Is visiting the coast of Maine in your bucket list? Is solo traveling to Acadia on your list? Want to get mesmerized with iconic lighthouses on the rock-strewn shore and envisioned hiking in the mountains or spending time at the beach? A visit to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor can be the answer to your questions. Acadia National Park is all about great outdoor attraction. The park has everything right from an ocean coastline, rocky beaches, woodlands, ponds, mountains, lakes, granite peaks scoured by glaciers, and lots more. So before talking about the scenic locations, things to do, accommodation options, places to eat, etc. let’s take a look at the brief history of this park.
Situated in the State of Maine and Southwest of Bar Harbour on a 47,000 acre Atlantic Coast, the beautiful American Acadia Park preserves almost half of Mount Desert Island and some parts of the Schoodic Peninsula. This American national park was renamed in 1919 by the Congress as Lafayette National Park and was proclaimed as one of the first national parks in the United States. It was only in 1929 that it was renamed as Acadia National Park.
This national park is home to rare species like black bugs, white-tailed deer, and moose. An animal enthusiast will be glee with joy to spot these mammals. Besides this, it is home to more than 300 species of birds.
This recreational area is terrific for all kinds and types of travelers. It doesn’t matter whether you want to relax and enjoy the scenic beauty or want to experience fun, adventurous outdoor activities, a visit to Acadia National Park can fulfill your needs. If you are planning to travel alone, then you should know that it is considered as one of the best national parks for solo travel.
Let’s take a look at what Acadia National Park has in store for travelers.
Arrive on Mount Desert Island. If you are confused about how to reach the Bar Harbor, then check out the following options.
By Car: It is advisable to start early in the morning to utilize the second half of the day. Bar Harbor is around 5 hours drive from Boston and approximately 3.5 hours from Portland, Maine. Driving to Bar Harbor is one of the easiest ways to arrive on Mount Desert Island. Once you reach the destination, there’s no need for the car to explore the central area of Bar Harbor walking. There are free shuttles that circle round Acadia for an easy commute.
By Air: Bar Harbor is only 12.6 miles roughly 20 minutes away from Hancock County Bar Airport. You can take a flight to this airport from Boston, New York, Washington, Philadelphia, and Pittsburg. Remember that the flights are only operational in summers. Besides this, you can even take a flight to Bangor airport and take rent a self-drive car or take a bus service to Bar Harbor.
You’ll be captivated with the looks of the Bar Harbor the moment you set your food there. There are numerous accommodation options in Bar Harbor that you can choose as per your budget and needs. Some of the recommended hotels for your three day trip to this beautiful place include Bar Harbor Inn, Acadia Inn, Bluff House Inn, Elsa’s Inn on the Harbor, Edenbrook Motel, Quality Inn lots more. If you love camping, there are many campsites where you can seek refuge during your three-day trip. Timberland Acres RV Park, Acadia Seashore Camping & Cabins, Bar Harbor Ocean Side Koa, etc. are some of the recommended campgrounds.
Now for the rest of the day, you can explore downtown bar harbor. Spend the evening glancing through shops, enjoy a casual nightlife, grab a bite, or visit the Abbe and Dorr museum with a vast collection of wildlife displays.
Some of the Recommendations to explore Bar Harbor
If you are an avid book enthusiast, you can visit Maine’s oldest book store ‘Sherman’s’ where you can find some of the most popular or bestselling books. Grab souvenirs for your loved ones from Cool As a Moose, relish on a coffee from Choco-latte, Coffee Matter, A Slice of Eden, or Coffee Hound. You can enjoy mouthwatering delicacies for dinner at Side Street Café, Stewman’s Lobster Pound, West Street Café, Galyan’s, etc. If you are a sweet tooth, you can enjoy some delicious handmade ice cream at Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium. Leary’s Landing Irish Pub and Paddy’s Irish Pub & Restaurant are two places where you can enjoy your favorite drinks and shake your leg to groovy tunes.
Start your day as early as possible, as there’s a lot to explore on this day. Ensure that you don’t forget your camera before you leave your accommodation, as you will be driving through the scenic route of Acadia National Park. This national park’s entrance is very near to the bar harbor, but you’ll be taking a 27-mile drive on the Park Loop Road that covers the significant portion of Mount Desert Island. Note: Before you enter the park, you’ll have to buy an entrance ticket, which will cost you around $25, valid for 7 days. While solo traveling to Acadia, you can also take the ‘Island Explorer Shuttle’ or take a group tour operated by travel companies, especially if you are not fond of driving. There are numerous scenic spots where you can find a view like this:
The Park Long Road will lead you to Cadillac Mountain, the most visited attraction of this beautiful national park. The highest point i.e., standing at 466 meters or 1530 feet in ‘North Atlantic Seaboard,’ Cadillac Mountain, is the first place to receive the sunlight in the United States. The mesmerizing view of the sunrise shouldn’t be missed at any cost.
Have a plan for Hiking Acadia National Park, what better than hiking the Caddilac Mountains. The summit road is 5 miles long; 1.5 miles from parking to summit entrance and 3.5 miles to the top. The total trek will be 10 miles and can take a minimum of 5 hours to complete it.
Wild Gardens of Acadia
Witness the nine organized display areas that are home to around 300 native plant species in a rustic setting on the Jesup Path. You’ll be blown away by the magnificent looks of the birch and hammock trees.
Enjoy canoeing and kayaking at the calm and serene pond while enjoying the picturesque view of the lush green surroundings. Your visit to Jordon Pond will be incomplete if you don’t stop at Jordon Pond House for the iconic popovers.
Your trip to Acadia National Park is incomplete without visiting Thunder Hole. If you are lucky enough, you can witness the high 40-foot wave crashing the naturally formed inlet. The deep booming sound of the waves will send a shiver to your spine.
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
This iconic lighthouse is located on the southwest portion of this island near Blue Hill Bay and Bass Harbor. This lighthouse was built in 1858, and it stands on top of the granite scoured shoreline.
This natural beach is in between two rocky granite structure that took several hundreds of years to develop. The scenic ocean path allows you to enjoy the beautiful view, and it’s the place where the ‘Great Head’ hiking trail starts. Refresh yourself by taking a plunge in the Atlantic ocean after the long hectic day.
The Beehive Loop Trail
People come for Hiking Acadia National Park, so get ready to start your day early and start with the Beehive Loop Trail. You can complete the total hike within a couple of hours, and indeed it will be one of the most enjoyable hikes of your life. The adventurous trail leads straight up the cliff, but it’s not just like any hike. You will have to take routes with handles and railings embedded on the rocks on your way up. The road is thrilling, don’t worry, it is not that difficult and tiring.
Whale Watch and Nature Cruize
After completion of the Beehive Loop Trail hike, head back to Bar Harbor. You can opt for a whale-watching cruize to avail of an enjoyable experience of whale watching. You can even spot seals, seabirds, puffins, and other aquatic species. Besides this, you can also opt for a lighthouse cruise tour as you can enjoy the breathtaking views of the ancient and iconic lighthouses located in Bear Island, Burnt Coat Harbor, Egg Rock, Baker Island, and lots more.
On completion of the cruise, it’s time to rejuvenate, or you can even take a sunset hike.
If you have any doubts about how to tour Acadia National Park, you can contact us for assistance.