Vehicle Reservations

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Vehicle Reservations Required October 1 to 18, 2020

Driving your car to two of the most popular destinations in Acadia National Park now requires a reservation. The National Park Service is piloting the vehicle reservation system in October to prepare for a full season of operation in 2021.

Where and when are vehicle reservations required?

  • Cadillac Summit Road (4:30 am to 6:30 pm) and Sand Beach Entrance (7 am to 5 pm) sections of the Park Loop Road providing access to Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Ocean Path, the Beehive, Great Head, and Gorham Mountain.
  • Vehicle reservations are not required for other areas of the park
  • Vehicle reservations are not required to enter by foot or bike.

How do I make a vehicle reservation?

  • Reservations must be purchased in advance online at Recreation.gov for $2.00 each.
  • Reservation fee is non-refundable for any reason, including fog, cloudiness, and other weather.
  • Reservations are not be sold at the park.

Is there a time limit on a vehicle reservation?

  • No. Reservations provide a timed entry, but do not require a departure time.
  • If you leave the area with your vehicle, you need another reservation to re-enter.

Why are vehicle reservations required?

  • Acadia is among the top ten most popular national parks in the United States, with more than 3.5 million visits a year. Visitation has surged almost 60 percent in a decade, leading to severe crowding at most park destinations. The National Park Service has prepared a Transportation Plan to reduce severe traffic and parking congestion so visitors can plan ahead and have a more enjoyable visit.The purpose of the plan is to manage access for vehicles, not people.

Good to Know

  • Vehicle reservations do not assign a specific parking space, but they ensure the availability of parking and reduce competition for parking in the reservation area.

  • A portion of all reservations will be held back for release 48 hours before the reservation time to allow for short-term trip planning.

  • You must have a valid park entrance pass in addition to your vehicle reservation. The vehicle reservation fee is not discounted for annual and lifetime pass holders.
  • You may stay in a vehicle reservation area if you arrive before the start of the reservation time.
  • Commercial tour operators with a valid Commercial Use Authorization do not require a vehicle reservation, but anyone travelling with them in a separate vehicle requires a reservation.
  • Special Use Permits issued before the vehicle reservation pilot dates were announced will be honored. Special Use Permit holders do not require a vehicle reservation, but anyone travelling with them in a separate vehicle requires a reservation.
  • Accredited school groups with an authorized entrance fee waiver do not require a vehicle reservation.
  • The Island Explorer bus system is not operating due to COVID-19.
 
Map of Cadillac Summit Vehicle Reservation Area
Map of Cadillac Summit Vehicle Reservation Area

Cadillac Summit Road

Cadillac Summit Road offers a three-mile drive to the top of the highest peak in the park. Along the way, there are several scenic pullouts to enjoy the view. Parking is available in two locations at the summit, where restrooms, a gift shop, and scenic overlooks connected by paved walks can be found. There is no Island Explorer bus service on the Cadillac Summit Road. Sunrise times range from 4:45 am in mid-June to 6:15 am in mid-October.

Book a Cadillac Sunrise Reservation

4:30 to 7 am

Book a Cadillac Daytime Reservation

7 am to 6:30 pm

Road Conditions

The narrow, two-lane road winds to the 1,530-foot summit of Cadillac Mountain. Drivers should use caution when traveling the road and yield to pedestrians. Road length: 3.2 miles.

Parking availability

Paved pullouts are located along the road for short-term parking to enjoy the views. Do not cross traffic to pull out on the opposite side of the road. The Blue Hill Overlook parking area is 1/4 mile before the summit and offers the best sunset views. The Cadillac Summit parking area is arranged in a loop and offers the best sunrise views.

Recreation Vehicles

Recreational vehicles and trailers are prohibited from the Cadillac Summit Road.

 
Map of Sand Beach Entrance Vehicle Reservation Area
Map of Sand Beach Entrance Vehicle Reservation Area

Sand Beach Entrance

Sand Beach Entrance offer access to the section of the Park Loop Road that includes Sand Beach (swimming, restrooms, changing rooms, water), Thunder Hole, and some of the park’s most popular hiking trails: Great Head, The Beehive, Ocean Path, and Gorham Mountain. The Park Loop Road continues beyond the vehicle reservation area to the Fabbri Picnic Area and Jordan Pond.

Book a Sand Beach Entrance Reservation

7 am to 5 pm

Road Conditions

The road beyond the entrance station is a two-lane, one-way road with parking allowed in the right lane in most places and a speed limit of 25 mph. Drivers should use caution when traveling the road and yield to pedestrians. Road length: 1.8 miles.

Parking Availability

Finding a parking spot while traveling one-way road requires that you park where there is availability as you are prohibited from backing up, reversing direction, or reentering the Sand Beach Entrance without another vehicle reservation. Parking areas are located at Sand Beach and at five locations along the length of the vehicle reservation area. Parking in the right travel lane is permitted unless otherwise posted.

Recreation Vehicles

While RVs are permitted to drive the Park Loop Road, there are no designated RV parking spaces and most parking areas have limited turning room. RVs are prohibited from parking in spaces designated for buses. RVs are permitted to park in the righthand lane of the road unless otherwise prohibited.

 

Learn More

 
Woman watches sunset standing between a jeep and a park wayside
A visitor watches sunset from a roadside pullout in July 2019.

Photo courtesy of Seth Baker, a visitor from Rochester, NY. Used with permission.

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Last updated: August 12, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 177
Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Phone:

(207) 288-3338

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