What to see at Acadia National Park

Early 20th Century visionaries who were awed by the beauty of the area donated the land for Acadia National Park in Maine.  It was the first National Park East of the Mississippi River Home – Acadia National Park.  Jump ahead to 2012 and there are now more than 2 million visitors every year.  What does Acadia have to offer?  There are two campgrounds, a Visitor Center, Cadillac Mountain, Thunder Hole, Acadia Park Loop Road, the Otter Cliffs and so much more.  You can purchase a week long car pass for $20

Cadillac Mountain with an elevation of 1,532’ is the highest point in Hancock County Things to do in Acadia National Park: Check out 25 Acadia National Park Attractions.  This is the first place you can view the sunrise in the United States starting October 17 until March 6.  It is one of 17 mountains on Mount Dessert Island.  Glaciers sheared off the tops of the mountains or they would all be much taller.  The view from the top of Cadillac Mountain is spectacular.  On a clear day, you can see Mount Katahdin to the North.  Mt. Katahdin is the highest mountain in Maine and the start of the Appalachian Trail.  Looking to the East, you can see Nova Scotia in Canada.  Both of these sites are over 100 miles away!  You can travel the scenic road, which opened in 1931.  It goes approximately 3.5 miles up to the top of the mountain.  There are also hiking trails available.

Thunder Hole is where the mountains actually touch the ocean.  It gets its name because of the sound that is made when the tide changes.  The waves force gallons of water into a natural solid granite crevasse creating a thundering sound; this happens when the air gets trapped in the cavern, which is higher than the inlet.  Passing time has caused the cavern to be carved out; resulting in less reverberation, but it is still awesome to hear.  There has also been an unfortunate history of rogue waves, make sure to stay on the marked paths when visiting.  The best time to visit is when the high tide is coming in.  There have been many famous photographs showing sprays up to 40’ tall at this location.  

Acadia Park Loop is an approximately 20 mile loop around the park, travelling mostly one-way.  The trip is about three to four hours if you stop and spend time at the view points to enjoy the scenery.  This loop road showcases forests, mountains, coast line, Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Otter Cliffs, and Cadillac Mountain.  The Loop Road is closed between December 1 and April 15, but weather conditions may change the schedule Acadia Park Road – AllTrips.  It’s best to check the Park’s website to make sure the road is open if you are planning your trip close to the opening or closing times.  

The Otter Cliffs rise 110’ above sea level.  They are pink granite cliffs that jut into the ocean.  This is a very well liked hiking destination; rock climbing is popular here along with awesome photo opportunities. 

Also available are 45 miles of Carriage Roads, which are open to horse riders, hikers, and carriage drivers.   These roads have 16 granite stone bridges and are very scenic.  The entire Carriage Road system was built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who was a patron of the park.  The roads were built between 1916 and 1940. John also largely funded the loop road for motor vehicles encircling the park. 

There are many other fantastic things to check out, as I’ve only highlighted a few of the great opportunities the park has available.  There is Schooner Head, Sand Beach, Jordon Pond, Harbor Head Light House, Ship Harbor, and a lot of history to be enjoyed.  Most recommend spending an entire week to take advantage of all Acadia has to offer.