Covering most of Mount Desert Island, Acadia is New England’s only national park, offering unrivalled coastal beauty of windswept shores, sandy beaches, dense evergreen forests, picturesque glacial lakes and towering granite peaks. One of Maine’s most renowned and visited tourist attractions, it provides the perfect escape for hikers, campers, water sport enthusiasts, adrenaline junkies and those simply looking to relax in nature.
Visitors should make a bee-line for Cadillac mountain, the highest point on the Atlantic coast. Accessible either by foot or car, it offers breath-taking panoramas over the island, ocean and dozens of offshore islets. Arrive at dawn and you’ll be among the first people to see the sunrise over America. There are plenty more opportunities for taking in the stunning surrounds, whether through hiking on the 127 mile trail network, cycling along the 45 miles of historic carriage roads or simply taking a scenic drive along the main tourist highway, Park Loop Road.
Be sure to stop by the impressive Sand Beach. Although the water is too chilly for swimming even in summer, it’s a beautiful spot to take in the sights and sounds of the park. A little further down the coast, you’ll find sheer cliff faces, pounding surf, hidden tide pools and endless ocean vistas. Further inland, embark on a challenging day hike. Savour the aromatic smell of fir as you ascend up past the tree line. Then wind your way past gorgeous mountain lakes before summitting lofty granite peaks. You can also expect rich wildlife sightings throughout, including seals, moose, deer, beavers and seabirds.
Spend time exploring the island’s main settlement, Bar Harbor, which serves as the park gateway. You’ll find plenty of worthwhile diversions lining the picturesque streets, including shops, eateries as well as bars and clubs with live entertainment in the evenings. Take the opportunity to stock up on camping and hiking supplies for your island explorations, or sit back in a café or restaurant and feast on delicious north-eastern cuisine. Bar Harbor is also the perfect place to organise guided tours and activities, whether it be a cruise, horseback ride or whale watching trip.
Top reasons to visit Acadia National Park
The opportunities for outdoor adventure are virtually endless with something to suit all ages and abilities. Enjoy a leisurely coastal stroll or a heart pounding hike up dizzying peaks. Rent a kayak or canoe and paddle across crystal clear lakes. Or explore miles of vehicle-free gravel roads by bike or horseback
The scenery is something to be marvelled at whatever season you visit. Expect spectacular photo opportunities at every turn
Mount Desert island offers a fantastic range of accommodation options – from cosy B&Bs, to luxurious hotels and well-maintained public campgrounds
There’s no chance of going hungry, not even from all that hiking… Maine is renowned for its lobster and Acadia offers some of the freshest catches around. Bar Harbour features plenty of interesting places to eat out, blending local classics with exotic international fare