Acadia National Park was one of our first national park experiences. This trip was way before we realized our love for the national parks system, so we want to go back and experience it again one day. The summer we got married, we went with Cory’s family to spend a week at a lake house in a small town in Maine. This was my first time visiting Maine, so I was blown away by how beautiful and peaceful it was. When I think of my happy place, I think of long summer days spent on the lake in Maine.
“So lovely was the loneliness of a wild lake.” -Edgar Allen Poe
We spent almost all of our time on this vacation in Milo, Maine about 110 miles from the Canadian border. We traveled to Acadia National Park only for the day. This national park reserves most of Mount Desert Island and its associated smaller islands along the coast of Maine. Acadia National Park feels hidden and removed. It has this perfect balance of mountains, coastal cliffs and beautiful beaches. The weather in summer is perfect. It’s the kind of weather that will send you to the lake during the day and curl up next to the campfire at night.
“The parks are the Nation’s pleasure grounds and the Nation’s restoring places…The national parks…are an American idea; it is one thing we have that has not been imported.” – J. Horace McFarland
We started our day off by driving through the national park. If I could do it again, I would go slow and roll the windows down. The cool breeze rolling in off the sea and the smell of the trees is so refreshing and really gives you that road trip vibe. We took the Park Loop Road around the park, stopping at as much as we could. Our first stop was at this beautiful beach surround by wilderness and coastal cliffs. We did not do any swimming, but there were plenty of people in the water in early August. I was glad I was wearing my Chacos for this because it gave me the flexibility of getting my feet wet at the beach and then being able to hike without having to adjust much. We explored the cliffs near the beach and ended up finding the Ocean Path Trailhead. The trailhead goes on for 3.9 miles, but we just did the short hike to the overlook. At the time, we did not know anything about this hike so it felt like a secret path. It turned out to be Sand Beach Overlook and you can route to it using Google Maps. I definitely recommend taking the trail from the beach up to the overlook!
“Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit.” – Frank Borman
We continued down Park Loop Road and eventually came to Otter Cove. The road bends around and crosses a bridge. This is a great spot to stop and look out at the Atlantic Ocean. We were lucky enough to see some kayakers coming through and shooting out from under the bridge to the other side. After leaving the Otter Cove, the loop takes you to some really great hiking spots. We decided to take the short walk from the Acadia Jordan Pond House to Bubble Pond. There’s a Bubble Pond hiking loop here if you want to do some more hiking. I really love this pond and highly recommend stopping! It was getting late in the day so we headed to one of the most popular spots in the park, Cadillac Mountain. Cadillac sits at 1,530 ft elevation and is also the tallest mountain along the eastern coast of the United States. If you’re staying nearby then I would definitely recommend waking up and catching the sunrise! From the top of the mountain you can be one of the first in the United States to see the sunrise.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.” – Kinky Friedman
After exploring the park, a few beers and some shopping was definitely needed, so we headed down to Bar Harbor. This is a beautiful area right on the water and it has a ton of shopping and restaurants. While the ladies shopped at all the different stores along Main Street, the guys grabbed some local craft beers from Beer Works. After shopping you can sit in the grass at Agamont Park and just relax. The harbor is so calm and the park is great place to watch the boats coming in and out.
Acadia National Park is really unique. It definitely deserves to be explored and we plan to go back soon! In my opinion, it has something to offer everyone. Have you been to Acadia? What is your favorite thing to do there? If you haven’t been, now that I’ve shared my experience and love for Acadia, it’s up to you to go out and find your own fun!