Tag Archives: things-to-see-and-do

Things to do in Acadia if bad knees? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

ask acadia on my mind

Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Another in a series of “Ask Acadia on My Mind!” Q&As

If you have a question about Acadia National Park on your mind, whether you’re a first-time visitor or long-time fan, leave a comment below, or contact us through the About us page. We may not be able to answer every question, or respond right away, but we’ll do our best. See our page linking in one place all the Q&As.

1) My husband and I are coming to Bar Harbor on June 15th and 16th. I have some knee problems and can’t hike much or bike ride. What are some suggestions for us to do that wouldn’t be too physically demanding? Also, can you recommend some unique things to do in Bar Harbor? – Sherry Burmeister, Lansing, Mich.

Thanks for the question, Sherry! You’re making a good choice coming to Bar Harbor before the busiest months of July and August, although it will still be plenty busy. And there are lots of things to do in Acadia and Bar Harbor that aren’t too physically demanding.

The highlight of any trip to Bar Harbor has to be a tour of Acadia National Park. You’ll be arriving before the Island Explorer bus starts up in late June, so the best way to get around the park is either driving yourself, or taking one of the park-approved tour buses that leaves from Bar Harbor, either Oli’s Trolley or Acadia National Park Tours. (NOTE: Please see sidebar about TripAdvisor affiliated partner links in this blog)

Cadillac Mountain

Visitors take in the view and learn some facts about Acadia’s highest peak from one of several wayside exhibits on the short, paved Cadillac Summit Loop. President Barack Obama and family also walked this loop.

The 27-mile scenic Park Loop Road includes stops at the top of Cadillac Mountain, Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Otter Point, Jordan Pond, Wild Gardens of Acadia, and other places to take in the views. You don’t need to do much hiking to enjoy these spots, as there are short easy walkways and plenty of roadside pullouts with explanatory wayside exhibits. There are gift shops at the top of Cadillac, Thunder Hole and Jordan Pond. The park recommends taking 3 to 4 hours, including stops, to enjoy the Park Loop Road. A CD audio tour of the Park Loop Road is available for purchase at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. There is also a short film worth watching at the visitor center, as an introduction to the park.

Even though you won’t be visiting at the busiest months, you may still encounter crowds during busy times of day, such as sunrise or sunset at the top of Cadillac, or lunchtime at Jordan Pond House, with its grand view of the twin mountains known as the Bubbles. You can time your drive along the Park Loop Road off hours, or make reservations at the Jordan Pond House, to minimize waiting and traffic jams. (NOTE: Please see sidebar about TripAdvisor affiliated partner links in this blog) Continue reading

For Mother’s Day: Gifts of Acadia and the great outdoors

If you’re a woman who loves being active in the great outdoors, you probably have your mother to thank, according to a new national study of women and the outdoors, with a timely message for Mother’s Day.

mother's day gifts of acadia

On the heels of a new national study of women and the outdoors that it commissioned, REI has launched a public initiative called “Force of Nature,” to push for gender equity in the outdoors. (Image courtesy of REI)

Women who were “highly encouraged” by their mothers to play outside as young girls are more likely to remain active today, compared with those who were less encouraged, 86% vs. 78%. And they are more likely to consider being outdoors a “very high priority,” 26% vs. 11%, according to the nationally representative study of more than 2,000 women ages 18-35, commissioned by outdoor retailer REI.

Yet at the same time, the study found 6 in 10 women say men’s interest in outdoor activities is taken more seriously than women’s, and 63% couldn’t name an outdoor female role model, even as 85% of them say the outdoors is good for overall health, happiness and well-being, and 70% find being outdoors is liberating.

In honor of mothers and other women – whether grandmothers, daughters, spouses, aunts, sisters, cousins or friends – who’ve helped inspire a love for the great outdoors, here are some Mother’s Day gifts of Acadia and the outdoors, to thank them, and invite them to play outside with you.

Mother’s Day gifts of Acadia and other park passes

Lifetime Senior Pass Acadia National Park

US citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over can get a lifetime Senior Pass for $10. (NPS photo)

  • Senior Pass – If any women in your lives are 62 or older before Oct. 1, go with them to the nearest participating federal lands site that sells the lifetime Senior Pass for $10, before it’s slated to go up to $80. You can also buy the pass online for a processing fee, by uploading a copy of necessary proof of age and ID, but there’s a delay in delivery with the rush of people trying to buy before the price increase. The pass is good not only for Acadia and other National Parks, but also for all federal recreation lands, like national monuments, historic sites, wildlife refuges and national forests. The bearer of the Senior Pass can bring in a carload of passengers for free, or up to 3 other adults (children under 16 are free) at sites that charge per-person admission.
  • Online weekly and annual Acadia pass – If the women in your lives are younger than 62, you can buy an annual or weekly pass to Acadia (or other National Parks) online as a gift instead.
  • Every Kid in a Park Pass – If there’s a woman in your life who’s a mother of a fourth grader, you can help that fourth grader get a free Every Kid in a Park Pass online as a gift to Mom. Then the whole family can get in free to Acadia and all other federal recreational lands and waters this summer. Started under President Obama, this initiative aims to get kids (and their Moms) outdoors.

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Planning a trip to Acadia in winter? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

ask acadia on my mind

Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Another in a series of “Ask Acadia on My Mind!” Q&As

If you have a question about Acadia National Park on your mind, whether you’re a first-time visitor or long-time fan, leave a comment below, or contact us through the About us page. We may not be able to answer every question, or respond right away, but we’ll do our best. See our page linking in one place all the Q&As.

1) Planning a hike up Cadillac Mountain on New Year’s Day 2017. Can you recommend a trail to the top and accommodations near there this time of year? Thanks for any information you can provide. – Regards,Tom Campbell, Denver, North Carolina

Dear Tom,

Sounds like a great way to welcome the New Year, visiting Acadia in winter to hike up Cadillac, whether to see the first sunrise in the US or not!

Planning such a trip is not as difficult as you might think, especially since there are quite a number of year-round lodging and dining options in Bar Harbor and surrounding towns, as we’ve compiled in a series of handy pages on this blog.

winter in acadia

Acadia in winter, as seen from Cadillac. (NPS photo)

If you’re lucky, there may not be much snow and ice on Cadillac, making it an easier hike. But be sure to bring proper gear just in case, since conditions can change quickly, and can be very different at the top of the mountain compared with down at the start.

See a list of some favorite winter hiking gear, below, as well as a round-up of other activities in Acadia in winter. You might also want to post a question about current trail conditions on the Acadia National Park Hiking group page we created on Facebook, which a number of local hikers belong to.

You can check snow conditions by linking to live Webcams at the Web site of local radio station 93.7 FM, “The Wave,” and the park’s official winter activities page for additional information. Continue reading

Acadia Centennial nears end with volunteerism, time capsule

The summer crowds are gone, the fall foliage but a memory, and the year-long, community-wide celebration of the Acadia Centennial is going out with a bang, not a whimper.

Take Pride in Acadia Day

Some of the hundreds of volunteers helping to get the carriage roads ready for winter during Take Pride in Acadia Day in 2011. (NPS Photo / D.R. Hunt)

Among the events still on the Acadia Centennial calendar to keep the celebration going between now and Dec. 31 (and beyond, especially with an Acadia Bicentennial Time Capsule to be opened a century from now):

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On your marks! ‘Princesses,’ ‘witch’ join first MDI virtual runs

Racers with fun names like Incaprincess, SkiPrincess, TrailWitch and Sanity Clause – some hailing from as far away as Australia, Texas and New Mexico – are lining up at the start for the first-ever virtual runs of the Mount Desert Island Marathon and Half, to help raise funds for Acadia.

Acadia virtual runs

Incaprincess (Suzanne Wiegand) and husband Duane, pictured here on trails near their Cuyahoga Falls, OH, home, are running the virtual MDI Marathon together. (Photo courtesy of Suzanne Wiegand)

The virtual gun goes off on Oct. 7, and racers have 10 days to complete the virtual runs, with the final day coinciding with the real-life MDI Marathon and Half on Oct. 16. There’s still time to join in on the fun, with registration open until the end of the day on Oct. 3. Special pricing for registrants and volunteers in the real-life races.

Racers get a special Acadia Centennial Medallion, a digital race bib and the chance to see their avatar move on a map of the virtual 26.2 or 13.1-mile route with each day’s mileage entry, whether they run, hike or walk the miles, wherever they are in the world. They may also see a Google Street View® of where they finished for the day.

Virtual runs are a growing fitness trend, with even Disney getting into the act. Acadia on My Mind is proud to be co-sponsor with Crow Athletics and the real-life MDI Marathon of this official Acadia Centennial event.

acadia national park hiking

You too can earn the right to this Acadia Centennial Medallion, and help raise funds for Acadia.

Participants get to cheer friends – real or virtual – or gently razz competitors via a message board on the race Web site, powered by Racery.com, or via a special Facebook events page we’ve set up. Some have never run a real-life marathon or half, and some have never been to Acadia, while others have done both.

Incaprincess (Suzanne Wiegand) and her husband Duane, of Cuyahoga Falls, OH, are running the virtual MDI Marathon together, and have been to Acadia many times.

“Unfortunately, I won’t be running the actual MDI Marathon this year, but definitely planning on it next year!” said Suzanne, who said in an e-mail that her nickname came from an anthropology class field trip. “The nickname kind of stuck around and it has now translated into my trail running nickname. But you can just call me Inca.”

acadia virtual runs

Registration for the first-ever virtual running of the MDI Marathon and Half ends on Oct. 3.

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Acadia fall foliage just one focus of rest of Centennial year

The days are shorter, the nights chillier, and Acadia fall foliage is getting ready to put on its spectacular color show. The season to visit Acadia National Park has been gradually getting longer, and this year, Centennial events promise to make the fall – and even winter – busier than ever.

With about 100 days left in the Centennial year, and Acadia fall foliage still to peak, among the major events and projects featuring the park still on the calendar:

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, has a new book coming out on Oct. 1 in celebration of the National Park Service Centennial. The book includes a section on Acadia. Pre-orders placed by Oct. 1 eligible for special offers. (Image courtesy of QT Luong)

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Camping in Acadia National Park? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

ask acadia on my mind

Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Another in a series of “Ask Acadia on My Mind!” Q&As

If you have a question about Acadia National Park on your mind, whether you’re a first-time visitor or long-time fan, leave a comment below, or contact us through the About us page. We may not be able to answer every question, or respond right away, but we’ll do our best. See our page linking in one place all the Q&As.

1) Appreciate your time to help us out. We will be first timers to Acadia. We’re going the end of July for 4 days and have made tent reservations at Blackwoods Campground. It will be just my wife and I. We are 50 and in pretty good health for hiking/biking. We usually camp in a pop up but are tenting to save on travel and cost and for the convenience of not trailering. A few questions:
– Does it get cold for tent camping in July?
– We like to bike – is biking a good option to get around and see the sites?
– Is swimming an option nearby to Blackwoods?
– Can you recommend a good place to have lobster?
– Given we’re only there 4 nights, what would be the top 3 destinations we should hike or ride to?
Thanks so much for your help. – Steve and Janet

2) Hi, we were just wondering if it is possible to stay on a non-electric RV site in a tent only? Thanks! – Anna

3) We (family of 5) are thinking about visiting Acadia next week before the Island Explorer shuttle is running, but we are traveling in an RV. How difficult is it to maneuver through the park in an RV, or is there a place to park it and ride bikes in order to see the park? Can you bike to Bar Harbor easily? – Jaymi

Dear Steve and Janet, Anna, and Jaymi,

Of your 3 camping in Acadia National Park questions, we have to say Anna’s is the most unusual. Why would you want to tent out on a non-electric RV site? The only reason we could think of: Is it because all the tent-only sites for the dates you’re looking for are booked?

camping in acadia national park

Blackwoods features 214 tent sites and 61 RV sites. (NPS photo)

In any event, Anna, we called Blackwoods Campground, where there are 61 non-electric RV sites, to ask that very question. As long as you set up the tent on the RV pad, you can, indeed, stay on a non-electric RV site, according to the park ranger. Policies may vary by campground, so you might want to check the campground you’re planning on staying at.

The Blackwoods direct line is (207) 288-3274; Seawall, (207) 244-3600; and Schoodic Woods, (207) 288-1300, according to the official campground reservation Web site, www.recreation,gov.

But as you may know, you cannot make tenting or RV reservations by calling the park campgrounds directly. For that, you must go to www.recreation.gov, or call the National Recreation Reservation Service at (877) 444-6777. You can also find out more details about camping in Acadia National Park through the park’s Web site. Continue reading

Visiting Acadia during Centennial? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

ask acadia on my mind

Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Another in a series of “Ask Acadia on My Mind!” Q&As

If you have a question about Acadia National Park on your mind, whether you’re a first-time visitor or long-time fan, leave a comment below, or contact us through the About us page. We may not be able to answer every question, or respond right away, but we’ll do our best. See our page linking in one place all the Q&As.

We are starting to plan our first trip to Acadia National Park. We are looking into a trip in August but now I see it’s the very busiest month and I’m concerned it will be too crowded. I don’t like traffic and feeling like an ant on trails when hiking.

We hope to stay in a rental home for a week. Which locations would you suggest? How hard is driving around the area in August? We like to bike. Are there bike rental companies? Are dogs allowed on the hiking trails in the park? About how long does it take to get from say, Bar Harbor, to the Schoodic part of the park? Thank you! – Peter from Eugene, OR

Dear Peter,

We’re with you – we don’t like feeling like an ant on trails when hiking either! Good idea to start planning your trip so early, with bigger crowds than usual expected to be visiting Acadia National Park during this Centennial year. But even though August is the busiest month, it’s still possible to find relative solitude, as we have that time of year.

See our recent blog post “5 tips to beat the crowds while visiting Acadia National Park,” with such ideas as buying your park pass online and hiking popular trails early or late. For example, if you climb the popular Beehive Trail early (before 11 a.m. but the earlier the better) or late (4 p.m. or later), you won’t feel like you’re part of the swarm, or like an ant on a trail.

Island Explorer bus in Acadia National Park

Take the Island Explorer to minimize Acadia traffic jams. While the bus is fare-free, be sure to buy a park pass to help support this and other park services. (NPS photo)

Since this is your first trip to Acadia and it sounds like you want to minimize driving in traffic while maximizing access to bike rentals, dog-friendly hikes and the Schoodic section of the park, you might want to find a place to stay in or near Bar Harbor, preferably on the fare-free Island Explorer bus route.

We have a page of year-round Bar Harbor lodging, restaurants and other businesses that you may find helpful, although we don’t have specific links to rental home listings. We’ll soon be adding businesses that are open only seasonally to that page, so check back for updates. Continue reading

5 tips to beat the crowds while visiting Acadia National Park

UPDATE 5/20/2017: See updated “7 ways for a stress-free visit to Acadia National Park”

With Memorial Day weekend around the corner and this being the park’s Centennial year, more crowds than usual are expected to be visiting Acadia National Park in 2016 – possibly even more than last year’s 2.8 million visitors.

crowds in acadia

Crowds in Acadia can make for an unpleasant experience as seen here on the Park Loop Road and Ocean Path. (NPS photo)

Here are 5 tips to avoid long lines, frustration of finding parking, and other aspects of what can be a maddening crowd. Yes, visiting Acadia National Park during peak times can be stress-free. Why line up behind dozens of other people to pay for a pass, or ask a ranger “Where’s a good place to hike?”

1) Buy your Acadia National Park pass online, go early or late to the main Hulls Cove Visitor Center, or get the pass at one of the other local sites. This is the first year that visitors can buy the usual 7-day pass – and even the annual pass – online. If you’re age 62 or older, you can buy the lifetime Senior Pass for $10 in advance at a participating federal recreation site near home, or via mail. Hulls Cove is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in May, June, September and October, and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. July and August. And there are plenty of other local sites you can buy a pass at, as listed on the park’s Web site:

acadia national park pass

For the first time this year you can buy Acadia National Park passes online, whether the  annual pass for $50, or the 7-day passenger vehicle pass for $25. If you buy online, the pass is e-mailed to you for printout. (NPS image)

  • Park headquarters – ME 233 (Eagle Lake Road) – passes sold 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Bar Harbor Village Green Information Center – late May to Columbus Day, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Thompson Island Information Center – early May to mid-October, hours vary
  • Sand Beach Entrance Station
  • Blackwoods Campground
  • Schoodic Woods Campground
  • Seawall Campground
  • Cadillac Mountain Gift Shop
  • Jordan Pond Gift Shop
  • Mount Desert Town Office
  • Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce
  • Southwest Harbor / Tremont Chamber of Commerce
  • L. L. Bean in Freeport, ME

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Warm your valentine’s heart: Finding romance in Acadia

Cozy up in front of a fire this chilly Valentine’s Day, and instead of the usual chocolates, roses or champagne, why not propose a romantic vacation, camping trip – or even wedding – in Acadia National Park?

romantic acadia

As a Facebook friend posted this morning from Mount Desert Island, “Roses are red, violets are blue, happy Valentine’s Day, from snowy Maine to you.” (Photo courtesy of Linda Thayer)

From catching the sunrise on Cadillac, to taking a horse-drawn carriage ride along “Mr. Rockefeller’s roads,” from camping out with a view at the new Schoodic Woods campground to enjoying a candlelit dinner, it’s easy to find romance in Acadia National Park and surrounding communities.

As part of our Ask Acadia on My Mind! series, we’ve answered a couple of questions about romantic things to see and do in Acadia National Park.

Last July, we helped Q pick some romantic settings for engagement photos. And in October, we assisted Aaron from Cleveland plan a camping trip in the fall to celebrate an anniversary with his girlfriend.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are some other resources for looking for a little romance in Acadia National Park: Continue reading