Our Favorite Spots and Visiting Tips

Our Favorite Spots and Visiting Tips

Acadia National Park

Our trip to Acadia was wonderful, and we wished we had more time there.  This post serves as our reflections looking back on Acadia – our favorite spots, things that we wished we did, tips for traveling to the park, or things we didn’t like.  It can also be used as a guide to the park, with links to more detailed posts if you want to dive in.  We’ll definitely revisit Acadia someday.  But there are a lot of other parks to explore!

T’s Top 5 things to do in Acadia National Park

Acadia: Duck Harbor Campground Sunset
View from Duck Harbor Campground (Site 4) just before sunset
  1. Duck Harbor Campground: The ideal campground.  Quiet and secluded, with amazing views and hikes nearby.  We were there for 3 nights, the maximum allowed.  Staying here allowed us to explore Isle au Haut and was my favorite part of our Acadia trip.
  2. The Beehive Trail: My favorite hike we did.  I’ve never done one before that had me climbing iron rungs up a cliff.  It was exhilarating, and a fun feature to climb on the rocks with.  It’s not a long hike, but it’ll be an experience that we’ll remember forever.
  3. Bar Harbor: One thing we love doing is trying out different restaurants while vacationing.  Bar Harbor allowed us to do that – there were tons of places to indulge the foodie in us.  And I really enjoyed going to Atlantic Brewing Company to get a tasting of their beers.
  4. Duck Harbor Mountain Trail: This great hike is right next to Duck Harbor Campground.  If you take the full loop, which you should, it goes up the mountain for great views of the harbor, then down and around the coastline for great beaches and forests.  It goes through a variety of different environments, and special nooks and crannies.
  5. Stonington: This town is what comes to mind when I think about small-town Maine.  Lobster boats, docks, quiet, and peaceful.  It was really fun to explore the town, and made a great basecamp for catching the mail boat to Isle au Haut.

K’s Top 5 things to do in Acadia National Park

Acadia: Squeaker Cove
Beautiful, relaxing, Squeaker Cove
  1. Pemetic Mountain Hike: I was impressed with the views and terrain on this hike. And summer in Maine made it perfect. As a bonus, you can start your journey from Jordan Pond House.
  2. Squeaker Cove: This is a small rocky beach on Isle au Haut. I loved the whole experience at IAH, but Squeaker Cove is a standout. It was so peaceful and secluded. If I think back, I can still hear the sound of the rocks getting jostled by the waves, and feel the cool ocean breeze.
  3. Stonington: A quintessential Maine town. I loved seeing the boats, the dock, and the lobster traps. I loved staying in a well thought-out room that was the size of a postage stamp. If you go, grab some local seafood while enjoying a harbor view!
  4. Bar Harbor Sandbar: I loved the town of Bar Harbor, with its parks, ocean views, and shops. But the coolest part was walking through town at different times of day and being able to access the island during low tide. After all, that’s what gave BH its name.
  5. Unique hikes: I haven’t seen iron obstacles anywhere else (though I’m sure they exist) and it’s such a fun feature. It’s like being a kid again!

Things we wish we did (“Things to do next time”)

Crowd on Cadillac Mountain
Crowd on Cadillac Mountain
  • Precipice Trail and Jordan Cliffs Trail – The “sister” hikes to the Beehive and Beech Cliff Trails that also have iron rungs.  Both were closed due to Peregrine Falcon nesting, which happens annually in the summer.
  • Schoodic Woods Campground – The only campground in Acadia we didn’t visit!  We only planned for one partial day in Schoodic.  If we had more time, we would have spent a couple days there.
  • Cadillac Mountain at Sunrise – We actually did go up to Cadillac Mountain, but in the early afternoon.  The views would have been nice, if it weren’t for all the people.  Because of that, we wouldn’t recommend going there unless it was for sunrise or hiking a trail to the top.
  • Biking the carriage roads – We weren’t very interested in this before our visit.  Once there, we really wished we had been able to go biking.

Our Acadia Tips

Ocean Path Overlook
Ocean Path Overlook
  • If you go to Duck Harbor Campground, stay for the maximum of 3 nights so you have enough time to explore.
  • Stay in Loop A or B in Seawall Campground.
  • Despite its size, Blackwoods Campground is a great place to stay if you want to see all of Acadia’s main sites on Mt. Desert Island.
  • Some trails close during Peregrine Falcon nesting from March through August.  Visit at another time, if possible.
  • Enjoy the unique towns that surround the park.
  • Check out a Ranger Program.  We went to an interesting Stargazing Program at Sand Beach.  The rangers told tales about the stars based on Native American stories, and gave other historical background about the constellations.
  • If you only have a few days and haven’t been to Acadia before, stick to Mt. Desert Island.  If you have a week, add a visit to Isle au Haut and Duck Harbor.  If you have more time, check out Schoodic Peninsula.
  • If you have to skip something, skip Schoodic.  We highly recommend Mt. Desert Island and Isle au Haut.

Map of Everything We Did in Acadia

4 thoughts on “Our Favorite Spots and Visiting Tips

  1. Hi! I found your site while researching Blackwoods Campground. I enjoyed reading your adventures in Acadia!! My husband and I love Acadia and have been multiple times but never camped. We want to do that this year before our bones won’t let us anymore! Thanks for the info and letting me relive your time in Acadia. God bless! Kelli Hunt (and Kenton)

    1. Thanks so much for reading! We hope our blog was helpful. Have fun camping and let us know how it goes 🙂

  2. Preparing for my 4th trip to Isle au Haut this Tuesday I came across your blog. Having lived near or visited Acadia National Park for over 30 years, I must say yours is one of the best blogs of this type that I have ever seen. You are fortunate to have started your trip to Acadia by camping at Duck Harbor. Although I have never camped there and probably never will, I enjoyed reading your posts about IAH and then the rest of Acadia. Especially worthwhile in your blog posts are your frank descriptions of everything on your trip. Also appreciated your authenticity as someone who has spent more than a couple of days in a national park sampling the touristic highlights.
    Now that national parks are so crowded I hope that visitors to any park read your blog before committing to a trip. Yours is great advice.
    Best wishes for the success of your blog and I fervently hope that you get to visit all of the parks. I look forward to your visits to a couple of my favorites (besides Acadia of course), Zion and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Both, like Acadia, are ridiculously crowded right now but still enjoyable if you know what your are doing and consider avoiding the popular places at busy times.

    1. Thank you so much – we’re glad you’re enjoying our blog! You’re lucky to live so close to Acadia. We hope to get back there to visit some areas we missed (and revisit Isle au Haut).

      We’ve actually discussed the ethics of writing our blog given the overcrowding at many parks. That’s one reason we like to explore and really “get to know” a park, not just the touristy spots. It’ll take us years to visit every park. We can’t wait to make it to Zion and Rocky Mountain – it’s always tough determining where we want to go since there are so many places to check out.

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