Explore the Mount Desert Peninsula: Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park & Surrounding Areas

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Advisor - Alanna Zappariello
Curated By

Alanna Zappariello

  • Active Travel

  • Group Travel

  • Road Trip Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Family Travel

  • Maine

  • Sightseeing

  • Outdoors

  • Island

Bass Harbor Head Light Mount Desert Island
Curator’s statement

Acadia National Park is the highest rocky headlands along the Atlantic coastline. Situated on Mount Desert Island, Isle au Haut, Schoodic Peninsula and 17 other coastal islands, this park is extremely unique. The popular town of Bar Harbor offers amazing food, featuring free seafood including famous Maine lobster rolls!

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay in Mount Desert

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Things to do in Mount Desert

Mount Desert Island Maine Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

Traveling by car to the park will be the easiest mode of transportation. Once in the park, however, the Island Explorer Bus Shuttles are fare-free busses that run late June through mid-October within the park and the surrounding communities. While in the main section of the park on Mount Desert Island, take time to drive the Park Loop Road and stopping for the fantastic views of the coast. Cadillac Summit Road does require vehicle reservations and there is no bus service. You can also hike to the top if you do not have a car. Check out the sunrise here if possible!

Trails found here include:

  • Great Head Trail (easy to moderate and includes the sandy beach)

  • Beehive Trail (hard trail including rock scrambles and metal rung climbs)

  • Precipice Trail (hardest trail in the park with steep elevation with rock scrambles and metal rung climbs). If you are not afraid of heights, the views are worth it.

  • Jordan Pond Path along with any of the Bubbles (moderate hike with a wide view of the park).

  • Both 1.5 hours before and after low tide, walk the Bar Island Land Bridge from Bar Harbor. Just be certain not to get caught on the island. A water taxi back can cost $150!

  • Be sure to visit Thunder Hole via parking lot or Ocean Path (easy walking trail along the coast) 1.5-2 hours before high tide to experience the sea against the shore. Pack a raincoat or stand back as you may get very wet!

On Bass Harbor, walk the easy Ship Harbor trail and visit the Bass Harbor Lighthouse, which is also gorgeous during sunrise or sunset.

The Flying Mountain Trail and St.

Sauveur Mountain trails are moderate trails that you pass driving from Mount Desert that are fun if time allows. Same with Beech Mountain!

If time permits, take a ferry to either Isle au Haut or the Schoodic Peninsula for more trails and views of the park!

Do not forget to leave yourself at least a half day to explore the town of Bar Harbor and all it has to offer!

National parks require permits that must be purchased and printed beforehand and left on the dashboard of your vehicle. As always, remember to leave the park as you found it!

Places to eat & drink in Mount Desert

cafe this way dining with island view bar harbor

Outside Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Jennifer McGuire guide, Bar Harbor, Maine: A Multigenerational Family Travel Guide.

Advisor - Alanna Zappariello

Travel Advisor

Alanna Zappariello

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Maine.