10 Things To Know About Acadia National Park

10 Things To Know About Acadia National Park

We came up with the ten things to know about when you visit Acadia National Park.


1. Plan to stay as long as possible.

We originally planned on a week trip. Quickly we discovered that more time was needed to explore this beautiful park. One week turned into two, then into three. We could have easily stayed longer. We camped at the Bar Harbor Campground. No reservation so we were able to renewal our campsite as needed. We had an ocean view and a blueberry field at our site. We went on more than 23 hikes. We spent a day kayaking on the sea and the evening cooking dinner over a campfire on the beach. We visited Bar Harbor, several smaller towns and made a couple of trips over to Schoodic Peninsula. Still we feel like we needed more time.

2. Park pass.

A seven day vehicle pass is $25 (2017), motorcycle are $20 for seven days, $12 per person without vehicle for seven days, and youth 15 and under are admitted free. We brought the National Park pass for $80. Visit their web site here.

3. Shuttle bus.

Plan on staying at a location on the free shuttle bus route. The Acadia Free Shuttle is sponsor by L.L.Bean. Besides having well-made and long lasting gear, L.L. Bean actual put their money into saving this beautiful area. The buses are fueled by propane. Propane burns cleaner than gasoline. The shuttle will pick up and drop off at any safe location along their route. We were able to get on a bus in front of the campground and have the driver drop us off at different trail heads. Be sure to grab a shuttle map and keep it handy.

4. Do not drive your RV into park.

We saw a Class B RV with their a/c torn off the top from a low clearance bridge. I feel bad for the tourist but also am concern about the damage to these old hand made one of a kind stone bridges. Each bridge is unique. The grade, narrow roads and sharp curves are also a good reason to leave the RV at camp and take the free shuttle.

5. Tide app.

The tide change effects more than just the look of the landscape. Low tide is necessary to hike to Bar Harbor Island. Low tide provides an opportunity to play in the tide pools. We kayak to The Ovens that could only be seen at low tide. High tide makes Thunder Hole worth seeing. High tide waves crashing against the rocks making great photo opts from the shore line or from the top of a trail.  A simple app keeping you up on the tide table will be valuable.

6. Drive to Cadillac Mountain (as many as times as possible).

The drive up to Cadillac Mountain is wonderful. The free shuttle does not go up this route but a private tour bus does. Watch for cyclist alone the way. We went almost every other evening to watch the sunset. If there is no cloud coverage, the sunset doesn’t have as much color. Too much cloud coverage and you see nothing. We would take up thermos of hot cocoa, coats, lawn chairs and cameras. It was just a great way to put the day to rest.

7. Dogs are allowed.

Yeah! Another place that loves dogs. The dogs are allow on the shuttle and the hiking trails. Every dog we encounter was well behaved and having a great time. The owners were responsible and attentive to their pets.

8. Medallions/Park books.

The gift shop sold walking stick medallions and park books.  Park books can be stamped when you visit any of the National Parks and you can get stickers. It’s a nice souvenir.  Each medallions design is different. The metal medallions can be attached onto a walking stick. We tried to get a medallion for each summit that we hiked.  

9. Weather awareness.

Weather shouldn’t make or break a day. It’s significant so you know how to plan your day. Rainy mornings can be spent in Bar Harbor gift shops and when it clears up take a shuttle to a trail head for an afternoon hike. We hiked up Dorr Mountain on a clear morning and arrived at the summit just in time to see nothing but fog. Knowing that a fog coverage will burn off or move in is a handy piece of information. We all know that temperature varies based on elevation and it’s worth having extra clothing with you all the time. Weather Bug app was something we learned to consult regularly though out the day.

10. Eating.

We prepared most of our own meals but occasionally local cuisine is a nice treat. Sometimes it’s even more than a treat, it is part of the experience. Such as having a popover at Jordon Pond. You can request seating inside and outside. If the bees are out, opt for inside dining. Bees love the jelly that is served with the famous popover. Everything on the menu looked great. Be sure to make reservation. We arrived early and looked around the gift shop. The best place to find a lobster roll in Bar Harbor is at Downeast Deli located next to the Visitor Info center on the corner of Maine St & Cottage St.  Grab you lobster roll and head either the Village Green Park or Agamont Park. Both places are great for enjoying the shade or the sunshine and a little people watching. Another Bar Harbor spot we enjoyed was the Thirsty Whale at 40 Cottage Street. They have an appetizer Seafood Sampler that is more of a meal. They also serve burgers, salads and adult beverages. We visit farmer markets at a couple of the smaller towns around the island for fresh local produces. After hiking all day, it’s a good thing there are so many ice cream parlors. Every parlor we visited was good. Maybe too good. 

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