Visitors: Know Before You Go
As Acadia National Park opens for the 2021 season, visitors are asked to follow COVID-19 prevention guidelines to stay safe, but the park’s natural beauty remains unchanged for all to enjoy.
After running the park in a pandemic for over a year, park staff have a better idea of what to expect and are building upon what they’ve learned. With vaccines well underway across the U.S., it looks like public health outcomes could improve by the end of summer. Based on visitation last fall, Acadia is preparing for a very busy summer.
PARK REOPENING & VISITOR CENTERS
The 27-mile Park Loop Road is expected to open April 15, subject to weather conditions. This includes Cadillac Summit Road.
The Hulls Cove Visitor Center, which was closed last summer for the pandemic, will open 8:30-4:30 p.m. starting May 7 for as many as 15 occupants at a time to use restrooms, buy entrance passes, ask questions of rangers, and shop at the bookstore. Rangers will also staff outdoor information tents nearby.
Jordan Pond House will open May 19. The same COVID-19 safety protocols apply as in any restaurant in Maine.
Sieur de Monts Nature Center will open on weekends only May 15-28, and daily beginning May 29. The Thompson Island Information Center opens on May 24.
Echo Lake Beach opens April 15, and Lakewood Beach opens June 1. Sand Beach is open year-round.
A Park Entrance Pass is required for all locations in Acadia National Park from May 1 to Oct. 31. Learn more here.
|TIP: Buy your park entrance pass online at Recreation.gov, print before you arrive at the park, and display it in your windshield while in the park. This allows you to avoid lines to purchase the entrance pass in person at the park.|
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
The key to a successful and safe visit to Acadia this year is to “know before you go.” Some ranger-guided programs have limited capacity, and those that require reservations are expected to fill early. Campground capacity has been reduced, and the Island Explorer bus system is running with limited routes and passenger capacities.
So, it is best to plan ahead. Check the Acadia National Park website and state of Maine travel guidelines, and make reservations in advance—especially if you want to drive Cadillac Summit Road. You might also want to pack your patience in case you need to adapt your plans as things shift or change, because they surely will.
Here’s a quick summary of what to expect at Acadia in 2021:
- Masks and social distancing are required in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Masks are required in all federal buildings and on federal lands when social distancing of six feet is not possible. That includes in parking lots and on trails and mountaintops where others are present.
- The fare-free Island Explorer bus system will resume service with limited routes and reduced passenger capacity. Masks will be required on board and at bus stops.
- To reduce traffic congestion and ensure a more enjoyable experience, vehicle reservations are now required for the Cadillac Summit Road from sunrise to sunset from May 26 through October 19. Vehicle reservations are available at Recreation.gov starting April 1st.
- Visitor access to the historic Eagle Lake Carriage Road will be reduced in stages during a rehabilitation and preservation construction project.
|TIP: If you plan to drive Cadillac Summit Road in 2021, you must make a vehicle reservation in advance at recreation.gov. For convenience, you can buy and print both your park entrance pass and your Cadillac Reservation at Recreation.gov|
Campgrounds will open in 2021, but capacity will be reduced for health and safety protocols in response to COVID-19.
Here’s what you need to know if making a camping reservation:
- All campsites must be reserved on Recreation.gov within a 60-day rolling window. No sites are available for walk-up request upon arrival.
- All group sites are closed for 2021 due to the pandemic.
- Online reservations are available now for Blackwoods Campground, which opens May 7, and are expected soon for Seawalland Schoodic Woods campgrounds, which both open May 26.
- Online Reservation Tips: If you’re not able to reserve a particular campsite on the Recreation.gov website, it might not be available in 2021, or you may be checking dates ahead of the 60-day window.
Ranger-guided programs will be offered in a hybrid model, offering both virtual and in-person opportunities. Most ranger programs are scheduled early or late in the day to avoid mid-day congestion, and to maximize parking availability.
Check the calendar on the park website for the full schedule of ranger-guided programs offered. Some programs may require a reservation. Be sure to check for ticketed programs at Recreation.gov.
PLANNING A TRIP
For more trip planning information, check the Acadia National Park website often for updated information to help plan your trip. Reservations and park entrance passes can be purchased at Recreation.gov. You can also download the new National Park Service app on your phone for easy planning on the go.
To protect the health of those who live, work, and visit our national parks and facilities, and in support of the President Joe Biden’s Executive Order, face masks are now required in all National Park Service buildings and facilities. Masks are also required on National Park Service lands when social distancing cannot be maintained, such as narrow or busy trails, overlooks, and parking lots.