Are you ready to experience the highest rocky headlands along the Atlantic Coast? If so, add Acadia National Park to your travel bucket list! This incredible place features breathtaking hiking trails, magnificent scenery, and coastlines you’ll remember forever.
While Acadia National Park is located near 5-star resorts and luxury hotels, we recommend traveling here in a campervan! If you’re looking to experience the great outdoors and enjoy nature at its finest, camping in your van is the way to do it.
In this post, we’ll discuss several reasons why Acadia National Park is a must-see outdoor travel destination. We’ll talk about the attractions and activities in the area, including why late summer/early fall is the perfect time to visit!
About Acadia National Park
Established in 1916, Acadia National Park is considered one of the top national parks in the nation. In fact, around 3.5 million people visit this park every single year.
Located on the coast of Maine, Acadia spans 49,052 acres. That said, there is plenty of room for hiking, camping, and simply soaking in the views.
As you’re making your drive into this wonderful park, be sure to check out some cool stops on the ride over.
Where to Stop Along the Way
Check out the following points of interest on your epic road trip to Acadia National Park:
If you’re headed north, be sure to take a trip out to Massachusetts. This state has a lot of outdoor fun, including excellent biking trails. Maudslay State Park in Newburyport, Stage Fort Park in Gloucester, and Willowdale State Forest in Ipswich are some top destinations for bikers. Also, you have to check out the fall scenery! October is the perfect time for leaf peeping in the North East region. If you find yourself in Virginia during mid-October, see the majestic fall foliage at Wilderness Road State Park or Grayson Highlands State Park!
Acadia is located near the northeastern edge of the U.S., so there isn’t much room between the park and the Canadian border. However, if you’re coming from the towns of Pembroke, Whiting, Cutler, or Jonesport, there are several adventure opportunities! We recommend checking out Great Wass Island Preserve or Cobscook Bay State Park.
Headed south into the park? If so, you can’t pass up the lush scenery in the great state of Maine. There are multiple lakes and rivers to explore, including Moosehead Lake, St. John River, and Telos Lake. We also recommend hiking around Baxter State Park, especially during the fall months when the autumn colors come to life!
If your drive begins west of the park, be sure to stretch your legs, experience the scenery, and explore a little! First off, you can’t pass up the fall colors in Vermont. However, as this is one of the top places in the country for fall foliage, you should prepare for the crowds.
Here are some of the best areas in Vermont to see the changing colors:
- Smugglers Notch Pass
- Mount Mansfield
- Shelburne Farms
- Quechee State Park
New York is also a hot spot for experiencing fall beauty. That said, consider taking a scenic drive along Whiteface Veterans’ Memorial Highway, Park Road in Letchworth State Park, or Palisades Interstate Parkway. You’ll be blown away at the colorful display!
Outdoor Activities in Acadia’s Coastal Playground
The late summer/early fall is the ideal time for a trip out to Acadia National Park! While the temps are dropping, the days are still extremely comfortable. However, you may need a light jacket on occasion.
Below you’ll find a list of the many attractions and activities in the area:
Acadia National Park is home to over 150 miles of trails! You’ll have the chance to experience beautiful forests, breathtaking coastlines, epic fall colors, and must-see mountain tops. Furthermore, you may even witness a whale jumping out of the water!
Whether you’re an avid hiker or a beginner, Acadia has the trails for you. Check out some of our favorite routes below:
- Beehive Loop Trail (difficult)
- Cadillac North Ridge Trail (difficult)
- Gorham Mountain Loop (moderate)
- Great Head Trail (moderate)
- Jordan Pond Path (easy)
- Ocean Path Trail (easy)
No matter which trail you take, bring your sunscreen, grab a jacket, and apply some bug spray!
If you’re tired from a long day of hiking, why not go on a horseback ride? Here at Acadia National Park, you can experience 45 miles of rustic carriage roads! These routes meander around valleys, mountains, and lush forests. You can hop on a carriage for an experience like no other, or you can take a horseback tour with Wildwood Stables!
Acadia National Park is home to a number of wildlife species, including black bears, moose, falcons, eagles, beavers, deer, foxes, and much more! However, bear and moose sightings are pretty rare in the area. Whenever you come across these park inhabitants, always look from afar and never approach these majestic animals.
Boating around the park is another beloved activity for many, especially in the Mount Desert Island area. Whether it’s a motorboat, canoe, kayak, or paddleboard, these are all allowed in the majority of the lakes and ponds within the park. You can even take a whale-watching tour to get a glimpse of Finback, Humpback, and Minke whales! Keep in mind Maine’s whale watching season runs from mid-April through October.
Looking for a stunning scenic route? If so, you can’t go wrong with Park Loop Road, which is a 27-mile trek that’s loved by several park visitors. Not only does this route offer fantastic views of mountains, coastlines, and lakes, but it also provides easy access to popular areas of the park, including Sand Beach, Otter Point, and Cadillac Mountain!
Acadia National Park shows off a dazzling display of fall colors every single year. If you’re traveling during the fall, you’ll definitely get to see some autumn beauty. But to fully immerse yourself in the breathtaking fall foliage, we recommend exploring the following areas:
- Beehive Loop Trail
- Cadillac Mountain
- Jesup Path
- Schooner Head Overlook
- The town of Bar Harbor
From deep golds to bright reds, seeing the changing colors in Acadia can make your trip that much more special!
- Temperatures start to dip in September and October, so plan for cooler weather!
- As the area can get busy, always have backup plans in case something doesn’t work out.
- Keep in mind you’ll need a park entrance pass to get into the area.
- Consider leaving your car and taking the free Island Explorer shuttle!
- You’ll need a vehicle reservation if you plan to travel on Cadillac Mountain.
- For camping within the park, you’ll have to make an online reservation in advance.
Check out the following details about the area’s top attractions:
- Cadillac North Ridge Trail: Starts off Park Loop Road
- Gorham Mountain Loop: Accessible from the Gorham Mountain parking lot
- Ocean Path Trail: Begins at the upper parking lot of Sand Beach
- Blackwoods Campground: Located on the east side of Mount Desert Island
- Seawall Campground: Found on the west side of Mount Desert Island
- Duck Harbor Campground: Located on Isle au Haut (only accessible by boat)
- Schoodic Woods Campground: Found on Schoodic Peninsula
Looking to escape the crowds and go off the beaten path? If so, check out these hidden gems:
- Dorr Point, Bar Harbor
- Little Hunters Beach, Park Loop Road
- East Side of the Schoodic Peninsula
- Jordan Stream Trail, Seal Harbor
- Deep Cove, Isle au Haut
- Hanging Steps Trail
- The Stone Barn
- Mitchell Cove at Lopaus Point
As the park can get busy, these destinations are ideal for finding some peace and quiet.
Find Your New Campervan Today!
If you’re ready to embark on a road trip of a lifetime, Rec Van is here to help! We’re happy to be a leading provider of new and used adventure vans. Our decked-out vehicles are perfect for any outdoor experience, including a road trip to Acadia National Park!
Check out our campervan inventory today, and call us if you have any questions!