Acadia National Park (ANP) is located on a small island, Mount Desert Island, on the coast of Maine. You can reach the park by car even though it’s on an island. ANP is one of my favorite parks. I’ve visited twice and would love to go back soon.
The park offers everything you need from beaches and mountain peaks to lakes and miles of hiking trails. The park sits on 47,000 acres and the closest town is Bar Harbor.
Day One in Acadia National Park
We spent the first day driving the park loop road. This drive will take you to most of the highlights and really gives you a good overview of the park. There is an entrance fee to the park or you can grab a National Park Pass. While the loop is only 27 miles, plan to spend at least half a day because you’ll be getting in and out at various sites. Plus the loop can be very busy during peak times of the year. So plan ahead.
Highlights on the loop road.
Otter Point – this beautiful overlook of the Atlantic Ocean is a must-stop. The Otter cliffs travel right down to the water and it is just breathtaking.
Sands Beach – is a great stop but a crowded one. If you can find a parking spot, you’ll be rewarded with some waves and beach fun all within a cozy cove!
Thunder Hole – like its name, makes a thundering sound as the waves crash through the rocks. A very neat experience!
Jordan Pond House (Reservation recommended) – one of my favorite spots, also very crowded. If you can make a reservation ahead of time, do it. Waits can be several hours otherwise and you do not want to miss the tea and popovers on the lawn. If you aren’t hungry, a short hike around the pond is just stunning with two peaks called the Bubbles in the background.
Cadillac Mountain (Reservation required) – This is another reservation-required option if you want to drive up. If you’re up for a challenge there are hikes up the mountain and you’ll be rewarded with a view of the porcupine islands.
Bass Harbor Lighthouse is a small lighthouse on the “quiet side” of the island and is definitely worth the visit.
You definitely want to check for road closures also before you head out or start your trip at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center to get updates.
Day Two in Acadia National Park
I rolled the dice three times for Jordan Pond House, which wasn’t taking reservations due to limited staff and seating when we went in 2021. We hit the jackpot on the last try on day two. We ended up inside and while the tea and popovers are delicious, if I had to do it again, I would have waited for an outdoor table. If you have a wait you can check out the gift shop or take a walk around the pond.
We did some hiking on Day Two also. There are so many good hikes in Acadia National Park. Most of them are going to be challenging but they are 100% worth it. We ended up taking Kona Mountain Trail and did some fun scrambling up boulders.
We ended the evenings checking out the shops in Bar Harbor and in Ellsworth where we were staying. I will highly recommend that you book your accommodations to Acadia National Park as early as possible. It’s expensive to stay on the island but more affordable accommodations can be found on the mainland in Trenton or Ellsworth.
Overall, we needed more time in Acadia National Park. The wild beauty that this park has to offer can not be really taken in in just two days. Next time we’ll plan a week and take our time visiting more spots and doing a LOT more hiking.
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