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Current Search Destination:Acadia National Park, Maine
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Overview
Overview
Essentials
Attractions
Restaurants
Insider Information
Recreation
Things to See
Places in the Vicinity
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Introduction
Rusticators. Summer people. These old-fashioned names for visitors to Maine's rugged Mount Desert Island date back to the 1850s when city folk first began their seasonal flight from places like Boston, New York and Philadelphia to enjoy the unspoiled setting that eventually would be called Acadia National Park.
Scott Smithson / flickr
It's no mystery why tourism got an early start here. Maine's rocky, sea-swept shoreline doesn't get any more picturesque, and the vistas from atop Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the Atlantic Coast north of Brazil, are unmatched. The island's granite peaks lift their barren, rounded summits above a canopy of fir trees, and tucked away within the forest are clear, shimmering lakes and ponds nestled like jewels in an emerald blanket.
Mattia Panciroli / flickr
Drawn to this landscape so rich in natural beauty, some of America's wealthiest families—Astor, Carnegie, Ford, Morgan, Rockefeller and Vanderbilt—built extravagant summer “cottages” in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They explored the idyllic surroundings on horseback, in carriages or on foot, and when rampant development endangered their island refuge, they spearheaded efforts to preserve it for everyone.
Today, you don't have to be a Rockefeller to hike along the park's extensive network of trails or bike on its historic carriage roads or cruise among the scattering of wooded islands offshore. Many of the grand cottages, once the private domain of the super rich, still stand and welcome travelers as bed and breakfasts. Catering to visitors outside park boundaries are the charming seaside villages of Bass Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Southwest Harbor, and the largest, Bar Harbor, with its tour boats, gift shops and restaurants serving a spectrum of cuisine, including the state's signature seafood: lobster.
Eric Vaughn / flickr
Maine's early rusticators knew how to live simply; its visiting summer cottagers knew how to live well. Both groups chose Acadia for its beautiful scenery, relaxed atmosphere and broad array of outdoor activities, and thanks to previous generations of conservation-minded summer people, so can you.

In Depth
Southeast of Bangor, Acadia National Park possesses an unusual combination of ocean and mountain scenery. The park includes more than 54 square miles of Mount Desert Island, the largest rock-based island on the Atlantic coast.
Dominating the park are the ancient, rounded peaks of the Mount Desert Mountains, worn down by countless centuries of erosion. Great granite cliffs, undermined by the pounding surf at their bases, rise from the ocean. Nowhere along the Atlantic seaboard is the “stern and rockbound coast” more picturesque.
Twenty-six peaks, mostly bare at their summits, are forested with spruce, fir, pine and northern hardwood trees. Some 500 types of wildflowers, including many Arctic species, grow in the park, and the area is a sanctuary for a variety of birds and other animals.
Samuel de Champlain sighted Mount Desert Island in 1604 and named it “L'Isle des Monts Deserts,” which means island of bare mountains. It was the site of a short-lived settlement by French Jesuits in 1613, and for many years was part of the French province of Acadia, from which the park derives its name.

General Information
The park is accessible all year. However, except for two short sections, the 27-mile Park Loop Road is typically closed from December to mid-April by snow, sleet or ice; state and town roads are kept open. Cadillac Mountain Road extends to the summit of 1,530-foot Cadillac Mountain, offering a spectacular view of the coast.
Some 125 miles of hiking trails reach every mountain summit and valley; detailed hiking trail maps are available for purchase. There also are 45 miles of graded carriage roads suitable for walking, bicycling, cross-country skiing and jogging.
Park ranger programs are usually offered mid-May to mid-October. Programs include mountain hikes, campground programs and natural history walks. Check the park's program schedule for details. Park rangers also explain the area's geology, history, marine life and wildlife on three cruises around Frenchman Bay and the Cranberry Islands. Check at the visitor center for a current listing of programs.
Park information may be obtained at Hulls Cove Visitor Center, open daily 8:30-4:30, mid-April through October (8-6 in July and August). From November to mid-April, park information may be obtained at park headquarters (which serves as the winter visitor center).
Private operators are available during the season to conduct daily sightseeing, deep-sea fishing, whale-watching and lobster-fishing cruises from Bar Harbor as well as from Northeast, Southwest and Bass harbors.
Audio tours, available at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center through Eastern National Bookstore, describe the geological origin, ecology and history of the park and contain instructions for making the drive around Acadia, beginning at Hulls Cove; phone (207) 288-4988 for the bookstore.

ADMISSION
ADMISSION to the park May-Oct. is by 7-day pass, which costs $25 per private vehicle, $20 per motorcycle. Admission per person arriving on foot or bicycle is $12; free (ages 0-15). Admission rest of year is free. Annual passes cost $50. A camping fee is charged.

PETS
PETS are permitted in the park if they are attended and physically restricted at all times; leashes may be up to 6 feet in length. Pets are not permitted on the swimming beaches in season or on the ladder hiking trails on mountain cliffs; they also are not permitted in public buildings, some campgrounds and most lakes.

ADDRESS
ADDRESS inquiries to Acadia National Park Information, P.O. Box 177, Bar Harbor, ME 04609; phone (207) 288-3338.
GEM Description
One of the most popular national parks, Acadia's natural beauty incorporates both ocean and mountain vistas.
iStockphoto.com / sandoclr

Essentials
Drive up 1,530-foot Cadillac Mountain to take in spectacular views of the surrounding granite hills and the puzzle-piece jumble of tree-cloaked islands offshore.
Tour Acadia in a horse-drawn carriage via the network of historic gravel carriage roads closed to motorized traffic.
Experience many of Acadia National Park's loveliest sights from the comfort of your car as you drive along Park Loop Road .
Listen for the roar of Thunder Hole as waves rush into a narrow rock cleft at one of the park's most picturesque shoreline settings.
Hike the scenic Great Head Trail —just 1.4 out of more than 125 miles of park trails—past pink granite bluffs, through thickets of evergreen and birch trees and along a sandy beach.
Savor a freshly baked popover with butter and jam at Jordan Pond House , but don't ask for an order to go; the staff serves the delicious treats only one at a time directly from the oven.
Tuck into a lobster dinner at one of many Bar Harbor restaurants that serve this essential Maine delicacy. Upscale meals are offered at such places as The Reading Room Restaurant at the Bar Harbor Inn & Spa .
Stroll along the quaint, small-town streets of Bar Harbor past seafood restaurants and pizza joints; shops selling coffee, ice cream, fudge and souvenirs; and Victorian clapboard houses converted to cozy bed and breakfast inns.
Michael Heisel / flickr
Journey to the southern tip of Mount Desert Island where you'll find Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, a squat white tower perched atop a craggy coastal bluff—one of Maine's most photographed lighthouses.
Avoid the crowds by visiting rugged Schoodic Point in the park's Schoodic Peninsula district, reached via a scenic coastal road about an hour's drive from Mount Desert Island.

Attractions
In a national park with dozens of attractions and points of interest, you may have trouble deciding where to spend your time. Here are the highlights for this destination, as chosen by AAA editors. GEMs are “Great Experiences for Members.”
By Frank Swanson
Although not a large park by National Park Service standards, AAA GEM Acadia National Park preserves more than 50,000 acres divided among three districts: Schoodic Peninsula, Isle au Haut and the largest, Mount Desert Island. It's enough territory to be daunting, so your first stop should be the Hulls Cove Visitor Center to acquaint yourself with Acadia's boundaries and what they contain. A 12-minute video provides an overview, and a three-dimensional topographic model of Mount Desert Island will help you get your bearings. Rangers are happy to answer your questions, and between June and October, you can pick up a copy of the ranger-led program schedule.
The visitor center is on Park Loop Road , a 27-mile scenic drive highlighting Acadia's beauty: forests of evergreens mixed with hardwoods, tranquil ponds, rounded hills and rocky shoreline cliffs. A spur off the main loop leads to the top of Cadillac Mountain , the highest point on the U.S. Atlantic coast and a wonderful observation point.
Another stop just off Park Loop Road is the Sieur de Monts Spring area, where you'll find a Nature Center with exhibits describing the park's natural history, and next to the center, the Wild Gardens of Acadia, a sampler of Acadia's various plant communities packed into less than an acre. Nearby is the original Abbe Museum at Sieur de Monts Spring , a small, tile-roofed, octagonal building completed in 1928 and filled with local Native American artifacts, some dating back 12,000 years. The Abbe Museum Downtown , a much more expansive branch, opened in downtown Bar Harbor in 2001.
If you'd like a tour of the park's highlights without having to do the driving yourself, board the green-and-white bus in Bar Harbor run by Acadia National Park Tours . During the excursion, the driver will tell you all about subjects ranging from the park's history to the fine points of distinguishing one lobsterman's traps from another's, and you'll make stops at Jordan Pond, the Thunder Hole and the summit of Cadillac Mountain along the way.
To learn more about the lobstering trade and the area's sea life, visit the Mount Desert Oceanarium Bar Harbor , which includes a lobster hatchery, the Maine Lobster Museum and a guided tour through a salt marsh.
Your best bet for seeing the amazing finback, humpback and minke in the flesh, so to speak, is during a whale watch cruise out into the Gulf of Maine. Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. speeds passengers to nearby whale grounds aboard catamarans while an onboard naturalist narrates the journey. Other tours focus on puffins, seals, lobster fishing and lighthouses.
While a fast catamaran might be an exciting way to explore the bays and islands surrounding Acadia, nothing better evokes the romance of a sea journey than a cruise aboard a sailing ship. If you spend any time at all gazing at the boat traffic in Bar Harbor, odds are you'll spot a four-masted schooner plying its waters. Margaret Todd Windjammer Cruises departs three times a day for tours of Frenchman Bay. The morning excursion is best for wildlife viewing, while the popular sunset cruise often includes live music. If you choose the afternoon cruise, be prepared for rougher seas, although if you want to help the crew hoist the sails, this is your chance.
For an even more intimate experience of Maine's maritime heritage, hop aboard a ferry leaving from Southwest Harbor or Northeast Harbor to Islesford on Little Cranberry Island. Exhibits in the Islesford Historical Museum portray daily island life through historical photographs and interactive activities. The Park Service conducts tours to Little Cranberry Island and the museum that include a side trip into Somes Sound, the scenic fjordlike bay that nearly bisects Mount Desert Island. Check the latest edition of the ranger-led program schedule.
If you're visiting the national park during high summer and the crowds are getting you down, drive to the opposite side of Frenchman Bay, about an hour's drive from Bar Harbor, to explore the park's secluded Schoodic Peninsula district. A scenic drive follows the shoreline and passes through thick stands of fir trees before reaching Schoodic Point , a scenic headland marked by heaps of boulders and broad, flat expanses of light gray rock edging the sea.
On your way to Schoodic Point from Mount Desert Island you'll pass Stanwood Homestead Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary (Birdsacre) . Hundreds of bird species can be found within the shady forests and gardens preserved here, and the bird rehabilitation center is home to a variety of injured owls and hawks that can't be returned to the wild. You can visit the nature center and take a close look at its collection of mounted animals or tour the historic Stanwood house, built in 1850.
See all the AAA recommended attractions for this destination.

Restaurants
Our favorites include some of this destination's best restaurants—from fine dining to simple fare.
By Inspector 18
as told to Frank Swanson
You'll find Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound at the causeway leading to Acadia National Park. Operating since 1956, this traditional Maine lobster pound lets diners choose their lobster and have it prepared in natural seawater in the wood-fired cookers. Guests may sit inside or dine at outdoor picnic tables overlooking the ocean and causeway; takeout also is an option.
Before you reach Bar Harbor's town center, you'll pass the Chart Room , which occupies a lovely waterfront location on Hull's Cove offering a grand view of both the cove and Frenchman Bay. You can eat either indoors or, during fair weather, under umbrellas on the spacious sundeck. Menu selections are vast with the focus being on fresh daily seafood including salmon, lobster, yellowfin tuna and halibut. Landlubbers can choose from a fine selection of steaks, chicken, ham or pasta.
A local favorite in downtown Bar Harbor, Havana Restaurant offers a relaxed atmosphere in an elegant setting. The Latin-influenced menu is innovative and sure to please. Menu highlights include a fine selection of such appetizers as crab and roasted corn cake, coconut stuffed shrimp and monkfish ceviche. Entrées include sesame-and-ginger-crusted salmon, grilled tuna seasoned with mild guajillo chiles and Thai dragon pepper, Chilean black bean stew and grilled filet mignon. A splendid, world-class wine list guarantees you'll find a wine to compliment any meal, and the staff is professional and friendly.
Within Acadia National Park, Jordan Pond House occupies a historic location overlooking lovely Jordan Pond and two rounded hills known as the Bubbles. Originally the site of a logging operation, this picturesque spot attracted both locals and tourists with its wonderful views, and since the 1870s it has been a gathering place for fine meals. The menu here offers a wide variety of entrées with most items accompanied by the restaurant's signature fresh-from-the-oven popovers. Dishes include lobster stews, chowders, grilled salmon, crab cakes, marinated chicken and various salads. Try the popovers with homemade ice cream for dessert. You can choose to savor your meal indoors or outside on the restaurant's patio or broad expanse of lawn.
See all the AAA Diamond Rated restaurants for this destination.
Lee Coursey / flickr

Acadia's Affluent Origins
By Frank Swanson
With more than 2.5 million visitors every year, Acadia National Park consistently ranks within the top 10 of America's most visited national parks, but its origins as a tourist destination were far more exclusive. Back in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Mount Desert Island was a summer playground for well-heeled captains of industry. These genteel vacationers followed an earlier wave of “rusticators,” artists and writers eager to escape from the East Coast's increasingly clamorous cities to the island's peaceful wilds. Among these were Hudson River School painters Frederic Church and Thomas Cole, who captured the island's beauty on canvas and thus advertised (perhaps unintentionally) their idyllic hideaway to the rest of the country.
A who's who of the era's wealthiest Americans flocked to Mount Desert Island, and like the rusticators before them, they came to enjoy the forest trails, scenic mountain overlooks and rocky, surf-splashed coast. Unlike the rusticators, these new visitors weren't satisfied with the basic food and accommodations available on the island, so they built lavish estates, some with more than 100 rooms, that they called “cottages.” By the 1880s the island had a Millionaires' Row that rivaled Newport, Rhode Island, in opulence, and boasted summer residents that included such prominent names as Astor, Carnegie, Ford, Morgan, Rockefeller and Vanderbilt.
Their influence wasn't limited to over-the-top mansions and glamorous garden parties. Many were actively involved in improving access to and protecting the island's natural splendor. John D. Rockefeller Jr. spent decades developing the park's charming carriage road system and at times even supervised construction. When the rapid growth of Bar Harbor , then called Eden, and the expansion of lumbering operations threatened to destroy their island's pristine wilderness, Charles W. Eliot, president of Harvard University, and George B. Dorr, a Boston textile heir, organized a group to privately buy up land for conservation.
Using his influence and powerful connections, Dorr successfully lobbied President Woodrow Wilson to create a federally protected park with land the trustees donated, which by 1913 was more than 6,000 acres. In 1919 Wilson signed the act establishing Lafayette National Park, the first national park east of the Mississippi. In 1929 the name was changed to Acadia National Park, and today it preserves more than 47,000 acres. Dorr became the park's first superintendent.
While Acadia expanded and thrived, the fortunes of the men who'd help create it didn't fare so well due to the implementation of a federal income tax and the Great Depression. Even George Dorr, lauded as the “Father of Acadia,” emptied his once deep pockets in acquiring land for the park and died virtually penniless. By the 1940s the island's era of Gilded Age extravagance was a distant memory, and many of the beautiful homes on Millionaires' Row were abandoned and had fallen into ruin. In 1947 a wildfire driven by gale force winds raced through Millionaires' Row, destroying 67 of the elaborate cottages and burning 10,000 acres in the park.
Despite all the years and reversals, you can find traces of Acadia's lavish past everywhere in Bar Harbor and elsewhere on the island. Several historic mansions have been reborn as bed and breakfast inns, among them Balance Rock Inn 1903 , Cleftstone Manor , Manor House Inn and Primrose Inn to name only a few. But perhaps the greatest legacy left behind by those moneyed cottagers of yesteryear is Acadia National Park itself.

General Information
The park is accessible all year. However, except for two short sections, the 27-mile Park Loop Road is typically closed from December to mid-April by snow, sleet or ice; state and town roads are kept open. Cadillac Mountain Road extends to the summit of 1,530-foot Cadillac Mountain, offering a spectacular view of the coast.
Some 125 miles of hiking trails reach every mountain summit and valley; detailed hiking trail maps are available for purchase. There also are 45 miles of graded carriage roads suitable for walking, bicycling, cross-country skiing and jogging.
Park ranger programs are usually offered mid-May to mid-October. Programs include mountain hikes, campground programs and natural history walks. Check the park's program schedule for details. Park rangers also explain the area's geology, history, marine life and wildlife on three cruises around Frenchman Bay and the Cranberry Islands. Check at the visitor center for a current listing of programs.
Park information may be obtained at Hulls Cove Visitor Center, open daily 8:30-4:30, mid-April through October (8-6 in July and August). From November to mid-April, park information may be obtained at park headquarters (which serves as the winter visitor center).
Private operators are available during the season to conduct daily sightseeing, deep-sea fishing, whale-watching and lobster-fishing cruises from Bar Harbor as well as from Northeast, Southwest and Bass harbors.
Audio tours, available at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center through Eastern National Bookstore, describe the geological origin, ecology and history of the park and contain instructions for making the drive around Acadia, beginning at Hulls Cove; phone (207) 288-4988 for the bookstore.

ADMISSION
ADMISSION to the park May-Oct. is by 7-day pass, which costs $25 per private vehicle, $20 per motorcycle. Admission per person arriving on foot or bicycle is $12; free (ages 0-15). Admission rest of year is free. Annual passes cost $50. A camping fee is charged.

PETS
PETS are permitted in the park if they are attended and physically restricted at all times; leashes may be up to 6 feet in length. Pets are not permitted on the swimming beaches in season or on the ladder hiking trails on mountain cliffs; they also are not permitted in public buildings, some campgrounds and most lakes.

ADDRESS
ADDRESS inquiries to Acadia National Park Information, P.O. Box 177, Bar Harbor, ME 04609; phone (207) 288-3338.
David Brossard / flickr

Recreation
Biking, swimming, backpacking, fishing, hiking—whatever your interest, make sure you experience these recreational highlights, as chosen by AAA editors.
By Frank Swanson
With more than 125 miles of hiking trails blazed across the face of Mount Desert Island, you have plenty to choose from. A good choice is the Jordan Pond Path, a 3.3-mile loop around the pond and through evergreen forest that begins near the Jordan Pond House.
Several other trails begin at Jordan Pond, including the Penobscot Ridge Trail, a moderately strenuous path up 1,194-foot-high Penobscot Mountain that rewards hikers with spectacular views, particularly of Jordan Pond below and the two rounded hills known as the Bubbles. And if want an even higher vantage point, continue just a mile farther on to reach the top of 1,373-foot Sargent Mountain. By the time you return to the Jordan Pond House , you'll have worked up quite an appetite; reward yourself with the restaurant's traditional tea and fresh popovers (you deserve it).
Of course, the mother of all Acadia's summits is 1,530-foot Cadillac Mountain , the highest point on the U.S. Atlantic coast, and in fall and winter, the first spot in the country to be illuminated by the rising sun. You can take it easy and drive to the top and limit your walking to the .4-mile Cadillac Summit Loop Trail, or you can tough out the strenuous 7.4-mile (roundtrip) Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail, which begins at Blackwoods Campground off Blackwoods Road. Although at trail's end you'll find the same scenic views as those who rode to the top in air-conditioned tour buses, you'll have had the pleasure of hiking through some lovely forested terrain, not to mention the bragging rights.
Two other trails worth mentioning are Beehive Trail, which begins near the parking lot for Sand Beach, and the Great Head Trail, which begins at the eastern edge of the beach itself. Although less than a mile roundtrip, Beehive Trail challenges hikers with a steep climb that includes ladderlike iron rungs embedded in rock. Although the trail is not recommended for anyone afraid of heights, the view from atop the 520-foot granite formation is breathtaking.
The Great Head Trail is far less exhausting (and scary) but offers a beautiful hike through evergreen forest and leads to the top of dramatic sea cliffs from which you have a wonderful view of Sand Beach and the Beehive. There are a couple of stretches where you'll have to scramble up the island's distinctive pink granite rock, so the park service labels this trail as moderately difficult.
If you want easy, you won't find a less difficult “hike” on the island than Bar Harbor's Shore Path, a gravel trail extending along Frenchman Bay for nearly a mile. The more-than-a-century-old path starts at the town pier and as you stroll south, you'll have seaside inns and historic mansions converted to bed and breakfasts on your right. On your left will be Frenchman Bay and the hunched backs of the aptly named Porcupine Islands bristling with trees. A large boulder canted at an unlikely angle on the shore stands opposite Balance Rock Inn 1903 , a lavish “cottage” built by an early 20th-century railroad magnate. Balance Rock survived a massive 1947 fire that swept the island and destroyed dozens of other elaborate vacation homes.
Fortunately that devastating conflagration did far less damage to the park's 45-mile-long carriage road system, a network of gravel roads that philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. financed and designed between 1913 and 1937. Thanks to Rockefeller's largesse, you can enjoy some of Acadia's prettiest scenery from your bicycle seat, and thanks to his skill as a designer, the grades are gentle, the views dramatically highlighted and the meandering roadway pleasingly integrated into the landscape. Granite blocks act as guardrails, and concrete bridges—rendered picturesque with rough stone facades—span streams and waterfalls.
One of the most popular carriage roads circles Eagle Lake near the park's headquarters on SR 233, which along with the Hulls Cove Visitor Center is where you can pick up a carriage road map. The general souvenir map the park distributes clearly shows the roads as well. If you haven't brought your own bike, you can rent one in Bar Harbor, and from late June through early October you can reach the carriage roads aboard one of the free Island Explorer shuttle buses, all of which are equipped with bike racks.
Since the carriage roads are closed to motorized traffic, you won't have to compete for your share of the road with cars and RVs, but you will need to yield to pedestrians, horses and horse-drawn carriages. They're not called carriage roads for nothing. And if you're interested in touring Acadia's carriage roads the way Rockefeller intended, visit Carriages of Acadia, a half mile south of the Jordan Pond House. This park concession offers a variety of carriage tours from late May to mid-October; phone (207) 276-5721.
Winter snows might preclude a carriage tour, but Rockefeller's scenic roads remain open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the coldest months when annual snowfall in the park averages almost 72 inches. While the entire carriage road system is open in winter, you might want to focus on those sections that are groomed, although only on a somewhat regular, volunteer basis. These roadway segments include the west side of Eagle Lake, west from Eagle Lake to Aunt Betty Pond, around Witch Hole Pond just south of the Hulls Cove Visitor Center, and just west of Jordan Pond leading around Sargent Mountain. You can check grooming status at park headquarters or on the park's website.
Swimming in Acadia is limited due to the rugged coastline, rough seas and chilly saltwater temperatures, and many of Mount Desert Island's lakes and ponds are used by local communities for drinking water and are therefore off limits to swimmers. One exception is Sand Beach on the island's eastern edge, which is staffed by lifeguards in summer, as is Echo Lake Beach on the western half of the island.
While the island's famously craggy coast discourages swimming, it compensates with picturesque coves, narrows and islets that you can explore while sea kayaking. Most tour companies offer half-day and sunset excursions, but some give you the option of shorter jaunts as well as multi-day journeys. A few specialize in wildlife viewing and focus on the quieter, western side of the island; most have at least one trip highlighting the local fauna, which includes harbor seals, porpoises, bald eagles, cormorants and ospreys. In Bar Harbor you'll find Coastal Kayaking Tours and National Park Sea Kayak Tours , and in Southwest Harbor there's Maine State Sea Kayak . Because these tours are both popular and limited to small groups, you should make reservations well in advance.
A huge variety of birds nest on the islands surrounding Acadia, so a kayaking tour is a real treat for birders. Bird-watching in Acadia, however, doesn't require that you head out to sea. There are more than 300 species that have been spotted in these parts, and some of the most impressive, including endangered birds of prey, can be seen from the park's trails, carriage roads and shorelines.
After peregrine falcons nearly became extinct due to heavy use of pesticides, they were reintroduced into the park in the 1980s, and breeding pairs have returned to Acadia every year since 1991. One of the best locations for falcon viewing is the Precipice Trail parking lot in spring and summer, although during nesting season, the trail itself is closed to protect the birds. Soaring sharp-shinned hawks, kestrels and ospreys can be spied from the summit of Cadillac Mountain. Elsewhere you can see ravens, black-capped chickadees, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, loons and warblers among many others.
Ryan Hyde / flickr
Peering into tide pools along the shore reveals even more natural wonders—or oddities, depending on your inclination. Twice a day the retreating tides expose barnacles, mussels and starfish. One of the most accessible areas is the gravel bar exposed at low tide between Bar Harbor (at the end of Bridge Street) and Bar Island. You can even drive out onto the bar and park, but don't lose track of time. You wouldn't be the first visitor to return from a leisurely stroll to find their car under water. Ship Harbor and Wonderland, near the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse on the island's west side, are other good locations for tide pooling. In summer, park rangers conduct nature walks.
Of course, with Acadia being on an island, you'd expect the fishing to be good, and you'd be right. You can catch bass, trout and salmon in the park's lakes and ponds and fish along the seashore for striped bass, bluefish and mackerel. Try Bubble Pond for brook trout; Eagle Lake for brook trout, lake trout and landlocked salmon; and Jordan Pond for landlocked salmon and lake trout. Ice fishing is allowed January through March. Good spots for ocean fishing are from Sargeant Drive on Somes Sound on Mount Desert Island and Frazer Point in the park's Schoodic Peninsula district. Freshwater fishing requires a state fishing license; ocean fishing does not.
While backcountry camping is not allowed in the park, there are campground options. Duck Harbor is in the park's Isle au Haut district. To get there you'll have to leave your car or camper behind and take the mail boat from Stonington. With just five lean-tos, Duck Harbor will appeal to campers who are willing to trade comfort and convenience for the relative solitude of Isle au Haut. Those wanting more amenities can check with the campgrounds just outside park boundaries: Bar Harbor Campground , Bar Harbor Oceanside KOA , Hadley's Point Campground , Mt. Desert Narrows Camping Resort and Smuggler's Den Campground .
If you're just looking for a place to enjoy an alfresco lunch, the park maintains several areas with picnic tables, fireplaces and restrooms. Bear Brook and Fabbri are on the eastern side of the island; Bear Brook is near the Sieur de Monts Spring entrance and Fabbri is on Otter Cove not far from Thunder Hole and the Gorham Mountain Trailhead. Seawall is on the southwestern part of the island near the Seawall Campground, Pretty Marsh is on the western side of the island, and Thompson Island is off SR 3 where the road crosses from the mainland to Mount Desert Island. Frazer Point is on the Schoodic Peninsula on the way to Schoodic Point .
More and more visitors come to Acadia to rock climb, with the sea cliff at Otter Cliff being one of the most popular places for the sport. Not many other sites on the East Coast offer both scalable granite walls and an oceanfront setting. The Precipice challenges with a more than 200-foot sheer rock wall, while the South Bubble near Jordan Pond is a better spot for beginners.

Things to See
Cadillac Mountain
Places in Vicinity

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Top Hotels
Current Location: Acadia National Park, Maine
1
Best Western Acadia Park Inn
452 State Hwy 3. Bar Harbor, ME 04609
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Members save 5% to 15% and earn 10% bonus Best Western Rewards® points when booking AAA rates!
2
Hampton by Hilton Bar Harbor
12 Norman Rd. Bar Harbor, ME 04609
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Members save up to 10% and earn Honors points when booking AAA rates!
3
Kimball Terrace Inn
10 Huntington Rd. Northeast Harbor, ME 04662
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4
Bar Harbor Inn & Spa
7 Newport Dr. Bar Harbor, ME 04609
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