me excited to visit.

    1. Leeanne

      I’m sure with all the hiking and camping you do Missy that you will love Acadia.

  19. Amanda

    This makes me regret not going to Acadia National Park even more! We were going to visit, but decided to go another way. I was hoping to make it back up there this summer. Hopefully so!

    1. Leeanne

      Hopefully, you will get there soon. It really is a beautiful park.

  20. Taci- Life Beyond Zebra

    I can’t wait to go here! I love Maine even though I haven’t been yet. Lol. Acadia has all my fav things!

    1. Leeanne

      Acadia is really a special place. I’m sure you will love it.

Leave a Reply