Acadia National Park Travel Guide

USA  #4 in Best Places to Visit in October
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Courtesy of Ken Brown/Getty Images

Why Go To Acadia National Park

Vacationing in Acadia National Park turns you into a pioneer: Each trail leads to rugged, untouched land just waiting to be captured by your camera lens. Cobalt waves crash on the jagged granite slabs topped with spruce trees that jut out from the shore. Harbor seals sun themselves on abandoned chunks of bedrock off the coast as peregrine falcons scream down at you from the skies. Rocky trails and rustic carriage roads thread around the inland trees and ponds, begging for exploring. Needless to say, the park is for your typical outdoor enthusiast, with a huge focus on adrenalin-pumping activities like horseback riding, biking, hiking — even rock climbing. 

For a very affordable fee, you're given free rein to explore Acadia's more than 47,000 acres, including all of its hiking trails and natural attractions. When you need a break from the great outdoors, the quaint New England town of Bar Harbor, Maine, waits for you in the northeast corner of Mount Desert Island. 

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Best of Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park Travel Tips

Best Months to Visit

The best time to visit Acadia National Park is September through early October, after the summer crowds have left but before the temperatures drop below freezing. Visiting in March, April and May can be soggy — fog and rain are common — so you'll need to pack your waterproof gear. The weather is pleasant come July and August, but it's by far the most crowded season for the park. The park doesn't see many visitors in winter, but it's the perfect time to visit for the dedicated adventure traveler ready to brave the freezing temperatures.

Weather in Acadia National Park

Switch to Celsius/MM
Average Temperature (°F)
32
14
33
15
41
25
52
33
64
42
72
51
77
57
76
56
68
49
58
41
48
33
37
19
Jan
Feb
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Jul
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Oct
Nov
Dec
Average Precipitation (in)
0.16
0.16
0.16
0.16
0.16
0.12
0.12
0.12
0.16
0.16
0.24
0.2
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
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See details for When to Visit Acadia National Park

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

What You Need to Know

  • Be overly cautious Whether you're hiking the trails or kayaking along the shore, never venture out alone. Pack layers just in case you get stuck somewhere and always let someone know where you're going.
  • Watch out for moose Car accidents involving moose rarely end well, so drive defensively and keep an eye on the edge where the forest meets the road. Don't speed at night, especially from May to November when the moose are out and about.
  • Acadia loves its peregrine falcons Although the repopulation effort on the Jordan Cliffs ended in the late 1980s, certain portions of the park's trails shut down each spring to protect these birds' nesting season. 

How to Save Money in Acadia National Park

  • Rely on your own two feet Within Acadia National Park, you'll find 45 miles of carriage roads made for walking and biking, leaving little reason to bring along your own set of wheels to get around. A weekly vehicle will cost you $25, while an individual weekly pass will only set you back $12.
  • Hop on the Island Explorer This free summer shuttle bus service operates from June to early October and will take you to almost any hiking trail, carriage road, beach or town, upon request.
  • Skip a guided tour With two resourceful visitor centers open every day during late spring, summer and fall, there's no need to book a tour if you're planning to visit during these seasons. For more information, consult the visitors center's website.

Getting Around Acadia National Park

The best way to get around Acadia National Park is on foot. With 125 miles of historic trails made for hiking, Acadia is the perfect place to ditch the car and get outdoors. To reach the park, you can hop on the Island Explorer, a free summer shuttle service that transports passengers from Bar Harbor Village Green to a variety of park destinations. Should you prefer your own set of wheels, you can rent a car at one of the nearby airports, including Bangor International Airport (BGR), located just an hour's drive northwest of the park, and Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport (BHB), located about 10 miles north of Acadia. Guided tours and ranger-led programs are also available.

Photos

Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park
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A small lake known as "The Bowl" is among the many sights you'll see if you choose to tackle Beehive Mountain.

Ken Brown/Getty Images

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