The 10 Best Sights to See at Acadia National Park
It should come as no surprise when we say the earth is your playground. To prove how, we are about to introduce a place holding a natural amalgamation of diverse landscapes, rare wildlife, and rich cultural heritage where you can find every adventure you look for on a vacation.
Located on the coast of Maine, the National Park of Acadia is spread across an area of 47,000 acres and hosts the highest headlands along the Atlantic coastline of the United States. The beautiful scenery, pleasant weather throughout the year, and abundance of recreational activities has made this crown of the North Atlantic coast secure a place amongst the 10 most-visited national parks of the US.
Amongst miles of hiking trails, numerous below-peaking summits, and dramatic coastlines, there is a lot to cover on your golden time to Acadia National Park. To make sure you don’t miss any, we have hand-picked for you the must-not-miss of this enormous natural wonder. Begin your exploration!
Couldn’t resist but start our list with a landscape without visiting which the visit to Acadia is incomplete. Forever praised for its unmatched beauty, the Cadillac Mountain is the tallest peak on Mount Desert Island and the Atlantic Coast. The secret to its fame lies in it being the first peak to catch sun rays in the US during the summer portion of the year.
Being the only peak accessed both by foot and by car, it attracts a lot of visitors throughout the year. The best time to find the peak uncrowded is during winters, however, the roads are closed down in this season and the peak can only be accessed through the Cadillac Summit Loop trail. Don’t miss out on catching the solitude of Cadillac Mountain as it hosts one of the best sunrises one could ever witness.
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
If you want to avoid the crowds of Cadillac Mountain yet still want to experience the breathtaking sunrise of the Atlantic coast, the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse platform is your best bet. Located on the southern tip of Mount Desert Island and operated by US Coast Guards, the lighthouse is famous for its historical picturesqueness.
The Lighthouse platform can be accessed by foot on a short yet sloppy trail from the Bass Harbor parking lot. This cliffside viewpoint not only provides spectacular views of the horizon but also an ocean observation area where you might witness dolphins and seals in their habitat. To avoid crowds on your way to the parking lot, you may also take Island Explorer, a shuttle dropping passengers half a mile away from the lighthouse platform.
Located near the town of Bar Harbour in Maine, Jordan Pond is a glacier formed by tarn with crystal clear waters. Mirroring the surrounding mountains of Penobscot, Pemetic, and the Bubbles, the pond has a visibility of 44 feet. The respite can be accessed by both Jordan Pond Nature trail and Jordan Pond Shore trail, both holding a picturesque outlook and rich birdlife surroundings.
To preserve it from pollution, swimming and motor boats are not allowed in the pond. However, non motor boats such as Kayaks and Canoes are permitted to experience 150 feet deep waters of Jordan Pond.
Bonus: The area also houses the only full service restaurant of Acadia National Park, the Jordan Pond House, overlooking the splendid Jordan Pond while providing a modern dine-in.
If you are looking for a picnic place on your trip to Acadia, nothing but Sand Beach is your go-to. The 290 yards long sandy beach is located on the east side of Mount Desert Island Coastline and can be accessed through Park Loop Road.
A number of activities including swimming, basking, and beach games await you at the little half sand half shell beach. Three coastal trails named The Beehive, Great Head Trail, and Ocean Path also begin nearby.
Ever heard of thunder without clouds? No, right? Now is your time to. Right past the Sand beach is the beautiful yet awe-inspiring location of Thunder hole, a small inlet carved naturally out of rocks by the force of waves. It all happens in a small cavern at the bottom of the inlet when the waves hit the rock and the air is released from the cavern resulting in a thunderous boom and water sprouting as high as 40 feet. A rare sight to witness, agreed by millions!
Being the only part of the park located on the mainland of Maine, the Schoodic Peninsula is rather secluded yet different from the rest of the National Park. Offering panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, Mount Desert Island, and Frenchman Bay in the distance, Schoodic Point is a 440 foot high point on the southern tip of the peninsula.
The Peninsula is located at a 1 hour drive from Hulls Cove Visitor Center.
This 1.4 miles long strenuous loop trail is one of the most thrilling hikes in the National Park. Accessed from Sand Beach, the steep cliff route and iron rungs take you all the way up to The Beehive, providing you the majestic views of Sands Beach, Great Head and Mt. Desert Island in the distance.
Warning: This trail is not recommended for people with fear of heights.
With its history dating back to French and English wars over the area, the bay got its name from being a staging point for French warships during the time. Currently, the bay is the first scenic stop on the Park Loop Road and provides views of numerous landmarks surrounding the waters including the pink Cadillac mountains, Champlain Mountain, and Schoodic Peninsula to the east while Porcupine Island, Ironbound Island, and Grindstone neck in the north.
Apart from enjoying spectacular views, witnessing marine wildlife, and lodging in the Bar Harbor, you can also engage in water activities ranging from fishing and sailing to boating, cruising, and sea kayaking.
A unique blend of natural and manmade landscape, the Asticou Azalea Garden is an oasis designed with Japanese garden inspiration. Located Northeast of Bar Harbor in Maine, the garden attracts tourists to reflect upon themselves in the peace and solitude of the tranquil oasis.
With adapted plant life and local wildlife, the preserved garden of Azalea is free of cost for visitors and allows them to relax in the spiritually high lands of Acadia.
Wild Gardens of Acadia
The famous botanical gardens reflecting the habitat of Mt. Desert Island is located two miles south of Bar Harbor, an area maintained by a group of community volunteers. Home to more than 300 native species of plant and wildlife, the gardens never fail to fascinate the visitors with its natural resources. The area also has a Museum and Nature Center for you to discover the Acadian wonders.
From adventurous hikings to tranquil viewpoints, name it and you find it in the unique land of Acadia National Park holding everything for every interest. Bag the most of your experience at the park and explore the preserved wonder to your fullest. Happy vacation!
We have been to Acadia 3 times and found something new, beautiful and interesting each time . We’ve been there in midsummer, and late spring I’d love to plan a trip for the fall when the leaves are at their brightest. Our first trip we stayed at a B&B outside of Bar Harbor and the last two at the BarHarbor Inn. It’s a 13 hour drive from our home in PA but worth the drive.
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