Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is located in the U.S. state of Maine. It reserves much of Mount Desert Island, and associated smaller islands, off the Atlantic coast. Originally created as Lafayette National Park in 1919, the oldest National Park east of the Mississippi River, it was renamed Acadia in 1929. Before European inhabitants came to Maine’s rocky shores, humans lived in the region that is now Acadia National Park for around 12,000 years. The native tribes first arrived in canoes. Now, the multiple tribes that still live in or around the park are collectively known as the Wabanaki, or “People of the dawn land.” In the 19th century, the Wabanaki became involved in the tourism industry, and offered tours on their canoes, as well as deep and ancient knowledge of the surrounding area.
Sea and mountain meet at Acadia, where, as one presumably ambidextrous visitor wrote, "you can fish with one hand and sample blueberries from a wind-stunted bush with the other." However, much of the wildlife is smaller and suited to more condensed habitats. This is the result of the geographic location of the park, as it is far from any larger wildlife habitat. There are over 388 bird species recorded in the park, making Acadia one of the best birding locations in North America. Among the flora that flourishes in the park are ferns of the rock polypody variety, endangered water lilies, ocean algae, and sphagnum moss. Most of the park is on Mount Desert Island, a patchwork of parkland, private property, and seaside villages that seasonally fill with what residents call "the summer people." Other bits are scattered on smaller islands and a peninsula. Also surrounding Mt. Desert island is a smattering of shipwrecks, some old and some new. Don’t be surprised if you encounter the skeleton of an old row-boat washed up on shore.
1. Where is Acadia National Park located and what is the travel distance to the park?
Acadia is located on Mount Desert Island along the coast of Maine. The park is 264 miles from Boston and 50 miles from Bangor, Maine. See Directions for approximate mileage from various cities.
2. What is the best driving route to take to Acadia from the south?
There are two routes: Take I-95 north to Augusta, Maine; from Augusta take Route 3 east to Ellsworth and on to Mount Desert Island. Take I-95 north to Bangor, Maine; from Bangor take Route 1A east to Ellsworth; from Ellsworth take Route 3 to Mount Desert Island.
3. Do I need a car to visit Acadia National Park?
You do not need a car when the Island Explorer Shuttle Bus is operating (June 23 to early October). Visit the Island Explorer website for specific details on car-free vacation options.
4. How much does it cost to visit the park?
Weekly passes are $20 per vehicle.
5. Is there any lodging in the park?
There is no lodging, but the park has two campgrounds on Mount Desert Island as well as five lean-to shelters on Isle au Haut. There are many types of accommodations in nearby towns.
6. What is there to do in Acadia?
There are many miles of shoreline to explore, 125 miles of hiking trails, and 45 miles of carriage roads. Kayaking and canoeing are popular activities. Two beaches offer salt water or fresh water in which to swim. A variety of ranger-led programs will introduce you to Acadia's diverse natural and cultural history. What ranger-led activities are available? Between mid-May and mid-October park rangers offer hikes, walks, boat cruises, talks, evening amphitheater programs, and children's programs. They also provide opportunities to view peregrine falcons and raptors.
7. Are there moose or bears in Acadia?
Both occur on the island, but are rarely seen.
8. Where can I see seals and whales?
Seals are best seen from boat cruises that leave from town harbors, including the park's four ranger-narrated boat cruises. Whale-watching trips are offered out of Bar Harbor.
For more information, please visit Acadia National Park
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