Our Favorite Things to Do at Acadia National Park

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View of Acadia National Park

There’s no shortage of things to do at Acadia National Park. One of the nation’s 63 national parks, Acadia is where the ocean meets the mountains meaning there are plenty of natural phenomena to explore within the park. 

It’s time for a visit to Acadia National Park, and we’ve got a few of our favorite things to do while there. 

About Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. This U.S. National Park encompasses over 47,000 acres of land. It’s also home to many plant and animal species and stunning geological features.

Established as a national site in 1916, it became Acadia National Park in 1929. It’s now one of the top 10 most visited U.S. National Parks.

Acadia is a beautiful place to explore whether you’re driving up Cadillac Mountain to see the sunrise.

You can also hike on any of the more than 150 miles of trails, or beachcombing on the rocky shores. Visitors can also enjoy evenings spent camping and various other activities such as biking, tide pooling, or even a carriage ride.

Where Is Acadia National Park?

Acadia is one of the top 10 most visited national parks in the U.S. However, it’s not one of the easiest parks to visit simply because of its remote location.

Tucked away in the state’s northeast corner, Maine is home to this stunning location. It offers tourists sites of waves crashing on rocks and forested lands careening into the sea.

Less than 3 miles from the quintessential town of Bar Harbor, once you’re here, you may never want to leave. With 27 miles of scenic roads, 158 miles of hiking trails, and 45 miles of carriage roads, you’ll need more than just a day to enjoy all that Acadia has to offer.

How Many Days Do You Need to Spend in Acadia National Park?

So, if one day is not enough to explore all of Acadia National Park, how many days are needed? Depending on what you want to see and do will dictate how many days are needed for you to experience its thrill.

If you only have one day, choose the most important activity that resonates with you. For example, if that’s hiking, it might mean taking on the park’s most famous hike, the Precipice Trail.

If you’re more of a scenic drive type, you may want to head straight for Cadillac Mountain and watch the sunrise from Acadia’s tallest peak.

If you have more than one day, you get the chance to experience trails, camping, beaches, and more without ever feeling rushed or worn down. 

With three days, you’ll be able to hop on a carriage, view the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain, and hike Precipice Trail, along with many others. You’ll have a home base while camping within the park itself.

Not only that, but you’ll have enough time for the 3-mile drive into Bar Harbor. There, you can dine on fresh lobster rolls, enjoy a cocktail, and shop to your heart’s content.

Our Favorite Things to Do at Acadia National Park

We’ve touched on a few of our favorite things to do at Acadia National Park, even if you only have one day to spend here.

But we would be doing you a bit of injustice if we didn’t share more details. From hiking to scenic drives to eating popovers, we’ve got your itinerary planned. All you have to do is show up.

Watch a Sunrise from Cadillac Mountain

Cadillac Mountain shines brightly as the tallest mountain in Acadia National Park, at 1,530 feet. If you want to experience the first light in the continental U.S. then Cadillac Mountain is definitely the place to be. You can pay a visit between March 6 and October 7.

However, don’t forget that reservations are necessary during the summer months if you wish to drive to Cadillac Mountain for the sunrise. But if walking or hiking is more your speed, Cadillac Mountain can still be an adventure with a four-mile hike available to reach its peak. 

Don’t want to fight the crowds? No problem! Check out Otter Cliffs, the Ocean Path, Schoodic Point, or Schooner Head for other breathtaking options for sunrise views. 

View of the sunrise at Cadillac mountain

Explore the Park on Two Wheels

Acadia National Park offers countless opportunities for bikers looking to get out and explore. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous thrill or just a casual ride, Acadia has something for you.

The 45 miles of the park’s carriage roads provide perfect terrain with a crushed rock surface – perfect for bike riding. 

It’s important to be aware that these carriage roads carry horses, carriages, and hikers, so make sure to stay alert while cycling. 

If you’re feeling daring, you can bike the famous Park Loop Road. But – warning – it’s quite busy with vehicle traffic and no shoulder space. Gravel roads such as Seal Cove Road, Western Mountain Road, and Lurvey Spring Road are also great options for biking. So why not jump on your bike today and experience Acadia’s beauty from a different vantage point?

Walk Around Jordan Pond

For favorite things to do at Acadia National Park, Jordan Pond is it. This tranquil spot boasts a pristine lake with spectacular mountain scenery.

Canoeing and kayaking with the glacier-carved landscape as a backdrop offer an unforgettable experience unlike any other.

For the adventure seekers out there, don’t miss hiking the Bubbles or Jordan Cliff Loop for some incredible panoramic views of one of our favorite outdoor paradises. All this and more await you just 30 minutes from Hulls Cove Visitor Center.

Keep in Mind: Looking to camp at this national park? Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Acadia National Park Camping

View of Jordan Pond

Eat Popovers at Jordan Pond House Restaurant

Jordan Pond House Restaurant is an iconic eatery located right on Jordan Pond on Mount Desert Island. It’s been a beloved spot since the late 1800s and remains a popular spot among Acadia National Park visitors. 

Jordan Pond House Restaurant is especially known for its classic afternoon tea and popovers that they’ve served up to patrons over the years. If you happen to be visiting the area, you’d be remiss not to grab some tea and popovers – a traditional favorite of ours. 

Experience the Power of Nature at Thunder Hole

Thunder Hole is another favorite thing to do at Acadia National Park. Once the tide is low, a naturally carved-out inlet gives visitors spectacular views of ocean cliffs.

As the waves come into the channel, they escape with a thunderous roar.

It’s important to aim to visit Thunder Hole a couple of hours before high tide for an unforgettable experience, as the waves can reach 40 feet when they crash into the cliffs.

Finding Thunder Hole is simple. Either drive the Park Loop Road or walk along Ocean Path. This is a great opportunity to experience some of Maine’s natural beauty in motion.

View of Thunder Hole at Acadia National Park

Drive Park Loop Road

Speaking of driving Park Loop Road, this is a must-do when visiting Acadia National Park. Park Loop Road is a stunning 27-mile drive around the east side of Mount Desert Island.

Along this scenic road, you’ll have no shortage of breathtaking views of the park’s many lakes, mountains, and shoreline. 

There are places like Sieur de Monts with its Nature Center and Wild Gardens of Acadia, Sand Beach leading to Thunder Hole, and other beautiful ocean cliff vantage points.

Of course, Park Loop Road also takes you past two of our other favorite things to do at Acadia National Park: Jordan Pond and Cadillac Mountain.

Keep in Mind: What Are the Scariest Roads in America? Click the link to find out!

Conquer Precipice Trail

Precipice Trail is a short yet challenging hike that features a steep climb, with metal rungs and ladders along the way as you walk along narrow ledges. The exposure on this trail is breathtaking. 

However, Precipice is closed for most of the summer due to the presence of peregrine falcons nesting.

Open in late August or early September, if you can hike this trail, it provides fantastic views as you conquer over 1,000 feet of elevation gain over its 2.5-mile stretch. 

If Precipice is closed when you’re around, another great ladder trail to check out is the Beehive Trail, which is open during summer. A bit shorter hike at one and a half miles long and only 500 feet of elevation gain will still reward you with views at the end.

View of Conquer Precipice Trail

Is Acadia National Park Worth Visiting?

You might feel you’re at the end of the world when visiting Acadia National Park. With its stunning oceanside cliffs, roaring and crashing waves, and scenic roads leading to sunrises, what else is there in this world? 

Acadia National Park is worth visiting with our list of favorite things to do in Acadia National Park. What will your list look like when you visit this gorgeous national park?

1 comment
  1. Without a doubt, I would make a return visit to the Bass Harbor Lighthouse at the tip of the island. It is wonderful to climb down the boulders and photograph the lighthouse from below.

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