Acadia National Park

Sunrise, Otter Point, copyright QT Luong, www.terragalleria.com/parks

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"Raw, rugged, and surf-splashed" well define Acadia National Park, which at anchor in the Atlantic just off Maine's coast quite easily could also be described as a Yankee blueblood of the National Park System.

While its origins might indeed have had the blue blood of Rockefellers, Astors, and Morgans mixed into the mortar of its foundations, the park that welcomes all today is a refreshing mix of forested mountains and ocean-pounded coasts, of Downeast hospitality and architectural beauty, even of fresh lawbsta, delicious jam-smeared popovers, and afternoon tea.

Acadia is both a gentleman's (and gentlelady's) park where you can enjoy the setting of Jordon Pond over tea and the aforementioned popovers or take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the forests, and a playground for outdoors' enthusiasts. The park offers a wonderful array of activities, from pedaling your bike along the 48 miles of carriage paths that John D. Rockefeller paid for, searching tide pools for sea urchins, sea stars, and anemones, or traipsing up a trail that leads to sweeping views of Frenchman's Bay, the Gulf of Maine, and the Atlantic itself.

The ocean is decidedly cold here, perhaps too cold for an enjoyable swim. But there's great kayaking to be had in the waters that surround Mount Desert Island, and there are some ponds that are more conducive to swimming and canoeing.

Kids don't grow weary of Acadia, though they might grow tired from all the fresh air and outdoors activities. They can search for sea creatures in its tidal pools, go on a boat cruise and listen while a ranger discusses the natural and cultural history of the area, or learn about lobsters or birds of prey that nest on the island's cliffs.

Though small in size when compared to the Yellowstones, Yosemites, and even the Great Smokies of the National Park System, Acadia is never at a loss for ways to entertain you.

Traveler's Choice For: Hiking, tide pooling, biking, paddling, and birding.

Park History: Acadia National Park

Spend any time in Acadia during the summer and early fall and you'll understand why the "rusticators" descended on Mount Desert Island in the mid-1800s.

Seasons in Acadia

Summer days can be drizzly and fog-filled, or splashed with sunshine. Come winter, the park can be covered in enough snow for winter sports. Whatever the season, the surrounding ocean plays a heavy influence on the weather you will encounter.

Getting Around Acadia

Navigating Acadia is incredibly easy, as there's one main road -- the Park Loop Road -- that loops the park. There's one spur off this route that leads to the top of Cadillac Mountain, and an inner route that leads to Otter Cliff and the Fabrri Picnic Area.

Lodging In Acadia

Acadia is a park without any lodging within its borders. As a result, you'll have to look in the small towns -- Bar Harbor, Seal Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Southwest Harbor, Hulls Cove, and Bass Harbor -- that fringe the park.

Summering in Acadia: The Logistics

If you're planning to head to Acadia National Park for a summer vacation it's never too early to begin laying the groundwork for that adventure.

Hiking in Acadia

Acadia visitors can easily face a dilemma on their very first day in the park. Should they hike, go to the beach, or pedal through the forests of Mount Desert Island?

Camping in Acadia

If you're into tenting, there are two campgrounds in the park -- Seawall and Blackwoods.

Kayaking and Canoeing At Acadia

Surrounded by water and dotted with lakes, it's no surprise that you can find more than a few places to wet a paddle in Acadia. You can either go it alone with your own gear and skills, or find an outfitter to show you the way.

Kid-Friendly Acadia

National parks on their face are often kid friendly, but there are some special spots that seem to be designed with kids in mind. Here are some in Acadia.

Traveler's Checklist For Acadia

Spend any time in Acadia during the summer and early fall and you'll understand why the "rusticators" descended on Mount Desert Island just off the coast of Maine in the mid-1800s. Here's Traveler's checklist to help you explore the island when you reach it.

The Bridges Of Acadia

One of the glories of Acadia are the carriage paths that wend their way through the forests of Mount Desert Island. And one of the wonders of those paths are the bridges that you pass under, and cross over, while exploring the paths on foot, carriage, or bike.

Resources For Visiting Acadia

This is where you can find websites, helpful phone numbers, friends groups and cooperating associations, and, sometimes, books related to the park.

Some Side Trips to Consider

While you could spend your entire vacation within the confines of Acadia National Park, there are some worthwhile side trips in the vicinity that won't detour you far out of the park.

Acadia National Park News

Sweating The Trail Details In The National Parks: Building Trails At Acadia National Park

Trails, basically, are connections. They connect one place to another. At Acadia National Park in Maine, Friends of Acadia this year helped the park improve connections by adding a trio of trails that link the Blackwoods Campground and the village of Otter Creek with some of the park’s most popular hiking trails.

Traveler's View: National Park Service Logos Lack Creativity, Fail To Celebrate "America's Best Idea"

National parks, it's held up, are "America's best idea," but logos chosen for the National Park Service to celebrate its centennial and to use in other venues fail to reflect that belief. Indeed, they ignore the rich heritage and beauty of the National Park System in a curious attempt to "engage and connect with new audiences."

There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...

It very likely will be a bit more costly to enter Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Acadia, Shenandoah and the other 126 units that charge entrance fees by the time the National Park Service's centennial arrives in 2016, and you also should brace for slightly higher fees to camp, shower, paddle, and participate in boat and cave tours.
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Acadia National Park Images