36 Hours in Acadia National Park

Fall trip to Acadia

By: Affuera Vida + Save to a List

As new parents, trying to keep up with the outdoor lifestyle we used to have is not always the priority, yet we fully realize that when we take time off from our wee one, every gulp of fresh mountain or ocean air counts. 

With bikes, tent, boat, surfboard (just in case), snorkels, firewood and a car full of goodies we headed north to Acadia National Park - together - like it used to be. The forecast was perfect and with calm winds holding upon arrival, we took the boat to the Atlantic waters as soon as we arrived to the park. With nobody else out at sea, save the fisherman, we felt alone for the first time in too long. At each bend of the Acadian coastline I discovered that the Fall has become my favorite season here in Maine. The colors are bright, tourists gone and the nights are crisp. 

Baker Island stands at the tail end of the Cranberry Islands, a perfect circle before the Atlantic engulfs it. The feeling of the place is like being 200 years back in time. The oldest light house in the region stands tall and right beneath the towering guard is a perfect little treasure museum where the names and photos of generations of light house keepers keep their stories like a scrap book. But you really have to keep your eyes open because there are hidden treasures everywhere. Like the fresh tomatoes and apples we ate along the way to what they call the Dance Hall - something you must experience for yourself. 

Upon returning to Mount Desert Island, we did a mandatory stop in Somes Sound - the lower 48's only Fiord, and watched the sun dip over the pines from a fishing dock behind frosty mugs of Fresh Cut.  

Mount Dessert Island campground is really a favorite among campers. Nestled at the head of Somes Sound, the location and the waterfront sites are magic. 

Like everyone else, we rushed up Cadillac Mountain to capture the first rays of sun on the eastern shores of the US, and after a hearty home cooked pot of oatmeal along with fresh cocoa, we descended the mountain and switched gears to bicycles. Outside of the boat, this is really the only way to explore the place in my eyes. There is so much to do, to see, to smell - that being inside a car you cannot let your five senses run wild. So whenever you decide to go and visit Acadia don't forget your bike. 

Along the bike, we decided to hike. Not just the standard trail, but Acadia's double black diamond - the Precipice Trail - which at times resembled a 5.7 climb.  While super fun, we were grateful we abided the rules and didn't take our son or our dog as it is definitely not recommended for either.

Our bikes carried us along Acadia's loop road following the sun west and then eventually back to Bar Harbor where a tasty meal set us straight for the journey back to Portland. After this intimate and slow look by both boat and bike I can definitely see why this place is one of the most popular destinations in Maine. Visiting in fall is a great option to avoid huge crowds and enjoy the memorable season. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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