Things to Do in Acadia National Park

Acadia is one of those parks that has something for everyone, from active outdoor adventurers to history buffs with a penchant for finding that perfect slice of solitude. Here’s a sampling of the best things to do in Acadia National Park.

View of Bar Harbor and the Porcupine Islands from the summit of Cadillac Mountain
View of Bar Harbor and the Porcupine Islands from the summit of Cadillac Mountain. Photo © Hilary and Tom Nangle.


Pedaling Acadia’s famed carriage roads takes you to the heart of the park. Forty-five of the 57 miles of gravel roads are open to bicyclists, and many are accented with rough stone bridges. All are mapped and signposted, so you won’t get lost. While there are some ups and downs, none of the roads are very steep.


Twenty warbler species are among the 338 bird species that have been sighted on Mount Desert Island. Plan a day with Down East Nature Tours to sight eagles, ospreys, peregrine falcons, shorebirds, and warblers as well as rare birds such as the Nelson’s sharp-tailed sparrow.


Make advance reservations for Acadia’s Blackwoods or Seawall Campgrounds on Mount Desert Island, which has the greatest concentration of trails, with options for all abilities. Consider adding a night or two at the Schoodic Woods Campground on the Schoodic Peninsula, and three nights on Isle au Haut for a primitive escape.


Whether you’re a first-time hiker or a pro, there’s a hiking trail for you.


Don’t miss Castine, a seemingly bucolic town fought over by the French, British, and Dutch thanks to its strategic location.

Rock Climbing

No experience is required to climb Acadia’s cliffs, but you will need a guide or a lesson. Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School and Atlantic Climbing School, both in Bar Harbor, will tailor instruction to your needs and help you find the perfect route.

Climbers prepare to scale Acadia's granite cliffs
Climbers prepare to scale Acadia’s granite cliffs. Photo © Hilary and Tom Nangle.

Scenic Driving Tour

Drive the Park Loop Road on Mount Desert Island and then loop together the Schoodic National Scenic Byway, wrapping around the Schoodic Peninsula, with the inland Black Woods Scenic Byway.

Sea Kayaking

One of the best ways to see Acadia is from the water, and paddling a sea kayak along the shoreline allows you to explore all the nooks and crannies. Outfitters in Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor, Hancock, Deer Isle, and Castine offer guided trips. Experienced kayakers seeking island-hopping experiences should join the Maine Island Trail Association.

Sea kayakers favor Deer Isle's craggy coastline
Sea kayakers favor Deer Isle’s craggy coastline. Photo © Hilary and Tom Nangle.


Plan well in advance to book a campsite on Isle au Haut, home to a remote section of Acadia National Park that sees fewer than 130 visitors daily.


Whale-watching excursions go up to 20 miles out to sea, which means not only will you likely spot whales, seals, and seabirds, but you’ll also get grand views of the island-salted seascape.

Park Fees and Passes

The entrance fee is $30 per vehicle ($25 for motorcycles) late June-mid-October, and it is valid for seven days. Acadia’s other fee options include:

  • Individual Pass ($15): Valid for seven days.
  • Acadia Annual Pass ($55): Valid for one year from the day of purchase.
  • Interagency Annual Pass ($80): Allows unlimited entrance for one year to all national parks.
  • Access Pass (free): Lifetime access to all national parks for any blind or permanently disabled U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Senior Pass ($80/lifetime): Entrance to more than 300 national parks for U.S. citizens and permanent residents age 62 or older.
  • Interagency Volunteer Pass: Accumulate 250 service hours for this one-year pass valid for all federal recreation sites.
  • Interagency Annual Military Pass: Free pass for active-duty military personnel and dependents; valid documentation required (CAC Card or DD Form 1173).
  • Every Kid in a Park 4th Grade Pass: Free for any U.S. fourth-grade student; allows entry with family.


There is no lodging within Acadia National Park. Campground reservations for Seawall and Blackwoods Campgrounds on Mount Desert Island, Schoodic Woods Campground on the Schoodic Peninsula, and Duck Harbor Campground on Isle au Haut are available online at or by calling 877/444-6777.

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