Read an Excerpt
From Moon Acadia National Park
Mount Desert Island has been luring visitors since French explorers first answered the island’s siren song in 1604. Raw, remote, and seductive, it dangles like a pendant into the Atlantic, flashing its voluptuous profile to passing navigators and mainland drivers. Although only 15 miles from north to south and 12 miles from west to east, the island is home to about 30,000 of Acadia National Park’s roughly 46,000 acres. It’s a miniature masterpiece, a gem of a natural and cultural resource that’s laced with hiking trails and carriage roads, etched by a craggy coastline, sprinkled with ponds, and lorded over by bald peaks. Here are the sights and activities you can’t miss if you’re after the true Acadia experience.
Park Ranger Programs: Join one of the numerous programs, from guided hikes and photography tours to natural history programs and children’s activities, offered daily by park rangers.
Park Loop Road: If you do nothing else on Mount Desert Island, drive this magnificent road that takes in many of Acadia National Park’s highlights.
Sieur de Monts Spring: This lovely oasis is home to the Wild Gardens of Acadia, the Acadia Nature Center, the Sweet Waters of Acadia spring, and the original Abbe Museum, as well as the base for hiking Dorr Mountain.
Sand Beach: Spread a blanket on one of the few beaches in this part of Maine.
Thunder Hole: Time your visit right to see the tide surge and explode through this geological formation.
Jordan Pond House: Come for tea, popovers, and ice cream on the lawn, but allow time to walk or ride the carriage roads or explore the nature trail.
Cadillac Mountain: Acadia’s prime feature is the highest point on the eastern seaboard, allegedly where the sun’s first rays land. Drive, bike, or hike to the 1,530-foot summit for stunning views.
Carriage Roads: Fifty-seven miles of meandering crushed-stone paths crossing 17 handsome stone bridges welcome walkers, bikers, horseback riders, snowshoers, and crosscountry skiers.
Eagle Lake:A mountain backdrop and undeveloped shores contribute to Eagle Lake’s popularity. A small-boat launch and a carriage road make it easy to explore.
Gorham Mountain Trail: This trail requires a minimum amount of effort to produce maximum rewards. It’s an excellent family hikekids love the Cadillac Cliffs.
Slightly more than 2,366 of Acadia National Park’s acres are on the mainland Schoodic Peninsulathe rest are all on islands, including Mount Desert. World-class scenery and the relative lack of congestion, even at the height of summer, make Schoodic a special Acadia destination. Here are the most unique treasures you’ll find in this section of the park.
Schoodic Point: Surf crashes against slabs of pink granite on the remote tip of the Schoodic Peninsula.
Schoodic Loop: Drive around the tip of the peninsula if you must, but a better way to see it is on a bicycle.
Donnell Pond Public Reserved Land: A treasure for outdoors enthusiasts, this reserve includes mountains to hike and ponds to paddle and fish, plus sandy beaches and backwoods campsites.
Petit Manan Point: Birds, birds, birds, as well as easy hiking with great views are your rewards for visiting this part of the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge.
Schoodic Head Loop: Although you can drive almost to the summit, it’s far more rewardingand peacefulto hike it.
Hancock and Sullivan Gallery Tour: Talented artists and artisans are plentiful here. Visiting their off-the-beaten-path shops and studios is a perfect way to explore the region and score some great souvenirs.