My friend and I wanted and easy travel destination for the summer. I was sold on Acadia national park just from the thumbnail pictures on Google maps. My draws were:
A state I haven’t been to before (Maine) ✓
Prettier than other summer options we were considering ✓
Main attractions were easily accessible ✓
Acadia’s cliffs and sunrises stood out in comparison to other wonderful places I have been to. They reminded me of Ireland’s giant’s causeway. Schoodic point and Cadillac mountain viewpoint were my favorites. I loved bass harbor lighthouse as well. Otter cliffs and thunder hole were next for me personally. Also, very glad to come across Asticou Azalea garden.
Getting to Acadia from Raleigh-Durham metropolitan area was hard and expensive the way we did it. We went June 2nd-7th. We booked cheap flights with 2 hops to make it affordable on kiwi.com. Raleigh-Durham airport to Washington DC, DC to Boston, the night at Boston and then Boston to Bar Harbor the next morning was the journey to Acadia. I suffered a flight from hell on the first connection. The weather was bad. We were made to sit on the plane for hours, off boarded, on boarded again and then flown late enough to miss my connection to Boston. Amtrak the next day was an option but not better than just flying late. All flights were booked out the whole week so rescheduling would cancel our trip. I had already paid for the Airbnb at Boston but ended up spending the night on a cot at DC airport. The lounges were closed and it wouldn’t make sense to leave the airport, find a stay and check back in. I am glad my friend was able to make use of it. I was able to get a connection to Boston and then Bar Harbor the next morning pretty easily. We were only delayed by a few hours. If I had to do it again, I would have either flown in the morning for the possibility of better weather or clubbed it with a trip to Boston and driven from there.
The cute Cape air flight in an 8 seater Cessna plane to Bar Harbor was a treat. I got to sit next to the pilot and felt like a fairy floating through clouds 🙂
The main attractions in Acadia were easily drivable and bug free. The temperature stayed around the mid sixties first week of June when we visited. Our strategy was to see the main attractions and spend plenty of time resting and enjoying local food.
We booked 2 passes for our itinerary, the Cadillac Summit Road – Sunrise and the Acadia national park private vehicle pass (one week). The private vehicle pass is easy to get. The sunrise one needs advance booking. A portion of the passes to a morning open up 2 days before at 10:00 am and sell out in minutes. I tried booking the day I landed but glitched out and missed. I managed to set an alarm for 10:00 am the next day when both my friend and I created accounts with reservation.gov, kept our credit cards ready and raced each other for the booking. Goal! As a back up, I made friends at the bar harbor airport so we have the option of hitching a ride with each other if one party manages to buy a pass and the other doesn’t. As our wonderful luck would have it, we heard the weather was bad and sunrise unclear until the day we went. We popped melatonin the night before at 8:00 pm. The alarm was set for 3:00 a.m. so there was time to shower and enter at 4:00 a.m., the start time on our pass. This was important to park right next to the sunrise point. We made it. I must admit, I liked the scene before the sunrise than after it when our attention is on all the colors in the sky and silhouettes of nature. Once the Sun emerges, it’s like any other sunrise when we try to look at, exactly, the Sun. So pack warm and show up early 😉
I love cliffs. I love big rough waves splashing against them. That is Schoodic point. It was an hour 12 minutes from Manset village where we stayed. So we walked around for quite a while to make it well worth our drive. The drive includes a patch of one way road. So if we had to do it again, we would drive straight to Schoodic point as opposed to toward just Schoodic peninsula.
The sunset at bass harbor lighthouse looked unreal at some transitions. It is prettier an hour or 2 before the Sun sets that time of the year. Once the Sun goes behind the rocks, it passes the point of diminishing returns. There are 2 sides to this view. I picked the left, rockier side because I preferred the view. Be careful of slippery rocks there!
Our server recommended Asticou azalea garden. We enjoyed strolling through for a bit. Great for pictures!
The seafood is quite pricey but everywhere and quite delicious. I recommend checking out downtown Bar harbor and enjoying a bite while you do!
Jordan pond was the only hike we chose to do on this trip. It is easy and fun if hiking is what you want to do.
Sand beach was lower on our priority but we were glad we stopped by.
Thunder hole was a popular attraction here. The waves splashing against the rocks made a ‘thundering’ sound.
We had 2 meals back to back at Beal’s lobster. I recommend it if you are in the area.
In spite our initial glitches, we were very satisfied with our trip. We had more time than things we wanted to do. Acadia vibes as so remote, that we felt like we were really ‘getting away’ from it all.