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An Overlander’s Guide to Acadia National Park 

 May 8, 2023

By  Patrick @DarkSkyOverland

Acadia National Park BadgeAcadia National Park is a magnificent national park located in the state of Maine, USA. The park is known for its stunning natural beauty, rugged coastline, and breathtaking views. It is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world, especially for those who love adventure and exploring the outdoors.

Overlanders, in particular, will find the park to be an ideal destination, with its vast network of trails and off-road paths that offer endless opportunities for exploration. If you are an overlander looking to explore the wonders of Acadia National Park, then this guide is for you.

In this article, I will provide you with all the information you need to plan a successful trip to the park, including tips on where to camp, what to see and do, and how to navigate the rugged terrain. So pack your bags, grab your maps, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Acadia National Park.

The Basics of Acadia National Park: A Guide for Overlanders

Acadia National Park Entrance SignBefore we dive into the details of planning your overlanding trip to Acadia National Park, let’s go over some of the basics. Acadia National Park covers an area of over 47,000 acres and is located on Mount Desert Island and several smaller islands off the coast of Maine. The park was established in 1916 and is one of the oldest national parks in the United States.

The park offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, boating, and wildlife watching. There are over 120 miles of hiking trails, 45 miles of carriage roads, and 17 peaks to climb in Acadia National Park. The park is also home to a diverse array of wildlife, including moose, black bears, foxes, and bald eagles.

Planning Your Trip to Acadia National Park

Bridge in Acadia National ParkPlanning a trip to Acadia National Park requires some careful consideration, especially if you are an overlander. Here are some tips to help you plan your trip:

Decide on the Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Acadia National Park is between June and October when the weather is mild, and the park is open to visitors. The peak season is during July and August, so if you want to avoid the crowds, consider visiting in September or October. Are you planning on visiting in the Winter? If so, make sure you visit the park’s website for more information.

Choose Your Overlanding Route

Acadia National Park offers a range of overlanding routes, including the Cadillac Mountain Summit Road and the Park Loop Road. Each route offers different views and terrain, so choose the one that suits your preferences and skill level. If you have an oversized rig, make sure you familiarize yourself with the park’s guidelines and restrictions for oversized rigs.

Prepare Your Overland Vehicle

Before you head out on your overlanding trip to Acadia National Park, make sure your vehicle is properly equipped for off-road travel. Check your tires, brakes, and suspension, and pack essential items like a first-aid kit, recovery gear, and a spare tire.

Book Your Campsite

Acadia National Park offers several campgrounds for overlanders, including the Blackwoods Campground and the Seawall Campground. Book your campsite in advance, especially during peak season, to ensure you have a spot to pitch your tent.

Bring the Right Gear

When overlanding in Acadia National Park, it’s essential to bring the right gear. Pack warm clothing, rain gear, and sturdy hiking boots, as well as a map, compass, and GPS device.

Exploring Acadia National Park: A Guide for Overlanders

Cadillac Mountain Summit RoadNow that you have planned your trip to Acadia National Park, it’s time to start exploring. Here are some of the top things to see and do in the park:

Cadillac Mountain Summit Road

The Cadillac Mountain Summit Road is a must-see for any overlander visiting Acadia National Park. The road offers stunning views of the park’s landscape and wildlife, and it’s a great place to watch the sunrise or sunset. The road is 3.5 miles long and winds up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, which is the highest peak on the eastern seaboard.

Park Loop Road

The Park Loop Road is a 27-mile-long road that takes visitors through some of the park’s most popular destinations, including Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, and Jordan Pond. The road is one-way and offers stunning views of the park’s rugged coastline and mountains.

Hiking Trails

Acadia National Park offers over 120 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to challenging hikes. Some of the most popular hikes in the park include the Precipice Trail, the Beehive Trail, and the Jordan Pond Path. Be sure to pack plenty of water and snacks, and wear sturdy hiking boots.

Stargazing

Stargazing in Acadia National ParkWhether you’re an astronomy enthusiast or simply seeking a peaceful night under the stars, Acadia National Park offers unparalleled opportunities for stargazing. From the iconic Big Dipper to the elusive Northern Lights, the sky over Acadia is a canvas of wonder and excitement.

Wildlife Watching

Acadia National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including moose, black bears, foxes, and bald eagles. Be sure to bring your binoculars and camera, and keep a safe distance from the animals.

Water Activities

Acadia National Park is also a great destination for water activities, such as kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. The park’s lakes and streams offer excellent opportunities for fishing, while the coastline is perfect for kayaking and canoeing.

Best Places to Camp Near Acadia National Park: A Guide for Overlanders

Acadia National Park has several campgrounds, but they can fill up quickly during peak season. Here are some of the best places to camp near the park:

Campgrounds in Acadia National Park

1. Blackwoods Campground: This is the most popular campground in the park, with 306 sites for tents and RVs.

2. Duck Harbor Campground: This campground is located on Isle au Haut, a rugged island off the coast of Stonington, Maine. Remote and inaccessible to automobiles, Isle au Haut is linked to the mainland by mailboat.

3. Seawall Campground: This smaller campground has 214 sites for tents and RVs and is located on the western side of the park.

4. Schoodic Woods Campground: Located on the Schoodic Peninsula, this campground is 1.5 miles southeast of Winter Harbor.

Best Restaurants Near Acadia National Park: A Guide for Overlanders

After a long day of exploring Acadia, you’ll want to refuel with some delicious food. Here are some of the best restaurants in the area:

Bar Harbor Restaurants

The Thirsty Whale: This local favorite offers fresh seafood, burgers, and a variety of craft beers.

Side Street Cafe: A casual spot with a diverse menu featuring seafood, burgers, and vegetarian options.

Geddy’s: This historic restaurant serves up classic New England fare in a lively atmosphere.

Ellsworth Restaurants

Finn’s Irish Pub: This cozy pub offers classic Irish dishes and a variety of beers on tap.

Serendib Indian and Sri Lankan Cuisine: A hidden gem that offers authentic Indian and Sri Lankan dishes.

Mount Desert Island Restaurants

Jordan Pond House: A historic restaurant that serves up classic Maine dishes and homemade popovers.

Havana: This upscale restaurant offers creative, globally-inspired cuisine and a great cocktail menu.

Cafe This Way: A cozy spot with a creative menu featuring local and organic ingredients.

FAQs about Acadia National Park: A Guide for Overlanders

Blackwoods Campground in Acadia National Park

  1. Can you camp in Acadia National Park?

  2. Yes, Acadia has several campgrounds that offer campsites for tents and RVs.

  3. Do I need a permit to camp in Acadia National Park?

  4. Yes, you will need a camping permit to camp in Acadia National Park. You can obtain a permit online or in person at the park’s visitor center.

  5. What are the best hiking trails in Acadia National Park?

  6. Some of the most popular hiking trails in Acadia include the Precipice Trail, Jordan Pond Path, and Beehive Trail.

  7. Are there any restrictions on hiking in Acadia National Park?

  8. Yes, there are some restrictions on hiking in Acadia National Park, especially on trails that are deemed dangerous. Be sure to check the park’s regulations and follow all posted signs and warnings.

  9. What is the best time of year to visit Acadia National Park?

  10. The best time to visit Acadia is between June and early October when the weather is mild, and most of the park’s facilities are open.

  11. Can I bring my dog to Acadia National Park?

  12. Yes, dogs are allowed in some areas of the park, but they must be kept on a leash at all times. Be sure to check the park’s regulations and follow all posted signs and warnings.

  13. What kind of wildlife can you see in Acadia National Park?

  14. Acadia is home to a variety of wildlife, including moose, black bears, and bald eagles.

  15. What should I do if I encounter wildlife in the park?

  16. If you encounter wildlife in Acadia National Park, be sure to keep a safe distance and never approach or feed the animals. Keep your dog on a leash, and if the animal appears aggressive, back away slowly and leave the area.

Conclusion

Acadia National Park is a must-visit destination for overlanders and outdoor enthusiasts. With its stunning natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and a wide variety of activities to choose from, Acadia offers something for everyone. Whether you’re hiking, camping, kayaking, or just enjoying a scenic drive, you’re sure to fall in love with this beautiful park.

Have you visited Acadia National Park? If so, what did I miss in this overlander’s guide?

Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks for your input! It is greatly appreciated!

Patrick @DarkSkyOverland


Dark Sky Overland is an overland lifestyle brand that was created to support the various trips I take to National Parks and other designated Dark Sky Parks within the United States. It was also born out of a strong desire to simplify life after my wife of over 24 years passed away from a three year battle with inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). You can learn more about my story at https://darkskyoverland.com/about/.

Patrick @DarkSkyOverland

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