A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I embarked on our first adventure since the pandemic began: a nine day road trip along the coast of New England. We started our journey in Rhode Island and ended all the way north to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park in Maine! We only allocated about a full day’s worth of time (and one night) in Acadia and while I recommend spending at least a few days in this beautiful national park, exploring there in one day is most certainly doable.
Spend a half day walking the Ocean Path to see some of Acadia’s highlights
Ocean Path is about a two mile flat trail along the coast and main road in the national park. A few of the park’s major highlights are along this path, including Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Precipice Trail, and Otter Cliff. For those who are not extreme hikers to climb Precipice Trail, Gorham Mountain Trail is also across this path and makes for some great panoramic views.
Thunder Hole is a natural rock inlet where waves crash with a thunderous boom & high-flying foam when seas are up. It was relatively tame when we visited, but the rock formations and close proximity to the ocean still made the visit incredible to walk out to.
Make a pit stop to Jordan Pond (and eat at the only restaurant in the park)
Jordan Pond is a pond that covers 187 acres to a maximum depth of 150 feet with a shoreline of 3.6 miles. The pond was formed by the Wisconsin Ice Sheet during the last glacial period. There is a walkable trail along the pond and includes the only restaurant housed inside the national park, the Jordan Pond House. Swimming is not allowed in the pond as it remains to be a clean and local water source.
Drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain
Cadillac Mountain is approximately 1,530 feet in elevation and is the highest within 25 miles of the Atlantic shoreline of the North American continent between the Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia and peaks in Mexico. It is known as the first place in the U.S. to see the sunrise between October through April. Visitors have the option to either hike or drive to the top. Since we were short on time, we took the 15-20 minute road trip to the summit to enjoy a different perspective of Acadia.
And if you have time, take the drive down to see the Bass Harbor Lighthouse
The Bass Harbor Lighthouse on Mount Desert Island was built in 1858 and stands at 56 feet above water. Unfortunately for us, we did not make it this far southwest on Mount Desert Island to visit the iconic lighthouse but from the pictures I have seen, it is well worth the drive down.
Acadia National Park is most certainly one of the most scenic places I have visited in the northeast of the US! Visitors can easily spend at least a few days exploring what Acadia has to offer. However, if you are like us and on borrowed time, take the time to prioritize the top places you’d like to visit!