Acadia’s 2023 Visitation is the Third Highest Ever

Weather is a Strong Predictor of Visitation


Though Acadia National Park annual visitation numbers are not yet official, it appears 2023 will record the third highest visitation ever for the park, with a less than 3 percent decrease from 2022.

Cool and rainy early season weather likely kept visitation slightly lower than 2021 and 2022 numbers. For example, in June 2021 the average temperature was 66 degrees and there were four rainy days, while in June 2023 the average temperature was 53 degrees and there were 11 rainy days.

Weather is a strong predictor of visitation to the Mount Desert Island portion of Acadia, so an extra week of poor weather was likely the cause of the decreased visitation in June 2023 when compared to years prior: about a 6 percent decrease from 2022 and about a 15 percent decrease from 2021.

Interestingly, visitation to the Schoodic district of Acadia was not affected by the early season rainy weather suggesting visitation to that portion of the park may not be as strongly related to weather. June 2023 visitation to Schoodic was about the same as June 2022 and 2021 (less than a 1 percent increase).

The stability of visitation to Schoodic despite the poor weather could indicate visitors are participating in weather-proof activities such as car touring more often when compared to Mount Desert Island.

One positive outcome from visitation numbers in 2023 was an increase in ridership for the Island Explorer. In 2023, ridership increased by 9 percent compared to 2022, and 64 percent when compared to 2021 (the Island Explorer did not run in 2020). While ridership is still down significantly from pre-2020 levels (2023 ridership was about 30 percent lower than 2019 ridership), the increase in ridership is a trend we hope continues.

What Could 2024 Bring?

Acadia National Park still appears to be in a post-2020 visitation boom, and it’s likely 2024 will continue this heightened pattern, especially during spring and fall seasons where visitation has increased rapidly.

Depending on early season weather patterns, Acadia could be in for another big year.

It’s great that so many people get to experience this wonderful park each year, but it can get a bit overwhelming at times. On busy days, the key to an enjoyable visit is having a backup plan to that hike you had in mind.

Luckily, in Acadia, there’s no shortage of amazing options!

DR. ADAM GIBSON manages the Social Science Program at Acadia National Park.