Located on the coast of Maine, Acadia is about an hour away (by car) from Bangor International Airport and close to three hours from Portland.
We went on a leisurely stroll around Jordan Pond, taking in the mountains and the calm clear waters.
We joined Ranger Patrick Kark for an evening program, “In Search of Beavers.“ At dusk, we followed Kark on a short hike through the woods to Beaver Dam Pond, where we saw beaver lodges but — alas — no beavers.
Though I didn’t spot any hard-working beavers on this trip, I couldn’t resist drawing one anyway because they are so darn cute.
Hikers walk along the dramatic Ocean Path, which starts at Sand Beach, passes Otter Cliffs (above) and ends at Otter Point. Dogs are permitted on the park’s carriage roads and most of the hiking trails, but they must be kept on leashes at all times.
For a glorious hour, we sat on the lawn at Jordan Pond House eating delicious popovers and sipping prosecco. The historic house, which overlooks the pond, has been servering popovers since the 1890s.
I was enchanted with the rocky shore at Little Hunters Beach.
Acadia boasts more than 125 miles of hiking trails. Here: A wooden trail sign on Cadillac Mountain.
Visitors gaze out at the view of Long Pond from a perch on a granite cliff along Beech Mountain Trail.
We didn’t have time to take a tour boat to see Atlantic puffins, which nest on ocean islands, but I was lucky to see some on a trip to Acadia more than 20 years ago.
The Island Explorer shuttles offer free transportation to hiking trails, carriage roads and beaches, as well as villages just outside the park from late June through mid-October. (An entrance pass to the park is required.)
Wild blueberries are abundant in the park during the summer, and visitors are allowed to pick a half gallon per person, per day.
How is it staying there? That’s what everyone wonders when they see Bubble Rock, which an ancient glacier swept to South Bubble Mountain. It seems to be perched precariously, but it’s not going anywhere — for the time being. It’s wild. I love it.
Between 1913 and 1940, philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. oversaw the construction of 45 miles of carriage roads that wend their way through Acadia. Rockefeller, a dedicated equestrian, intended the carriage roads to be closed to motor vehicles, and they remain car-free today.
We passed this duo on a carriage road bike ride.
We also crossed three of the park’s historic granite-faced bridges, including West Branch Jordan Stream Bridge. Built in 1931, the 115-foot-long bridge is notable for its tall, narrow arch.
We drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain at 6 a.m. to watch the sun rise. From mid-September to mid-March, early birds who make it to the 1,530-foot summit in the wee hours of the morning can be the first in the country to see the sun slip over the horizon. It’s such a happy place.
I spotted this couple — and their well-worn boots — at the top of Cadillac Mountain, where they were resting in the sunshine.
Those who take Beehive Trail all the way to the Beehive peak — clambering over boulders and up granite staircases and iron rungs — are rewarded with panoramic views. We only had time for the first stretch, but that was beautiful, too, and we enjoyed stunning views of Sand Beach along the way.
“Hiker guy,” as I call him, was one of many, many visitors we encountered. In July, more than 756,000 people spent time in Acadia, one of the country’s most visited national parks.
Monarchs arrive in the park in early summer, and we saw many of them flitting about the milkweed near Jordan Pond. Acadia is one of many national park sites working to encourage the growth of milkweed, which monarchs depend on to survive.
This visitor was photographing a monarch near Jordan Pond. Curious, I walked over, but as I approached the butterfly flew away. Sorry!
A seal sunning itself on rocks just off the shore.
I was amazed when I saw the Milky Way stretched across the sky on a nightime boat ride from Little Cranberry Island back to our hotel in Northeast Harbor. Like, are you kidding? The stars were unbelievable.