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Acadia national park 3 days itinerary
Acadia National Park, located in Maine, is the closest northeastern U.S. national park to Boston and the first on the East Coast. The small size of Acadia National Park may be off-putting to those who expect spectacular views like those found in West Coast national parks, but there is actually a lot of variety in the small area. The park is a rare national park on the east coast, especially within easy driving distance of northeastern cities.
Acadia National Park covers an area of only 190 square kilometers, divided intoThree partsThe largest area is Mount desert island, which can be accessed by a land bridge. The largest is Mount desert island, which can be accessed by a land bridge and is also the center of the main attractions. The second largest, Isle au Haut, is one tenth the size of Mount desert island and is located to the southwest of Mount desert island, making it less accessible by boat. The smallest area, the Schoodic Peninsula, is located to the east of Mount desert island and is connected to the mainland, which is also accessible by car. We only visited Mount desert island and Schoodic peninsula during our trip to Acadia national park, it was a relaxing three days and two nights trip.
- Day 1: The first day's itinerary focuses onMount desert islandThe eastern half of Acadia National Park is where all the attractions of Acadia National Park are concentrated. In the eastern half of the park, you just need to follow the unidirectional park loop road, there are a lot of scenic spots for photo taking on the way. In fact, if you have good weather and stamina, biking around the park loop is a good choice. In the fall, the mountains are full of beautiful scenery.
- Day 2: Mainly spent in the western half of Mount desert island, Scenic drive for fall foliage viewing. I drove from Bar Harbor to Northeast harbor, then drove north along the Sargent drive by Somes sound, the only glacier canyon on the east coast of the U.S. It is 5 miles long, and the key point of this road is to see the scenery of Somes sound. Take Highway 198 to the north and then Highway 102 to the south to officially enter the western half of the island. The only attraction in the northern part of the western half of the island is probably Echo Lake, which is very scenic, but if you just want to go for the sightseeing, you can skip this part. There are not many marked attractions in the whole western half of the island, this part of the road is a scenic drive, suitable for those who want to enjoy the scenery. If you are planning to spend the whole day here, you can slow down your pace and have lunch at southwest harbor at noon.
- Day 3: Drive on the Schoodic Peninsula.
Mount Desert Island
Visitors who come to Acadia national park by land drive from the north to Mount desert island, first of all, they will pass by Hulls cove visitor center, you can get the map here. We came here mainly to drive in Park loop to enjoy the fall, there are some unknown trails along the roadside, how to take pictures under the color of autumn leaves are all beautiful.
The first stop was Cadillac mountain, the highest point of Acadia National Park, which was chosen in the fall for its maple leaves, which are rich in color, mainly red. It is a great place to enjoy the colorful maple leaves, mainly red leaves. Isn't it beautiful to stand on the high point and enjoy the large maple leaves forest underneath your feet, reflecting the blue sea water? This is the autumn color we came here to enjoy. You can't see this kind of red leaves in New York and New Jersey, which are farther south.
If you are interested in spending more time hiking to see the maple and the sea, the Gauge path recommended by the ranger at the Visitor Center is a good choice. This is a very long hiking trail that ends at cadillac mountain.
Apart from maple viewing, Acadia is also very suitable for stargazing at night. The most famous place for stargazing is Cadillac Mountain. We didn't go to Cadillac Mountain because we were afraid that it would be too cold on the mountain in the fall. Instead, we drove to a location near the visitor center in Hulls cove, where there is no light pollution. I guess no one thought of this place as we did, so there were no other tourists around, only endless stars in the sky.
Sieur De Monts
Sieur De Monts, north of the park loop, has a lot to do in high season, including the Nature center, Abbe Museum, and the Wild gardens of Acadia, which are very beautiful in spring. However, the peak season of Acadia National Park is in summer because of the cold weather in Maine. We chose to come in the fall, when the peak season was over, and the Abbe museum and Nature center were closed, so we could only look at the outdoor exhibits, such as the traditional Wabanaki (Acadia's indigenous people) bark house.
Most visitors may not realize that Acadia National Park is actually a purchased national park. Maine is so beautiful and cool in the summer, especially in the area where Acadia is located, that in the past many wealthy people bought land and built cottages here. The founder of Acadia, Mr. George Dorr, was determined to preserve the beauty of the area, so he called upon the wealthy to form a foundation to buy up all the land in the area and save it for the common use of the participants, i.e., as a private club. Later, due to a change in regulations, the taxes to maintain private land became very expensive, so the foundation simply gave the entire park to the government and opened it up to the general public.
Sieur De Monts is surrounded by several trails, and there is a long gentle trail called the Jesup path from the Nature center to the east, which was our main target on this day as the red maples were in perfect color. This trail was recommended by ranger that day, and it is a very easy trail to follow. As ranger said, this is the best time for the leaves, there are both yellow and red leaves, although the Jesup path is easy to walk, but the distance is very long, we only walked for about 1 mile and turned back.
Beehive trail is located a little further south from Sieur de Monts. In fact, before getting to Beehive trail, we will pass by the most famous precipice trail in Acadia national park, Percipice trail is a very difficult grade to climb, the length is also long, and the scenery looks extremely beautiful on the picture, experienced climbers must challenge. Considering the lack of training recently, I was worried about the lack of physical strength, so I listened to ranger's suggestion and climbed the beehive trail in the south instead. beehive trail is also a difficult grade, with a good view, but it is much shorter in length, with a circle of only 0.6 mile, which is suitable for ordinary people with average physical strength.
Although the Beehive trail is short in length, the gradient is still very steep and you have to hold on to the railings to climb up at quite a few points. The view was so beautiful that I thought it was a bit too short after the climb! After climbing up to the top, you can see the richness of Arcadia's terrain, including mountains, colorful maple forests, beaches and lighthouses. With all the national parks in the US, it's not easy to see so many different landscapes from one mountaintop.
This is the other side of the top of the beehive trail.
When I went down the mountain, I took another trail on the other side of the mountain, which is roughly a stone paved trail, only a little more difficult to walk than the Jesup path, and the fall colors along the way are very beautiful.
After climbing the mountain, there is a beach to play in the water in less than five minutes. Arcadia is rich in geography, and the small sandy beach at Sand beach is one of the rare wonders. While the east coast of the United States, especially in the north, is mostly solid rocky shores, Arcadia has sand beaches. The pockets of sand at Sand beach in the southeast corner of the country were created when an ancient glacier cut a small pocket in the ocean that happened to be tributary to a breakaway current, catching many disintegrating shells.
Not far from Sand beach, there are two other interesting attractions at the southeastern end of the beach: Thunder hole, named after the roaring sound of waves hitting the shore, which is like the sound of thunder. The better time to come here is two hours before high tide, but when we came here, the tide was almost high and the sound of the waves sounded more like Thunder Hole gargling, and there are a lot of otters at Otter point, which is a favorite spot for kids.
Jordan pond house
The Jordan pond house itself is a relatively large visitor center, the largest attraction on the west side of the park loop, and the only place in the park with a restaurant. the foliage around the Jordan pond is especially colorful, and it's well worth a walk in the park.
Seawall is a naturally occurring granite barrier located on the western half of Mount Desert Island and is an excellent spot for contemplation and watching the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean. However, if you want to watch the sunrise from here, it's best to stay in the adjacent campground the night before.
Eagle lake is the second largest lake in the park, located in the west half of the lake, you can also see it from Cadillac mountain. the fall color of Eagle lake is also very beautiful.
The southernmost point of the western half of the island is Bass Harbor. The landmark here is the Bass Harbor head lighthouse, which towers over the coast and, like many of the lighthouses along the east coast, is now a National Historic Landmark, although it is still a private residence of the Coast Guard and is not accessible for tours.
View of Schoodic Peninsula
The Schoodic Peninsula is located on the east side of Mount desert island, and although it's not far from Mount desert island in a straight line, it takes at least 50 minutes by car because it's separated by a bay. The only real part of the national park is the tip of the Schoodic Peninsula, a six-mile-long circular road that can be completed in half an hour without stopping, even at the island's slow speed limit. There aren't many Schoodic attractions to write home about, but if you have the time, as we do, it's worth a visit. The drive from Mount Desert Island to Schoodic in the fall is beautiful, regardless of whether it's a national park or not.
The biggest attraction in Schoodic area is probably Schoodic point, the visitor center here is built very beautifully. Because of the low season, the center was closed a few weeks before we arrived, no restaurant and no toilets were open, so we came here to enjoy the fall colors.
There is a little spot in the southeast called Blueberry hill, which as the name suggests has a lot of wild blueberries growing along the side of the road. Wild blueberries are a specialty of Maine, and when they are in season in the summer, July and August, visitors must try the local blueberry pie. We came here in the fall, and the blueberry season was over, so we took a photo as a souvenir.
Other than that, there are no mapped attractions along this six-mile loop. Even so, it's easy to pull off the road and take photos in this relaxed atmosphere, or climb up a side trail for a hike, with endless views of the Atlantic Ocean from any elevated spot. If you look closely, you will notice that the rock texture of Schoodic is smaller than Mount Desert island, which is a different kind of granite. For bird watchers, you may also want to pay attention to the wild blue herons here.
After seeing the sea, we can turn around and enjoy the maple. On the way back from Schoodic, the water here seems to be calm, but due to the dangerous currents in the Gulf of Maine, the land bridge here took a lot of effort to build for the safe transportation of goods.
Where to stay, where to eat
Acadia national park's commercial activities are concentrated in Mount Desert Island, and the largest places to eat are Bar Harbor, Northeast harbor, and Southwest harbor. The main hotel area is Bar Harbor on Mt Desert Island, facing Frenchman bay on the east side, there are many stores and food (including Maine lobster of course), and it is the most popular place for tourists to stay, we arranged our two nights' accommodation here. Northeast harbor is a small town with a lot of shops and activities during the peak season. Because we came here towards the end of fall, there are fewer commercial activities in the off-season, and most of the stores here are already closed, so we just took a brief stroll around. southwest harbor is the best choice for dinner in the western half of the city, but it's best to check in advance in the off-season, as the dinner halls might not be open if you come too late in the day. Like this time, I was lucky that my favorite restaurant, Beals lobster pier, was still open (I heard from the owner, he is going to take a vacation in a day, so I was really lucky).
Beals lobster pier
Beals lobster pier is in Southwest harbor, I highly recommend this restaurant, here I had the best lobster meal I've ever had on the entire east coast, and for the first time I understood the true deliciousness of lobster with cream, it's definitely worth the price of admission. I ordered a very generous Lobster roll and a 1.5 lb lobster. A good lobster has to be cooked in its native sea water, so there's no better place to eat a lobster than right next to the Maine Harbor!
The harbor where the restaurant is located is also a beautiful sight.
Another recommended restaurant is the Thirsty whale in Bar harbor. We had a light Fish sandwich and fish and chips for lunch on this day, and the seafood was very fresh and fairly priced.
- More U.S. National ParksRelated Posts
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