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Activities in Acadia National Park

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by Cristina Dimen (subscribe)
Cristina crafts pieces on travel, parenting and lifestyle. Connect with her at or and @CristinaDimen on Twitter. WN mentor link:
Published September 5th 2011
Culminate a trip to Bar Harbor, Maine on Mount Desert Island by exploring Acadia National Park. Located about 475 miles or a 10-hour drive from New York City, nature lovers, sports enthusiasts, creatives and shutterbugs of all ages will revel in the year-round activities Acadia offers.

Spectacular water views abound

Sunrise Vistas Atop Cadillac Mountain

Start the day by driving up, or hiking to the top of 1,530-foot-high Cadillac Mountain, and be among the first in the U.S. to greet a new day. Observe a live painting unfold—as splashes of colors tint the sky, gently awakening the sleepy coastal city below. Before you climb back down, enjoy your view of offshore islands.

Catch the breathtaking sunrise atop Cadillac Mountain

Strolls and Hikes

Bring your camera as you take leisurely strolls along any of the oceanside trails, and snap postcard-perfect shots of sailboats, motor boats and even cruise ships gliding along emerald to deep-blue waters. For an easy trail with moderate inclines along Park Loop Road, take the Ocean Path and you'll be rewarded with views of cliffs and granite rock outcrops.

Scenic view along Ocean Path

For avid climbers, challenge yourself with a strenuous hike along steep cliff ledges on the Beehive, or the Precipice Trail. The latter is a difficult non-technical climbing route in Acadia, where hikers ascend the east face of 1,000-plus-foot-high Champlain Mountain—sans gear and harnesses.

Precipice Trail, non-technical climb on Champlain Mountain's east face

Bars in some parts of the climb aid hikers

Families with kids can take a moderate-level hike up Gorham Mountain, which spans 525 feet high and affords sweeping ocean vistas. Or, explore the peaceful nature trail along Jordan Pond—an easy and level hike amidst tall trees, shrubs, rocks, plus wooden bridges and signs.

Walking along Jordan Pond

If you desire a trail that leads back to Bar Harbor's town pier and Main Street, take the Shore Path, which is another easy and level path. You'll walk along Frenchman Bay, and pass private waterfront properties as you loop your way to the village.

Shore Path - circa 1880

Sightseeing Via Carriages or on Horseback

Enjoy one of the favorite attractions—a one- or two-hour horse-drawn carriage ride along 45 miles of motor vehicle-free carriage roads. Built by philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and family, the stretches of roadway are aptly known as—the Rockefeller Roads.

Visitors wishing to bring their own equine to ride along Acadia's trails can rent stalls at $25 per night at Wildwood Stables. The establishment doesn't have horses to rent, and reservations should be made in advance at 877-276-3622.

Wildwood Stables

Water Activities

Water enthusiasts have exciting options. Newbie or skilled paddlers can tour the park by sea—atop a rented kayak. Join a guided tour for a day trip along the waters, or visit other islands via overnight camping adventures.

Rent kayaks and tour the park via water

During the warmer months, take a refreshing dip in the ocean waters of Sand Beach, or Echo Lake's fresh waters. Lifeguards are on duty from June to August.

Bury your toes in the sand and let ocean waters cover them, or go for a swim at Sand Beach.

With majestic mountain vistas, cool ocean breezes and wild blueberries growing along scenic trails where peregrine falcons and cormorants fly across powder-blue skies, Acadia National Park boasts a relaxing reprieve from hectic routines. And, what better way to top off a day spent immersed in nature's bounty than to sleep under starlit skies—amidst towering birch, spruce, fir and maple.

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Why? It's good to escape a busy schedule once in a while and immerse yourself in nature.
When: Open year round with seasonal activities
Where: Acadia National Park - Bar Harbor, Maine
Cost: Activity costs vary. Seven-day entrance passes - $10 to $20 per vehicle; $5 per individual. Annual pass - $40 per vehicle.
Wow, Maine sounds peaceful.
Your article is very informative.
By Jojo - reader
Thursday, 22nd of September @ 01:49 am
Thanks, Jojo. Maine was very peaceful, indeed. While we love NYC, we miss Maine a lot.
By Cristina Dimen - senior reviewer
Wednesday, 5th of October @ 02:34 pm
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