Frequently Asked Questions

The largest portion of Acadia National Park 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 Coastal 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.

Mount Desert Island Map   Schoodic Map

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.
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.

Island Explorer Bus

The average stay is 3-4 days but, if you plan on exploring the surrounding towns & villages or the Schoodic Peninsula section of Acadia National Park, it can be longer.

Towns & Villages   Schoodic Map

Yes. You may begin and plan your journey here at It has Mount Desert Island and Schoodic Peninsula Maps that provide quick access to useful information and beautiful photos of most every place so you can plan in advance or share with friends and family. The site also provides information on local towns & villages, lodging accommodations, restaurants & clubs, various activities, and more.

Weekly passes are $35 per vehicle (as of this notice in 2023). You can purchase passes at information centers throughout the park. The National Park Service has also been requiring additional special reservations to go to Cadillac Mountain. Those reservations must be made Online before visiting the park. The charge is minimal but the arrival window is short and the charge is non-refundable.

Park Entrance Fees

Not in the park itself other than campgrounds. However, there are many types of lodging options in nearby towns that include hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, inns, cottages, cabins, vacation rentals, and campgrounds.

Lodging Pages

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 within the park offer salt water or fresh water in which to swim. There is an additional oceanside beach on Mount Desert Island in Seal Harbor plus two more close-by on the mainland in Lamoine. 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, explore the Activities section of this website. You will find links in the main navigation menu.

Beaches   Activities

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.
Children of all ages can participate in the Junior Ranger Program. Many of the ranger-led programs are specifically designed for children and families.
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.

Pets in the Park

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 on the eastern side of Mount Desert Island, one of the most scenic sections, remains open all year.

Park Loop Road   Operating Hours & Seasons

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. Another sound and recommended strategy is to set aside some time to explore what is here using this website ( You know better than most what your interest level will be in certain areas. This is an excellent resource to explore, become familiar with what is here, and make your main choices of what you want to fit within the time that you have alloted. One primary goal can be to follow the Park Loop Road in Acadia which is on the eastern side of Mount Desert Island and note what is where, keeping in mind that much of the road is one-way. Print out some pages, and staple them together as your preliminary plan. You will be glad that you did. Let us know how your visit went.

Park Loop Road   Mount Desert Island Map   Schoodic Map

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.

Carriage Roads   Park Loop Road   Biking   Activities

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.

Island Explorer Bus

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.

History of Acadia

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).

Mount Desert Island   The Mount Desert Name

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.
Black flies 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.
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.
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.
Yes. Acadia is an excellent park to watch spring warblers, sea ducks, and migrating birds of prey. Ranger-led bird walks are offered from late spring to mid-fall. Peregrine falcon watch and hawk watching programs are also available.
Both occur on the island, but are rarely seen.
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.

Nature & Coastal Tours

The GPS Coordinates for the Acadia National Park Visitor Center in Bar Harbor are:
Latitude 44.409286; Longitude -68.247501
There are two within the park on Mount Desert Island - Blackwoods Campground and Seawall Campground. Blackwoods is located near the east coast of Mount Desert Island. Seawall is located on the southern part of the island south of Southwest Harbor. There are also several excellent campgrounds situated next to park land on the island, as well as on the mainland.

Blackwoods   Seawall   Schoodic Woods   More Campgrounds

The Park Headquarters is about 3 miles west of Bar Harbor center on Route 233 just past Eagle Lake on the south side of the road. (GPS: Latitude 44.374423; Longitude -68.260078) Their phone number is (207) 288-3338.

Additional Information

Greg A. Hartford, photographer, author, publisherYou will discover that most people in this area are more than happy to provide information when asked. This resource guide goes a long way in answering many of the questions that may arise. Others will surely follow. The National Park Service, and especially the dedicated and knowledgeable Park Rangers, are always eager to respond to your needs. Once you have arrived, there is no better place to get information than at the Park Visitor Center in Hulls Cove in Bar Harbor. (You will find a link to this specific page shortly after this paragraph.) A friendly and courteous staff are awaiting your arrival to answer questions. Books, maps, and brochures are here as well. You may want to consider taking advantage of some of the freely available Park Ranger lead discussions and tours. These are a great way to ease yourselves into your week of discovery.

Acadia and Bar Harbor Resource Guide