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Cheap, free, and local-endorsed things to do in beautiful places

Acadia National Park

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  • The Northeast’s only national park
  • Situated on Maine’s beautiful coastline
  • Home to the tallest mountain on the East Coast

When To Visit: April-October

Climate: Highly variable. Cool to hot in the summer, cold to warm in spring and fall, bitterly cold and snowy in winter.

Location: Eastern Maine 4.5 hours north of Boston

Located primarily on large Mount Desert Island, Acadia is a wonderful fusion of coastline, lakes, and mountains. It’s a hotspot for biodiversity – amazingly, it’s home to half of Maine’s plant species in less than 1% of the state’s land area. A visit to Acadia is sure to delight, awe, and surprise you.

Photo: Jordan Pond & The Bubbles

What To See & Do in Acadia

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Park Loop Road in fall

You can see many of the park’s most stunning sights by driving the Park Loop Road and stopping to take short walks along the way.

Short Walks in Acadia

These are all along the Park Loop Road – I’ve listed in order driving clockwise.

  1.  Jesup Path
    • 1 mile round trip, 30-45 minutes, easy
    • A pleasant walk through a calm forest
  2.  Sand Beach
    • 0.5 miles round trip, 15-30 minutes, easy
    • A pristine beach situated between mountains and the Atlantic
  3.  Thunder Hole
    • 0.4 miles round trip, 10-20 minutes, easy
    • A rocky inlet that creates a thunderous sound when waves come in
  4.  Otter Cliff Overlook
    • 0.4 miles round trip, 10-20 minutes, easy
    • One of the highest cliffs on the East Coast and beautiful rocky coastline
  5.  Cadillac Mountain
    • 0.6 mile loop, 15-30 minutes, easy
    • Take Cadillac Summit Road (open May-November) off the Park Loop Road and drive to the top of this highest peak on the East Coast.
    • At the top, a short loop trail shows you a variety of panoramas.
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Otter Cliff Overlook

Acadia Hikes

  1. Precipice Trail

    • 2.6 mile loop, 3-4 hours, 850 foot elevation gain, strenuous
    • A thrilling hike to stunning views on the top of Champlain Mountain
    • It’s a steep and challenging climb, but there’s iron rings and ladders to assist you
    • Return downhill via the Champlain North Ridge and Orange & Black Trails
  2. Beehive Trail

    • 3.2 mile loop, 1-1.5 hours, 450 foot elevation gain, easy
    • A steep climb with iron rings to assist you
    • Gorgeous views of Sand Beach and the surrounding area
    • A quicker, easier version of the Precipice Trail
    • Return downhill on the Bowl Trail
  3.  South Bubble Mountain & Bubble Rock Trail
    • 1.7 mile loop, 1-2.5 hours, 300 foot elevation gain, moderately strenuous
    • One of the best views of the park’s iconic Jordan Pond
    • Take the quick side trail to see Bubble Rock
  4.  Pemetic Mountain South Ridge Trail
    • 3.6 miles round trip, out and back, 2-4 hours, 1000 foot elevation gain, strenuous
    • Otherworldly granite rock formations and breathtaking panoramic views of the park’s lakes
  5.  Gorham Mountain Trail
    • 2 miles round trip, out and back, 1-1.5 hours, 500 foot elevation gain, moderately strenuous
    • Epic views of Sand Beach, Otter Cliff, and much of Mt. Desert Island
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Sand Beach

Where To Stay & Eat in Acadia

The Jordan Pond House – famous for their popovers – is the only dining facility in the park. It’s open for lunch and dinner mid May through October. There are many other eateries in the town of Bar Harbor just outside the park.

There are three campgrounds within the park boundaries, all of which are reservable and usually booked in advance. There are additional private campgrounds outside of the park.

There is no lodging in the park, but there are plenty of options just outside of it in the town of Bar Harbor.

Acadia Blog

Click here to read my blog from my quick visit to Acadia.

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Cadillac Mountain

 

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