Acadia National Park, Maine
10 Great Reasons to Choose Acadia
National Park and Bar Harbor in Maine for Your Next Family Vacation
If you're looking for an ideal family vacation spot, Acadia National
Park on Mt. Desert Island is definitely worth considering.
This little gem of a park is located on the rugged east coast of
Maine. The 47,000 acres that comprise it are diverse, ranging from
rocky-topped mountain domes, to thick pine forests, to ocean
shoreline, to creeks, lakes, and ponds.
Acadia is mostly contained on Mt. Desert Island, but it does extend
to the nearby Schoodic Peninsula and even Isle au Haut out in
There are dozens and dozens of things
to see and do at the park, and on the water, with boating excursions
to Seal Island where you might see an occasional Eagle, learn about
lobster fishing, view the Porcupine Islands, and so much more.
More than 2 million people visit Acadia and many of them spend time
in the quaint town of Bar Harbor each year, but you'll find most of
them visit during July, August, and September. Pick a different
month for your vacation and the park may almost be deserted. At any
rate, even during the busy months, it's easy to get away from the
crowds if you try.
Here are 10 great reasons why Acadia is
great choice for your next family vacation...
1. It's America's first national park east of the Mississippi.
It is rich in history and heritage and well worth the time to learn
about the history by visiting one of the visitor centers with your
children. They have books, movies, and displays. Or, rent the
audiotape auto tour... it provides a wonderful introduction to the
park. Make sure you view the surrounding country from the top of
Cadillac Mountain. You really don't want to leave Acadia Park
without driving to the top of the central mountain on the island.
2. There are hiking trails to meet every level of outdoor
enthusiast. If you are looking for thrills and chills, try the
Precipice, West Face Cadillac/Jordan Cliffs, or Beehive Trails,
which come complete with iron rungs, ladders, and sheer drop offs.
If you want to experience varied terrain, including rolling creek
side walking, tramping on boardwalks through marshland, and
exploring tidal pools at the ocean's edge, then you and your family
might enjoy the Jordan Creek Trail. If a leisurely stroll is more
your style, take advantage of the nicely-groomed carriage roads that
you'll find in every corner of the park or even the mostly flat
Jordan Pond Trail.
3. You can try water sports. Rent a canoe on Long Pond on the
western side of the island. Or join a sea kayaking group in
Frenchman's Bay out of Bar Harbor. Or just play in the crystal clear
waters of one of the many ponds or creeks. You can even spend a day
at the beach...Sand Beach. The waters are always cold, (very, very
cold), but the kids will love it and the sand is something you'll
remember every time you think back on your Acadia and Mt. Desert
4. Leave your car in the hotel or campground parking lot.
Acadia has a terrific shuttle system. You can get off most anywhere
in the park and re-board when you're ready. Save on gas and the
aggravation of driving too.
5. Enjoy some local culture. If you happen to need a break
from the great outdoors, head into Bar Harbor. You'll find lots of
funky little shops, some great restaurants, and even a movie theater
or two. If you're there for the 4th of July, take part in the annual
pancake breakfast, town parade, lobster bake, and fantastic
fireworks. They come highly recommended.
The central park has a band stand and you may be lucky enough to
enjoy one of the free concerts. Also, if your visit coincides with
the periodic artist's and crafts peoples displays, you'll see some
exciting works. These shows are somewhat reminiscent of the art
displays at Jackson Square in New Orleans.
6. Take a bike ride. Bring your own or you can rent them from
one of several shops in Bar Harbor. Then head on over to the park
and hit one of the carriage roads. A word of warning... they are all
at least a bit hilly, so if you have small children or out of shape
family members, don't bite off more than you can chew. Stick to a
short ride around a single lake. Eagle Lake is a great solution.
7. If you have teens, try rock climbing. A couple of outfits
in town will fit you with the right gear and then take you out to
Otter Cliffs (on the ocean) or Bubble Rock and teach you rock
climbing skills and techniques. Great fun! Check out Precipice
8. Although when you're hiking the trails of Acadia, you may feel as
though you're far from civilization, in reality, you're no more
than an hour or two from Bangor, the nearest "big" city. And
right outside the park boundaries is the town of Ellsworth, which
has a movie theater and small mall, not to mention the local
Wal-Mart if you need to restock your camping supplies.
9. Acadia has accommodations for every kind of family.
are many fine campgrounds on the island, including Bar Harbor
Campground, where you can choose your own campsite, be it ocean view
or in the woods. You can also camp right in the park, as long as
you're comfortable with very few amenities. If you want something a
bit less rustic, then one of the many cabin and cottage places may
be more to your liking. But Acadia's surrounding towns offer a host
of bed and breakfasts, motels, and hotels to suit nearly every
budget and preference.
10. There is something for everyone in Acadia, no matter what
age or ability. Outdoor activities abound, of course, but there are
also opportunities to soak in Maine's rich history and modern-day
culture. Kids might like to spend an evening at Pirate's Cove, a
popular miniature golf venue. Hiking, walking, biking, boating,
exploring... Acadia has it all!
So, for your next family vacation, you can't go wrong if you spend
it in Acadia National Park.
National Geographic Tour
- ACADIA NATIONAL PARK