Acadia National Park meets and exceeds all of Maine stereotypes: rocky coasts, lighthouses, miles of undeveloped coastline and beautiful vistas around every corner.
The park is very accessible for families with young kids, as seen from our pictures below.
We were able to get to most all of the sights with short walks that little legs could handle.
Driving along the rocky coastline with patches of blueberries along the side and forests of spruce and pitch pine as far as you can see…you may find yourself wanting to stay. And while this National Park is growing in popularity, we visited in the heart of the summer and never felt like we were in a crowd. Encompassing 35,000 acres of forest, mountains, islands, and seacoasts, Acadia has plenty of room to feel like you’re the only one there.
Our favorite things to do in Acadia and the surrounding area include…
- Schoodic Peninsula: There’s a very scenic 5.5 mile (one-way) drive that hugs the shore line and offers some great turn-outs and picture-taking spots. One of our favorites was looking back at Mt. Desert Island in the distance (where we enjoyed some of the sights described below, earlier in the vacation).
- Winter Harbor: Home of the Schoodic Peninsula, a fleet of lobster boats and a quaint downeast fishing town, Winter Harbor Maine is a great place to stop along scenic Route 1.
- Cadillac Mountain: At 1532 feet high Cadillac Mountain is not only he highest point in Acadia National Park, it’s also the highest point on the North Atlantic seaboard and the first place to officially see the sunrise in the United States from Fall to Spring. A 3.5 mile steep and winding road takes you to the top where you can walk a nice 0.3-mile trail, visit the gift shop, and take in views like no others in the great state of Maine.
- Thunder Hole: This unique rocky inlet vantage point lies above a cavern on the ocean that when the waves roll into it, it forces the air out the top with a clap of thunder sound…hence its name. It’s a neat place to see and if the surf is right, it may even give you ashamu-type show with its monstrous fountain splash!
- Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse: Illuminating the rocky shoreline on the southwest part of Mt. Desert Island since 1858, this lighthouse is actually the private residence of a Coast Guard officer. A short walk with a set of stairs takes you to a great vantage point of the lighthouse on the cliff and the ocean.
- Bar Harbor: Located adjacent to Mt. Desert Island / Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor is the quintessential New England shore town. You have lots of good choices of restaurants, bars, and activities. You can rent a bike and ride trails along the coast, take a whale-watching boat tour, or just enjoy the ambiance and relaxation of the Maine coast line at your bed & breakfast, hotel, or favorite eatery.
- Park Loop Road: This 27-mile road is well worth driving and stopping at all of the scenic overlooks along the way. It will wind you along the coastline and through much of the vistas and beauty to be seen in Acadia.
Acadia National Park, the undeveloped pine forests, and the surrounding harbors capture New England seaside charm like no other area. I always worry about our kids’ attention span when you go to a place like this – and I’m always pleasantly surprised that toys and games don’t hold a candle to the wonderments of our natural world!
For the inside scoop on Acadia National Park Maine and other Maine vacation ideas, please visit Inside York Maine Vacations.