There aren’t any deserts to be present in New England, so the identify of Maine’s “Mount Desert” Island comes as a little bit of a shock to these unfamiliar with it. Right this moment, about half of Mount Desert Island is preserved as Acadia National Park. It’s one of many smallest but most-visited nationwide parks within the nation. When French explorer Samuel de Champlain first explored the New England coast within the early seventeenth century, he was struck by how barren and treeless this rocky shoreline was. He dubbed it the island of monts-déserts, or “barren mountains.” He wasn’t fallacious—the panorama of “Downeast Maine” alongside the Bay of Fundy between the “Mid-Coast” space and the Canadian border is exclusive to the remainder of New England. Right here, lush forests give technique to granite mountains that stand up from the ocean. It’s the very best alongside the jap seaboard this aspect of Rio de Janeiro.

Acadia has a lot to supply guests, and even locals discover themselves returning time and time once more to discover its riches. When you’re inquisitive about visiting the Northeast’s solely nationwide park this aspect of the Shenandoah Valley, it’s completely definitely worth the journey. Right here, we’re breaking down learn how to benefit from your Acadia National Park journey.

The shore of Acadia National Park
Courtesy of Go to Maine

How one can get to Acadia Nationwide Park

Throughout the peak summer season months, driving your automotive is handy for in all places besides the park itself. Sure, you will get from Logan Airport in Boston to the park’s entrance in 4 and a half hours flat. However know that site visitors and parking when you’re contained in the park could kill your vibe. When you plan on seeing a number of different elements of Maine in your journey (such because the restaurant scene in Portland, or the preppy seaside enclave at Kennebunkport), it’s most likely finest to drive. In case your sole focus is Acadia, there are a number of different choices.

Regional service Cape Air affords repeatedly scheduled flights from Boston to Mount Desert Island. From there, it’s simple to take a taxi from the airport to your resort. And as long as you’re staying in one of many major villages on the island (there are a number of), it’s simple to hop on and off the Island Explorer, a repeatedly scheduled shuttle bus that drives loops across the island and thru the nationwide park, hitting all the principle spots alongside the way in which. The Island Explorer’s web site additionally has a really helpful “Car-Free Travel Guide” that lists out the assorted choices for public transportation from close by Bangor, Maine, in addition to Boston.

What to anticipate

The temperature in New England, particularly alongside the coast, might be variable. Even within the peak of summer season, chillier nights can get down into the 40s, so positively pack some layers. This time of 12 months, all the pieces is on the desk weather-wise in New England, from dry warmth to excessive winds and even hail. Likelihood is, you may anticipate daytime temperatures within the excessive 70s with plenty of solar and humidity. Hikers from drier climates may be shocked by how oppressive the warmth can really feel. Pack layers, convey loads of water, make a plan for the place you’re going, and also you’ll be fantastic. The Nationwide Park Service’s Acadia National Park webpage is a must-read useful resource for path closures, repairs notices, and advisories about which elements of the park could or might not be open at any given time.

By way of the place to situate your self, it’s price noting there are a number of villages on the island of Mount Desert, essentially the most notable together with the charming city of Bar Harbor, and the sleepier Southwest Harbor. If it’s your first time to the island and proximity to the nationwide park entrance is your precedence, go for one thing in Bar Harbor. Southwest Harbor is about 20 minutes away by automotive from the nationwide park (longer in site visitors), however, conversely, is far sleepier and extra low key than the usually crowded streets of Bar Harbor within the peak of summer season.

What to Do in Acadia Nationwide Park

Drive the Park Loop Highway

Acadia’s 27-mile Park Loop Highway is the quintessential scenic drive, with ocean views, lakeside splendor, and dramatic cliffs in spades. It’s a worthwhile drive in and of itself, however can be essentially the most handy technique to entry lots of the park’s major points of interest like Sand Seaside, Otter Level, and Cadillac Mountain.

Hiking in Acadia National Park
Courtesy of Go to Maine

Hike, hike, and hike some extra

Did we point out it’s best to hike when you’re right here? There are over 158 miles of climbing trails in Acadia Nationwide Park, with choices starting from family-friendly to downright grueling. Essentially the most traditional might be the hike up Cadillac Mountain, particularly at dawn, because it’s among the many first locations within the nation to see the solar rise over the Atlantic.

Whereas the crowds have a tendency to stay to Cadillac (there’s a automotive street that ends on the summit), locals like to summit “The Bee-hive,” a difficult hike that features granite steps, iron by way of ferrata rungs, and simply sufficient scrambling to maintain issues attention-grabbing. When you attain the highest, nevertheless, you’re handled to views which might be nearly as good as anyplace else within the park. You even have solely a fraction of the vacationers. And bear in mind, the National Park Service’s Acadia website is a good useful resource for dwell updates on which trails could or might not be closed for repairs.

See Acadia from the water

Mountain climbing trails throughout Acadia Nationwide Park make it attainable to stroll throughout lots of the park’s rugged pure options. Seeing them from the water offers a singular perspective to the park’s geography. Catch a trip with Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co., which affords whale watching excursions, puffin excursions, lighthouse excursions, in addition to a from-the-water tour of Acadia Nationwide Park. You’ll see issues that you’d by no means in any other case see from land-based adventures.

Kayak to an oyster farm

OK, Bar Harbor Oyster Company’s oyster farm won’t technically be inside the confines of Acadia Nationwide Park. However that is an exercise that completely any customer to Mount Desert Island—particularly those that love meals—ought to take into account. Aquaculture has exploded in New England lately, and this small regionally owned operation makes use of its farm excursions program to provide a glimpse into the day-to-day lifetime of a contemporary farmer. The tour goes twice per week throughout July and August—observe, it books up shortly! You get to kayak out to the corporate’s oyster farm and style some recent bivalves plucked straight from the water.

Glamping lodge with string lights at night
Courtesy Picture

The place to remain

Terramor Out of doors Resort Bar Harbor

As the one full-service glamping property situated on Mount Desert Island, Terramor is the sort of property that might simply relaxation on its laurels. Fortunately, it doesn’t. This out of doors resort takes all of the work out of tenting, so you may deal with the enjoyable stuff. It’s nearly unfair to name the tents right here “tents.”  They’ve Frette linens, Pendleton blankets, screened-in porches, non-public loos, and personal hearth rings. The property additionally has an outside pool and hut tub, and a extremely skilled employees can advise on hikes, canoeing, and biking within the nationwide park. It’s also possible to brush up in your outdoorsy expertise like constructing fires and studying path maps. New for this summer season is TerraS’Mores—a rotating menu of connoisseur s’mores resembling lobster and brie s’mores, summer season strawberry s’mores, and candied bacon s’mores. Chances are you’ll simply be unable to return to common tenting ever once more.

Queen Anne’s Revenge

Everybody loves a comeback story. The before-and-after photos on Instagram of this inn’s latest renovation are nothing in need of jaw dropping. Three neighboring nineteenth century cottages had been reworked into up to date but historic hideaways. They’re actually one of the crucial attention-grabbing locations to remain on the Maine coast this summer season. No two rooms are the identical, and your keep features a free continental breakfast every morning. On the lookout for one thing extra substantial? The inn is conveniently situated inside strolling distance to all that Bar Harbor has to supply.

West Street Hotel
Courtesy of West Avenue Resort

West Avenue Resort

A rooftop pool? In Maine? You guess—and it’s additionally the one pool on the entire island with views into the nationwide park. The resort’s restaurant Stewman’s Lobster Pound is without doubt one of the finest in Bar Harbor for a traditional Maine lobster bake. In the meantime, the resort’s pub Paddy’s is a reliably enjoyable place for a nightcap. Be mindful, the resort is eighteen+. On an island which might be intensely family-oriented throughout the hotter months, this can be a welcome reprieve for grownups. And in the event you’re making an attempt to journey with children, take a look at the resort’s sister property, Harborside Hotel, the place children are welcome. It’s throughout the road.

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