You may want to begin your exploration of Acadia National Park here at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center just off Route 3 in Bar Harbor. The entrance is a short distance on the right (if traveling East towards Bar Harbor) after the Hulls Cove inlet (which will be on your left). There is a good sized parking area with room for RV's. You may access the Park Loop Road here. A Carriage Road is close by as well although Wildwood Stables is on the southeastern side of Mount Desert Island. Note: The Visitor Center has reopened after renovations!
GPS: Latitude 44.338797; Longitude -68.183168
What is here?
The recent renovations have resulted in several changes, updates, and improvements. You will find Park Rangers to answer questions and a newly designed interior with added exhibits that will educate and inform. There are also works produced through the Acadia Artist-in-Residence program on display for your enjoyment. The small theater that once showed an Acadia National Park orientation film has permanently been removed. The previous echo/reverberation sound produced by the large open building design was reduced by the addition of sound absorption materials. An additional entrance to the store from the outside has been added. Families with small children will be pleased with the addition of a family bathroom. There are ranger-led activities available. To learn more about what programs are available and their particular details, vist the N.P.S. website page here: Programs.
Note that, since the bookstore is run by the Park Cooperating Partner Eastern National, profits from items purchased here help support the operations of the Park.
Hulls Cove Visitor Center: Open April 15 - October 31 • Closed: Nov 1 - April 14, hours vary
Sand Beach Entrance Station GPS: Latitude 44.338797; Longitude -68.183168
The 52 Steps
You can not see the Visitor Center from the parking area entrance shown in the photo above. It is actually located 52 steps up the hill. For people with special access needs, there is an entrance available through a back entrance. Instead of turning into the parking area, go up the hill a short distance and find special parking next to the rear of the building.
The famous Carriage Roads may be accessed here. And, for those wishing to leave the driving to someone else, the Free Island Explorer Shuttle Bus makes regular stops at the main parking lot. There are GPS coordinates given above for the Visitor Center, and others on many of the loaction pages within this website.
Visitor Center Hours
The Hulls Cove Visitor Center in Bar Harbor, Maine is open seasonally at different hours. It is closed November 1 through April 14. Per a National Park Service Press release, dated October 31, 2017, “…the Acadia National Park Headquarters contact station on Eagle Lake Road (Route 233) closed permanently on May 1, 2017 and has no pass sales, information, services, or restrooms.” The National Park Service has begun a collaboration with the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce for them to provide visitor services during winter and spring seasons at their downtown location at the corner of Cottage and Main Street. For more specific information on holiday closures and other information about the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, please call (207) 288-5103.
For most current hours of operation, view N.P.S. page here: Park Hours
The park remains open all year but some roads and facilities are closed in the winter. Most of the Park Loop Road, including the road to Cadillac Mountain, is closed from December 1 through April 14. Unpaved roads in the park are generally closed November 15 through May 14. Weather conditions may require that roads be closed earlier in the fall or delay their opening in the spring. (See Operating Hours & Seasons.)
Two short sections of the Park Loop Road remain open all year. One is a scenic one-mile section along the ocean by Thunder Hole. This may be accessed via the Schooner Head Road which is two miles south of Bar Harbor off Route 3. The other gives access to Jordan Pond via the Jordan Pond Road in Seal Harbor. For additional information, contact the National Park Service directly or visit their Temporary Closures page for recent postings.
Weddings: Visit the weddings section for information about having a wedding ceremony within Acadia National Park or elsewhere on MDI or nearby villages and towns.
National Park Service
Acadia National Park, P.O. Box 177, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
Phone: (207) 288-3338 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is said that “Chance favors the prepared mind.” It certainly does apply here. The first step in preparing for a visit to Acadia National Park is doing the research here. The next great place is at the Acadia Visitor Center at Hulls Cove in Bar Harbor. Hulls Cove is a small village on the North side of Mount Desert Island next to Route 3 just before arriving in the Bar Harbor business district. It is a good place to go with the family as you ease yourself into the whole National Park experience. There are several people on hand to answer your questions and some very interesting displays that will likely spark your interest in seeing or doing something that you had not planned on. It is also in a great location to start your drive on the Park Loop Road. Tip: When coming on the island, this is an advantageous route to take to get to Cadillac Mountain as well.