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Acadia Opens for 2021 Season

Visitors: Know Before You Go

As you make plans to visit Acadia National Park this season, it’s important plan ahead and be prepared to adapt as things change. 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.

With vaccinations progressing, new CDC guidelines, and things beginning to open up, Acadia is expecting strong visitation this summer, while still operating in a pandemic.

Consistent with CDC recommendations, people who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces where distancing of six feet is not possible. All people, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask on all forms of public transportation.

Acadia’s campgrounds are open this year, though currently at reduced capacity. The Island Explorer Fare-Free Bus System is running, but routes and capacity are adjusted. You will need to make an online vehicle reservation to drive and park on the Cadillac Summit Road during sunrise and daylight hours. Visitor access to the historic Eagle Lake Carriage Road will be reduced in stages during a rehabilitation and preservation construction project.

And, many of these services will change and adapt throughout the summer as opportunities and options open up. It’s best to check the Acadia National Park’s website, plan ahead, and come with a plan B.

PARK REOPENING & VISITOR CENTERS

The 27-mile Park Loop Road opened April 15. This includes Cadillac Summit Road.

The Hulls Cove Visitor Center, which was closed last summer for the pandemic, is now open 8:30-4:30 p.m. Rangers will also staff outdoor information tents nearby.

Jordan Pond House opened 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 opened May 24.

Echo Lake Beach opened 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. 

Here’s a quick summary of what to expect at Acadia in 2021:

  • Masks and social distancing. Consistent with CDC recommendations, people who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces. All people, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask on all forms of public transportation.
  • 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

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

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.