The largest section of Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island. It’s a national park unlike most others as much of the park is designated as chunks of land around the island – from one end to the other. This makes touring Acadia National Park an even more enjoyable experience because it creates an interesting mix of natural features, great hikes, superb sightseeing and rugged coastline that you would expect from a park. But there is the bonus of many fascinating places, working harbor towns, historical sites, manicured gardens and great little towns and surprises.
Since our travels will take us all over Mount Desert Island, we’ve created the tour with two separate loop routes. Both start and finish near Bar Harbor. Our advice is to spend one day on each loop if you have the time. If you are trying to do the whole island in one day, do the Park Loop Road first, and then finish your day on the Mount Desert Island Loop. And try to get started early!
Thompson Island Visitor Center, Hulls Cove Visitor Center or Bar Harbor.
At least two full days is recommended.
Approx. 90 miles.
Acadia National Park is New England’s only national park, and ranks high on many travel bucket lists. With rugged granite cliffs along the coast, miles of forested trails and its incredible fall foilage, it’s perfect for sightseeing and outdoor adventures.
Although Acadia National Park is open year round, the best time to visit is from late May through October. The Island Explorer shuttle bus operates from late June to mid October, and that’s when everything is open.
Spring means being prepared for everything from wet cold and perhaps snow to warm sunny days. Some hiking trails close for nesting birds; other park facilities may be closed for maintenance. Autumn in Acadia brings cooler and dryer weather and changing foliage.
While you can drive the Park Loop Road and loop around to the western side of the island in a day, you’ll want at least 2-5 days to fully explore Acadia National Park, hike, bike, enjoy other island attractions, and perhaps ferry or drive to the Schoodic section.
One of the park’s main attractions, the 27-mile Park Loop Road is the go-to scenic drive around the east side of Mount Desert Island, and connects Acadia’s lakes, mountains, and shoreline.