Hi everyone! My name is Susan Garver (@susangarver). I’m an Acadia National Park and Maine landscape photographer. Welcome to my travel guide on the top five places to visit in the beautiful Acadia National Park.
My family always went on summer vacation when I was young. I remember being excited each year as we packed up the station wagon and headed out for a new adventure. I grew up near Boston, Massachusetts. As a young child and teenager, I loved living in the city but visiting each new vacation spot made me fall more in love with the peace and quiet of country life.
When I was seven, I received a Kodak camera as a gift. That was when I fell in love with photography. It was the perfect way to remember all the amazing places I had been to and people I had met. Today, I am blessed to live 10 minutes away from Acadia National Park. I have lived here for over 40 years and spend time in the national park almost every day.
My Favorite Place in Acadia National Park: Jordan Pond
Over the past 40 years, I have pretty much hiked the entire Acadia National Park. There are 26 peaks and I have climbed each one many times. I also love running on the carriage roads because the views are so amazing. I have a few favorite places but if I had to pick just one it would be Jordan Pond in the early morning. It’s such a peaceful spot with an incredible view.
5 Best Places to Visit in Acadia National Park
My top five spots in Acadia National Park would be Jordan Pond, Eagle Lake, Cadillac Mountain, Ocean Drive and Sand Beach. These places usually have the most beautiful light and look amazing during any time of the day in any season. I am always blown away by the beauty in these areas.
1. Jordan Pond Near the Town of Bar Harbor
As mentioned before, Jordan Pond is my favorite place in the national park. It’s a glacier formed tarn with shallow waters (no deeper than 150 feet) throughout the pond. Coming here in the early morning as the light starts to blanket the water and the fog lifts away is such a magical experience.
2. Eagle Lake, The Largest Freshwater Lake
Eagle Lake is located on Mount Desert Island and is the largest freshwater lake in Acadia. A fantastic place to go walking, cycling, kayaking and fishing – although a license is required for fishing. Enter the lake in Bar Harbor on the northern end off Route 233 and take a stroll around the carriage road which encircles the lake with a stone bridge in one section.
3. Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park
Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the North Atlantic seaboard standing at 1,530 feet. There are over 20 mountains on Mount Desert Island including Cadillac Mountain. The mountain is a major highlight for most visitors to Acadia National Park as it offers incredible views over a glaciated coastal and island landscape. Take the summit loop trail to the top!
4. Ocean Drive and the Parallel Ocean Trail
Ocean Drive at Acadia National Park starts at the entrance and continues along the coast passing many amazing places such as Otter Cliffs, Sand Beach and Thunder Hole. Make sure you do the Ocean Trail paralleling Ocean Drive which is a two-mile walk from Sand Beach to Otter Point.
5. Sand Beach in Bar Harbor, Maine
A wonderful little beach nestled between mountains and rocky shores in Acadia National Park. The sand here consists of shell fragments which were formed over thousands of years by the tide and surf. Make sure you arrive at low tide as there is quite a big difference between high and low tide. You can take the Park Loop Road to access the beach. Strictly no dogs allowed.
Where to Stay in the National Park
When it comes to accommodation, the campsites are awesome but they tend to fill up extremely fast so you have to plan and book well in advance. Bar Harbor has the most to offer visitors with a variety of cottages, hotels and rentals that will be perfect for anyone visiting the area. I recommend finding a place in Bar Harbor and basing yourself there.
Need to Know Before you Go
I always tell visitors to make sure they do the Park Loop Road and stop everywhere they can. The visitor center has helpful maps. Most trailheads can be reached from the Park Loop Road. There are other sections of the park in the quieter areas of Mount Desert Island away from Bar Harbor like Ship Harbor, Wonderland, Seawall, Echo Lake and Bass Harbor Lighthouse.
Another fantastic place which is about two hours away from Acadia is Baxter State Park. This is a state park and they limit the amount of visitors but it’s an awesome place for those who like being in the backwoods of Maine. You can do tons of hiking, rafting, mountain climbing, kayaking and camping. If you are looking for the ultimate outdoor adventure – this is it!
I would like to leave you with one of my favorite memories of Acadia National Park – the first time I climbed the Precipice Trail. It was in the fall and the view of the colors spread out below as I was climbing up the face of the mountain was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. This is a bonus experience I recommend, especially in fall with those magical colors!