Suggestions for Acadia National Park?
July 1, 2012 4:36 PM   Subscribe

Suggestions for things to do in Acadia National Park?

I am thinking about taking a camping trip up to Acadia in the second or third weekend in August. I would be going with a few friends and leaving from Northeast PA. We would be going to hike, fish and swim most likely. I would love to get some good fresh lobster somewhere.
Can anyone suggest good places to go when I am there?

Are the Cranberry Isles worth going to? Bar island seems like a cool hike but you can only get there in low tide, is there a good place to rent a boat there?

Any suggestions on where to go when I am there would be great. I think we will be there 4 to 5 days.
posted by Dick Laurent is Dead to Travel & Transportation around Bar Harbor, ME (6 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
As someone from the area:

The problem with Acadia National Park and MDI in general is that it's jam-packed with people, to the point that it's not fun anymore. The only legal places you can go camping on the island are at campgrounds like Blackwoods which have all the sites so close together it's ridiculous. Hiking trails abound, but yet again there are so many people it's like a city park and not much of a getaway at all. Bar Harbor is so packed during the summer months that locals avoid it like the plague if they can.

I like the Cranberry Isles! I do know residents out there feel uncomfortable because a lot of tourists treat their community as if it were Colonial Williamsburg (looking through the windows, taking pictures of diapers drying on the line, et cetera). However, there really is a lot you can do out there- if you go to Islesford (Little Cranberry) the Coast Guard beach on the back side of the island is absolutely fantastic, a seawall of nearly perfectly round cobblestones, and you can hike basically all the way around the island along the shore.
If you're looking for some nice food out there, the lobsterman's coop runs the Dock Restaurant, too.

Personally, I would suggest giving Acadia itself a pass and checking out Maine east of MDI, heading up Route 1 to Calais and back. There's far fewer people, you won't have to knock elbows while fishing and you'll be able to camp with a modicum of privacy.

I'd check out the site for places to camp: Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land looks absolutely fantastic, and I'd definitely check out Roque Bluffs State Park (although you can't camp there.) Tunk Lake on Route 182 is a really nice spot to fish, too.
As for hiking, I'd check out Tunk or Schoodic mountain- they're easily as majestic as anything on MDI, but with the added bonus that you'll have the mountain to yourself.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:16 PM on July 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, and I forgot: if you want to get out to the Cranberry Isles, you take the boat from the Northeast Harbor dock. There's info on fares & schedules here.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:19 PM on July 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I both agree with dunkadunc and disagree. Acadia is one of the most beautiful places on planet earth; of course, that makes people want to go there!

I do love the Cranberries; there are regular ferries to all of the islands surrounding MDI, and many places will pack you picnic lunches to take with.

Bar Island has no inhabitants (I believe) and is pretty small; you could walk out there but I don't see that as a big attraction.

Hiking: up and down Cadillac is manditory. You will want to be present at the summit for either sunrise or sunset; the latter is the only one you could hike for! I also recommend hiking the precipice, and bubble rock (with popovers at Jordan Pond House!!!!). Also, bike or walk the carriage trails.

For lobsters: Abel's lobster pound for service, although you'll pay through the nose. Any of the lobster houses on the way into the island will do you fine as well.

Be sure to see Schoodic Peninsula (off-island, but part of the park) and the west side of the island as well. Also: Isle Au Haut!

There is another thread in ask.mefi from just a few months ago; see and ye shall find.
posted by scolbath at 6:08 PM on July 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

scolbath: "(with popovers at Jordan Pond House!!!!). "

Tangent, possibly, but I wouldn't eat at the Jordan Pond House. I worked there last year, and management was having waitresses scoop the remaining jam out of the ramekins that came back to the dishroom and send it in back out to customers as if it were new.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:36 PM on July 1, 2012

Acadia is awesome! Crowded though, and definitely a "car camping" sort of place. If you camp at the park, try to get a spot at Seawall, which is quieter. If I went again I would definitely bring a bike with me. They have a lot of old horse trails that are now paved, and it seemed like the ideal way to explore the island.

The best place we found for lobster was actually a little store for supplies, showers and firewood near the Seawall entrance. Cheap, basic and amazing :-)
posted by susanvance at 7:07 PM on July 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

If people are not your thing skip Acadia and try across to the empty Schoodic portion of the park or just head Downeast completely.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:32 AM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

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