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1st visit to Acadia -- does our "plan" miss anything?

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NJ
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376 posts
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1st visit to Acadia -- does our "plan" miss anything?

We're camping in Hadley's Point CG for a week in mid July. On our agenda are: kayaking with Acadia Park Kayak Tours, hoping to see whales/puffins on the Bar Harbor Whale Watching Tours, swimming at Echo Lake Beach, popovers at Jordan Pond House, the Great Lumberjack Show, Thunder Hole and the Ocean Path there, Cadillac Mountain (the easiest route up), and more hiking (tbd). I'm assuming we'll drive the Park Loop Road, and will find some lobster and other seafood to eat during our week. :) My kids are 8 and 11 and have done some 'good' hiking in the past. We'll also be traveling with my parents, who might not be doing all the activities with us throughout the week. Question: are we missing something quintessential for the Acadia experience? Are there any moderate "must do" hikes? The Beehive trail has me a little worried. Any thoughts are appreciated. (This was also posted in an Acadia forum -- sorry if it's repetitive).

Ohio
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1. Re: 1st visit to Acadia -- does our "plan" miss anything?

We visited Bar Harbor last summer with our 9yr son. Just tonight (on vacation in Canada), he looked at me and said, "Mom, we should be in Maine". We enjoyed many activities, but here are my son's hands-down favorites.

Hike - Gorham Mountain - A moderate hike with stunning views of the coast at the top. The trail will split after just a short start. Take the trail that forks to the right (can't remember the name) towards the ancient sea cave. It's super rocky and your kids will LOVE it. Grandparents could continue on main trail (easier) and meet up with you when the side trail ends (about 0.5mile). Only do the forked trail on your ascent!

Bikes - Our favorite day was spent biking in Acadia. You can rent (or bring) bikes from several places in Bar Harbor. The carriage roads throughout Acadia are fantastic and many are gently sloped. We did Witch Hole Pond and Eagle Lake. They were both fantastic. You can rent a bike rack or ride the bus (with your bikes) from the village green.

Diver Ed - This was the most entertaining activity we did. Diver Ed is located in Bar Harbor and was a blast. Everyone had fun and learned a lot about sea life. It would be a HUGE hit with your kids if they love animals.

The Great Lumberjack Show - Timber Tina offers log rolling lessons during the day. We signed our son up for a 1hr lesson and he had a blast. He learned to log roll and was on the log with Tina by the end. He could go forwards, backwards, and even starting splashing her with his toes. It was a great way to make the lumberjack experience memorable. Everyone in the traveling party can go watch and take pics. The show itself is kind of so-so, but Tina is super energetic and very nice.

Ohio
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2. Re: 1st visit to Acadia -- does our "plan" miss anything?

BTW...I wrote a very detailed trip report/suggestions for some friends who are visiting Acadia this week. When I return home from vacation, I will post it as a "reply" for your reference. Check back early next week.

We flew to Bangor and stay in Bar Harbor, so some of it will not be useful. I'll post the entire thing anyway in case someone else reads it.

Wolcott, Connecticut
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3. Re: 1st visit to Acadia -- does our "plan" miss anything?

Definitely drive Park Loop Road but you can also get out and walk it. There is a shore path that starts at Sand Beach and goes all the way over to Otter Point. You can walk the entire length or just sections. There are loads of places to scramble along the rocks; just don't get too close to the water if it's rough. If there is really high surf then Thunder Hole is pretty amazing. It's crowded so we typically avoid it but if you're lucky enough to have an off shore storm it's worth a visit. The Beehive Trail is difficult and it has a lot of ladders. Might be intimidating for your kids. Gorham Mountain is one of our favorite hikes in the park. Not too difficult but it's beautiful. Lovely views, the trail changes and you should hit blueberries! There is a section called Cadillac Cliffs...those are the old cliffs that used to be in the water. You pick it up just past the path maker plaque. There are many, many, many steps on that section. If you do the trail clockwise you wind up walking down the steps; if you do it counterclockwise you wind up walking up the steps. I would suggest whichever is easiest for you but don't miss that part of the trail; it's beautiful. When we go with my folks they go as far as the plaque, go back down and hang out by the ocean while we do the rest of the trail. An easy trail on the other side of the island is Wonderland. It's relatively flat but very pretty and brings you out to a large seawall and flat rocks. It's a lot of fun to explore at low tide for kids as well as adults. We also like the Beech Mountain Trail. It's a moderate hike. You go up to the Beech Mtn fire tower. There are views of the ocean as well as Long Pond. It's very beautiful. You can also swim in Long Pond. There are kayak and canoe rentals at the north end. When you first get into the park I would suggest stopping at the visitor center. Buy your pass and ask the rangers for advise; they'll give you all sorts of tips. If you can, leave some free time just to explore. There is so much to see and do in the park; you may be driving to get someplace and get sidetracked a dozen times.

Knoxville, Tennessee
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4. Re: 1st visit to Acadia -- does our "plan" miss anything?

There is an easy path beside the Bubble Pond that my son and I enjoyed. We also like Acadia Nature Cruises for a two hour intro. It was a good mix of geology, biology, and local history.

Visit Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor and drive along Somes Sound on Sargent Drive from Northeast Harbor. It is beautiful. If you are there during a new moon look for the "Stars over Sand Beach" ranger talk. Acadia has the darkest skies on the eastern seaboard but also some of the cloudiest but if conditions are right it is great. We saw the international space station fly over. Enjoy!

5. Re: 1st visit to Acadia -- does our "plan" miss anything?

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