Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse#5 in Best Things To Do in Acadia National Park
Price & Hours
If you want to experience a stunning sunrise without the crowds of Cadillac Mountain, head to the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. This lighthouse was constructed in the late 1800s and is considered one of the most picturesque lighthouses in all of Maine. It's owned and operated by the U.S. Coast Guard and is the only lighthouse on Mount Desert Island. Access inside the lighthouse is closed off to visitors, but it's best observed from outside anyway.
The landmark sits on the southern tip of Mount Desert Island. Visitors can reach the lighthouse viewing platform by parking at the free lot off Lighthouse Road in Bass Harbor and then walking down a short, sloped trail to sea level. Travelers with limited accessibility should be cautious of the steep path and the often slippery stones of the viewing platform. Previous visitors said both sunrises and sunsets are spectacular here. They also laud the platform's location as it's the perfect spot to witness groups of dolphins and seals up close. However, in the peak summer months there is often traffic congestion on the drive to the lighthouse, so plan to arrive early or take the Island Explorer, which drops passengers off a half-mile from the lighthouse. For more information, visit the National Park Service website.
More Best Things To Do in Acadia National Park
#1 Cadillac Mountain
Standing about 1,530 feet in height, Cadillac Mountain wins a lot of superlatives. Not only is it the tallest mountain in the park, but it's the tallest mountain on the North Atlantic seaboard. Whether you hike up the Cadillac Summit Loop Trail or drive up the 3 1/2-mile narrow access road, go early. As the only attraction in the park that can be reached by car, Cadillac tends to draw crowds. If you do arrive by car, you should drive slowly, especially as the roadside cliffs get steep. Along the road, you'll find several small observation areas: take advantage of those before you reach the top, where the crowds and tour buses congregate.
For the ultimate vistas, set your alarm clock and try to catch a sunrise here. Cadillac Mountain is the first point of the United States to greet the rising sun's rays from early October to early March, and visitors assure it is a spectacular sight to see. While recent travelers said a trip to Acadia isn't complete without a stop at Cadillac Mountain, they also cautioned the area gets crowded, even in the early morning hours (some reported arriving two hours before sunrise). If you're visiting during the winter months, you'll have to hike the Cadillac Summit Loop Trail; the park closes down the access road for the winter season. Pack blankets and hold on to your hats, too, as it gets chillier as you ascend.
Explore More of Acadia National Park
If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.