How long does it take to see Acadia National Park? Years.
What are the key places to see? That depends.
Are you a family with kids? Girlfriends on a get-away? A couple combining adventure and romance? What is your activity level? Have you been to Acadia National Park before?
First-time visitors will want to see some of the most popular sights, including Cadillac Mountain, Ocean Trail, Thunder Hole, Otter Cliffs, Jordan Pond, and the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.
Depending on whether you want a massage, margarita, or meditative stroll, you should explore the different villages of Mount Desert Island, especially Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor, Somesville, and Bass Harbor. Each has its own distinctly different character.
Some of my best trips to Mount Desert Island have involved creating my own special itineraries, such as visiting photographers' favorite spots in Acadia or biking the carriage roads on my own tour of historic stone bridges. Just one of these activities could take most of a day, especially if you combine it with a picnic or lunch at Jordan Pond House.
If you have three days or two weeks, your itinerary will vary accordingly. Planning helps you make the most of your visit. Here's my favorite itinerary for seven days.
Shop for week’s supplies in Ellsworth. Celebrate arrival with a lobster sandwich at Trenton Lobster Pound before crossing the bridge. Take a quick “welcome” hike up Acadia Mountain and cool off in Echo Lake. Grill something simple for dinner.
Paddle Somes Harbor. Relax at the dock. Bike “Around the Mountain” route with western descent as the sun sets. Town Hill Bistro for dinner.
Morning hike up Beech Mountain. Have lunch at the fire tower at top or on the Great Long Pond beach at the base. Kayak on the pond. On the way home pick up seafood and blueberry pie for dinner at home.
Forecast is rain, so go antiquing, have lunch, and shop in Blue Hill. Hang out in the bookstore. Wrap up with a micro-brewery tour at Atlantic Brewing Company and bring home BBQ from Knox Road Grill for dinner.
Ambitious ones hike the Beehive, while the rest hang out at Sand Beach. Picnic lunch at the beach. Explore Bar Harbor’s shops before dinner at Havana. Go to the "Late Show" at Blackwoods Campground.
Morning guided rock climbing at Otter Cliffs, 60 feet above the pounding surf. Afternoon sunset sea kayak trip with Maine State. Dinner at Thurston’s Lobster Pound. Save the blueberry spice cake for breakfast and have ice cream cones on the way home at Quiet Side.