Katahdin and Acadia National Park holiday gift ideas for all

Making your list, checking it twice, and looking for special Katahdin or Acadia National Park holiday gift ideas for someone nice?

Whether you start your holiday shopping on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday or Giving Tuesday, here’s a special selection to help raise funds for charity, support local business and bring memories of Maine home for the holidays.

2019 acadia pass

Southwest Harbor photographer J.K. Putnam shot this winning image for the 2019 Acadia annual pass, available for “almost-half-price” most of this month. He sells prints of these barred owls at his website. (NPS image)

And as we’re co-sponsoring the 2019 Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race that connects participants and supporters of the Mount Desert Island Marathon & Half (held every October) and Millinocket Marathon & Half (being held Dec. 7), we also include ideas for the runner, hiker and all-around outdoor enthusiast on your list.

Acadia National Park annual pass – If you happen to be in the Bar Harbor area in December, you can get an annual pass for “almost-half-price” beginning Dec. 6 during the Bar Harbor Midnight Madness event, from 8 p.m. to midnight at the park’s Village Green visitor center, and throughout the rest of the month at regional chambers of commerce, town offices and the Schoodic Institute. Normally $55, the $28 special annual pass price is less than a one-week in-season pass at $30. For more details, see the Facebook group that we host about Acadia National Park hiking.

Friends of Acadia gift membership – By giving a gift membership, you would provide a year’s worth of membership benefits to a family member or friend, including a subscription to the Friends of Acadia Journal, six note cards depicting Acadia at night, and a window decal. Gift membership starts at $40, and also helps support the nonprofit that does so much for Acadia National Park. And if you want to donate independent of a gift membership contribute on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 3, any time between midnight and 11:59 p.m. and up to $20,000 will be matched by the Grace family (and you get a chance to win a pair of Leki trekking poles).

moose 2020 calendar

You’re more likely to spot a moose in Baxter State Park and Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument than in Acadia  National Park, but you’ll see a moose every month of the year no matter where in the world you are with this calendar by wildlife photographer Mark Picard. (Photo courtesy of Moose Prints Gallery & Gifts)

Moose calendar – Few things say Maine like moose, but while you’re unlikely to see the ungulates in Acadia, you can easily find them in the Katahdin region, as Millinocket wildlife photographer Mark Picard shows in his iconic moose calendar, which has been featured by BBC and PBS. Mark and his partner, Anita Mueller, are welcoming racers to Millinocket for “Fuel Up Friday” at their Moose Prints Gallery, 58 Central Street, 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 6, and taking donations for the Millinocket Regional Hospital Oncology Department. A copy of this calendar is one of the giveaways for participants in the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race, see below for details about how to enter the race to help raise funds for Acadia and Katahdin region charities.

Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park holiday gift ideas

Acadia hiking

The fourth edition of “Best Easy Day Hikes, Acadia National Park” is small enough to fit in your daypack.

Hiking guides to Acadia – We’re partial to Hiking Acadia National Park, winner of the National Outdoor Book Award and the Independent Publisher Book Award, and Best Easy Day Hikes, Acadia National Park, of course, as we’re authors of these guides. You can find autographed copies at Sherman’s in Bar Harbor, as we recently stopped in to sign the books on hand, or you can order a specially inscribed copy from our online shop, with 5% of proceeds going to benefit the Friends of Acadia (if you order by Dec. 15, autographed books should be delivered in time for Christmas). You can also find copies at Amazon.com and elsewhere. (PLEASE NOTE: See sidebar about Amazon.com links)

Gift certificate to a favorite Mount Desert Island business – With more than 150 local businesses and organizations now part of the Gift MDI network, you can find a gift certificate to please everyone. We’ve been a partner with this online source of gift certificates for two years. Use the coupon code ACADIAONMYMIND while making your purchase to get 10% off, whether it’s a gift certificate to lodging, restaurants, souvenir shops or services. (PLEASE NOTE: See sidebar about affiliated partner links)

acadia ornament

Acadia holiday ornament (Image courtesy of America’s National Parks(TM))

Acadia holiday ornament – America’s National Parks(TM) store, a nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, features this and other Acadia-themed gifts on its online shop. During this holiday season, there’s free shipping, tote bag and supporter pin for any purchase of $50 and over, plus a limited edition Passport to Your National Parks(R) sticker for purchase of $100 and over. Also, all Passport products are 30% off. (PLEASE NOTE: See sidebar about affiliated partner links)

Books of interest about Acadia, or by friends of Acadia – 1) Treasured Lands: A Photographic Odyssey Through America’s National Parks by noted photographer QT Luong, featured in Ken Burns’s and Dayton Duncan’s PBS series on national parks, won numerous awards in 2016. You can buy autographed copies directly from the author (25% off if you use coupon code thanks by Dec. 3). This substantial book includes a chapter on Acadia National Park, featuring not only some of his spectacular photos of the park, but also some tips on visiting, and notes about how and where he took the photos included in the book. It includes a foreword by Duncan. 2) Sailor for the Wild: On Maine, Conservation and Boats by Ben Emory and Bonding with Nature: Responding to Life’s Challenges and the Aging Process by Dianna K. Emory. A couple that has been longtime friends of Acadia, Ben served on the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission until he resigned this year, and Dianna is an honorary trustee of the Friends of Acadia. (PLEASE NOTE: See sidebar about Amazon.com links)

treasured lands

QT Luong, whose large-format photographs of all of America’s national parks was featured in Ken Burns’s and Dayton Duncan’s PBS series, includes a chapter on Acadia National Park in his book. (Image courtesy of QT Luong)

Holiday gifts to support Katahdin area businesses and organizations

millinocket memorial library

This limited edition T-shirt features a play on words, a fitting way to help raise funds for a library that does more than lend books. (Image courtesy of Millinocket Memorial Library)

For almost as long as we’ve been fans of Acadia, we’ve been fans of the Katahdin region, having climbed the mountains of Baxter State Park as well as those of Acadia National Park. And since we’ve been co-sponsoring the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race as the virtual edition of the Sea to Summit Series with Mount Desert Island Marathon & Half, linking supporters and participants in the real-life MDI and Millinocket races, we’ve had even more reason to want to support the region and its businesses and organizations. Here are some Katahdin area holiday gift ideas if you, too, have an affinity for the region.

Millinocket Memorial Library fundraising T-shirt – This one-of-a-kind gift helps support the Katahdin Gear Library, where library cardholders can borrow canoes, kayaks, mountain bikes, backpacks, cross-country skis or snowshoes. Available for pick-up at the library during the Millinocket Marathon & Half, or shipped after the race. Other ways to benefit the library: Making a year-end donation to help it raise another $20,000 to meet its $100,000 goal to cover 2020 basic operating costs; or sign up for the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race, see details below. While the library has met its capital campaign goal for a new library during its centennial year this year, there’s always the ongoing operating costs that can’t be fully covered by an old mill town that has suffered more than its share of economic hard times.

friends of baxter state park

This is the hottest auction item to help raise funds, with the bid at $1,010 as of this writing. (Image courtesy of Friends of Baxter State Park)

Friends groups – Similar to the nonprofit that supports Acadia National Park, there’s the Friends of Baxter State Park and the Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters that you can make an honorary gift for the holidays. The Friends of Baxter is even holding an online fundraising auction of historic state park signs, with the last bids accepted on Dec. 4 at 11:59 p.m. And if you have a Maine fan on your shopping list who loves plants, there’s “The Plants of Baxter State Park,” published by the University of Maine Press in association with Baxter State Park, the Friends of Baxter State Park, and Maine Natural History Observatory, available on Amazon.com or the Friends’ online store. (PLEASE NOTE: See sidebar about Amazon.com links)

Millinocket businesses for holiday giftsMoose Drop In, 242 Penobscot Ave., the headquarters for the Millinocket Marathon & Half; and North Light Gallery, 256 Penobscot Ave., which is also hosting “Fuel Up Friday” to welcome Millinocket racers and supporters on Dec. 6 between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and various Katahdin Chamber of Commerce members.

Honorary gifts to charity better than unnecessary stocking stuffers

If you’re looking for an alternative way to gift for the holidays, either because the person on your list doesn’t need anything, you want to avoid wasteful consumerism or want something other than the usual Acadia National Park holiday gift ideas, here are some ideas for charities with national park, Mount Desert Island or Millinocket area themes:

national parks traveler

(Image courtesy of National Parks Traveler)

National Parks Traveler – The leading source of national park news, National Parks Traveler is a nonprofit that produces more than 1,250 stories a year, including investigative reports, policy analyses and other news that is increasingly hard to find in this day and age of journalism on the decline. We’ve written for National Parks Traveler and also support its mission. There’s even an Acadia level donation that could be a great way to make a  holiday gift in honor of an Acadia fan.

Historical societies and other area nonprofits – Among some area nonprofits in the Acadia and Katahdin regions: 1) Mount Desert Island Historical Society; 2) Bar Harbor Historical Society; 3) Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association; 4) Our Katahdin; and 5) Millinocket Historical Society.

Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race and other gift ideas for runner, hiker

Up to 50% off at REI through Dec. 8 – Perfect for the runner, hiker, cross-country skiier, snowshoer or all-around outdoor enthusiast. And you can get 25% off one REI Outlet item by using the coupon code CYBERDEAL19. Among some favorite items we’ve bought from REI for our outdoor activities: Asolo Touchstone GV Hiking Boots; and Topo Athletic Ultraventure Trail-Running Shoes. (PLEASE NOTE: See sidebar about affiliated partner links)

acadia 26 peaks

It’s not too late to sign up yourself, a family member or a friend for the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race, as you can backdate miles to Aug. 2. A percentage of proceeds goes to help benefit Friends of Acadia, Millinocket Memorial Library and Our Katahdin. Sign up by Dec. 7 to be entered into gift giveaways, including a 2020 moose calendar, gift certificates for Moose Drop In, Moose Prints Gallery & Gifts, L.L. Bean, Under Armour, Friends of Acadia and other items. Medal options can be viewed below, or upon sign-up here. (Image courtesy of Racery.com)

It’s easy to join the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race

What are virtual races, you ask? They let people from anywhere in the USA or the world sign up to run, hike, walk, snowshoe, cross-country ski or log other forms of miles, whether to raise funds for charity, earn a finisher’s medallion or just set a fitness goal. Races can include technology-driven virtual routes that allow participants to see their progress, get a Google photo of their virtual location and check out the competition online, such as in the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race. Or it can be as simple as allowing people to record their mileage via the honor system in order to get a medal in the mail. There are different themes for virtual races with medals, and even Disney runs them. Check out what a virtual racer experience can be like in this short video by racery.com, which hosts our races on its online platform.

  1. Sign up with your name and e-mail at this registration page
  2. The race starts on Aug. 2 and ends Dec. 31
  3. You can track your daily miles any way you like, and can backdate them to Aug. 2
  4. Log your miles on the race page
  5. Racery will keep track of fun stats like your total mileage and miles per week

Thanks to Racery’s virtual race platform, which has powered our virtual challenges since 2016. In addition to virtual races for charity fundraising like ours, Racery hosts many company virtual fitness challenges. Race hosts can use Racery for a virtual swim in the English Channel, a virtual walk on the Moon, or an Everest virtual stair challenge.

These would make unique Acadia National Park holiday gift ideas

acadia to katahdin virtual race

Just one of the medallions available if you, family member or friend sign up for the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race. Register by Dec. 7 and medals will ship in time for the holidays, and you’ll be entered into gift giveaways. (Medal by Ashworth Awards)


lobster medal

One of 3 classic medals featuring raised profiles of Katahdin and the Bubbles. See all medal options available at the virtual race registration page here.




virtual race

Anyone know “Where in Bar Harbor?” this neon moose can be found? One of 3 classic virtual race medals. Start earning one now.

virtual races with medals

You can earn a multiple moose medal, featuring a holiday colored ribbon, by joining the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race now.