Summer is a great time to take advantage of our national parks and monuments. Many offer free or low-cost admissions and programs perfect for families. So this summer we will be featuring one of our country’s public lands every week and highlighting things you and your family can do there.
Acadia National Park
Maine’s Acadia National Park has it all: mountains, carriage roads, islands, woods, ocean, lighthouses and boats. With all of its sights and scenery, what are you waiting for?
The park offers 120 miles of historic hiking trails, most of which date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. You’ll find historic features, including stonework and carriage roads, that date back to the early days of America’s founding.
The main attractions at the park don’t focus on its expansive history, though, instead they focus on the beautiful Maine scenery. When you visit, don’t miss these sights:
Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain in the park - and along the east coast of the United States. Standing at 1,350 feet, this peak offers breathtaking views of the neighboring region, and is accessible via a winding, narrow 3.5 mile road. During certain times of the year, it is the first place in the United States where you can see the sunrise.
The Wild Gardens of Acadia, which feature a “microcosm of Mount Desert Island’s natural habitat.” A must-see for nature lovers and people interested in experiencing the native environment of the area. Note: No pets are allowed in the gardens.
Bass Head Harbor Lighthouse, the only lighthouse on Mount Desert Island, which has access trails on either side of the behemoth lighthouse, offering beautiful views of the Maine coast. Note: Visitors are not allowed inside the lighthouse itself.
Park Loop Road (PDF), which offers outstanding views of the shoreline, coastal forests, and granite peaks for 27 miles. Still not sold? Consider hiking along the road, rather than driving for some scenic exercise!
Isle au Haut, “High Island,”(PDF) named by French navigator Samuel Champlain in 1604. Ride a ferry to the island and explore its 18 miles of trails, starting from Duck Harbor and featuring rocky coasts, woods, marshes, bogs, and a beautiful freshwater lake.
No lodging is available inside the park except for camping, but the local chambers of commerce offer plenty of hotels and other lodgings in the nearby area for people to stay. Before visiting, check out the park’s suggestions for outdoor activities and the NPS’ weather information about the park, including a current forecast.