17 Tips for Exploring In and Around Acadia National Park in Maine

Cadillac Mountain Sunrise

There are many activities to do in and around Acadia National Park and overall, Maine offers a beautiful travel destination for all explorers. We had a great time exploring, but we wanted to provide a few tips from our experiences so you can explore the area better when you travel there! Check out our 17 tips below and share them with your fellow explorers who might be heading to the area! 

  1. Sign-up for your National Park pass before going on your trip to Acadia. It will be much easier in the long run. For example, we went to see the sunrise at Cadillac Mountain the first day and wouldn't have been able to get a pass before we went into the park that morning. 
  2. Get a map to the park before arrival. Many people will lose phone signal before getting into the park, so it will be difficult to find where you are without a physical map. 
  3. Make sure you visit Thunder Hole at high tide and keep your expectations low. You have to have the perfect circumstances in order to actually hear and see the thunder of the hole and the skyrocket of water.
  4. A heads up before you head out for breakfast pop-overs. Jordan Pond Restaurant opens at 11:00 am so even though many say to visit Cadillac Mountain for the sunrise, then go there after, that is a long time to wait for food. 
  5. The Jordan Pond hike around the pond is pretty and easy, but it's also simple and 3 miles round trip. If you are looking for spectacular views, cliffs or other awesome sights, this is not your best bet. Though, like I mentioned, it's nice and flat. 
  6. Cadillac Mountain is the best or at least close to the best view in the park, get there 30-45 minutes before sunrise to get the full experience (take blankets).
  7. Acadia National Park gets really busy a little after 10:00 am. Before then, it is a haven of peace and quiet to explore! 
  8. Bar Harbor is a great lunch pit-stop to rest and then get back to your adventuring. They have a great green park area to chill and open up a pack lunch. They have the sand bar that allows you to head across to a nearby island at low tide. A good place to stop for sure, though it can be quite packed with tourists.
  9. Stay near Bangor, it is quiet and an easy drive to almost anywhere you'll want to go. Though if you are just going to Bar Harbor or just going somewhere else, it may not make sense as it is a far bit away from the tourism areas.
  10. Schoodic Point is a great spot to see Cadillac Mountain and the ocean. If you're lucky, you may even see a few seals, we saw a baby! 
  11. Deep sea fishing with http://www.acadiafishingtours.com/ is great, but don't expect a crazy amount of different kinds of fish. It's built for easy and fun fishing that allows you to pull up fish with almost every cast, but the majority of the fish we caught were School Pollock. The one benefit to this excursion is that they give you a lobster to take home and cook! 
  12. Make sure you cook lobster at home if you can during your visit. It's a great experience and tastes amazing fresh! Try making your own lobster roll too! It's easy! 
  13. When purchasing and cooking lobster locally, know that the green stuff inside your lobster is normal. Some say it is a delicacy to eat, but we stuck with the meat. The best meat can be found in the tail and the claws.
  14. If you have time and a bit of gumption, go try out the Beehive Trail in the park. It will offer some of the best views of the ocean and park. But bee careful as it is fairly treacherous and offers a bit more difficult climbing level than many of the other trails in the park. We would not recommend taking young children on this trail unless they are experienced hikers and climbers.
  15. Moose Viewing: We opted for a tour that would help provide sights of moose in the wild. We really did enjoy what we saw- a bull and a cow. We saw the bull in a lake far off the beaten path while canoeing. Though we saw these awesome creatures with the help of a guide, we felt that we could have also found them on our own. Looking to find your own? Head to Moosehead Lake, grab some breakfast, then hit the stone roads around the area. Look in the ponds, and any other areas where there is water and you are likely to find one! No need to pay $50 a head to find one. 
  16. If you are already near Moosehead Lake, you should consider a very short hike to the B-52 Bomber Crash Site. It is well worth your time and will offer a very different type of hiking experience. While the scenery is beautiful, it is a very special and somber memorial site. The experience will certainly be worth it. 
  17.  Tobey Falls was one of our last locations we visited and it was a beautiful place to enjoy a river hike as well as a swim as it has a variety of different swimming holes. 

We hope these quick tips will help you better explore the Acadia National Park area!