Acadia National Park Guide

Acadia National Park is the premier park in the Atlantic northeast. Set on several islands and peninsulas, it features wooded hills surrounded by water and rocky shorelines. 

Visiting Acadia National Park is full of adventure and amazing scenery. There is great hiking and cycling; sailing and kayaking; and swimming and sightseeing. You can visit historic lighthouses and local lobster fishing villages; eat fresh lobster and delicious popovers; and see sea lions and eagles. 

It easily makes the list of the best national parks in the United States

Use this Acadia National Park travel guide to get all the information you need to have an amazing Acadia National Park vacation. 

Acadia National Park at a Glance

State: Maine 

Main attractions: Wooded hills, islands, rocky coastlines, iron-rung hikes, lobster & popovers 

Shuttle: Yes


Itineraries for Acadia National Park

*** Available for purchase ***

These are not your average blogger itineraries, which tend to be short summaries of things that they did on their one visit there. These itineraries are all about YOU and helping you have the best time.

They will take away the overwhelm that often accompanies planning a trip to Acadia National Park. They’re a combination detailed hour-by-hour itinerary (with options for different activity levels), guidebook, hiking guide, driving directions, travel tips, and more. You’ll need nothing else to plan your trip – it’s all done for you (but you still have choices).

One-day, two-day, three-day or four-day detailed itineraries for Acadia National Park available for purchase:

EXCLUSIVE BONUS CONTENT WITH ACADIA NATIONAL PARK ITINERARIES

Acadia Accommodations Guide
Acadia Dining Guide
Acadia Shuttle Guide

Acadia National Park Travel Guide

Please note this post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at zero cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see our full Disclosure for more information. If you have any questions, please contact me.

How to Plan a Trip to Acadia National Park  

Planning a trip to Acadia National Park can be overwhelming – but it doesn’t have to be.  Use this guide to Acadia National Park for all your Acadia National Park trip planning.  Click on the links below to go to detailed guides and get answers to your questions.

Make planning easier with this step-by-step guide to all you need to think about and do when planning a trip to Acadia.

Read More: HOW TO PLAN A TRIP TO ACADIA

There is a timed entry system for the drive up to the top of Cadillac Mountain most of the year. This guide breaks it all down for you. 

Read More: CADILLAC MOUNTAIN RESERVATIONS

There’s plenty of information about planning a trip to Acadia National Park. This guide is different. I will share with you what you should AVOID doing when planning your Acadia National Park vacation.

Read More: 7 MISTAKES TO AVOID IN ACADIA


Entrance Fee for Acadia National Park 

There is an entrance fee for the park.  Find the latest fees on the NPS website.    

To avoid long lines and save money, if you are planning to visit more than just Acadia this year, it can be great value to purchase an America The Beautiful pass.   

The one-year pass includes standard entrance at all sites managed by the National Park Service, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and Army Corps of Engineers. The pass covers the entrance fee for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle or up to four adults at sites that charge per person.

Get an America The Beautiful pass here


Acadia National Park Entrances 

Acadia National Park is spread over part of Mount Desert Island, the Schoodic Peninsula, and the small Isle Au Haut.   

There are multiple roads that go in and out of the Mount Desert Island sections of Acadia.   There are four entrances to the popular Park Loop Road section of Acadia on Mount Desert Island: 

  1. Hulls Cove Entrance:  Located on Route 3 in the northern part of Bar Harbor
  2. Cadillac Mountain Entrance: Located on Route 233 
  3. Sieur de Monts Entrance: Located on Route 3 south of Bar Harbor 
  4. Stanley Brook Entrance: Located on Route 3 in the town of Seal Harbor 

The Schoodic Peninsula section of the park is located near the town of Winter Harbor off Route 186. 

Isle au Haut is reached by mail boat from the village of Stonington on Mount Desert Island. 


Acadia National Park Visitor Center 

The main Visitor Center is at Hull’s Cove.  See the NPS website for opening hours, as they change seasonally. 


Best Tours of Acadia National Park


Things to Do in Acadia National Park

There is no shortage of things to do and see in Acadia National Park.

Read More: BEST THINGS TO IN ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is a highlight of any trip to Acadia National Park and not to be missed.

Read More: BASS HARBOR HEAD LIGHTHOUSE GUIDE


Where to Stay Near Acadia National Park 

The nearest town for Mount Desert Island is Bar Harbor.  Find accommodations in Bar Harbor here 

For the Schoodic Peninsula, the nearest town is Winter Harbor.  Find accommodations in Winter Harbor here 

If you’d prefer to stay in a house, cabin or apartment in Bar Harbor, my guide to the best vacation rentals in Bar Harbor has some top pick suggestions. 

Read More: BEST RENTALS IN BAR HARBOR

If you’d prefer to stay in a house, cabin or apartment near Acadia but not in Bar Harbor itself, my guide to the best vacation rentals near Acadia has some top pick suggestions. 

Read More: BEST RENTALS NEAR ACADIA

There are plenty of campgrounds all around – and inside – Acadia National Park.  Here is a definitive list to help you find the best campground for your trip.

Read More: ACADIA CAMPING GUIDE


Places To Inside Acadia National Park 

There are no lodges inside the park, but there are several campgrounds. 

Read More: ACADIA CAMPING GUIDE


How to Get To Acadia National Park 

The most common ways to get to Acadia National Park are to drive or fly into one of the nearby airports and pick up a rental car there.  However, there are other options, too. Read this guide about all the ways to get to Acadia National Park for more details.   

Read More: HOW TO GET TO ACADIA

If you need a rental car, find one on RentalsCars.com 

If you’re looking for a flight, find a good deal on Skyscanner 


The Best Airports for Acadia National Park

There are several airports near Acadia that you can fly into/ out of. This guide gives you the full lowdown on all the nearby airports and the pros and cons of using each of them. 

Read More: BEST AIRPORTS FOR ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

Cut straight to the chase and see which airport is nearest the national park.

Read More: THE AIRPORT NEAREST ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

If you’re looking for flights, use Skyscanner to scan the Internet for the cheapest deals.  


How to Get Around Acadia National Park

You can always drive around Acadia – and some places like Cadillac Mountain are only accessible by car.  If you drive, though, go early to secure a coveted parking spot.  You can find a rental car here

The other option is to take the Island Explorer shuttle bus.  Operating in the high season, the free shuttle bus has multiple routes all around and near Mount Desert Island, as well a route around the Schoodic Peninsula that connects with the ferry between Bar Harbor and Winter Harbor.  


The Best Time to Visit Acadia National Park

In general, the best times to go to Acadia National Park are early – mid-June (between the muddy spring season and the crowded summer season); early-mid September (between the crowded summer and the chilly late fall); and mid-October – early November (for the spectacular fall foliage). However, this isn’t the only good time to go. 

Read this quick summary of the best times to visit Acadia National Park to help you decide when to go.

Read More: BEST TIME TO VISIT ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

Read detailed information on every season, so you can make the most informed decision for your own trip. 

Read More: VISITING ACADIA NATIONAL PARK THROUGHOUT THE YEAR


How Long to Spend in Acadia National Park

How many days you should go to Acadia for depends on when you have time off, how much time off you have, your budget, and your interests.  I recommend at least four days to see all the main areas of the park, do some hikes, and enjoy other don’t-miss activities. 

If you have less or more time, and want to see what you can realistically expect to see and do in that time, this guide has a breakdown for you. 

Read More: HOW MANY DAYS IN ACADIA


Hikes in Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park has miles of trails and carriage roads.  It’s famous the legendary iron-rung trails, which are not suitable for those with a fear of heights, but there are trails for all comfort levels.

This guide describes the top hikes.  It includes trail details so you can choose the best hikes for you. 

Read More: BEST HIKES IN ACADIA


Travel Insurance for Acadia National Park 

In addition to using this travel guide, Acadia National Park planning should also include travel insurance.  Protect yourself against trip cancellation, loss or theft of your property, or any medical emergencies.

A great insurance option is Travelex.  It has coverage for all you’ll need. You can compare Travel Insurance plans here or get a quote right now: 

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Travel Tips for Acadia National Park 

My top three tip for visiting Acadia are: 

  1. Have a plan.  Avoid spending your vacation driving around parking lots looking for a space to park.  Get one of my detailed itineraries – they tell you when and where to go to have the least chance of getting caught in traffic and the best chance of being in the right place at the right time to enjoy the trails and take the best photos.  Get the 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-day itineraries here
  2. Get an early start each day. This is the best way to beat the crowds and have the best light for photos.  
  3. Don’t just stick to Mount Desert Island. The Schoodic Peninsula is much less crowded and equally beautiful. 

Books about Acadia National Park

View of rock mountains and trees beside the ocean, with the text, The Best Books About Acadia National Park.

Books to read before you go, while you’re there or after you come back.

Read More: Best Books About Acadia National Park



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Acadia National Park Travel Guide

About the Author

James Ian Yosemite

James Ian is a national park, camping and hiking expert.

He has dedicated his life to travel, visiting more than 80 countries, all 7 continents and most of the national parks in the United States. With over 35 years experience in the travel industry, James has worked on cruise ships, at resorts and hotels, and as a travel planner who’s helped hundreds of people plan successful trips to US national parks. 

Based on his experience visiting our national parks multiple times, in-depth research and expertise as a travel planner, James has published detailed itineraries for most of the major national parks in the US. These itineraries, as well as in-depth park guides, comprehensive camping and hiking gear reviews and buying guides, and helpful packing lists and gift guides will help you have your own incredible trip to US national parks without stress and hassle.

As a national park expert, James has contributed to many publications, including USA Today, Time Business News, Savoteur, Best Trip, and Wired.

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