Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor and surrounding villages

Frequently Asked Questions About Acadia


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 Harbor.
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 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, and more.
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 & motelsbed & breakfastsinnscottages & cabinsvacation rentalscampgrounds
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 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?
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 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.
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 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 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

(Most information from the U.S. Acadia National Park web site)

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