Rise and Shine: A Guide to Acadia National Park

Ocean Path
Entrance to Acadia National Park

Located on Maine’s Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park is a gorgeous expanse of both woodland and seaside views. An extended weekend was the perfect amount of time for an introduction to this pristine park and an excellent opportunity to work on my, well um rusty, photography skills.

During our time in the park, my family and I found one thing above all else was paramount to beating the crowds and enjoying the park -for the most part uninterrupted- rise and shine as early as possible.

The Ocean Path

Beginning of the Ocean Path in Acadia National Park
The Ocean Path Begins

For our first venture into the park, starting with the Ocean Path. The Ocean Path starts at Sand Beach and continues up along the coast until you reach Otter Cliff. Along the Path, some of the highlights include Thunder Hole and Boulder Beach, but there are also many beautiful viewpoints along the way.

Cadillac Mountain

View from the Top of Cadillac Mountain
Views from the Summit

Cadillac Mountain is one of the numerous prime hiking spots throughout the park. However, if you prefer to skip the hike and go straight to the beautiful views at the top, you are able to drive your car right up to the summit. Though my family skipped an adventure at dawn to see the sunrise (which is supposed to be one of the best in the country) the views at the midday did not disappoint.

Bass Harbor

Bass Harbor Lighthouse
Bass Harbor Lighthouse

The Bass Harbor Area on the west side of the island held many gems to see. We first started with the famous Bass Harbor Lighthouse. Though the interior is not open to the public, the exterior makes for beautiful photos. I should mention that in order to capture such photos one must traverse an expense of uneven rocks to gain a good vantage point (aka do not attempt if you have bad ankles!)

The Beach at the end of wonderland trail
Beach at Wonderland Trail

Afterward, we moved onto Wonderland Trail, a path that is only about a mile long and makes for an easy and enjoyable morning walk. at the end of the path, you will be met with a rocky beach that makes for an excellent place to sit for a moment and take in the views of the sea.

Sieur de Monts Spring

On our last day we, arose early once more, to visit the Sieur de Monts Spring. This section of the park is home to many walking paths designed to bring park visitors even closer to nature. While on the trails if you look closely enough, you will see all of the textures and patterns that nature has to offer. If are lucky, you might even see some of the resident animals that call the area home!

Bar Harbor

Views of the Marina from along the shore path in Bar Harbor Maine
Along the Shore Path in Bar Harbor

No trip to the island would be complete without a stop (or several) in the main town of Bar Harbor. Though there are several other harbor towns on the island including Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor (which is a must-stop for anyone who is a lover of popovers!) Bar Harbor is the main hub for tourists on the island.

Naturally, while in town, I stopped in almost every one of the numerous shops on the main street, ate at several delicious pastry shops, and walked down to the water to see the ships. Also located right in Bar Harbor, is the Shore Path, a short walking path along the water’s edge, which is a must-do before you head out of town.

More of Acadia to See
JND in Acadia National Park
JND in Acadia National Park

The places mentioned above are only a small portion of what Acadia has to offer visitors. Whether you are an nature lover, an avid hiker, a beach goer, or are just looking for a quaint and peaceful place to stay in which to beat the summer heat, Mnt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park is the place for you.

~For more photographs of Acadia, check out Travel Along’s Photo Gallery.

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