Coasts / Shorelines

Waves crashing over a rocky coastline at sunset
Sunset from the coastline of Schoodic Peninsula

NPS Photo/Kent Miller

The resilient land that makes up Acadia National Park began rising after glaciers retreated north around 15,000 years ago. The level of the sea worldwide rose close to its present height as the ice sheets melted. Although this sea level rise had leveled off to less than an inch everyone one hundred years, today's oceans rise at a rate of nearly an inch per decade. The bedrock gave substance and the glaciers gave character, but without the sea, Acadia would be like a gem without a setting. Each headland, bay, and inlet reveals the majestic interface between sea and land.

Acadia protects nearly 64 miles of coastline on Mount Desert Island, Schoodic Peninsula, Isle au Haut, and other islands managed by the park. Millions of visitors each year see the dramatic coastline this park is known for, either on a scenic drive along the Park Loop Road or on foot from overlooks and hiking trails. Otter Cliffs and Schoodic Point are famous and frequently photographed coastlines, where waves crash up high and show the erosive power of the ocean. Off-shore storms can amount to massive waves pounding against the coast rounding the edges of rocks over time.

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