There aren’t any deserts to be present in New England, so the identify of Maine’s “Mount Desert” Island comes as a little bit of a shock to these unfamiliar with it. At this time, about half of Mount Desert Island is preserved as Acadia Nationwide Park. It’s one of many smallest but most-visited nationwide parks within the nation. When French explorer Samuel de Champlain first explored the New England coast within the early seventeenth century, he was struck by how barren and treeless this rocky shoreline was. He dubbed it the island of monts-déserts, or “barren mountains.” He wasn’t unsuitable—the panorama of “Downeast Maine” alongside the Bay of Fundy between the “Mid-Coast” space and the Canadian border is exclusive to the remainder of New England. Right here, lush forests give method to granite mountains that stand up from the ocean. It’s the best alongside the jap seaboard this facet of Rio de Janeiro.
Acadia has a lot to supply guests, and even locals discover themselves returning time and time once more to discover its riches. In the event you’re excited by visiting the Northeast’s solely nationwide park this facet of the Shenandoah Valley, it’s completely definitely worth the journey. Right here, we’re breaking down profit from your Acadia Nationwide Park journey.
The right way to get to Acadia Nationwide Park
In the course of the peak summer time months, driving your automotive is handy for in all places besides the park itself. Sure, you will get from Logan Airport in Boston to the park’s entrance in 4 and a half hours flat. However know that site visitors and parking when you’re contained in the park could kill your vibe. In the event you plan on seeing just a few different elements of Maine in your journey (such because the restaurant scene in Portland, or the preppy seashore enclave at Kennebunkport), it’s most likely greatest to drive. In case your sole focus is Acadia, there are just a few different choices.
Regional service Cape Air affords recurrently scheduled flights from Boston to Mount Desert Island. From there, it’s simple to take a taxi from the airport to your lodge. And as long as you’re staying in one of many primary villages on the island (there are a number of), it’s simple to hop on and off the Island Explorer, a recurrently scheduled shuttle bus that drives loops across the island and thru the nationwide park, hitting all the primary spots alongside the best way. The Island Explorer’s web site additionally has a really helpful “Automobile-Free Journey Information” that lists out the assorted choices for public transportation from close by Bangor, Maine, in addition to Boston.
What to anticipate
The temperature in New England, particularly alongside the coast, may be variable. Even within the peak of summer time, chillier nights can get down into the 40s, so positively pack some layers. This time of 12 months, all the pieces is on the desk weather-wise in New England, from dry warmth to excessive winds and even hail. Likelihood is, you possibly can anticipate daytime temperatures within the excessive 70s with a lot of solar and humidity. Hikers from drier climates could be stunned by how oppressive the warmth can really feel. Pack layers, carry loads of water, make a plan for the place you’re going, and also you’ll be positive. The Nationwide Park Service’s Acadia Nationwide Park webpage is a must-read useful resource for path closures, repairs notices, and advisories about which elements of the park could or might not be open at any given time.
By way of the place to situate your self, it’s price noting there are a number of villages on the island of Mount Desert, essentially the most notable together with the charming city of Bar Harbor, and the sleepier Southwest Harbor. If it’s your first time to the island and proximity to the nationwide park entrance is your precedence, go for one thing in Bar Harbor. Southwest Harbor is about 20 minutes away by automotive from the nationwide park (longer in site visitors), however, conversely, is far sleepier and extra low key than the customarily crowded streets of Bar Harbor within the peak of summer time.
What to Do in Acadia Nationwide Park
Drive the Park Loop Street
Acadia’s 27-mile Park Loop Street is the quintessential scenic drive, with ocean views, lakeside splendor, and dramatic cliffs in spades. It’s a worthwhile drive in and of itself, however can be essentially the most handy method to entry most of the park’s primary points of interest like Sand Seashore, Otter Level, and Cadillac Mountain.
Hike, hike, and hike some extra
Did we point out you must hike when you’re right here? There are over 158 miles of climbing trails in Acadia Nationwide Park, with choices starting from family-friendly to downright grueling. Essentially the most traditional might be the hike up Cadillac Mountain, particularly at dawn, because it’s among the many first locations within the nation to see the solar rise over the Atlantic.
Whereas the crowds have a tendency to stay to Cadillac (there’s a automotive street that ends on the summit), locals like to summit “The Bee-hive,” a difficult hike that features granite steps, iron by way of ferrata rungs, and simply sufficient scrambling to maintain issues attention-grabbing. When you attain the highest, nevertheless, you’re handled to views which might be pretty much as good as anyplace else within the park. You even have solely a fraction of the vacationers. And keep in mind, the Nationwide Park Service’s Acadia web site is a superb useful resource for dwell updates on which trails could or might not be closed for repairs.
See Acadia from the water
Mountaineering trails throughout Acadia Nationwide Park make it potential to stroll throughout most of the park’s rugged pure options. Seeing them from the water provides a novel perspective to the park’s geography. Catch a experience with Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co., which affords whale watching excursions, puffin excursions, lighthouse excursions, in addition to a from-the-water tour of Acadia Nationwide Park. You’ll see issues that you’d by no means in any other case see from land-based adventures.
Kayak to an oyster farm
OK, Bar Harbor Oyster Firm’s oyster farm may not technically be throughout the confines of Acadia Nationwide Park. However that is an exercise that completely any customer to Mount Desert Island—particularly those that love meals—ought to think about. Aquaculture has exploded in New England in recent times, and this small domestically owned operation makes use of its farm excursions program to present a glimpse into the day-to-day lifetime of a contemporary farmer. The tour goes twice every week throughout July and August—be aware, it books up shortly! You get to kayak out to the corporate’s oyster farm and style some contemporary bivalves plucked straight from the water.
The place to remain
Terramor Out of doors Resort Bar Harbor
As the one full-service glamping property positioned on Mount Desert Island, Terramor is the sort of property that might simply relaxation on its laurels. Fortunately, it doesn’t. This out of doors resort takes all of the work out of tenting, so you possibly can give attention to the enjoyable stuff. It’s nearly unfair to name the tents right here “tents.” They’ve Frette linens, Pendleton blankets, screened-in porches, personal loos, and personal hearth rings. The property additionally has an outside pool and hut tub, and a extremely skilled workers can advise on hikes, canoeing, and biking within the nationwide park. You may as well brush up in your outdoorsy abilities like constructing fires and studying path maps. New for this summer time is TerraS’Mores—a rotating menu of gourmand s’mores corresponding to lobster and brie s’mores, summer time strawberry s’mores, and candied bacon s’mores. It’s possible you’ll simply be unable to return to common tenting ever once more.
Queen Anne’s Revenge
Everybody loves a comeback story. The before-and-after photos on Instagram of this inn’s current renovation are nothing in need of jaw dropping. Three neighboring nineteenth century cottages have been reworked into modern but historic hideaways. They’re actually some of the attention-grabbing locations to remain on the Maine coast this summer time. No two rooms are the identical, and your keep features a free continental breakfast every morning. In search of one thing extra substantial? The inn is conveniently positioned inside strolling distance to all that Bar Harbor has to supply.
West Road Lodge
A rooftop pool? In Maine? You wager—and it’s additionally the one pool on the entire island with views into the nationwide park. The lodge’s restaurant Stewman’s Lobster Pound is without doubt one of the greatest in Bar Harbor for a traditional Maine lobster bake. In the meantime, the lodge’s pub Paddy’s is a reliably enjoyable place for a nightcap. Take into accout, the lodge is eighteen+. On an island which may be intensely family-oriented in the course of the hotter months, this can be a welcome reprieve for grownups. And in case you’re attempting to journey with youngsters, try the lodge’s sister property, Harborside Lodge, the place youngsters are welcome. It’s throughout the road.
For entry to unique gear movies, celeb interviews, and extra, subscribe on YouTube!