Postcard-Perfect Maine Coastline at Acadia National Park

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August 2, 2009

If you’ve come to Maine to see the ruggedly beautiful coastline, spend some time in Bar Harbor (southeast of Bangor). There you’ll enjoy nature’s splendor at Acadia National Park.

waves-crashing-into-rocks-at-acadia-national-park-maineGeneral Info: The park is mostly located on Mount Desert Island (except for a portion located on the mainland), and most of the park is accessible by vehicle. Download a map of the area for driving routes to the Acadia National Park.

The varied resources and lovely natural landscape of Mount Desert Island have attracted settlers for 5000 years, starting with native groups, then European explorers, and French and English pioneers. By the 1800s thousands of people were flocking to the area for fishing, shipbuilding, lumbering and farming. The gorgeous park lands were originally set aside as a national monument in 1916.

acadia-byway-route-map-mount-desert-island-maineHours and Fees: The park is open all year, although most facilities are closed in winter. See the Acadia National Park schedule webpage for facility hours and seasonal closures. The park charges visitor entrance fees from May 1 to October 31: $10 per vehicle in early summer and $20 per vehicle in the crowded late summer/autumn foliage season. Entrance passes are good for seven days; annual passes are also available. Visitor information is available year-round at park headquarters and seasonally at Hulls Cove Visitor Center. Call (207) 288-3338 for visitor information.

Download a PDF map of Acadia National Park to start planning your visit.

Activities: Travel the park loop road of the Acadia Byway, a 27-mile scenic 2-lane drive circling the park and up to Cadillac Mountain. You’ll see craggy shorelines, granite mountains, clear lakes and thick spruce forests.

some-of-acadia-national-parks-120-miles-of-hiking-trails-were-established-in-the-1800s-by-village-improvement-societiesThis park offers tons of outdoor activities—including 45 miles of level hiking/biking trails on the historic carriage roads built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. There are several more strenuous mountain trails as well. Acadia National Park features several locations for freshwater or salt water fishing, with a valid Maine fishing license. Bring a lunch and enjoy the fresh air and scenery at several picnic areas located around the park.

bass-harbor-head-lighthouse-on-mount-desert-island-maineYou can tour the historic Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, learn about maritime history at the Islesford Historical Museum, and learn about Maine’s Native American heritage at the Abbe Museum.

Pets: Your pets are welcome in most areas of the park as long as they are leashed (for the protection of your pet, wildlife and other visitors). See the Acadia National Park pet regulations webpage for details.

Weather: Rain and fog can occur any time of year, so dress in layers and bring an umbrella. Summer temperatures can vary from 45-85°F, while spring and fall usually range from 30-70°F.

Camping Info: The park has two wooded campgrounds with sites that can accommodate RVs up to 35 feet long, but are primarily designed for tent camping. There are no hookups, but there are comfort stations, cold running water, dump station, picnic tables and fire rings. If you’d like to camp nearby with a few more amenities or with a bit more breathing room for that big rig, try Hadley’s Point Campground in Bar Harbor. They have back-in sites measuring 26×54’ and a limited number of pull-thru sites measuring 24×56’.

If you’re from Maine or have visited Acadia National Park in the past, please chime in with your stories and tips! Your insights can help others have a fantastic trip.

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