Acadia Travel Guide

Vacation rentals near Acadia National Park in Maine offer quick access to the Atlantic Ocean and Bar Harbor, a coastal town directly connected to the park. If you’re looking for a scenic beach environment full of outdoor recreational activities as well as peace and quiet, then an Acadia vacation is right for you.

What to Do in Acadia

Take a Scenic Flight

Services like Scenic Flights of Acadia (on Route 3 at the Bar Harbor Airport) offer a one-of-a-kind experience as you take a small private plane for up to two passengers (multiple aircrafts are available for larger groups) on a flight overlooking the beautiful scenic landscape of Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean. Choose from flight lengths of 17, 25, 35 or 45 minutes or arrange for a custom flight to fit your needs.

acadia sailing

Cruises and Sailing Excursions

Downeast Windjammer Cruises offers a variety of ways to enjoy the open ocean. History comes to life on the schooner Margaret Todd, the 19th century steam ferry replica called the Patience, or on the working sail ship the Ada C. Lore. Set sail from Bar Harbor for a two hour ride from Bar Harbor in the morning, afternoon or at sunset. Whichever way you choose to experience the Atlantic, Downeast Windjammer Cruises offers options the whole family will enjoy. Several other cruise and boat tour services are available in the area as well, including Sea Princess Cruises, Sea Venture Custom Boat Tours, Island Cruises and Schooner Rachel B. Jackson.

Whale Watching

A coastal Acadia vacation is not complete without a whale watching excursion on your list of experiences. You’ll never forget the awe inspiring moment when you see the fin of a humpback whale splash against the Atlantic waters. Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. and other local services provide whale watching tours in the summer feeding grounds of humpback, finback and minke whales. Additionally, there is a strong possibility of seeing dolphins and seals on your excursion, as well as beautiful lighthouses and scenic coastal views.

acadia fishing

Fishing

Downeast Windjammer Cruises also offers a four hour fishing trip that not only gives you the opportunity to catch cod, mackerel and black sea bass (among others) but to see dolphins, bald eagles and seals. Eagle Mountain Guide Service takes you on a personal fishing excursion at local lakes and streams to catch salmon, trout and other freshwater fish. Bring the whole family for a day-long outing complete with fishing, swimming and snorkeling.

Other Outdoor Activities

Really, anything you can imagine for outdoor recreational activities in the Acadia National Park area, you can do. You can take kayaking tours of the coastline or through the lakes and streams of Acadia National Park with local services. Atlantic Climbing School offers half-day and full-day guided rock climbing tours for climbers of all ages and experience levels. Rent a bicycle and hit the Acadia National Park trails, or simply hike on foot. Simplify and just enjoy a day along the coast, swimming, sunbathing and exploring with just you and the family.

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What to See in Acadia

acadia theater

Criterion Theatre

Just touring the Criterion Theatre, of art-deco design built in 1932, is an experience in itself. However, you can also spend a leisurely afternoon on your Acadia vacation and watch a film in the theatre. There are also many live events throughout the year including concerts, plays and other productions.

Island Astronomy Institute

Take a closer look at the stars. Acadia National Park is well-known for its pristine night sky and Island Astronomy Institute gives you the chance to look more closely by providing the public with access to telescopes and other tools promoting astronomy education. There is no apparent schedule established, so it’s best to contact the facility for more information.

The Great Maine Lumberjack Show

Just a few short minutes from Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park is The Great Maine Lumberjack Show in Trenton. The show, often featured on ESPN, is available from June to October each year and features two teams of athletes competing in 12 events like log rolling, axe throwing, chain saw carving and speed climbing. Lumberjack lessons that teach some of the show events are also available for kids and adults.

Sieur de Monts Spring

This beautiful smaller park within the Acadia National Park region offers trails that take you to a beautiful 1909 spring-house, through the Wild Gardens of Acadia, up to the Abbe Museum and through the Nature Center. There is no admission charge to enjoy this attraction. While you’re there, you can see the other sites of Acadia National Park on Oli’s Trolley, a one hour or 2.5 hour tour service.

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Where to Shop and Eat in Acadia

acadia shoppingEnjoy an activity filled meal at the Carmen Verandah where you not only choose from a great menu, but can enjoy live music and dancing, play some pool or challenge your husband to a game of darts. Walk along the verandah and enjoy a great scenic view as well.

Rupununi Restaurant offers some of the best seafood and selection of single malt scotch, microbrews and wine in the Bar Harbor area. Other menu selections include pasta and steak. Enjoy live entertainment while you dine in a great atmosphere.

Visit Del Sol Bar Harbor to purchase merchandise such as t-shirts, swimsuits, nail polish, hats, shoes, toys and more. What makes these items unique is that everything sold in the store changes colors when exposed to sunlight.

Window Panes on Main Street in Bar Harbor was named “one of Maine’s coolest stores” by Downeast Magazine. Located in a beautiful arts and crafts style building built in the 1930s, Window Panes offers a variety of home décor options that bring the beauty of the Acadia area into your home.

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When to Visit Acadia

The best time to visit the Acadia National Park area is during the warmer months of the year in the spring, summer and fall. This is when the most activities are available, as well as great local festivals and events. In fact, while the park remains open during the winter, the majority of the park activities are closed, including museums, picnic areas, and some roads.

Acadia Night Sky Festival

In September of each year, Acadia National Park celebrates one of the only remaining pristine nights skies located in the eastern portion of the country. Located at Mount Desert Island, the festival consists of star gazing, art, poetry, science and live music.

acadia jazz

Bar Harbor Jazz Festival

The Bar Harbor Jazz Festival occurs every August. This five day event consists of live modern and classic jazz performances all over town in every possible local venue, such as outdoor cafes, the art-deco Citerion Theatre and even local pubs. This also means that food is a big part of the festivities.

 

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Local Services in Acadia

There are several boat rental services in the area, including Mansell Boat Rental Company and Manset Yacht Service. Rent a bicycle for trail riding in Acadia National Park from Acadia Bike or Bar Harbor Bicycle Shop. Additional services in the area include gas stations, grocery stores, pet care and automotive repair.

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What to Know About Acadia

Weekly passes to Acadia National Park start at $20 per vehicle. You can also purchase individual day passes starting at $5 per person or annual passes starting at $40 per vehicle. While the park is open year round, visitors centers, museums, roads and picnic areas close during the winter season.

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Getting to Acadia

Acadia National Park and Acadia vacation rentals are on Desert Mount Island in Maine. To get there by car from Boston, take Interstate 95 North to Route 3 East. If you prefer to take a plane, you can fly into Logan International Airport in Boston and then take a smaller passenger flight to Hancock County Airport, which is only a ten minute drive from the park. You could also fly into Bangor International Airport and rent a car to make the one hour drive to the Acadia area.

Once You’re Here

Take advantage of local transportation to get around the area, especially if you don’t have a rental car. Island Explorer Shuttle Bus has seven bus routes that link together local accommodations, campgrounds and destinations within the Acadia National Park area. The shuttle only operates from June to October. Otherwise, you will need a car to explore the park.

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Why Acadia vacation rentals?

There are no accommodations available in Acadia National Park, so the best way to stay as close to the park as possible is to stay in an Acadia vacation rental. Many of the available homes and condos are just down the road from the park, while hotels and resorts are actually a 10 to 15 minute drive. Additionally, the possibly amenities, such as fully-equipped kitchens, private parking and room for several travelers make staying in a vacation rental the best possible traveling experience.

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