Monday, October 12, 2020

10 Must Visit Places in Acadia National Park

Explorer Lens

USA is known for its dramatic and varied terrain. With Pacific in the west and Atlantic in the east, world’s biggest tress and rock formation, USA has some of most amazing natural wonders in the world, which are on the bucket list of every traveler.

It is also lauded for its world-famous National Parks, which are dream destinations for many people in the world.
One of such national parks which top the list on East Coast, USA is Acadia National Park. Situated in the state of Maine, it covers the coastal part of the Maine which meets the wild Atlantic Ocean. In USA, most of the National Parks are known for their gigantic mountains and mesmerizing waterfalls, but Acadia is known for its coastal beauty.

We recently visited this amazing place and here are the 10 must visit places in this National Park :

1. Cadillac Mountain
Start your day with the drive to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, one of the first place in USA to watch the sunrise from October to March. It is the largest and tallest mountain in Acadia National Park and the views from the top are just breathtaking. When we visited the mountain, fog was just lifting and watching it roll of the water and into the valley was just majestic.

Once the sun is up, you can see the panoramic views of the islands in the Frenchman Bay. It is really a stunning start to the morning. The summit road which takes you up and down the Cadillac mountain, also has several pulloffs which provide stunning views of the ocean.

2. Jordan Pond

After you are done soaking in the beauty of Cadillac Mountain, the next spot to explore is Jordan Pond.
Though it is called a pond, it is nothing less than a lake. It is situated in a pine forest and surrounded by small mountains. The water is incredibly clear and pristine. Once you walk from the parking area towards the pond, the view is absolutely stunning. 

There is also a path that takes full loop around the pond and is easy and doable for all age groups. Also, there is a Pond house which serves delicious snacks and bakery items.  

3. North and South Bubble Mountains
You can combine the trip to North and South Bubble Mountains with the Jordan Pond trail, or if you are short of time you can do them separately. The parking for the north/south bubble is quite limited, so make sure to come early in the morning or during late noon to get a spot.

The South Bubble Mountain is famous for the Bubble Rock, which is a large boulder that was carried by glacier and precariously balanced on the edge of the cliff. It is fun to see how such a big rock is balanced on its own at the edge.

The North Bubble Mountain is famous for the “out of the world” views of Jordan Pond from the top.

The to and fro hike to the summit of both the mountains from the parking lot is around 1.5 miles each and if you combine the hikes of both the bubbles, it is roughly 2.5 miles from the parking lot.

The hike is easy to moderate level and can be done by people of all ages.

4. Sand Beach
After the bubble mountain hike, if you need to sit and relax for sometime while taking in the view, Sandy beach is the perfect spot for that. It is a clean beach surrounded by cliffs and the view of the ocean is just stunning. All facilities are available here like changing booths, restrooms, and lifeguards. It is also the start of Ocean Trail. A walk on the beach is a good way to prepare for the next hikes.

5. Beehive Trail
After a good stroll at the beach, it is time to take your hiking experience to the next level.
If you are an experienced hiker, I would recommend Precipice Trail for an adventure of lifetime, but if that is not the case, it is always recommended to go for less dangerous and Strenuous hike – Beehive Trail.

From the parking lot of Sand Beach, you can hike the Bowl trail to the Beehive trail, and from the summit you can walk down the same path.

The difficulty level is strenuous and there are times when you have to walk through narrow cliffs and climb up metal rungs. So, if you fear of height, it is advisable to skip this trail.

6. Park Loop Road
One of the best ways to explore Acadia National Parks is to drive the 27-mile scenic Park Loop Road.
It offers absolutely stunning views of the ocean and might remind you of the Pacific Coast Highway drive in California.

You have lot of pullovers on the right-hand side of the road to take photos and admire the view.

Few things to take care while planning the drive:
- Try to do in the morning hours when there is less traffic and wildlife is active.
- Keep in mind that is a one-way drive.

7. Thunder Hole
One of the most dramatic spot in Acadia National Parks is Thunder Hole. It is a small rock formation like a cave, where the water splashes out of the inlet when there are high tides. The splash causes a thundering boom.

We were not lucky enough to catch the splash, but it is said that when the surf is high, the water can shoot up as high as 40 feet in the air. It is recommended to check the tide condition and when it is ideal time to watch this wonderful natural phenomenon.

8. Nature Cruise
Trip of Acadia National Park is incomplete without a nature cruise.
Most of these cruises start from Bar Harbor, and depending upon the time of the year you can choose from various options like - Whale Watching, Sunset Nature Cruise, Lighthouses tour and general nature cruise.

If it is the time of the year when whales are spotted, go for Whale Watching cruise, otherwise you can take the sunset nature cruise.
We took one by Acadian Nature Cruises and it was absolutely amazing. The guide was quite informative and he told us about the history of the park and various landmarks that arrived during the course of the cruise. We also spotted several seals on the rocks of Egg Rock Lighthouse. 

The sunset views were outstandingly beautiful.

The cruise took all the necessary precautions during the Covid time, specially the 6 feet distancing. Masks were compulsory. It costed us $33 per person for 2 hours tour.

9. Schoodic Peninsula
If you want a more secluded place to enjoy the coastal views of the islands, cliffs and ocean, get to this part of Acadia National Park which is known as Schoodic Peninsula.
It gets less crowd as compared to the Mount Desert Island and hence is a great place to enjoy the views with your special one or family.

There are few hiking trails here, but the views are no match to what we get on the summits of Mount Desert Island.
Though we didn’t get much time to explore this area, it is suggested to visit two points :
- Schoodic Point to watch the massive rock formations by ancient volcanic activity and the splash of water when large waves of Atlantic Ocean kiss them.
- Raven's Nest is a photographer paradise where tallest cliffs of the area surround several isolated coves. It’s not only a picturesque spot but also a hidden gem of Maine.

It is also a great place for stargazing.

10. Lobster Restaurants
Finally, Maine is a seafood lover heaven and one thing that you will get in abundant here is Lobster.
There are number of restaurants serving variety of Lobster dishes especially Lobster rolls and cakes.
So if you love seafood, especially Lobsters, you should definitely give your taste buds a treat.

So that's all about Acadia National Park.
Hope you have a great time and fun when you visit it :)

Explorer Lens / Author & Editor

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