• Eagle Lake covered in snow nearing dusk

    Acadia

    National Park Maine

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Carriage Roads Closed

    All park carriage roads are closed until further notice to prevent damage during the spring thaw. For more information: (207) 288-3338

  • Trail Closures: Peregrine Falcon Nesting

    Precipice Cliff and Valley Cove areas are closed to all public entry until further notice for peregrine falcon nesting season. More »

  • Blackwoods Campground is open

    Blackwoods Campground is open and is sites are available by self-registration at the campground. More »

  • 2014 Season Openings

    Park Loop Rd, Cadillac Mountain Rd, & Hulls Cove Visitor Center is open. Call (207) 288-3338 or follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AcadiaNPS) for more information More »

  • Jordan Pond boat ramp parking lot is closed for construction

    It's scheduled to reopen on June 28. There may be intermittent openings at the discretion of the contractor. The North Lot parking area will remain open for access to the Jordan Pond House Restaurant & hiking & biking trails.

Frequently Asked Questions

Planning a visit to any national park can generate lots of questions. While we have attempted to answer some of those questions here, taking the time to explore this website will provide you with much more detailed information. These frequently asked questions have been divided into five categories: general information, camping, history, park regulations, weather, and wildlife.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

Where is Acadia National Park located and what is the travel distance to the park?
Acadia is located on Mount Desert Island along the coast of Maine. The park is 264 miles from Boston and 50 miles from Bangor, Maine. See Directions for approximate mileage from various cities.

What is the best driving route to take to Acadia from the south?
There are two routes:

  • Take I-95 north to Augusta, Maine; from Augusta take Route 3 east to Ellsworth and on to Mount Desert Island.
  • Take I-95 north to Bangor, Maine; from Bangor take Route 1A east to Ellsworth; from Ellsworth take Route 3 to Mount Desert Island.

Do I need a car to visit Acadia National Park?
You do not need a car when the Island Explorer Shuttle Bus is operating (June 23 to early October). Visit the Island Explorer website for specific details on car-free vacation options.

How many days should I spend in Acadia?
An average stay here is 3-4 days.

How much does it cost to visit the park?
Weekly passes are $20 per vehicle. See Entrance Fees for details and other passes. You can purchase passes at information centers throughout the park.

Is there any lodging in the park?
There is no lodging, but the park has two campgrounds on Mount Desert Island as well as five lean-to shelters on Isle au Haut. There are many types of accommodations in nearby towns. Contact area chambers of commerce for lodging information.

What is there to do in Acadia?
There are many miles of shoreline to explore, 125 miles of hiking trails, and 45 miles of carriage roads. Kayaking and canoeing are popular activities. Two beaches offer salt water or fresh water in which to swim. A variety of ranger-led programs will introduce you to Acadia's diverse natural and cultural history.

What ranger-led activities are available?
Between mid-May and mid-October park rangers offer hikes, walks, boat cruises, talks, evening amphitheater programs, and children's programs. They also provide opportunities to view peregrine falcons and raptors.

What is there for children to do in Acadia?
Children of all ages can participate in the Junior Ranger Program. Many of the ranger-led programs are specifically designed for children and families.

Are pets allowed in the park?
Pets must be leashed and attended or otherwise physically restrained at all times. Pets are allowed in all park locations except Sand Beach, Echo Lake Beach, Isle au Haut campground, ladder trails, public buildings, and lakes that are public drinking water supplies. Please do not bring pets to ranger-led activities. Service dogs or sight-guiding dogs may accompany their owner to all park locations unless the area is closed to all visitors. See Pets for more information.

When does the Park Loop Road open and close each year?
The Park Loop Road closes on December 1, unless there is a significant snowfall that forces an earlier closure. The road reopens on April 15 if weather permits. A two-mile section of the road, one of the most scenic sections, remains open all year.

How long is the Park Loop Road and how long will it take to drive it?
Taking 3-4 hours, including some stops, is recommended for the entire 27-mile road. An audio tour of the Park Loop Road on CD is available for purchase at Hulls Cove Visitor Center.

Where can I bicycle in the park?
There are 45 miles of carriage roads open to bikers and walkers. The Park Loop Road is also open to bikers, but there is no shoulder on the road. Biking the Park Loop Road is not advised during the busy part of the day (appprox. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.). You must bike with the traffic flow on the one-way section of the Park Loop Road. Bikes can be rented in nearby towns.

When does the Island Explorer Shuttle Bus run and where does it go?
The Island Explorer operates from late June and through Columbus Day. It travels between Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Southwest Harbor, and various locations in the park.

How can I get more information about the area?
Local chambers of commerce can provide information about lodging, dining, activities, and more.

 

HISTORY

What is the origin of "Acadia"?
Acadia probably stems from a name given to the area by the explorer, Giovanni Verrazano, when he sailed by in 1524. The shoreline reminded him of a part of Greece named Arcadia.

Is it Mount Desert Island or Mount Dessert Island?
Samuel Champlain, a French navigator and cartographer, sailed by Mount Desert Island in 1604. He named it "Isles des Monts Desert," with the accent on the last syllable, as it is in the French language. He wasn't implying that it was a desert. The phrase means "island of barren mountains." That's why it's pronounced both as it is spelled and as the French meaning would be pronounced (dessert).

 

CAMPING

Are there campgrounds in the park?
There are two campgrounds in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island:

  • Blackwoods Campground - Reservations are required at Blackwoods from May 1 through October 31. From December 1 to March 31, Blackwoods is open for primitive, walk-in camping only.
  • Seawall Campground - Sites are available both on a first-come, first-served basis and by reservation. Seawall is generally open from the Wednesday before Memorial Day to September 30.

Duck Harbor Campground on Isle au Haut is open May 15 - October 15. Reservations are by mail only after April 1.

Visit Campgrounds for more information.

What is the difference between Blackwoods and Seawall?
Blackwoods is located on the east side of the island and closer to the major portion of the park, the carriage roads, and Bar Harbor. Seawall is on the west side of the island, which is less crowded. Facilities are the same at each campground. Both have wooded sites with no sites directly on the ocean.

Does my camping fee cover the entrance fee into the park?
No. The two fees are separate.

Are there water and electric hookups in the park campgrounds?
No, but there is a dump station.

Is there backcountry camping in Acadia?
No. Backcountry camping is prohibited because the park is very small, and the environment too fragile.

Can I winter camp in Acadia?
From December 1 to March 31, Blackwoods is open for primitive, walk-in camping only. For more information, see Campgrounds.

Are there private campgrounds on the island?
Yes, there are about 12 private campgrounds scattered around the island. We will be glad to mail you a list. Please contact us and include your complete mailing address.

 

WEATHER

What is the weather like?
Acadia's weather is largely a product of latitude and marine influences. Mount Desert Island temperatures are more moderate than those of inland Maine. The Maine coastal climate has been ranked second only to the Pacific Northwest in annual precipitation, which occurs in every form. Ice storms are regular in winter and early spring, and rain is frequent in every month. Fog is common during June, July, and August.

When are blackflies and mosquitoes common at Acadia?
Blackflies are usually most numerous between mid-May and mid-June, but that varies each year. They breed in running water, so they will be more prevalent if it is a rainy spring. Mosquitoes vary depending on the weather and location.

What is the best time to see fall foliage?
The leaves start turning to fall colors in September, but the peak time is usually mid-October—anywhere from the first week to the third week of the month. The state of Maine provides foliage information on-line.

How much snow does Acadia receive?
Average snowfall in Acadia is about 60 inches.

What winter activities are there?
Hiking mountain trails in the winter is not recommended. Trail markers and icy patches are obscured by drifting snow, creating very dangerous conditions for hikers. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular when there is sufficient snow. Cross-country skis, snowshoes, and ice skates can be rented in Bar Harbor. There are no snowmobile rentals on the island.

 

WILDLIFE

Where can I see puffins?
Puffins are seen off the coast of Maine. You must take a boat to one of these islands. Check with area chambers of commerce for boating companies that travel to these islands. Puffins aren't seen on or from Mount Desert Island.

Is Acadia a good birding park?
Yes. Acadia is an excellent park to watch spring warblers, sea ducks, and migrating birds of prey. Ranger-led birdwalks are offered from late spring to mid-fall. Peregrine falcon watch and hawkwatching programs are also available. You can purchase a bird checklist from the Eastern National bookstore.

Are there moose or bears in Acadia?
Both occur on the island, but are rarely seen.

Where can I see seals and whales?
Seals are best seen from boat cruises that leave from town harbors, including the park's four ranger-narrated boat cruises. Whale-watching trips are offered out of Bar Harbor.

 

PARK REGULATIONS

What park regulations should I know?
There are a number of park regulations that you should know to help make your trip more enjoyable. Please visit the regulations page for more information.

Did You Know?

The wide carriage road is lined by the spring foliage of birch trees.

Acadia National Park's carriage road system, built by John D. Rockefeller Jr., has been called “the finest example of broken stone roads designed for horse-drawn vehicles still extant in America.” Today, you can hike or bike 45 miles of these scenic carriage roads in the park.