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Acadia National Park: Breathtaking Maine Coastline

Acadia National Park – also known as L’Isle des Monts Déserts (the island of barren deserts) – is just over 47 acres of scenic landscaping, good eating, and activities for all ages. Just three years shy of being 100 years young, this nature-getaway is spread lushly across the vast Mount Desert Island in Maine, and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. It is the perfect place for wanderlusts, hikers, sightseers, fishers, and basically everyone else, too! Families, nature enthusiasts, and solo travelers alike find their niches here at Acadia National Park.

When Should You Visit?

Well, Acadia National Park is open all year-round! There is not a bad time to go. However, if you want to be able to take a short visit to the Main Visitor Center to get acquainted, you will want to go between Mid-April through the end of October. If you prefer to be around lots of people on your voyage, go during July and August. From December through mid-April, you can expect most roads to be closed around the park, but the park is still open for recreational activities as weather permits.

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Activities at Acadia – What Are You Going to Do There?

You cannot pick just one thing to do at Acadia. For those of you craving the outdoors, there is plenty of space for bicycling, boating, horseback riding, fishing, hiking, picnicking, bird-watching, watching the leaves turn (which is best done just before or during mid-October), and tide pooling. During the winter, you can go cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, winter hiking, ice fishing, winter camping, dog sledding and skijoring, and take scenic winter drives. (Yes, something for absolutely everyone!)

The children can enjoy participating in the junior ranger program, take a ranger-narrated boat cruise, visit the nature center, play in the sand, and go for a hike or bike ride, amongst other activities.

The Island is fragmented in to several other islands – which if you visited them all, you would be spending at least a week in Acadia, as some areas merit at minimum a day’s time! Isle au Haut and Great Cranberry Island are worth visits if you must leave before several days pass. You can choose between a nice hike through Isle au Haut, and the serenity of Great Cranberry Island, watching the waves crash into the rocks after having navigated the country-like roads.

Of course, there are also curated tours.

Dining

Acadia National Park features indoor and outdoor dining hosted by Jordan Pond House Restaurant. They serve lunch through dinner from mid-May through October. It is best to bring along food and snacks if you stay for any amount of time and do not want to leave the park, as this is the only dining facility in the park.

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Accommodations

Snuggle up to the campfire! Acadia National Park has got campgrounds upon campgrounds.

Blackwoods Campground is Located on Route 3; 5 miles south of Bar Harbor. It is open all year. If you plan on camping here outside the months of May through October, you will want to contact the park directly for more information. Blackwoods Campground also has several sites for group camping.

Seawall Campground is located on Route 102A; 4 miles south of Southwest Harbor. It is open from late May through early September. At this site, you are welcomed to sleep in/at walk-in tent sites, drive-up tents, campers, and motor home sites. Seawall Campground has several sites for group camping, as well.

Schoodic Woods Campground is located on the Schoodic Peninsula, and is 3 miles southeast of Winter Harbor. It is open from late May until Columbus Day. Hike-in tent sites, drive up tent/small RV, RV with electric only sites, RV with electric and water sites are available. Schoodic Woods has only 2 sites for group camping.

Duck Harbor Campground is located on Isle au Haut off the coast of Stonington. If you want to camp here, you will have to take a mailboat, as this is not accessible by automobile. You must have a reservation to camp here.

Wildwood Stables Campground is open only to visitors with stock animals.

Reservations are strongly recommended for all sites, and required for Duck Harbor Campgrounds. These are just a few campgrounds in which to bunk, amongst the dozen other campgrounds that are privately owned. For those, you will have to contact them directly. Links can be found on the official site of Acadia National Park.

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How to Get There

From the North
If you are teetering on the northern border of Maine (or even if you are in Canada making your way down here), you will want to take I-95 South, get off at exit 182A, and ride Route 1 through until it becomes Route 3. Drive along Route 3 for just over 9 miles, where you will arrive on Mount Desert Island.

From the East
If you are coming from the east, you will want to ride Route 1 or 9, depending on which is closer to you, and take the exit to Route 3 South. Drive just over 9 miles onto Mount Desert Island.

From the South and West
If you are travelling from south or west of Acadia, hop into I-95 North, and take exit 182A – merge onto I-395. This will turn into Route 1, then Route 3. At this point you will drive just over 9 miles onto Mount Desert Island.

For those who would like to visit another section of the park, there is a portion on the Schoodic Peninsula – about an hour away from the visitor center.

Things To Do Outside Of Acadia National Park

If you have already explored the entirety of Acadia, or would like to start small before this ginormous adventure, there are plenty of other things to do in the area. At Baxter State Park, you will find hunting, fishing, picnicking, swimming, wildlife & photography, boating, and snowmobiling, amongst several other activities. Lamoine State Park is the closest park to Acadia, and has activities similar to those of Baxter State Park. Other areas of interests include Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife and Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuges, and Saint Croix Island International Historic Site. During autumn, there is always the option of scenic drives as the leaves senesce.

In Short…

With all of the activity to be done inside the park, time is sure to fly – as you will be having fun! If you are not the adventurous hiker, or the wild equestrian, then you will find serenity at the park’s beaches and overlooks watching the peacefulness of nature cycling before your eyes. Bring the kids, bring the dog, but most importantly, bring yourself! Bring an open heart, and an open mind, as your eyes are bound to be opened wide. Acadia National Park: because, why not?

by

Angelique Harris

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