Acadia National Park, Maine

Welcome to our Acadia National Park, Maine Travel Guide

One of the most visited National Parks in the United States, Acadia National park, just outside of Bar Harbor, Maine, offers breathtaking views, and endless outdoor adventures.

Each of our curated itineraries provides outdoor adventures in different parts of the park for you to enjoy, so pick what you like or do them all! 

Acadia National Park Travel Guide
Riding Bikes on the Carriage Roads

Itinerary option one

Itinerary one takes you through the park on E-bikes. Don’t forget your Acadia National Park Pass, it will make for a long bike back to the car! Enjoy beautiful beaches, Jordan Pond, and areas to hike in Acadia. 

  • E-bike popular attractions within Acadia National Park and bike the Carriage Roads back to the bike shop.
    • Make sure you have your Acadia National Park pass accessible, either printed or on your phone, and you’ve paid for parking (I recommend paying for parking until at least 5:45 pm). Pick up your e-bikes from Pedego at 9 am, and be mindful of the time the rest of the day to ensure the bikes are returned at the contracted time. Use the bathrooms next to the sweet shop near the Pedego shop, grab a map, and stuff your saddlebags or backpack with water, snacks, and a lunch. *Bike west on West Street, at Eden St/Highway, go up onto the shared sidewalk, making a right turn, until you reach the pedestrian crosswalk (approximately 500 yards), push the cross-walk button alerting traffic they are required to stop with flashing lights, and walk your bikes across the street which becomes Highbrook St. (go straight on Highbrook St.) and then a left on Woodbury and a right on West Street Extension.
    • Make a left on Paradise Hill Road, joining Park Loop Road going the one-way direction (not the 2-way direction) toward the Sand Beach Entrance Station.
    • Stop at the pull-off on the left of Park Loop Road to see the beautiful ocean views.
    • Bike to Sand Beach, which will be noted by the park signs as you cycle on Park Loop Road. Pull into the Sand Beach parking lot and parking your bike(s) at the bike rack with the lock provided in your bike kit. Change into your swimsuit in the private changing stalls, take a bathroom break, and hit the beach if you are willing to brave the 50-degree water. It’s a beautiful place to sun and beach. Towel off and wash your feet at the foot washing station. Near the bike rack, you will see the sign for the Ocean Path, a 4-mile round-trip hike. Hike the whole thing, or hike a little, to enjoy the ocean views.
    • Back on the bike to Otter Point, a lovely scenic view, but if you feel you’re short on time, I would skip this one.
    • Cycle to Jordan Pond, park your bike(s) in the bike rack in the parking lot, enjoy another bathroom break and the ONLY water fill station in the park. Jordan Pond is the only in-park restaurant and is not large enough to handle the volume of people in the park during lunch hours and locals will tell you the food isn’t that great for the two-hour wait; reservations are not accepted. I recommend packing sandwiches and snacks. The best place, to me, to have lunch is on the green grass at Jordan Pond, or bike left from Jordan pond (not going over the Jordan Pond bridge) until on the right you see a downward trail to Jordan Stream Trail or Little Jordan Pond carriage trail (from mile marker 15 to 23 and 24). Bike until you get to a larger stone bridge, traveling through tall pines meandering over wooden bridges as the stream cuts through the landscape. When you reach the Cobblestone Bridge, built in 1917, you are in a no-bike zone (dismount your bike here to avoid being fined). Having lunch atop the bridge, as the stream flowed under us, breathing in the pine smell, and dodging a few mosquitoes was a highlight of Acadia for me. It was so quiet, away from everyone, and very picturesque. Enjoy walking the easy paths of Jordan Stream Trail.
    • Start cycling back to the bike shop from Jordan Stream at about 1:40 pm toward Jordan Pond. Continue forward, over the Jordan Pond bridge, and be prepared for some stunning views to be revealed to you on your left. Stop and breathe in the view, as you stand on the Penobscot Mountain, looking at the North and South Bubble Mountains (two humps together to the left) and the Pemetic Mountain in front of you with the sparking Jordan Pond below.
    • Ride toward the Eagle Mountain Lake Carriage Trail or Aunt Betty’s Pond Carriage Trail, take a picture just before Eagle Lake Bridge, on the right, with Eagle Mountain behind you on the water’s edge.
    • Head north toward Duck Brook Bridge, then go left on the part of Duck Brook Road that is closed to vehicles and enters the 2-way Park Loop Road, then make a left on West Street Extension, a right on Woodbury, cross the street at the pedestrian crosswalk and you’re headed back to Bar Harbor.
    • After you return your bikes, head to Stewmans Lobster Pound or Terrace Grille for dinner.
    • About 7:30 pm, grab a dessert and drive to Cadillac Mountain, having made your date and time reservation in advance with your reservation either printed or on your phone to show at the entrance point, and walk the rocky trails along the mountain top, a great spot for pictures with the golden hue, or wait until sunset, sitting on the many rock formations that provide a seat to an amazing panoramic view of bar harbor and Acadia National Park.
Acadia National Park Travel Guide
Sand Beach, Acadia National Park
Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park
Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park

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Itinerary option two

This itinerary may push your limits, but you will learn more about yourself, which will all be worth it! Be sure to enjoy the sweet treat from the pastry shop. You deserve it! 

  • Drive and Climb a mountain
    • Have breakfast at Jordan’s Restaurant or Pink Pastry Shop
    • Drive to Cadillac Mountain, having made your date and time reservation in advance with your reservation either printed or on your phone to show at the entrance point. This is the highest point on the eastern seaboard and thus is the first place to see light from the sunrise. Those that have seen it say it’s magical to watch the world awaken at first light. You can walk the rocky trails along the mountain top, a great spot for pictures with the golden hue, or wait until sunset if early mornings aren’t your thing. Sitting on the many rock formations that provide a seat to an amazing panoramic view of bar harbor and Acadia National Park.
    • Book a full or half-day instructor at Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School, which is a great family or couples bonding experience, and a cool solo activity too. I did the south bubble rock face and was in awe of the sweeping views, had great memories of overcoming more fears of heights, and could still interact with Gregg, who was a non-participant (there was no fee for him). In the half-day I could do 2 climbs. Acadia Mountain Climbing School provided all the equipment. I only had to bring water, a lunch/snack, my car to drive to the school and then the climbing location (parking was challenging), and a camera for pictures. Make sure you have your Acadia National Park pass accessible, either printed or on your phone.
      • There is just something different about the climbing experience than just hiking. The personal gratification is just different because you’re using different muscles, mindsets, and possibly encountering different physical or mental limitations to help you expand as a person.
    • Enjoy some shopping in downtown Bar Harbor.
    • Have dinner at the Terrace Grille.
    • Book (in advance) a sunset cruise to see the natural beauty of Acadia from the water, wildlife, and the stunning sunsets Acadia is known for.
    • Stop at the Pink Pastry Shop for an evening treat.
Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School
Alise Climbing a Mountain in Acadia National Park
Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School
Alise Climbing a Mountain in Acadia National Park

Itinerary option three

Explore Acadia National Park by boat with this nature-focused itinerary! Take in the quiet side of this popular National Park with a carriage trail ride, dinner, and a show! 

  • Have breakfast at Jordan’s Restaurant or Pink Pastry Shop 
  • Book a whale or puffin cruise (in advance)! Sail into the open ocean with high hopes of a glimpse of these amazing creatures!
  • Following lunch, take the afternoon 1-hour carriage ride, traveling as our ancestors traveled when the Acadian land was raw and wild.
  • Head the quiet side of Acadia, the Schoodic Peninsula, drive the Schoodic loop, to Schoodic Point, and take in a hike! I highly recommend taking camping chairs, snacks, or lunch, and finding a place on the rocks to sit and watch the water sway in and out of the shoreline. Bring a blanket just in case since the temperature can drop as much as 20 degrees here.
  • Enjoy dinner at the Salt Box.
  • Take in the Lumberjack Show (reservations needed in advance) from famed World Championship Lumberjack and Survivor contestant Tina Sheer or play min-golf.
Schoodic Peninsula
Schoodic Peninsula
Sunset Cruise Acadia National Park
Sunset Nature Cruise Acadia National Park

How to Work to Travel

Everything you need to know about traveling

Alise’s Favorites and Suggestions

  • Parking
    • You must pay for parking May to October 9 AM to 8 PM, Monday through Saturday, and 12 PM to 8 PM on Sunday ranging from $1.50-$2.00 per hour, with some meters requiring a limit of 4 hours.
    • Download the ParkMobile app or pay by credit card at the meter or pay station; you’ll be able to adjust the time on the meters or at the pay station only at the time of your purchase, by selecting the “more time” button to increase the amount of time you are paying for.
  • Winter Activities – from snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, to winter hiking, snowmobiling, and ice fishing, Acadia is your winter wonderland! Although there is limited access to the park in the off-season, you can still experience 45 miles of stunning wilderness under snow cover. Be sure to check the grooming report before setting out. You might even spot the beautiful Snowy Owl and catch some photos to show to your friends. Be aware that many hotels, restaurants, and services are closed due to lack of demand during the winter. Plan ahead to ensure you have all the services you require.
  • Pets
    • Not only is the park dog-friendly, but so are most activities, with many boat tours and restaurants allowing dogs; check in advance which locations will accept your dog (we did even see a ferret in a bakery).
  • Low and High Tide
    • Be aware of low and high tide times as Thunder Hole is best seen a few hours before high tide, and Bar Island Path is best during low tide.
  • Carriage Trails
    • Carriage Trails or Carriage Roads are about 45 miles of crushed gravel (near paved in some places but not many) where no cars are allowed, creating a natural space for bikers, hikers, dog walkers, and nature bathers to enjoy the respite from traffic noise and really relax into the serenity of nature.
    • Only carriages, hikers, horses, and class 1 e-bikes are allowed on carriage roads (e-bikes rented from Pedego are class 1 bikes, and allowed on the carriage roads of Acadia).
    • Do not exceed 20 MPH on the carriage roads.
    • Check carriage road closures before you go. 
    • The carriage roads are made up of a solid base with a small rock or gravel top layer, which can be slippery when wet and move under your feet or bike tires.
    • Winter activities can be enjoyed on the carriage roads in the winter months.
    • It is customary, on a bike, that if you intend to pass anyone that you inform them by speaking loudly to ensure they hear you, and tell them if you are passing them on their left side, such as “passing on your left” and let them know how many cyclists they should expect to pass them, such as “passing on your left, five cyclists”.
  • Groceries
    • Hannaford Grocery Store is right in the middle of town for food, prescriptions, other basic needs; it’s a full-size grocery store.
  • Bikes
    • Bikes of any kind are not allowed on sidewalks in Bar Harbor, all bikes must be ridden on the roads, with the use of hand signals. 
    • The state law of Maine requires children 16 years of age or under to wear a helmet when on a bicycle.
    • The roads and carriage roads throughout the park have MANY steep ascents and descents, which can be difficult on a peddle bike (I know I did 14 miles on a regular bike) which is why I recommend e-bikes; we missed so much of what Acadia offers struggling up mountains and having to decide if a hill was too steep and if we should turn back.
    • Cyclists must have a park entrance pass to ride anywhere in the park.
    • There are one-way and two-way roads in the park. Be familiar with where these are and abide by all traffic laws. 
  • Gear and Equipment
  • Transportation
    • Finding parking within the park can be difficult, as one of the most visited National Parks in America, so take advantage of the island explorer. 
    • Take Oli’s Trolley, a narrated trolley ride with stops for pictures at some of Acadia’s famous attractions.
    • Ride an e-bike through the carriage roads and Park Loop Road; I highly recommend Pedego.
  • Cadillac Mountain
    • You must make a reservation for a specific date and time in advance of your arrival. Only 1 reservation per date is allowed. 
    • The roads are narrow, winding, and though there are pull-offs, it is challenging if you plan to bike it and will be steep coming back down.
  • Here is a great map to get an idea of the layout. 

*Directions in this document are approximate and you should plan your trip and know where you are going in advance.

Day Trips

Bar Harbor, ME Bar Harbor in Maine is a bustling harbor town filled with things to do from shops, restaurants, hotels and a myriad of adventure tours and equipment providers, ascending up into the mountains of Acadia National Park, one of the most visited and iconic National Parks in the United States. Whether you are local to Maine, or traveling from outside the state, our amazing things to do in Bar Harbor, ME travel guide will help you get the best out of your trip!
Camden, ME Camden and Mid-coast Maine- Camden, ME is a coastal town full of luxury, history, exceptional dining, and shopping. The mid-coast runs from Brunswick to Bucksport, along rocky shores of inlets, harbors, and islands, focused on maritime activities. Costal life revolves are the tides, views, natural beauty of the region, and how those elements are immersed into the experiences into food, accommodations, and experiences.
Greenville, ME Located in the Maine Highlands region, Moosehead Lake, just north of Greenville, is the largest mountain lake in the eastern US. The region is dotted with lake views, coves with marsh habitats for wildlife, vast swaths of forests, and scenic vistas. Outdoor adventure abounds here and beckons you into the bliss of all that lies outside.

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These items will make your travels memorable.

Sof-Krate Dog crate
Hiking boots for dogs
Women's convertible hiking pants
Waterless pet shampoo
Colombia Woman's hiking boots
Collapsible hiking poles
Go Pro with protection case
Adjustable car headrest