Thinking about an Acadia National Park camping trip? What are you waiting for?
Acadia is a national park where beautiful mountains meet the sea. This breathtaking national treasure offers a landscape marked by thick woodlands, dramatic peaks and picturesque rocky beaches. Surround yourself with the best of land and sea with a camping trip to Acadia National Park.
About Acadia National Park: Quick Facts
- The park was established on July 8, 1916.
- Acadia’s original name was Sieur de Monts National Monument, penned by President Woodrow Wilson.
- The outstanding feature of the park is Mount Desert Island, which is not really a desert. It was derived from a French word which means lonely as early navigators could only see the mountains from afar.
- It may not be the largest national park in the country but Acadia National Park is one of the most visited, with two and a half million tourists coming to see it every year.
- Acadia National Park covers an area of 47,452.80 acres.
- Mount Desert Island has more than 20 mountains.
- The area of Acadia was originally inhabited by Native Americans known as Wabanaki, or People of the First Light.
- Visitors can see porcupines, beavers and otters as well as whitetail deer. Hawks, owls and terns can be watched in Acadia. You can also see humpback whales out in the sea.
- Between October to March, Cadillac Mountain in Acadia is the first place where the sunrise can be seen.
- Acadia is the first national park whose land is a collection of donations from private individuals.
- Jordan Pond is the park’s deepest lake at 150 feet.
Preparing for an Acadia National Park Camping Trip
Acadia National Park has plenty of beautiful sights that visitors and campers will definitely enjoy. However, it’s not without its dangers. The following are some considerations to make your stay safer and more enjoyable.
Summer can be as hot as 80°F but nights are cooler. The warmest temperatures can range between 40 and 60° in spring and autumn. Winter brings the mercury down to 30 degrees, dropping to zero at night. Acadia National Park gets sixty inches of snow every year. Always check the weather before your trip.
Although Acadia is open year round, winters can be harsh. Tourists who want to avoid summer crowds choose to visit in the cold months despite the dangers associated with the snow and freezing temperatures. Some visitors prefer to see the park in the fall just to avoid bugs. Maine is popular for its rugged coast and the shores of Acadia are no exception. Exercise caution in inclement weather if you intend to walk along the beach.
Like most other national parks occupying a vast area of land, cellular service can be spotty in Acadia. After all, a camping trip is a chance to connect with nature. If you need to stay in touch, it is best to monitor your phone and remember the area where you got the strongest signal. This way you can backtrack to the spot when you need to call, send a text or go online.
Hotels and other types of accommodation cannot be found in the park, making Acadia a great place to learn or test camping skills. You can choose between Blackwoods, Duck Harbor, Schoodic Woods, Seawall and Wildwood Stables campgrounds. Reservations need to be made so call the National Recreation Reservation Service before heading out.
You don’t have a lot of choices of places to eat in the park. We recommend you pack a lot of food, which would not be a problem with campers and preppers like us. After all, you’re in Acadia to camp.
Pets are allowed in Acadia National Park. However there are guidelines that must be met such as putting them on a leash as long as 6 feet, not leaving them unattended, especially in vehicles, and cleaning up their waste. Most of the campgrounds are open to pets. Lakes are off limits, as well as Sand and Echo Beaches on particular periods. Click here (https://www.nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/pets.htm) to learn more.
Leave No Trace Policy
It is important to note that we can affect the parks we visit or camp on negatively. In fact, we have been doing this to nature for so long. Let’s make it our responsibility to take care of national parks and make sure that the flora and fauna are not disturbed or worse, destroyed. We need to keep our impact on the land as low as we possibly can. This way we can still enjoy when we come back to the park and also let the next generation enjoy it as much as we have. Click here to learn more.
What to Pack for an Acadia National Park Camping Trip
__Axe or hammer
__Mat for tent entrance
__Air mattress/sleeping pad/cot/tarp
__Repair kit for air mattress
__Utility bags for storage
__Large water jug & water bucket
__Stove with fuel/propane
__Dutch oven/tin can stove/box oven/etc
__Campfire grill/BBQ grill
__Plates & bowls/paper plates & bowls
__Heavy-duty aluminum foil
Click here for the full checklist.
What to Do in Acadia National Park
Now that you’ve prepared and packed for your trip, it’s time to explore some of Acadia National Park’s beautiful sights and engage in exciting activities. Here are some of our favorites.
1. Bar Harbor
A resort town since the 19th century, Bar Harbor is the artistic, culinary, and social center of Mount Desert Island. It also serves visitors to Acadia National Park with inns, motels, and restaurants. Around the turn of the last century the island was known as the summer haven of the very rich because of its cool breezes. The wealthy built lavish mansions throughout the island, many of which were destroyed in a huge fire that devastated the island in 1947, but many of those that survived have been converted into businesses. Shops are clustered along Main, Mount Desert, and Cottage streets. Take a stroll down West Street, a National Historic District, where you can see some fine old houses. Via fodors.com
2. Jordan Pond
If you’re looking for a hike that’s fairly easy but still has incredible views, Jordan Pond is the place to go. Walk around the huge pond (the path is about 3.5 miles) and snap photos; when you’re done, visit the Jordan Pond House to refuel with popovers and tea. The pond is a perfect place to take it slow and enjoy the relaxing beauty of nature. Via www.familyvacationcritic.com
3. Swim at Sand Beach
What this beach lacks in size it certainly makes up for in beauty. With soft white sand surrounded by granite rock walls and an ideal southern exposure with views out to sea, it is a must visit during your time in Acadia. Although the water temperatures are some of the coldest in Maine, even during the summer, visitors enjoy simply relaxing in the sun and taking in the scenery. Via visitmaine.net
4. Cadillac Mountain
Standing about 1,530 feet in height, Cadillac Mountain wins a lot of superlatives. Not only is it the tallest mountain in the park, but it’s the tallest mountain on the North Atlantic seaboard and the first point of the United States to greet the rising sun’s rays from Oct. 6 to March 7. Whether you hike up the Cadillac Summit Loop Trail or drive up the 3.5-mile narrow access road, go early. As the only attraction in the park that can be reached by car, Cadillac tends to draw crowds. If you do arrive by car, you should drive slowly, especially as the roadside cliffs get steep. Via usnews.com
5. Thunder Hole
Visit just before high tide when the surf races into the naturally carved inlet and explodes as high as 40 feet with a thunderous roar. As you watch and listen, enjoy views north to Sand Beach and south to Otter Cliff. Via barharborinfo.com
6. Schoodic Point
Schoodic Point is a scenic area at the end of the Schoodic Peninsula. From the nearby Schoodic Head there are panoramic views towards the Bay of Fundy and the Mount Desert Mountains. Read more
7. Beehive Trail
If you are afraid of heights, the Beehive Trail may not be for you. However, if you care to see some surreal landscapes and gaze out on the ocean from far above, you may want to consider taking the Beehive Trail. Don’t worry, the name does not mean you will run into bees. The trail is relatively steep, but fairly quick to climb. Steel rungs and ladders are built into the trail to help you get to the top. It is considered a moderate trail, as there are some problematic places, especially if you’re afraid of heights, but the view that waits you could leave you starting for days. Definitely add the Beehive Trail to your agenda if you like to hike and want to see the best of Acadia. Click here to learn more.
You can rent a bicycle in Bar Harbor to ride along the carriage roads that wind through Mount Desert Island. You can also ride along the 27-mile-long Park Loop Road that connects the island to the surrounding villages. Along the way, you can stop at such destinations as Sand Beach, Otter Cliffs and Thunder Hole—where you can potentially hear the booming sound of waves crashing into the granite cavern. For a more challenging ride, you can bike along the Summit Road to the top of Cadillac Mountain. Via visitmaine.com
9. Take a hike through history
Imagine walking the same trails as late 19th century and early 20th century rusticators, artists, tourists and summer residents. Or picture yourself following in the footsteps of presidents and presidents-to-be. Many of the century-old village connector trails, allowing you to stroll from Bar Harbor to Sieur de Monts and beyond, or Asticou in Northeast Harbor to Jordan Pond and beyond, have been restored to their former glory as part of the park’s Centennial efforts. Great Meadow Loop and Schooner Head Path are two well-graded routes within walking distance of Bar Harbor. Via L.L.Bean
10. Drive the Park Loop Road
You can get your best overview of Acadia by driving these 27 miles of unsurpassed beauty, created in part through the masterful collaboration of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. There are many lookouts so have your camera ready for this drive. Via ouracadia.com
The Oceanarium is a low-tech, high-interest, kid-friendly site that encompasses a lobster hatchery, museum, salt-marsh walk, and more. (It doesn’t appear as much from the road, but trust me on this one). Afterwards, lobster at Thurston’s, overlooking idyllic Bass Harbor. Via mainetravelmaven
Want to know more about Acadia National Park? Check out the video below!
Did we miss anything in our Acadia National Park camping guide? Let us know in the comments!
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Great write up, good point about Blackwoods, Seawall, and the other in-park campgrounds, they can be really tough to book as they lock up so far in advance. The new Acadia East Campground by Schoodic offers a more backcountry camping experience, you should definitely check it out next time. https://acadianationalparkcamping.com
It can get to -20 for weeks on end and even colder, add a nice 15 to 20 mph wind. The winter can be tough. Being by the ocean temps usually don’t tend to get that cold but the winds are almost always present.
Your description makes me want to go, but you don’t say Where it is. Maine? Accessed from…?