Watch out for summer traffic congestion and parking issues, and be sure to bring patience when you come to the park. While we do have wildlife in Acadia, seeing seals sunning themselves on the rocky shoals of the Atlantic is a wonderful sight.
The park only has land including islands ownership and does not own any parts or tacks of ocean. Ocean Path, a hiking trail, borders Ocean Drive, so, really, you can drive it, walk it, or take the free Islander Explorer bus, which can drop you off at trails, Sand Beach, or Thunder Hole—all parts of the Loop Road. If you only have one day to spend in the park, make sure to hit the Park Loop Road which will give you incredible views of the rugged Maine coast and Cadillac Mountain.
My favorites are the fall hawk migration program on Cadillac Summit and the night sky program at Sand Beach.
New Hampshire’s Kancamagus Highway
Acadia experiences a foot tide differential throughout the day and there are many places where you can discover what the tide left behind, including crabs, starfish, and many varieties of shellfish. Just outside park boundaries, you can visit several island fishing villages that embody the true flavor of the Maine Coast.
To get off the beaten path, check the small fishing villages. If my park had a mascot it would be a peregrine falcon. Theirs is a remarkable species recovery story and Acadia is deeply embedded in that story. The peregrine nesting site at Champlain Mount on Precipice Cliffs is one of the older site locations for wild peregrines on the East Coast.
Connecticut (U.S. National Park Service)
The park sponsors a ranger-led program at the site, where a spotting scope is set up so visitors can see into the nest. The park offers several ranger-guided and narrated tours , by bus, trolley, carriage, and boat. Bar Harbor is the largest town on Mount Desert Island. Bar Harbor has plenty to do if you want to enjoy a day in town. There is dining with an emphasis on lobster and blueberries, of course. And shopping at many interesting boutiques offering the work of Maine artists.
You can jump aboard a whale-watching vessel or join a nature cruise or a sea kayak trip. The town has an oceanarium, a zoo and a popular lumberjack show during the warm seasons.
Acadia national park, Maine
Craft beers? The park has two museums. The nature center is open May to October. Adjacent to the nature center are the Wild Gardens of Acadia , which display native species of the area nine labeled areas. The gardens are open year-round.
Also at this location is the Abbe Museum , which preserves the culture of local Native American tribes This museum is open during the warm seasons; another branch of the Abbe Museum, in downtown Bar Harbor, is open all year. There are so many things to do in this beautiful part of the world. The lighthouse has short trails on either side that provide spectacular views. Carriage Roads that wind through the park have crushed rock surfaces that are ideal perfect for bicycling.
Cyclists share these roads with horses and pedestrians.
Bicycling is not permitted on hiking trails. At Otter Cliffs, the park maintains fixed anchors on top that must be used instead of trees to belay several climbs.
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Climbers at Great Head and Otter Cliff should know tides and weather forecasts; climbing at these areas is more difficult and dangerous at high tide or in heavy seas. The Story of Glaciers will get you started.
Acadia National Park offers freshwater and saltwater fishing. Lakes and ponds may have trout, landlocked salmon, smallmouth and largemouth bass.
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Ocean species include mackerel, bluefish, and striped bass. Freshwater fishing requires a state fishing license; ocean fishing does not. Maps provided by the park describes several historic hiking trails.