Acadia was a park it took a long time for me to get to. It is a long way from home for me, plus I am so fond of the western parks that I have been slow to see a lot of the parks in the east. The photos I'd seen of the rugged, rocky coast looked really appealing, though, and I finally made it in 1998 and returned a few years later.
The park has many of the drawbacks that have become familiar in most parks- overcrowding, jammed campgrounds, etc. I can particularly un-recommend Sand Beach because of its intense visitation, fights for a parking space, and shoulder-to-shoulder atmosphere. The essence of Acadia isn't beaches anyway- it's waves pounding on the rocky coast, overlooked by evergreen-covered hills. The beaches jammed with sunbathers (few swimmers- the water is really cold) just don't seem to fit.
But there is much to compensate for the crowds. The drive up the coast from Freeport alone was worth the trip just for the opportunity to stuff myself with lobster till I could barely waddle, without going broke in the process.
I was sorry I didn't bring a bike on the trip, because Acadia, with its "carriage roads"- gravel roads suitable for biking or hiking- is one of the most bike-friendly parks. It is relatively easy to get away from the crowds even along the coast just by walking along the rocky coast away from the parking areas.
Blackwoods campground is large and always full in summer, but the sites are wooded and pleasant and can be reserved. There is a private business across the road offering showers, which is handy, especially on extended camping trips. You can also buy lobsters in a store right down the road.
The park has a curious mixture (for a national park) of rugged seacoast interspersed here and there with inholdings of patrician homes. I had never been in a sea kayak before this trip and I found that to be a good way to explore the coast and enjoy views of the island and its birdlife.
Visit the official site.
Favorite hike: Well, not a hike- take a sea kayak (rentals abound) along the coast from Bar Harbor.
Favorite place to stay: Blackwoods campground.
Favorite place to sit for hours: On any rocky overlook away from the crowds, overlooking the ocean.
While in the area visit: The villages along the coast.
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