Acadia National Park holds a special place in my heart. My dad’s side of the family all live in Maine so I’ve been lucky enough to visit this park quite a few times.
Due to a ridiculous amount of van issues caused by a cotton headed ninny muggins dealership This time, I was #blessed that I got to see Acadia in three different seasons this time; summer, fall, and pre-winter!
If you have never been to Acadia, and want the highlights, start with Park Loop Road. This will take you to the most popular sights such as Cadillac Mountain and Thunder Hole. If you want to stretch your legs, make sure to do a hike or two, and try out the Carriage Roads by bike! However, because both Mike and I had been here before, we used this opportunity to visit the Southwest area which is a much less visited section of the Park.
It can be quite a trek to get there from the main visitor center; Hulls Cove, where the main Park Loop Road begins. However, there is an information center when you first get to the island. If you get your maps and info there, you can go directly to the southwest, rather than going to the visitor center and backtracking. Per the Ranger’s suggestions, we followed Route 102 to see the sites; Beech Mountain, Seawall, Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, and Pretty Marsh. You can also climb a nice trail to Acadia Mountain but we decided to forgo that this time. Seawall was my favorite stop on this route – we played on the rocks and explored looking for sea creatures. Mike found a pretty seaweed scarf.
The lighthouse was a bit underwhelming, especially at first. At the parking lot (which was packed), you get directed by signs to go to the right down a path. This leads you directly at the lighthouse. Not exactly the prettiest view of a lighthouse, especially by an old fence and a million people. Luckily, we peeped some other visitors behind the lighthouse, on the rocky coast from the other direction. So, we found the hidden trail that is in the left corner of the parking lot that leads to some fun climbing and much better views!
Autumn in Acadia is made for leaf peeping (i.e. looking at pretty colored leaves)! It wasn’t quite as glorious as it can be, but it’s a very hard thing to plan for. There is a tiny window where the leaves are at their peak color, and still on the trees. Sadly, the fall season this year was very rainy and windy which made it hard to leaf peep as the leaves brown a lot quicker and get blown off the trees faster. However, that did not stop it from being wicked crowded (yeah, I’m using as much New England slang as I can). We stuck to the main Park Loop Road and went to the most popular stops; Cadillac Mountain and Jordan Pond.
I’m defining pre-winter as that super gross time between fall and snowy winter; no leaves on the trees anymore, gray, dreary, rainy. Obviously, this my least recommended time to visit – I’d love to come back and see it with actual snow! We mostly were here because we had FINALLY gotten our van back and wanted to make sure it was actually repaired,
and was good to go for a long trek! unlike the last time and we were hundreds of miles away and the part that had just gotten replaced flew off and broke everything
While it was pitiful weather and we didn’t really get out of the car, it still had a dark kind of beauty to it. The crashing waves on the rocks, the frozen icicles on the cliffs, and being the absolute only people there was pretty romantic. Also good news, the van didn’t break down and we we’re finally ready to leave Maine after waiting around for almost three months!
- If you are going in the summer, or any other popular time – START early! The Park Loop Road is a one way road at various places, and it quickly becomes a standstill with almost no parking available.
- Get yo hike on! Talk to a Ranger about what would be best for you in terms of what you’re looking for. Beehive is one of the most fun and adventurous hikes here.
- Acadia is very pet friendly! There are a few trails and places they can’t go, but let them enjoy this beautiful place too!
- Go kayaking while here and see the park from a unique perspective.
- Book lodging early! Bar Harbor (the closest town) is a very popular and adorable place to spend your time outside of the park. The campgrounds in the park also fill up early.
- If you’re coming all the way to visit Acadia, make sure to save some time to spend in Maine, outside of the park. There are SO many things to see in this wonderful state!