Acadia National Park

A rocky portion of the coastline in Acadia National Park.

Acadia National Park is the only United States National Park in New England. It is on the coast of the Down East region of Maine, near the town of Bar Harbor.

Understand

Acadia NP encompasses more than 47,000 acres, 30,300 of which are on Mount Desert Island. 2,728 acres of the park lie on Isle au Haut and 2,266 more on the Schoodic Peninsula in Winter Harbor.

Acadia is one of the smaller national parks in the country, yet it attracts nearly 3 million visitors per year. It is important that those who do visit and explore this wonderful park follow some basic guidelines in order to keep the park as clean, natural, and undisturbed as possible. Please review the Leave No Trace principles if you're planning a trip, and remember them while you are having a great vacation. Help keep Acadia the way it should be.

History

Originally designated as Sieur de Monts National Monument in 1916 by presidential proclamation, Congress renamed the park Lafayette National Park in 1919. Congress again enacted a name change in 1929 to the name we now use, Acadia National Park. It was the first NP established east of the Mississippi River.

In October 1947 Acadia, along with some adjacent lands, was ravaged by fire.

Landscape

A quick look at any topographical map of Mount Desert Island will indicate the powerful and lasting effects of the last ice age on the island and the current landscape of Acadia. As the last glacier receded over 18,000 years ago it left behind the elongated mountains and lakes we see today. The moving ice was also the culprit behind the "bald" summits of most of the park's hilltops, scraping off vegetation and leaving the beautiful pink granite underneath.

Flora and fauna

More than 273 bird species have been identified in the park, including bald eagles, peregrine falcons, blue jays, finches, and chickadees (the Maine state bird). Mammal species include deer, squirrels, foxes, rabbits, porcupines and bats. Other species include garter snakes, the American bullfrog, and the North American red-bellied salamander.

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°F) 31 35 42 53 65 74 79 78 71 59 48 37
Nightly lows (°F) 14 17 25 35 45 54 59 59 52 42 33 21
Precipitation (in) 4.9 4.4 5.4 4.8 4.6 4.1 3.5 3.3 4.5 5.3 6.5 5.5

   Data from NOAA (1981-2010)

Acadia's weather is largely a product of latitude and marine influences. On a daily and annual basis, Mount Desert Island temperatures are more moderate than those of inland Maine. The Maine coastal climate has been ranked second only to the Pacific Northwest in annual precipitation. This moisture occurs in every form at Acadia. Ice storms are regular in winter and early spring, and rain is frequent in every month. Fog is common during June, July, and August.

Spring can be foggy with temperatures ranging between 30 and 70 degrees F. Wear light-colored clothing, long sleeve shirts, and long pants for protection. Annual rainfall is 48 inches.

Summer daytime temperatures range from 45 to 90 degrees F. Evenings are cooler. Dressing in layers is advisable for any boating or hiking activities. Ocean water temperatures range from 50 to 60 degrees F. Lake water temperatures range from 55 to 70 degrees F.

Fall temperatures can range from low 70s during the day to freezing during the night. Come prepared for all types of weather, from sun to fog, from downpours to flurries. Fall foliage often peaks during the first couple of weeks in October. Weather conditions over the summer, such as drought, may alter the time that the leaves peak.

In the winter, due to Acadia's coastal location, snow and weather conditions change rapidly. Temperatures vary from mid-30s to below zero. The park averages 61 inches of snow annually. For the latest in weather information, call the local weather phone line at 207-667-8910 or call the park at 207-288-3338.

Get in

Acadia National Park is located along the rugged, rocky coast of "Downeast" Maine. Most of the park is located on Mount Desert Island, which is accessible by vehicle. The park is approximately six hours north of Boston.

By car

From Boston take I-95 north to Augusta, Maine, then Route 3 east to Ellsworth and on to Mount Desert Island. For an alternate route, continue on I-95 north to Bangor, Maine, then take Route 1A east to Ellsworth. In Ellsworth, take Route 3 to Mount Desert Island. By car to the Schoodic section of Acadia National Park in Winter Harbor: Follow Rt. 1 North/East from Ellsworth to Rt. 186.

Distances from Other Cities

By plane

Direct flights from Boston's Logan Airport land at the Hancock County Airport, located 10 miles from Acadia National Park. National airlines serve the Bangor International Airport, about one hour from the park. Car rentals are available at both airports.

By ferry

As of 2010 there is no longer ferry service from Bar Harbor to Yarmouth Nova Scotia. "The Cat" is no longer in service.

Fees/Permits

There are:

There are several passes that allow free entry for groups traveling together in a private vehicle or individuals on foot or on bike. These passes are valid at all national parks including Acadia National Park:

In 2016 the National Park Service will offer several days on which entry is free for all national parks: January 18 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), April 16-24 (National Park Week), August 25-28 (National Park Service's 100th birthday weekend), September 24 (National Public Lands Day), and November 11 (Veterans Day).

Get around

The free Island Explorer bus system, Phone: +1 207 667-5796, can take you through the park, stopping at points of interest. There are bicycle racks on the front and back of each bus if you'd like to combine transport methods as you explore. Island Explorer buses are propane powered.

See

Do

Bicycling

There is an extensive network of carriage roads throughout Acadia National Park, which are closed to automobiles and are excellent places to ride your bicycle. The carriage roads are mostly paved with crushed stone and, therefore, are best navigated on a mountain or hybrid bicycle. Another option for cyclists is the ~20 mile long Park Loop Road, which encircles much of the eastern portion of the park. The road is open to automobiles, but is a one-way, two-lane road for much of its length. Cyclists will be happy to note that the Park Loop Road appears to have been recently re-paved (as of August 2008), making for a very smooth, pleasant ride. Bikes can be rented in Bar Harbor.

Bird watching

Acadia is a great place to birdwatch, with many species calling the park home. Bald eagles, peregrine falcons, great blue herons, cranes, ducks, geese, chickadees, woodpeckers, owls, orioles and blue jays can be seen in the park, just to name a few of the most common. For an extensive checklist and more info on birdwatching opportunities in Acadia, see the NPS's birdwatching page

Carriages

Fishing

See Acadia National Park's site on regulations, species, etc. While ocean fishing is open to all, fishing in freshwater lakes and ponds requires a Maine state fishing license. Licenses are required for residents 16 and up and non-residents 12 and up, and can be purchased at town offices and a few local shops.

Hiking

Acadia has the best day hiking in the Eastern U.S. Walking the miles of trails is one of the best ways to experience the park. Immerse yourself in the flora and fauna of the island on a number of different hikes of various environment, length, and difficulty. These trails are stunning, with high ocean views, accessible tree lines, steep precipices, stone bridges, etc.

Paddling

The last glacier of 18,000 years ago carved out the incredible and beautiful terrain of the park, leaving behind some of the cleanest lakes and ponds in the country. Sea kayaking tours and boat rental services are offered from numerous establishments in Bar Harbor and allow access to Mount Desert Island and other destinations.

Nature Tours

Swimming

Some ponds and lakes are used for drinking water. Check park office for list of approved swimming locations.

Eat

Sleep

Lodging

There are no hotels located within the park borders, but the nearby town of Bar Harbor has numerous options.

Camping

The park has three campgrounds:

Backcountry

Officially, backcountry camping is not permitted (and strongly discouraged due to the fragile ecosystem) in Acadia National Park.

Stay safe

If you are determined to go out on your own, it would be foolish and could result in serious fines from the Coast Guard or a Marine Patrol officer to do so without every single passenger:

There are numerous companies on Mount Desert Island and elsewhere that offer guided sea kayak, sailing, and power boat tours.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, November 25, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.