Acadia National Park

Our guide to Acadia National Park

After a week of exploring Acadia, we didn't even touch the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things to do and places to see. Here is a guide to Acadia solely based on our experience. 


Acadia was much different than any other park we've been to- mostly because it intertwines with small harbor towns and is split up into different areas. 

If you want to see the park from the comfort of your vehicle, we recommend hitting the park loop but also the highway that runs around the island. Both roads are scenic in different ways and allow you to get a feel for the park as a whole. Do this as soon as you arrive. It will help to make sense of the maps and locations of trailheads.

When we say that Acadia intertwines, we mean it. Private residences and businesses dot the roadways in between trailheads and lookouts. There were a number of lobster/crab shacks and restaurants to stop at on the way to our campground. And when in Maine, fresh seafood is a must! 

Our first night in town, we loved the views, the beer selection and the Lobster Roll at Beall's Lobster Pier.

 Loving Maine lobstah life 

Charlotte's Legendary Lobster Pound was closest to our campground. It was so good that we ended up going twice over the course of the three days we spent at Seawall. 

Charlotte's Legendary Lobster Pound

We sampled so much of the menu, you can't go wrong!


The main visitor center at the park is honestly weak AF. There is a small store, a place to buy park passes, and a general information counter. The opportunity to speak to a ranger about goals for your trip is probably the best thing about it. We were looking forward to park information like the history, plant and animal identification, etc but no such luck. As far as souvenirs go- head to Cadillac Mountain gift shop for the biggest selection. 


There is no backcountry camping, with the exception of Duck Harbor (more on that later). Three campgrounds are spread out on Mt. Desert Island. The only one we can speak to is Seawall, which is located near Southeast Harbor. Our friends reserved a hike-in site for the week. We parked and slept in our van in the grassy loop but cooked meals and hung out by the fire at their site. There are RV sites available but since we are always ballin' on a budget, the walk in sites worked fine for us. They are roomy and nicely spaced so you don't feel too on top of your neighbors.

Orange Camper Van Acadia National ParkHike-In Campsite Acadia National Park

van home + camp home

The campground had nice clean bathrooms with flush toilets. No showers or laundry on-site but a few local stores had showers available for use. Each site comes with a fire pit with a grill grate, as well as a picnic table. At night we walked from our campsite over to the Seawall Picnic Area and were able to catch the Northern Lights. 


Skip the line at Beehive and trek up Gorham Mountain Loop. A 3 mile moderate loop along the paved Ocean Path trail and up rocky Gorham Mountain, whose summit sits at 525 feet. Revel in the beauty of Acadia with every step you take. In our opinion, a much better use of your time than standing in a long line to climb Beehive for pretty much the same views. Top of Gorham Mt Acadia National Park

Dan on top of Gorham Mountain Loop

Cadillac North Ridge Trail was our "big" hike of the trip. It's a 4.2 mile moderately challenging out-and-back hike with some of the most stellar views in the park.  Bring water and wear good shoes. Along with the incredible views at the top of the mountain, you'll also find a gift shop, restrooms and a water refill station. Excellent rewards for a challenging 2.1 mile hike up. 

The rocky terrain on Cadillac North Ridge Trail

The trail is fairly rocky and filled with boulders. There are some points where you will encounter slippery and/or wet muddy rocks. If you're a wee bit clumsy or have bad knees, hiking poles are highly encouraged (hi it's me Meg, and you know I def slipped off a rock into a creek). But don't fret- the rewards you reap from this hike are worth the creaky knee pain. Pinky swear. 

Meg cheesin' on the way up Cadillac


If you go to Acadia in the summer, chances are you are going to want to take a dip. There are a couple of notable options, and even more if you ask the locals where to go! 

After hiking a bit of the Beech Cliff Ladder and Canada Cliff Loop we went to Echo Lake Beach to cool off. It's a nice sandy beach with beautiful views. Fairly busy but plenty of room for everyone to enjoy. If you keep your eyes peeled, there is a pull-off on 102 that leads to a small and rocky swimming area.  We visited twice and it seemed to be a little more dog friendly and a lot more chill than the official beach.  


We were very fortunate to have booked two nights at Duck Harbor Campground on Isle Au Haut; a beautiful and remote island off the coast of Stonington. Accessed only by the Mail Boat, a ferry that also doubles as grocery and mail delivery for residents of the island, Isle Au Haut is an Acadia must see. 

 Orange Camper Van Parked on dock in Stonington, Maine. Boats sit in the harbor in the background

The Tangerine Dream parked on the docks in Stonington, Maine

Half of the island consists of private residences while the other half belongs to Acadia. Once available, sites at Duck Harbor go quickly so advanced planning is necessary to camp. Day trips to the island are available for those wanting to explore and hike without camping.  

Each site has a picnic table, fire ring, and a three sided lean-to shelter. Compostable toilets are nearby and there is drinking water just a short walk from the campsites. 

Duck Harbor Campground Acadia National Park

The view of our campsite

The view from our campsite

If there is anything you take from this blog, please know that hover flies exist plentifully on the island but they will not bite or sting. We were there in early July and they were HOVERIN'. They look like wasps. We thought they were wasps. We danced around like lunatics trying to keep them away. Luckily on day two we met a nice local who explained to us that they are harmless. Once we chilled, they chilled. Duh. 

The town of Isle Au Haut is about a seven mile hike from Duck Harbor Campground. We took the Duck Harbor and Deep Cove Trail into town and what a beautiful trail it is! We thoroughly enjoyed taking in the scenery- everything from lush forest to rocky beaches.

Hiking Isle Au Haut

Trail selfie on Isle Au Haut

There is a small store in town but it is primarily there to serve the locals. Bring your own drinks and snacks and limit what you purchase. Don't be us AKA the people who poorly planned. We walked to town to get a lobster roll from the notoriously delicious Lobster Lady but she wasn't open on the day we went (She is no longer operating on the island!). Luckily the store was open and we were able to grab a snack. BUT DON'T BE LIKE US! 

One place where we encourage you to make a purchase is Shore Shop Gifts. Pick up some souvenirs and make sure to chat with owner Kendra. She pointed us in the direction of the school house and the town's non-denominational chapel, so we trekked over and took a peek.

 Isle Au Haut Chapel

Isle Au Haut Chapel built in 1857

We also misjudged how tired we would be after our hike to town. Fortunately, after an 11 mile day, Kendra scooped us up on her way home from work and drove us back to the park, all while giving us a bit more insight into life on the island. We were so appreciative and will always carry her kindness with us! 

Isle Au Haut sunset views

Isle Au Haut sunset views

We thoroughly enjoyed our time spent in and around Acadia. The views, the food, the people - all truly wonderful. We will carry our stories with us forever and look forward to returning soon to see what else the area has to offer! 

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