Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park in Maine contains some of the most spectacular landscapes in New England, while the town of Bar Harbor is a great base for whale-watching tours.

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Acadia National Park’s diverse terrain of rocky headlands, mountains, lakes, forests, meadows and beaches covers half of Mount Desert Island, the second largest island on the Eastern Seaboard.

A favoured summer getaway for wealthy New England families, the park has more than 50 miles of hiking and biking trails along the traffic-free Carriage Roads, constructed by philanthropist John D Rockefeller Jr in the early 20th century. The 27-mile Park Loop Road is the best drive around the park, taking in popular areas such as Boulder Beach, Sand Beach, Otter Point, Jordan Pond and Cadillac Mountain.

The pink granite peak of Cadillac Mountain, at 466 metres, is the highest point in the region and famously the best place to view the first sunrise in the USA with breathtaking views over the Maine coastline and islands. Another highlight of the park is Somes Sound, a five-mile-long fjord dividing the island in half.

Acadia is one of the country’s top birdwatching destinations with some 338 species, including falcons, eagles, owls, loons, woodpeckers and warblers, as well as foxes, deer and beavers. Maine islands are also the only nesting sites for Atlantic puffins in the USA, and these fascinating birds can be seen on boat trips to Machias Seal Island from May to August.

The vibrant seaside town of Bar Harbor is the gateway to Acadia. Highlights include a walk along the Bar Harbor Shore Path, the Abbe Museum with an exhibition on Maine’s native Wabanaki people, and the Museum in the Streets, 46 information panels around town charting the history of the area.

Bar Harbor is a great base for whale-watching tours in the Atlantic from April to October, offering great opportunities to see humpback, finback, minke, as well as dolphins and seals. Bar Harbor’s proximity to the Bay of Fundy means the difference between high and low tide here is surprisingly big. You can walk across the ocean floor at low tide to Bar Island, but be sure to keep an eye on tide times.

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Things to do in Acadia National Park

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