Acadia National Park FAQ's - Frequently Asked Questions
- Where is Acadia National Park located and what is the travel distance
to the park?
- The largest portion of Acadia is located on Mount
Desert Island on the coast of Maine. It is 264 miles from Boston
and 50 miles from Bangor. See Directions for
approximate mileage from various cities. There is also a portion
further “Downeast” off US Route One called Schoodic
Peninsula. This is the only portion of Acadia National Park
located on the mainland and is about a one hour drive from Bar
- What is the best driving route to take to Acadia from the south?
There are two routes:
(1) Take I-95 north to Augusta, Maine then take Route 3 east to Ellsworth and
on to Mount Desert Island.
(2) 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 places in Acadia National Park?
- You do not need a car when the Island Explorer Shuttle Bus is operating
(June 23 to early October). With this service, you can park and ride.
Visit the Island
Explorer website for details on the options.
- How many days should I spend in Acadia?
- The average stay is is 3-4 days but, if you plan on exploring the
surrounding villages or the Schoodic
Peninsula section of Acadia National Park, it can be longer.
- Is there an online guide that will help me explore the area and
plan my visit to Acadia?
- Yes. A very useful resource is at AcadiaMagic.com.
It has an Acadia Map that is “clickable” on
the map itself, giving you information and photos of the place of
interest so you can plan in advance or show your friends and family.
The site also provides information on area towns
& villages, hotels
& motels, bed & breakfasts, inns, cottages, vacation
rentals, restaurants & clubs, activities,
- 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?
- Not in the park itself other than campgrounds. However, there are
many types of lodging options in nearby towns: hotels
& motels • bed
& breakfasts • inns • cottages
& cabins • vacation
rentals • campgrounds
- 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. To review and select activities in the surrounding
areas, select Activities.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- How long is the Park Loop Road and how long will it take to drive
- The Park Loop Road is 27 miles long and planning on taking 3-4
hours, including some stops, is recommended. The Hulls
Cove Visitor Center has information and audio tours.
- 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 (approximately. 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
- 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.
- 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).
- 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
- 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 their fall colors in September, but the
peak time is usually the first two weeks of October. The state of
Maine provides foliage information on-line.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- What are the GPS Coordinates for the Hulls Cove Visitor Center in Bar Harbor?
- The GPS Coordinates for the Acadia National Park Visitor Center in Bar Harbor are:
Latitude 44.409286; Longitude -68.247501
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