Top 6 places for sunrise in Acadia National Park

Here is our list of the top 6 places for sunrise in Acadia National Park.

Sun light reflects on the water during sunrise from Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park

Sunshine reflects on the waters of Frenchman Bay, but the rising sun itself is still not quite visible to people on the summit of Cadillac Mountain in early August 2022. (Photo by Woody Davis)

1. Cadillac Mountain – Of all the places for sunrise in Acadia National Park, Cadillac Mountain is likely the best. As the highest mountain on the US eastern seaboard, 1,530-foot Cadillac looks right over the ocean and allows people to sit high above the rising sun. From the summit, on a nice day, the brilliant colors of daybreak occur over Frenchman Bay, scores of islands and the Schoodic Peninsula. Between Oct. 7 and March 6, the peak of Cadillac is the first spot to see the sunrise in the US, according to the National Park Service. A vehicle reservation is required from about mid-May to mid-October.

2. Low tide off Bar Island – The sun rises over the Porcupine Islands and spreads the first light across the eastern horizon during the low tide walk to Bar Island. Located off Bridge Street in downtown Bar Harbor, the walk is accessible 1.5 hours either side of low tide.

3. Ocean Drive – For alternative sunrise viewing in Acadia National Park, the National Park Service recommends anywhere along Ocean Drive that has a view of the eastern horizon. Consider Thunder Hole or climb a nearby peak like Beehive or Gorham Mountain to enjoy some great places for sunrise in Acadia.

Sunrise from Champlain Mountain in Acadia National Park

The sun rises over the Schoodic Peninsula and the Porcupine Islands from the peak of Champlain Mountain in July 2020. (Photo by Jennifer Chambers)

4. Champlain Mountain Champlain Mountain is the closest to Frenchman Bay of all the summits in Acadia National Park, giving it a special status among the places for sunrise in Acadia. Champlain offers spectacular sun rises over the Porcupine Islands, the Schoodic Peninsula and Frenchman Bay. Climb via the Champlain North Ridge Trail, the closest ridge in the park to the ocean.

5. Seawall Beach Picnic Area – You can get northeast views of the sun rising over the Atlantic Ocean from the Seawall Beach Picnic Area, located across ME 102A from the Seawall Campground. There is parking next to the ocean with picnic tables and benches.

6. Thompson Island Picnic Area – At the crack of dawn, you can get views of the sunrise across the waters of Mount Desert Narrows at the start of Frenchman Bay or over the island’s vast sand flats. The Thompson Island Picnic Area is located off the causeway on Route 3, about 10 miles north of the main part of Acadia on Mount Desert Island.

Sunrise from Thompson Island in Acadia National Park

The sun rises in mid-May 2023 over Mount Desert Island from Thompson Island in Acadia National Park. (Photo by Jared Smelter)