Each year, hundreds of thousands of people visit Acadia National Park in Maine. Acadia showcases the wide range of beautiful terrain in Maine, from stunning granite cliffs rising up out of the Atlantic, to pristine glacial lakes and ponds, to craggy peaks rising up over the ocean. Over 47,000 acres make up Acadia, and includes parts of Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor, and Northeast Harbor. Many who visit Acadia return year after year to see something new each time, or rediscover a favorite beach or mountaintop.
When you visit Acadia, there are many ways to take in the beauty of the park. Visitors are encouraged to “go car-less” when visiting, and explore on foot, bike, and even horseback! If you’d rather see the sights of Acadia from motorized vehicle, National Park Tours runs guided bus tours May through October – there is also a trolley that boards in Bar Harbor, provides narrated tours of the Park as well. Both trolley and bus stop at the top of Cadillac Mountain, so riders can enjoy breathtaking views of Frenchman Bay and Bar Harbor. Visitors can also take tours of the park via horse-drawn carriage following the traditions of Acadia’s first tourists at the turn of the twentieth century. All of the tour options mentioned are independently owned and operated; information can be found at all local visitor centers.
Hikers, bikers, skiers, kayakers, horseback riders, all love to visit Acadia, not only for it’s natural beauty, but for the many trails and unique carriage road system that runs through the park. The Acadia carriage roads were designed and financed by John D. Rockefeller Jr. The gravel carriage roads span over 50 miles and include granite bridges and two lodges. Granite posts, officially called “Coping Stones” but nicknamed “Rockefeller’s Teeth” line the sides of the roads and act as a natural guard rail along the miles of roads and trails. The carriage roads winding throughout the park are extremely popular and an excellent way for visitors to see the many parts of Acadia.
Though many people chose to visit Acadia during the summer months, much of the park is open during the winter. Because of the nature of Maine’s very snowy and icy winters, most of Park Loop Road, is closed from December thru April, as is the road to the top of Cadillac Mountain, and unpaved roads are usually closed November to April. Don’t let the road closures discourage you from seeing Acadia in the winter though – many of roads are only closed to vehicles, making them safe and inviting for other winter sports. In fact, many travel to Acadia in the winter to ski, snowshoe, and snowmobile. Winter camping sites are available during snowy months as well. Be sure to check local weather before you head out, as all openings are subject to weather conditions.
When you visit Acadia, make sure to leave plenty of time to visit Bar Harbor and all of Mount Desert Island. The entire area offers excellent food, shopping, and sightseeing opportunities. Seeing Acadia National Park is a wonderful experience in any season, for families, and groups of any age.