The communities surrounding Acadia National Park have always been an integral part of the Acadia experience. These lovely coastal Maine towns, along with all state and town roads (many of which pass through parts of the park), are still open and bustling and this remains a stunningly beautiful section of Maine coast. The Island Explorer bus system continues to run on routes outside the park. The weather is glorious, fall color is on the upswing, and there’s plenty to do and discover on Mount Desert Island and throughout the Acadia region.
If you have plans to travel to Acadia in the coming days and weeks, we hope that you will still consider visiting this area to show support for the surrounding communities that are so important to Acadia’s past and present, and to discover some of the hidden gems outside park boundaries that you might not have experienced otherwise. Numbers on hard-to-find spots refer to the map above. The map also indicates closed Acadia National Park motor roads, in red.
You Might Have Done It Anyway:
Take a boat ride – Whale watch, sunset cruise, kayak tour, ferry to an outer island…
Visit a museum – Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor Historical Society, George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History, Mount Desert Oceanarium, Seal Cove Auto Museum, Wendell Gilley Museum, Maine Granite Museum Historical Society
Explore the history of downtown Bar Harbor – The Museum in the Streets offers informational plaques at 29 historic sites in town. Maps are available from the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce.
Take a scenic air tour
Shop and eat out!
1) Walk the Bar Harbor Shore Path
2) Walk on the Bar in Bar Harbor at low tide
3) Visit the Asticou Azalea Garden and hike up to Thuya Garden
4) Walk across the Causeway in Southwest Harbor
5) Walk the Trenton Community Trail
Hike the Northeast Harbor town trails
7) Walk down Hadley Point
Hike at Blagden Preserve at Indian Point
Explore a Maine Coast Heritage Trust Preserve
8) Walk or run the privately-owned carriage roads at Little Long Pond (no bicycles allowed)
Drive the state and town roads of Mount Desert Island – the foliage is reaching peak color, and there are many places to view it. Highly recommended:
9) Route 3 from Bar Harbor to Northeast Harbor
10) Sargent Drive
11) Route 102A past Seawall to Bass Harbor
The Island Explorer Bus System continues to run all of its non-park routes through Columbus Day. Hop a free bus and let someone else do the driving!
Eat lobster at a dock-side lobster pound
Camp in a private campground
Canoe or kayak in 12) Seal Cove Pond or 13) Long Pond
Have a picnic at 14) the Seal Cove boat landing, 15) the beach at Seal Harbor, or 16) Lamoine State Park
18) Take the ferry to Little Cranberry Island and have a picnic on the beach
19) Take the ferry to Swans Island and go for a bike ride
Check the local papers for upcoming events
Here are some links to help plan your itinerary.