Family groups visit Acadia National Park on vacation year after year because they find so much to do. Hiking is a delight in the park’s beautiful landscape. Ride a bicycle on the historic carriage roads or simply enjoy nature or look at the ocean. If you feel more energetic there are many activities available within the park. Climbing, boating, swimming, and horseback riding are all activities that those taking an Acadia family vacation will enjoy together. There are organized coach tours in the park. Parents and children can enjoy bird watching or observing the intricate Maine tidal creatures in the rock pools when the tide goes out.
From the middle of May to the middle of October children can join the Junior Ranger program, learn about the park, and participate in interesting and enjoyable activities. There are also boat cruises available where park rangers tell passengers about the wildlife in the ocean. Additionally, there is a Nature Center that children and families will find informative and interesting. There are so many possibilities for family fun in Acadia!
There are two campgrounds in Acadia National Park: the Blackwoods Campground on Route 3, around five miles south of Bar Harbor; and the Seawall Campground on Route 102A, four miles south of Southwest Harbor, which has tent, camper and motor home sites available. Backwoods camping is not allowed.
Habitats and landscapes are very diverse in the park: rocky coastlines, mountains, lakes, ponds, ocean waves, evergreen, mosses, and wildlife are all here, waiting to be explored. The park’s borders are complimented by pretty harbor villages, such as Somesville, Northeast Harbor, and Bass Harbor. Preserving this unique place is as important for those who live and work within Acadia as it is to its visitors.
Acadia National Park was formed when private citizens realized that over-development would endanger this coastal paradise, and so they acted quickly to protect it. George B. Dorr and Charles W. Eliot, with their donations and vision, and John D. Rockefeller, Jr.’s donation of more than 11,000 acres of land, as well as his building of the famous carriage roads between 1915 and 1933, allowed the park to be preserved. Between then and now an abundance of other citizens have donated time and resources to the park so that families today can enjoy its natural wild beauty.
Acadia was originally established as the Sieur de Monts National Monument by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916. Its name changed in February 1919 to the Lafayette National Park, but finally, in 1929, the park was officially named the Acadia National Park. It is likely that the name is a derivative of Arcadia, an area in Greece that the state park’s landscape called to the mind of explorer Giovanni Verrazano in 1524.
Today, Acadia National Park comprises around 47,748 acres of land in three main areas. The largest area is on Mount Desert Island, and the second largest is to the northeast on Schoodic Peninsula with 2,366 acres. The final area is comprised of Isle Au Haut, which is only accessible by boat; Baker Island on the southeast coast, and Bar Island on the north side of Bar Harbor.
Acadia National Park is timeless. The breathtaking wonder of witnessing an ocean sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain, the excitement of discovering the abundant yet elusive wildlife in the forests, or the unbridled delight of strolling through the bustling streets and shops of Bar Harbor are experiences that are never outgrown and never forgotten. Come and discover Acadia’s wonders.