One of the first things you need to decide when planning a trip to Acadia National Park is when to go. Which begs the question: When is the best time to go to Acadia National Park?
The answer may vary depending on your interests, preference for weather, and tolerance for crowds. Let’s take a look at all the best times to visit Acadia National Park so you can make the right decision.
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Acadia National Park is technically open all year (though not all the roads are), so you can visit any time, but each season and month has its pros and cons.
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>> Acadia National Park Campgrounds
Acadia: Best Time to Visit In a Nutshell
The best time to visit Acadia National Park is early summer, early fall and late fall.
- Early June to mid-June: The spring mud season is over and the summer crowds have not yet descended.
- Early September to mid-September: The summer crowds have left and the weather is still warm.
- Mid-October to early November: Fall foliage at its finest.
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t cons to these times – and that other times of the year might suit you more.
The best time of year to visit Acadia National Park depends in part on what you want to do. The weather in Acadia National Park also varies a lot throughout the year. Let’s take a look at the main seasons of the year.
Acadia National Park: Spring (April – May)
Spring in Acadia is short, as winter lingers well into March and summer kicks off in June.
Visiting Acadia National Park in April
What is Acadia National Park like in April? Is April a good time to visit Acadia National Park?
Not really. April is typically wet and muddy. Acadia National Park weather in April is not great – the snow and ice are melting, and rain and fog are common, especially in the mornings. Temperatures are typically between the mid-20s and the mid-50s (F).
If you want to see and do the best of Acadia National Park, April is not the best month – especially the first half of the month when most park facilities are still closed.
However, some things start to open in mid-April, which is when the Park Loop Road, Cadillac Mountain Road and Echo Lake Beach open. Reservations aren’t required for the Cadillac Mountain Summit Road until late May, so once it’s open, you can drive up easily. (Though keep in mind that mornings in April are often foggy, so you might not see the famous sunrise). The carriage roads are often closed at this time so they don’t get ruined as they turn to mud.
On the plus side – the park is definitely not crowded this time of year. There are no leaves on the trees, which I don’t like much, but some people like the fact that this gives more expansive views from many places in the park.
Key Events in April:
Visiting Acadia National Park in May
What is Acadia National Park like in May? Is Acadia nice in May?
May is also not my favorite month to visit Acadia, though things are getting better by the end of the month. Be prepared for mud and bugs.
When you look at the weather >> Acadia National Park <<, May is cloudy most of the time. The rain, combined with the snowmelt, turns the trails to mud, which isn’t very pleasant. In addition, biting bugs descend on the park from mid-May to mid-June when all that running water causes the perfect conditions for them to thrive. Take bug spray.
Although the weather is warming up a little, it’s still too cold for water activities. The trees still aren’t green, which is less pretty, but does offer less obstructed views from some of the viewpoints.
On the plus side, by mid-May the park starts to dry out and you’ll begin to be able to experience most of what Acadia has to offer. The trails are less muddy and the temperatures can be perfect for hiking. The unpaved roads and carriage roads open back up. Most hotels and shops are open by this time.
Other things that open up include:
- The Hulls Cove Visitor Center opens early May
- The National Park Service (NPS) campgrounds all open in May (dates vary between campgrounds)
- Jordan Pond House restaurant opens in May
- Carriage Ride Tours starts late May
The Cadillac Mountain Road is open throughout May, but timed vehicle reservations are usually not required until late May, so before that is a convenient time to go there.
May is still pretty quiet, except for the Memorial Day weekend. By Memorial Day, most of the island is open for business.
Acadia National Park: Summer (June-August)
Summer is by far the popular – and crowded – season in Acadia. It’s also when everything is open and the weather is the most idyllic.
Visiting Acadia National Park in June
Is June a good time to visit Acadia?
Yes. June is arguably the best time to go to Bar Harbor, Maine and Acadia National Park. The early part of the month can be buggy still, though the bugs are usually done by the middle of the month. Everything is open, the trees are green and the summer crowds have not yet descended on the area.
What’s the Bar Harbor, Maine weather in June? Lovely. When you look at Acadia weather, June stands out as perfect hiking weather.
Key Events in June:
Visiting Acadia National Park in July
The Bar Harbor, Maine weather in July is warm and pleasant with near idyllic temperatures ranging from the 50s to the high 70s (F). There is often a cool ocean breeze and it’s a great time for water activities like sailing and kayaking. However, it’s also not uncommon for thick fog to cover the island and obscure the views – especially in the morning, when the famed sunrise can be a total no show.
July and August are also blueberry season and you can see – and taste – wild blueberries along many of the trails.
How crowded is Acadia National Park in July?
July gets very busy. The main tourist season starts the July 4 holiday. The Park Loop Road and the parking lots in the national park can be crowded and congested. Even with the reservation system for Cadillac Mountain, the parking areas at the summit can be crowded.
It is important to have a plan! If you’re visiting at this time, I recommend getting one of my detailed itineraries.
Visiting Acadia National Park in August
The Acadia and Bar Harbor, Maine weather in August is great. The Acadia National Park water temperature is its warmest this month and is perfect for water activities (though the ocean is still cold – less than 50°F).
However, if this is when you’re visiting Acadia National Park, August is the busiest month – even busier than July – so you will not be alone. Expect crowded parking lots, lines for the free Island Explorer shuttle, congested roads, busy viewpoints and booked out accommodations. You would definitely benefit from following one of my itineraries.
Acadia National Park: Fall (September-October)
If you aren’t locked into traveling during the school break, fall is the best season to visit Acadia National Park. Acadia National Park in fall is cool but not too cold. Early fall (the first half of September after Labor Day) is not too crowded, and October sees beautiful fall color.
The best time to see fall foliage in Acadia National Park is usually mid-October (around October 13 – 22), though this can vary slightly each year. Check the Maine Foliage website for current leaf peeping conditions.
Visiting Acadia National Park in September
Is September a good time to visit Maine?
Yes, Fall is one of the best times to visit Acadia National Park. The weather in Bar Harbor, Maine in September is lovely, albeit somewhat unpredictable. The average temperature in Maine in September ranges from 48°- 67°F. While the Acadia National Park weather in September is pleasant, temperatures start to drop as the month goes on, and by the end of September, nights are chilly and days are very cool.
After Labor Day, the crowds thin out, but everything is still open. However, Fall is also the busiest season for cruise ships, and Bar Harbor’s narrow streets can be clogged with thousands of people while they’re docked.
Visiting Acadia National Park in October
Is October a good time to visit Acadia?
Yes, October in Acadia National Park is one of the most popular times because of the spectacular fall foliage. The best time to visit Acadia National Park for fall colors is typically mid- to late-October, though it can vary from year to year. Check the Maine Foliage website for current conditions in Acadia National Park. October to early-November can also be a good time to visit if you don’t mind trees without leaves.
The weather in Acadia National Park in October is cool and crisp. Be sure to wear layers!
Businesses start to close in October. The NPS campgrounds close throughout October (dates vary between sites) and some businesses in Bar Harbor shut down for the offseason after the Columbus Day weekend in mid-October. The carriage rides also stop mid-October. Jordan Pond House restaurant shutters in late October and the Hulls Cove Visitor Center closes at the end of October.
Reservations for Cadillac Mountain also end late October, though the road remains open for another month.
Acadia National Park: Winter (November – March)
Winter in Acadia National Park is very long, very cold, and very snowy. The average snowfall on Mount Desert Island is 61 inches. It’s great for winter activities, though.
You will want to make sure you have everything you need for a winter vacation (check out my recommended winter packing list to make sure). There are trails and roads for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing (if you’re looking to buy snowshoes, check out my guide to the best snowshoes). If you’re hiking, microspikes or crampons are absolutely essential – read my guide to the best microspikes for hiking if you need to get some.
Visiting Acadia National Park in November
Can you visit Acadia in November? Is Acadia Park open in November?
Yes, the national park is open all year, though not all of the roads and facilities are. However, the Park Loop Road and the Cadillac Mountain Summit Road are both still open in November. Unpaved roads close mid-November.
By early November, most stores, restaurants and accommodations in and near Bar Harbor are closed for the winter. Echo Lake Beach also closes by the end November.
If you look at the weather chart for Acadia National Park, November is getting cold. Average temperatures range from 29° to 45°F.
Does it snow in Acadia in November?
Snow in November is definitely possible and by the end of the month, common.
The cold weather, short days, and leafless trees are not for everyone, which does mean that the national park is not crowded.
Visiting Acadia National Park in December – March
These months are the off season, but the national park is open for winter fun. The weather in Acadia and Bar Harbor Maine in December is freezing and it remains cold throughout winter. The Acadia National Park weather in March is still just 20° – 38°F on average.
The road to Cadillac Mountain and most of the Park Loop road close December 1. The only sections of the Park Loop that remain open are the Ocean Drive and the Jordan Pond Road. Highway 102A to Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is also open throughout winter.
However, the Park Loop Road and the road up Cadillac Mountain are open for snowmobiling and Acadia National Park’s snow-covered carriage roads are perfect for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Winter sports equipment, including snowshoes and skis, can be rented in Bar Harbor.
Most hotels, restaurants, and accommodations close for the winter, but there are a few that remain open, so you can still find somewhere to stay and eat. Although the Hulls Cove Visitor Center is closed, the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce is open and has park information.
What is the snowiest month in Maine?
January is normally the snowiest month, with an average of about 20 inches.
What is the rainiest month in Maine?
- June is the rainiest month in Maine with 12.5 days of rain, and February is the driest month with only 9.0 rainy days.
- With an average annual snowfall of 74.6 inches, Maine is one of the snowiest states in the United States.
Tips for Visiting Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor in Winter
Dressing appropriately: If you are looking for new gear, read by detailed guides to the best:
- Winter coats for extreme cold
- Winter boots for men
- Winter boots for women
- Microspikes for winter hiking
- Snowshoes for beginners
Packing appropriately: Check you have everything on my:
When is the best time of year to go to Acadia National Park?
The best temperatures: July, August
The best time to avoid the crowds when everything is still open: September
The best time to travel in summer: June
The best time to see fall colors in Acadia National Park: 3rd week of October
The best time to travel on a budget: Mid-late May, September, November
The best time to have a winter adventure in Acadia National Park: December – March
The worst time to visit Acadia National Park: April, May
Enjoy Acadia National Park whenever you go!
What do you think is the best month to visit Acadia National Park? Join my private Facebook group National Parks Collectors and comment and let me know (you can also pick up extra planning tips, share your photos and stories with other national park lovers and more).
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James Ian has traveled to 82 countries and all 7 continents. He has visited all of the main national parks in the United States, as well as many national monuments and state parks.
He has rafted through the Grand Canyon; rappelled down slot canyons near Zion and Arches; hiked among the hoodoos in Bryce and the enormous trees in Sequoia; admired the waterfalls in Yosemite and the colored hot springs in Yellowstone; seen moose in Grand Tetons and seals in the Channel Islands, and much more.
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