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Easy Hikes for Kids near Acadia?

Lake Worth, FL
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Easy Hikes for Kids near Acadia?

I am planning a trip for next July to the Bar Harbor area. We have four children ages 4, 5, 7 and 9 and I would love to take them on an easy hike - maybe a mile long hike tops. Any suggestions! We live in South Florida where the entry to the turnpike is the highest elevation they've been on!

Lehigh Valley, PA
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1. Re: Easy Hikes for Kids near Acadia?

There are several easy hikes that you should consider.

1) The Shore Path is located right in Bar Harbor and runs from the Town Pier around the Bar Harbor Inn and along the shore line for about a mile. At the end, you can either retrace your steps or hang a right and follow the street back to Main Street. The Shore Path is flat and cindered its entire length.

2) Also starting in Bar Harbor, you can hike to Bar Island. From about 2 hours before to 2 hours after low tide, a sand bar is exposed and you can walk it the approximately half mile to Bar Island. Once on Bar Island, you can continue on the trail for what is probably an easy 100 foot total climb to the top of the hill where you can get a spectacular view of the village of Bar Harbor and the mountains of Acadia. A great photo spot. You'll be crossing a sand bar and hiking a dirt trail.

3) In Acadia, you can park in the Sand Beach parking lot and after a visit to the beach (where the water will be a "bit" colder than Florida), you can walk along the Ocean Drive Trail. The trail is paved and runs for about 2 miles one way to Otter Cliffs. Very spectacular scenery all along the way. On this hike you will pass Thunder Hole. Here you can stop, cross the road to the gift shop area where there are rest rooms, snacks, etc. You can turn wherever you wish and head back to Sand Beach or you can take the Island Explorer bus (free) from Bar Harbor to Sand Island, hike to Otter Cliffs, walk out to the Park Loop Road (very short walk) and flag down the next IE bus to take you back to Bar Harbor.

4&5) Finally, there are two other easy hikes I would recommend for young children. Both are part of Acadia but removed from the main part of the park. Along, I believe it is Rt 102 between Southwest Harbor and Bass Harbor are two small areas of the park called Wonderland and Ship Harbor. Both have very easy trails to the Ocean that are in the 1 mile range. Wonderland is a great place to go exploring tidal pools and such.

6) Bonus - Just South of Bar Harbor (take Main Street/Rt 3) about a mile from the Village Green is a small area of Acadia called Compass Harbor. This is another beautiful, short, easy hike. My wife and I took another walk out that way this past September. Every time we have gone out there we have seen folks with picnic lunches out on the rocks extending out into the small cove/harbor.

That should get you started.

Lehigh Valley, PA
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2. Re: Easy Hikes for Kids near Acadia?

Correction to Hike #3.

It is Sand Beach not Sand Island. (Sand Island is an area where I hike and bird about two miles from where I live here in PA!).

Virginia
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3. Re: Easy Hikes for Kids near Acadia?

We have kids in the same range of ages as yours. One of the things I love about Acadia is that many trails are kid-friendly. You can easily find an out-and-back hike that is a mile or less, or if you feel willing, you can turn that smaller hike into a longer hike with out much trouble. Also the park has well-maintained carriage roads that many use for biking but can easily be used for hiking.

paflyfisher listed some good walks. The Bar at low tide and Sand Beach are kid favorites. If you are looking for something more (to maybe get your kids to burn some of that endless energy that kids tend to have) these are a few that our kids have enjoyed:

Bubble Rock - A mile round-trip hike that takes you to Bubble Rock that sits on the edge of a mountain.

Gorham Mtn - Longer than a mile for sure but it has fantastic views and not too hard of an elevation change. Your younger ones may need hand-holding at times.

Great Head Trail - Fairly short and easy hike. I would suggest keeping the kids close when you are on the trail near the "Sand Beach side" as the trail has several overlooks that are near the water.

Make sure and bring tons of water, sunblock, bug repellant, and a good map.

One last thing, if you are in the area for a week, our kids loved participating in the Jr Ranger program at the Park visitor center. There is a pamphlet you buy for each kid (~$3 each) and there are several activities they must perform including taking a ranger-led course. Once they complete the pamphlet, they get "tested" by a Park Ranger and then annointed as a "Jr Ranger" in a small ceremony at the visitor center. Our kids loved it.

Be sure and search the forum for similar threads as there has been some good info posted before.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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for Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park
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4. Re: Easy Hikes for Kids near Acadia?

There also are a number of possibilities using the Sieur de Monts Nature Center as a start.

There are easy trails that run from the Nature Center along Cromwell Harbor Brook to The Tarn; you can take one out and the other one back. The round-trip would be approximately a mile.

Also from the Center, there are the easy paths that lead to Great Meadow---Hemlock Road and Jesup Path.

All of the recommendations above are good---and especially the one about obtaining a good map. I think that the top two now are the National Geographic Trails Illustrated map of Acadia and the Map Adventures Acadia National Park map. Both maps list and locates trails by area and degree of difficulty. The National Geographic map does a little better job of this, whereas the Map Adventures map does much better in identifying carriage road junctions and mileages along the trails and carriage roada.

Both maps are available locally at places such as Sherman's and Cadillac Mountain Sports. If you want to plan ahead, they are available at:

<www.nationalgeographic.com/maps>

or

<www.mapadventures.com>

Wolcott, Connecticut
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for Bar Harbor
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5. Re: Easy Hikes for Kids near Acadia?

As everybody has mentioned there are tons of great hikes to do with small children. For your age group Wonderland is perfect, especially if you go at low tide. It's very easy; not much change in elevation at all. You're likely to see wildlife and once you hit the shore there are all sorts of things for kids. The tidal pools with snails and starfish, the seawall with all the stuff that washes up (buoys and lobster traps...), if you're lucky you'll see seals. The other hike that we love is not part of the park; it's the Indian Point Blagden Preserve on the Western side of Mount Desert. Every time we've gone there we've seen deer, osprey, seals and the occasional eagle. Again, if you do it at low tide there are magical places to walk along the water. Bring binoculars. One of the best things about this hike is that every time we've been there we are the only people we see. If there are 2 adults I would suggest splitting up the kids and doing 2 different hikes to give each a little bit of a challenge. Have fun!

Bar Harbor, Maine
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for Bar Harbor
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6. Re: Easy Hikes for Kids near Acadia?

I second the suggestion for the Jr Ranger programs at the park. My kids really enjoy them, but make sure that you call ahead of time, at least one day before. We often wait until the last minute and the good ones are full!

I also recommend Bubble Rock and the Great Head Trail. They are short, but the kids get to climb a little on the rocks. My kids prefer the climbing to the woodsy walks.

Another nice spot to explore is the Sea Wall picnic area. It's acres of granite and fun tide pools. A similar exploration area is at the end of the Wonderland trail. It would also be a great place to pack a lunch.

Bass Harbor, Maine
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7. Re: Easy Hikes for Kids near Acadia?

Flying Mountain off Valley Cove in Southwest. Wonder Land and Ship Harbor Nature Trail past the Seawall Picnic area, heading toward Bass Harbor Head Light. If you do hike to Bar Island, pay strict attention to 'passable at low tide' unless you want to get your feet wet or wait until the tide changes. Have a great time.

SW Nova Scotia
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8. Re: Easy Hikes for Kids near Acadia?

I visited ANP last July with my 5 and 8 yo children. We were there only for 2 full days, but we were able to complete 3 hikes: Great Head Trail, South Bubble Mt, and Flying Mountain Trail. They are excited to go back to ANP for a full week this summer.

9. Re: Easy Hikes for Kids near Acadia?

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