Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Bubble Rock in Acadia National Park helped prove the Ice Age

Ask Acadia on My Mind!

This page provides a link to our Ask Acadia on My Mind! series of questions and answers. If you have a question about Acadia National Park on your mind, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a long-time fan, feel free to leave a comment below, or contact us through the About us page.

Launched in May 2015 when we got a question on our Facebook page from a first-time visitor interested in camping in Acadia, this Q&A series can help address queries about things to see and do, places to stay and eat, and how to get around car-free.

While our focus has been on the approximately 155 miles of hiking trails in Acadia National Park, as a result of the hiking guides we’ve written for Falcon, we’ve gotten to know other aspects of the park and surrounding communities in our travels as well. We’re not restaurant critics or travel agents, but we have opinions and experience that we’re happy to share if asked.

jordan pond house

Tea and popovers on the lawn of the Jordan Pond House is a must-do for visitors to Acadia National Park. Photo by niece Sharon.

On this blog, we’ve covered such varied topics as running in Acadia, Snowy owls, the park centennial in 2016, history, diversity and nature. Reporting for the blog and the hiking books helps inform what we can bring to Ask Acadia on My Mind!

We may not be able to answer every question, or respond right away, but we’ll do our best. As we answer additional questions in this series, we’ll post links below. Subscribe to our blog so you won’t miss any of our posts.

Have a question? Then Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Top Acadia carriage road loop hikes for end of mud season? Question from Caroline of Cape Cod – answered May 11, 2019

Blackwoods campsites with view, reservations in off-season? Questions from Gia of Colchester, Conn., and Maud Rydell, of Hope Valley, R.I. – answered March 24, 2018

Hike Beehive or other Acadia trails in winter? Question from Steve, who’s planning a December trip – answered December 3, 2017.

Acadia National Park Sand Beach Beehive wilderness

The Beehive as seen from Great Head, one March during a low snow year in Acadia.

Things to do in Acadia if bad knees? Question from Sherry Burmeister of Lansing, Mich., about things to do in Acadia and Bar Harbor if can’t hike very much or bike – answered May 30, 2017.

Planning a trip to Acadia in winter? Question from Tom Campbell of Denver, North Carolina, about climbing Cadillac to see the first sunrise on New Year’s Day – answered December 18, 2016.

Grand Tour of Acadia Peaks: How many to hike in 1 day? Question from Bonnie Jean, about how many peaks it’s possible to connect in one day – answered July 2, 2016.

Camping in Acadia National Park? Questions from Steve and Janet, Anna, and Jaymi, about everything from tenting, RVing, tenting on an RV site, and where to go swimming or get a lobster dinner – answered June 17, 2016.

Visiting Acadia during Centennial? Question from Peter of Eugene, Ore., who doesn’t want to feel like an ant on a trail if it’s crowded in August in the year of the Centennial – answered May 8, 2016.

Bicycling Acadia carriage roads? Question from Jay Miller of Brighton, Mich., about biking from Blackwoods to carriage roads – answered March 8, 2016.

Good place for stargazing in Acadia? Question from Les, about best places to set up telescope in the park at night – answered Nov. 4, 2015.

Looking for romantic things to do? Question from Aaron of Cleveland, who’s celebrating his 1-1/2 year anniversary with his girlfriend – answered Oct. 13, 2015.

Camping or cruise ship question? Questions about finding quiet in Blackwoods from a camper, and getting to hiking trails from a cruise ship passenger, from Robert F. of Boston and Lynn M. – answered September 27, 2015.

Where’s bus to Jordan Pond House? Question about taking Island Explorer, from Nancy Murphy – answered August 29, 2015.

Where to stay, eat in fall in Acadia? Questions from first-time visitor Nancy from Tyngsboro, MA, and from Jessica of southern NJ, who’s running the MDI Half Marathon – answered August 2, 2015.

Planning a visit to Acadia in August? Questions about Perseid meteor showers, Precipice Trail reopening and best spots for scenic photos for engagement announcement, from I.D., Dave, and Q – answered July 17, 2015.

Is Otter Creek a good place to stay? Question from Evelyn Sullivan – answered June 27, 2015

First-time visitor to Acadia? Question about camping in the park from Ryan – answered May 2, 2015

Cobblestone Bridge in Acadia National Park

Cobblestone Bridge can be found along the 45 miles of carriage roads in Acadia National Park, and can be hiked to along the Jordan Stream Path.

57 thoughts on “Ask Acadia on My Mind!

  1. Pingback: Good place for stargazing in Acadia? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

  2. Carole

    We’re headed to Bar Harbor/Acadia for the New Year 12-30-21 to 1-4-22

    An updated list would be great! I’ve made lots of calls and have out some information but having it all in one place would be wonderful!

  3. Pingback: First-time visitor to Acadia? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

  4. Pingback: Warm your valentine's heart: Finding romance in Acadia

  5. Pingback: Is Otter Creek a good place to stay? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

  6. Martina


    I am planning a trip to Acadia the first week of October this year. I’m travelling with my senior dog (12 year old MastiffxAmstaff -> Pitbull type, hope this isnt a problem for the park) and my mum (66, her knees are bad so we will be keeping the actual hikes on the easy side).

    My dog is a seasoned hiker (we live in Switzerland and are used to hiking in the alps) but is new to tent camping and can be a bit “guardy” at night.
    Which are the most secluded dog friendly campsites?

    Thanks for the info 🙂

    1. Acadia on my mind Post author

      Hello Martina! In advance of a more detailed answer, as long as your dog is on no longer than a 6-foot leash, it should be no problem for the park. And as you won’t be visiting until October, perhaps some tent camping in advance – in Switzerland? – will get your dog acclimated to the activity. OK if we feature your question in the “Ask Acadia on My Mind!” series, and include your name and hometown? That’s great that you’ll be visiting Acadia with your Mom and dog.

  7. Pingback: Top 6 Acadia carriage road loop hikes for end of mud season

  8. Caroline

    My husband, dog and I are hoping to return to Acadia this Spring and walk as many carriage trails as we can. If you can guess, how early in the season are the elements (snow, ice, mud, black flies, etc.) likely to cooperate? We will be renting a house for a week before the high season and can come whenever we’re likely to have the optimal conditions, and that emphatically includes lack of crowds.

    I’ve been studying the Carriage Trail guides and am overwhelmed trying to decide what do do. We’ve already walked the trails on the (east side?) near Northeast Harbor but nothing in other parts because it was too busy last September although it was pre-peepers. Can you recommend specific walks of two or three hours? We prefer loops, if possible. We also would welcome suggestions for relaxing hikes, as opposed to trail walks. Looks like you suggested Sand Beach to Great Head, Ocean Path and Jordan Pond loop previously. We are (groan) active seniors.

    Thank you very much. We can’t wait to get back there!

    1. Acadia on my mind Post author

      Hi Caroline, thanks for your questions about planning a trip in springtime in Acadia. A quick reply in advance of a longer one: The month of May, before Memorial Day weekend, can be a good time to visit, as mud season will be over and black flies not a problem, although Island Explorer won’t be running yet. Plenty of ideas for loop hikes we can share in next, longer reply.

      1. Caroline

        Thank you from a fellow Barnard alumna!

        We will have our pickup so (lack of) Island Explorer isn’t a factor.

        Look forward to more of your generous expertise.

        1. Acadia on my mind Post author

          Another Barnard alum – hello! Would it be OK if we use your initial question as part of the “Ask Acadia on My Mind!” series, so that our answer could have broader reach, and include some images to help you better plan your trip? And if that’s OK, would it be alright if we use at least your first name, and also hometown? Thanks for following our blog, and looking forward to giving you some ideas for your next trip to Acadia. Even early May would be a good time to visit, although a bit chilly at times. April is a bit iffy, as the carriage roads are often closed for a couple of weeks during mud season that month.

          1. Acadia on my mind Post author

            Perfect! Will keep you posted on the more in-depth answer. Carriage roads just got closed yesterday for mud season, and it may be a couple of weeks before they’re re-opened.

          2. Acadia on my mind Post author

            Hi Caroline of Cape Cod, about finishing up the blog post in reply, so perfect timing. What village will you be staying in, so that I can be more specific in the recommendations? They just opened up the carriage roads to walkers last week, so perfect timing that way as well. And do you want loops only on the carriage roads of 2 to 3 hours, or elsewhere as well? Do you prefer relatively flat (easy), some hills (medium), or a bit of steep climbing (more difficult).

    1. Acadia on my mind Post author

      Hi Paul, thanks for your question! March can be spring-like, or wintry, so be prepared for all weather. We’ve hiked in March with no snow or ice, but right now in late February, there’s snow and ice. You’ll want to check out this blog post we did, about favorite Acadia winter hiking trails. It includes links to webcams, and a park page about usual winter conditions: The park has also added this current weather page: Good luck planning your trip, and thanks for asking Acadia on My Mind!

  9. Pingback: Wanted: Acadia camping with a view, or in the backcountry

  10. Pingback: Favorite Acadia winter hiking trails, from easy to moderate

  11. Gray, trail foreman

    delores and Dan – can I use your photo of the new Jordan cliff bridge in a gov’t report? I need a completion photo!


    1. Acadia on my mind Post author

      You sure can! Just credit “” – thanks for all that the trail crew does!

  12. Anne Killeen

    My husband and I ( seniors) will be arriving by cruise ship on Friday 1 June 2018 and would like to walk the Ocean Path Trail. As the Island Explorer will not be operating at that time, what would be the easiest / cheapest way to get to Otter Point? Also return to the town from Sand Beach.
    With thanks

    1. Acadia on my mind Post author

      Hi Anne, thanks for reaching out to us through our blog. Although the Island Explorer isn’t operating in early June, the 2 local tour bus companies authorized to provide services in the park begin operating as early as late April, early May. That would be Oli’s Trolley and Acadia National Park Tours. Not sure if they have a policy of allowing you to get on and off throughout the day, or if not, whether the stops are long enough to allow for a walk of Ocean Path. Another option is to hire a local cab service, such as At Your Service Tours and Car Service. They may be able to do drop off and pick up by pre-arrangement. There used to be a payphone at Sand Beach, but not sure if that is still in operation, so you’ll want to have a cell phone just in case. You’ll want to do your research in advance to compare prices. Good luck in designing your own personalized tour!

  13. Tiffany

    Hi! This is a great website. I’m an pretty regular hiker (go to the Whites all the time) but this will be my first time in Acadia. I don’t know how to camp yet, so I was wondering if it is possible to car camp in Acadia? Or at least, somewhere in the vicinity? Any advice appreciated.


    1. Acadia on my mind Post author

      Hi Tiffany, glad you like the Web site! Here’s a quick reply on your question about car camping, with a possible longer Ask Acadia on My Mind! treatment later. If by car camping, you mean driving up to a campsite and pitching your tent without having to backpack in, there are park and private campgrounds where you can do just that. (But if you mean sleeping in your car overnight somewhere in the park or vicinity, you would need to check park and town rules about that.) So if you mean drive-in campsites, the 3 park campgrounds where you can do just that: Blackwoods, Seawall and Schoodic Woods. We’ve written a number of blog posts about camping in Acadia, so if you enter the key words in the search field in the sidebar of the blog, you’ll turn up some relevant articles. You have to make reservations online for the park campgrounds, as you’ll learn when you search the blog. Enjoy your visit!

      1. Tiffany

        Thanks for your reply! I actually meant sleeping in my car kind of car camping, haha. I don’t own a tent yet. Could I do that if I made a reservation in advance at one of the park campgrounds? Thanks again!

        1. Acadia on my mind Post author

          Ah, sleeping in the car kind of camping – haha indeed! I would imagine it wouldn’t be a problem to “car camp” at a campground, and just pay whatever the usual campground fee is. You may be able to learn from some of the other campers, about the best gear, etc. You can also look into renting a tent, where you may be able to get some tips from the retailer. Some of the private campgrounds on Mount Desert Island have Airstream trailers and other “vehicles” you can “camp” in. But I wouldn’t advise sleeping in your car in the park or in town, unless you check with the authorities about what the rules are for parking overnight. Bar Harbor does allow RV parking on Route 3 along the ballfields, but not sure if that is overnight parking or not, and whether people are allowed to sleep in cars on the street. Good luck!

    2. Acadia on my mind Post author

      Tiffany – We would add that if you visit Acadia for the first time after hiking in the White Mtns., you are in for a tremendous and vastly different experience. Acadia is where the mountains meet the sea and that cannot be duplicated in the the Whites of NH or ME. You will also love the winding granite steps on many trails in Acadia. There are great ocean views from just about every peak and then Acadia’s ocean-side hikes – Ship Harbor, Wonderland, Bar Island, for example – are another big plus. Sure, it can be crowded in summer, as can the Whites, but a hike in late afternoon or early morning will beat the crowds on most trails.

  14. Scott M

    Hello. I am going to ride the Island Explorer and also ride a bicycle into the park this summer. Can you explain who needs a park pass? Thanks

    1. Acadia on my mind Post author

      Hi Scott, thanks for your question! Here’s quick answer (and we may use your question for a fuller Ask Acadia on My Mind! post):

      – Whether you ride the Island Explorer, bike, hike or drive in Acadia, between May and October, a park pass is required.

      Here’s link to park page that describes fees:

      If you’re on foot, biking or taking Island Explorer, an individual 1-week pass is $12. If in a private vehicle, it’s $25 for 1-week pass for up to 15-passenger van. If on motorcycle, it’s $20 for 1 to 2 people.

      There is also an annual pass for $50; and if you’re 62 and older, a lifetime Senior Pass at $10 (going up to $80 on Oct. 1). And if you happen to have a fourth grader with you, you can get in free as part of the “Every Kid in a Park” initiative started under the Obama administration. Details all at that park page link, above.

      Enjoy the trip!

  15. Travis

    My wife, two-year-old son and I are visiting for a few days April 9-12. Any suggestions on things to do/easy hikes would be great!


    1. Acadia on my mind Post author

      Hi Travis, thanks for the query! While the main Park Loop Road, including road to Cadillac Mountain, don’t open until April 15, there are still some easy hikes you can do: Wonderland, Ship Harbor Trail, low-tide walk to Bar Island and Jordan Pond Loop. Here’s a link to a Facebook group we created, where you can ask for other recommendations, and up to date conditions. At the top of this group page is a link to a springtime guide we put together, for things to see and do in Acadia:


  16. Carla

    I plan on going to Acadia from May 31st through June 4th. It doesn’t seem like a popular time to go. Is this because of the black fly season? Does that mean we won’t be able to do anything outdoors? How much will it impede our vacation and outdoors activities? Thank you.

    1. Acadia on my mind Post author

      Hi Carla, thanks for the question. Actually, that’s a good time to go, because it’s less crowded, and the weather is fine. Black flies aren’t much of a problem. We’ve gotten plenty of hiking in at that time of year. There’s even an Acadia Half Marathon that is run around that time of year. Will expand upon this some more as an “Ask Acadia on My Mind!” feature. Thanks for asking!

  17. Rachel Richardson

    Hi! I’m excited to be visiting the park this new year’s weekend! I’m just headed to the area by myself and plan on doing the hike up Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunrise on New Year’s Day. While I’m an experienced hiker, I haven’t done an in-the-dark hike before and I would love to try and connect with some others who are planning the hike to meet up with them in the morning. Do you know anyone who is hiking Cadillac Mountain that you could connect me with? Or just pass along my name and email – I would appreciate it!!
    Thank you. Happy New Year!

    1. Acadia on my mind Post author

      Hi Rachel, thanks for reaching out! We posted your request on a group we host about Acadia National Park hiking, and there seem to be a few good suggestions already. Here’s the Facebook group page, and feel free to join as a member and post yourself:

      We’ll also try to e-mail Tom Campbell, who first asked the question about hiking Cadillac on New Year’s Day, with your info, to see if he’s looking for company.

      Be sure to have the proper gear for the dark and wintry conditions you may encounter. Ice can be treacherous, as a hiker recently found out on the Precipice Trail on Christmas Day.

  18. Pingback: Planning a trip to Acadia in winter? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

  19. Pingback: Grand Tour of Acadia Peaks: How many to hike in 1 day?

  20. Pingback: Bicycling Acadia carriage roads? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

  21. Pingback: Where to stay, eat in fall in Acadia? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

  22. Pingback: Where to stay, eat in fall in Acadia? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

  23. Pingback: Looking for romantic things to do? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

  24. Pingback: Camping or cruise ship question? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

  25. Pingback: Where's bus to Jordan Pond House? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

  26. Pingback: Planning a visit to Acadia in August? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

  27. Q.fg

    Hello Acadia on my mind,

    First, thank you for this Q&A. It is incredible helpful as I’m researching for my first trip in August!

    I’m also getting married so my friend, who is on this trip, will help take some engagement photos. I’m hoping to have some shoots at the Cadillac Mt. (sunrise/sunset), Thunder Hole, Bass Harbor, the stone bridges… do you have any other recommendations that would make a great shoot?

    Thank you!

    1. Acadia on my mind Post author

      Hi Q, you couldn’t pick a better place than Acadia for beautiful engagement photos! Will address your question in the next Ask Acadia on My Mind! Q&A. Thanks for checking out the blog.

  28. Dave


    I’m excited to be visiting Acadia with my fiancee this coming August 3-4, for the first time in about 15 years. We’re planning to make the most of our short visit by packing it full of some of Acadia’s best hikes. We’d been hoping to be able to climb the Precipice Trail, but I have since learned that it’s usually closed through August for falcon nesting. Any chance of it opening back up a little early this year? If not, what are some similar alternatives you’d suggest that would be open? Beehive? Jordan Cliffs Trail? We are both experienced hikers, and do not expect anything in Acadia to be beyond our skill/fitness levels.

    1. Acadia on my mind Post author

      Hi Dave, thanks for the question! Will answer more fully in a blog post in the next week or so, but here are a couple of alternative trails worth checking out. They’re among the most challenging in the park, and are not closed during peregrine nesting season:

      – The Ladder Trail up Dorr

      – Cadillac West Face Trail, beginning at Bubble Pond

      The Beehive is also good, since no nesting peregrines there.

      Will do a fuller answer shortly. You can subscribe to the blog to be sure not to miss the post. Thanks for asking Acadia on My Mind!

  29. Lynn Minkow

    We are arriving on Holland America and will be in Bar Harbor from 7am – 3 pm.

    7 adults (good shape) would like to do some hiking in Acadia – an hour or so hike.
    We would like to take the public bus as transportation round trip.

    Can you suggest which bus to take from near the pier and a trails to hike?

    Thank you!

    1. Acadia on my mind Post author

      Hi Lynn, assuming you’re arriving today, and it’s not too late for some suggestions: Walk over to Village Green park information center (straight down Main Street and right on Firefly lane) and ask for Maureen (tell her Acadia on My Mind sent you).

      Get your visitor’s pass, park map and Island Explorer map from her. Our hiking books may also be for sale there.

      Take the Island Explorer’s Sand Beach line. Here are a few ideas for 1-hour (or about 2-mile round trip) hikes accessible by the bus line:

      – Sand Beach to Great Head Trail – easy to moderate, and a great way to get a flavor of Acadia’s magnificent coast line.

      – Ocean Path – very easy but can be crowded and best to do early. Can start at Sand Beach and walk south past Thunder Hole and as far as Otter Point. Can hop on bus whenever tired, back to Bar Harbor. No need to turn around to Sand Beach since bus parallels Ocean Path.

      – Jordan Pond Path – Take the easier east side of the path, and turn around after half hour so you have 1 hour out and back. It’s easy and you can have lunch at Jordan Pond House. If you’re fast hikers and don’t mind the more rugged west shore, you can just do whole loop around pond, about 3 miles, ending back at Jordan Pond House. Be sure to make lunch reservation before you hit the trail.

      These are some quick ideas. Sorry didn’t get your message earlier. Else would have done a specific Q&A on what cruise ship passengers can do for a short hike. Actually, might still use your question as a jumping off point for a more in-depth Ask Acadia on My Mind! Q&A for cruise ship passengers. Thanks for asking!

      Hope you get this reply on time. Enjoy!


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