We stayed in Bangor, Maine July 20 through 24, 2018. We spent Saturday the 21st, Sunday the 22nd and Tuesday the 24th at Acadia National Park.
Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island (MDI,) Maine. There is so much to see and do on this little island that it would be impossible to experience it fully in just 1 day.
Acadia was about 1 hour and 15 minutes from our campground. The Saturday when we got to Acadia we purchased our pass ($30 for our vehicle and it was good for 7 days) and proceeded to the Hull Cove Visitor Center. Acadia has a system of buses, “Island Explorers,” run by the National Park Service that you can catch to any point of interest on the island. There are beaches, hiking trails, museums, mountains, gardens, horse stables, restaurants and an abundance of beautiful scenery throughout this island. Where would we even start?
Mark and I had packed our backpacks not knowing exactly what to expect (swimming attire, hiking sticks and bear whistle are always included!)
We decided to catch the bus to Sand Beach. This is where the Ocean View Trailhead was. We were assured that this trail was easy and not too long. The 1.8 mile long trail followed the coast line from Sand Beach to Otter Point. Along the path there were numerous viewing opportunities to stop awhile and soak in the awesome enormity and beauty of God’s creation.
It was a perfect day. From the weather to the location to the company- I kept thinking “THIS is a perfect day!” We stopped at one overlook to eat our lunch. At another point we saw a rocky beach below the trail where someone had stacked some rocks so Mark climbed down and made his own little cairn.
Then we came to Thunder Hole. We stopped and observed as the ocean roared up and out of the rock formation showering us with salty ocean water.https://www.ballardsrvlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/img_1855.mov
As we came to Otter Point we saw the Island Explorer Bus come by. We caught it at it’s stop and asked if it was headed to “James Pond.” I knew several people had recommended a place that had great popovers and I couldn’t remember the name of it! Well, the Bus Driver kindly questioned, “Do you mean Jordan Pond?” Yes, that’s what we wanted and that’s where he was headed so we hopped on board. Jordan Pond is a restaurant by a pond and some mountains and it is well known for its popovers.
At the restaurant we were seated by a glass door with a perfect view of the Bubble mountains and Jordan pond. So much beauty! And the popovers were fresh, warm, delicious and unlike anything I had ever eaten.
From Jordan Pond we caught the next bus that would take us back to Sand beach. All day, we were able to catch the bus we needed at the time we needed it with little to no wait time. We highly recommend using the bus system as everywhere on the island we saw people parking their personal vehicles great distances from where they wanted to be. We got on and off a bus without the hassle of parking and we were able to enjoy the scenery as we rode the bus.
Back at sand beach we changed into swimsuits and enjoyed the 55 degree ocean water. Mark swears it was 56 degrees. Anyway, the sun felt GREAT when we got out to sit on our towels on the beach for a while.
Then we headed back to the visitor center where we got our truck so we could drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain. Cadillac Mountain is one of the few points on MDI not accessible by the Island Explorer Buses. This mountain is the highest point on MDI and provides the best views of the ocean and islands surrounding it. After coming down from Cadillac Mountain, we drove back to the campground knowing we would return to enjoy more of this beautiful place soon! The forecast looked a little wet the next few days but we knew we had enjoyed this our first day in Acadia to the max.
The following day, Sunday afternoon, we returned to Mount Desert Island (MDI), this time to check out Bar Harbor. The Island Explorer Buses go to Bar Harbor’s Village Green in the center of town. From there we could easily explore this little town by the water.
We walked to the dock, where we noticed the tide was out and that left a path out to Bar Island. We quickly walked down to the path and followed it out to the island that is only accessible by foot at low tide.
It was a foggy, misty day but not rainy. We had brought rain ponchos just in case but didn’t really need them. Once on the island we saw there was a trailhead leading back further on Bar Island but that would have to wait for another day. Everyone else had already started the trek back to Bar Harbor (approximately 1/4 mile.) As we walked back leisurely we heard a little voice yelling “You better hurry! It’s getting deeper!” We looked up to see a portion of the path in the middle was already completely under water! A little girl was standing on the Harbor Side yelling her warning and waving her arms. We started running to beat the incoming tide. When we got to the middle it was about ankle high but coming in fairly quickly.
We waded across the little stream and beat the tide to shore!
We then walked toward the little gift-shop/touristy part of Bar Harbor looking for coffee and/or ice cream. We were successful!
This foggy, misty Sunday afternoon seemed to bring out many other shop explorers, coffee drinkers and ice cream eaters. We also saw many dog-walkers out and about. We looked in a few more shops then headed back to the campground.
Our 3rd and final day at Acadia was Tuesday, July 24. There was still so much we hadn’t seen but we knew we wanted to go back to Sand Beach at some point that day. We packed our backpacks and headed out. The first stop we made was at the Wild Gardens of Acadia where we hiked through the gardens a bit, ate our lunch and then caught the next bus to Sand Beach. At Sand Beach it was very foggy. But we enjoyed the sound and smell of the ocean and even took a little beach nap.
Before we left Acadia we decided it would truly be a shame not to revisit Jordan Pond. So we “popped over” to Jordan Pond one last time and enjoyed one last popover then we explored some of the scenery surrounding Jordan Pond before heading back to the campground.
There are parts of Acadia I would like to come back and experience someday. We didn’t make it to Echo Lake or the stables and carriage trails.
I’d like to bring bikes back someday and take a bike trail. There are ferries available to go out to some of the small surrounding islands I’d like to explore as well. Overall I feel like we saw a fair amount of Acadia National Park. We loved it and highly recommend it! Our next journey leads to Canada: The Hopewell Rocks/Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia then Prince Edward Island (PEI) by way of ferry!