Acadia to Katahdin: Exploring Maine’s Waterways, Woodlands and Wabanaki Cultural Heritage

Welcome to picturesque Maine, home to a rocky coastline, stunning mountain views, lush forests, flowing waterways, and a fascinating natural and cultural history. Here, the charming town of Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island serves as a gateway to the beauty and adventure of Acadia National Park and Frenchman Bay. To the north, the remote wilderness of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and the adjacent Baxter State Park encompass some of the most rugged terrain in the Northeast. Journey alongside NPCA experts and key partners on land and on water to experience these unique places firsthand and get a behind-the-scenes look at how the organization is fighting to protect them.

Download Detailed Trip Brochure (1 MB pdf)

Available Dates:

September 23-29, 2023

7 days/6 nights

Minimum/Maximum: 12 guests/14 guests


Why Travel with NPCA?

Our goal is to offer premium educational travel itineraries in the places we know best: America’s national parks.

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Itinerary Highlights

  • Engage with NPCA experts as you navigate through some of Maine’s most stunning wilderness and discover the contrast between Acadia’s well-visited parkland and the remote and rugged wilderness of Katahdin
  • See Mt. Katahdin by air as you fly over the vast boreal forests and free-flowing rivers below
  • Participate in a private program with Wabanaki REACH, a local educational non-profit, to gain a deeper understanding of Wabanaki history and their long-standing ties to the land now called the state of Maine
  • Spend time on the water with NPCA partner Frenchman Bay United, for a firsthand account of their critical work to combat threats and protect the waters surrounding Mount Desert Island
  • View Acadia’s famous sunrise from Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the eastern seaboard of the U.S.
  • Immerse yourself in the beauty of Acadia National Park as you hike and explore with a naturalist guide



Day 1: September 23 - Arrivals into Bangor, ME and Transfer to Bar Harbor: Arrive by 2:00 PM into Bangor International Airport (BGR) and meet your Iconic Trip Leader at baggage claim. Once the entire group arrives, transfer 1 hour and 30 minutes via private shuttle to Bar Harbor. Settle into the charming Inn on Mount Desert, our home for the next three nights. This evening, we’ll gather for brief introductions and an orientation to the days ahead and enjoy a welcome reception and dinner at a local restaurant. The Inn on Mount Desert (D)

Day 2: September 24 - Frenchman Bay and Bar Harbor: After breakfast at the Inn this morning, head to the Abbe Museum for a behind-the-scenes tour. Here we will be introduced to the history and culture of the Native people of Maine, the Wabanaki – the People of the Dawn. The Abbe Museum is home to dynamic exhibits and activities interspersed with spaces for quiet reflection, collaborating with, honoring and sharing the stories of the many Indigenous people whose communities have lived in this area for thousands of generations. Learn how Acadia and Katahdin are connected through past and present migrations and celebrations of the Wabanaki people and discover what NPCA is doing to help facilitate the continuation of Wabanaki cultural practices and representation in this region. After our museum visit, we’ll embark on a guided kayak tour of Frenchman Bay, stopping on one of the spectacular Porcupine Islands for lunch and beach exploration mid-way through our paddle. Take in the scenic views and keep an eye out for wildlife as you learn about a massive, proposed salmon farm in Frenchman Bay. NPCA, among other organizations, helped to bring lease applications for this project to a halt in 2022, though the work to completely terminate the project continues. If approved, it would significantly impact the way people see, experience, smell, and hear Acadia and the surrounding landscape. A member of Frenchman Bay United, a key NPCA partner, will join us to provide a firsthand account of how different groups have come together in the fight to defend the natural resources of this remarkable place. Back on shore, return to our hotel to freshen up before having leisure time on your own to explore Bar Harbor, the gateway to Acadia National Park. Relax along the waterfront or walk the idyllic downtown with its array of locally-owned shops and galleries. This evening, we’ll sit down for a memorable dinner at a local harbor-side Lobster Pound.
The Inn on Mount Desert (B, L, D)

Day 3: September 25 - Acadia National Park: Begin your day bright and early with an optional trip to the top of stunning Cadillac Mountain, where, with warm beverages in-hand, we’ll watch the sunrise cast a morning glow over Mount Desert Island. At 1,530 feet, it is the highest point along the eastern seaboard and offers magnificent views of a glaciated coastal and island landscape. Be sure to bring a jacket! Here, your NPCA staff host will share how we are working together with a coalition of environmental organizations to save these spectacular views from becoming tarnished due to regional haze pollution. Return to the Inn for breakfast, and then we’re off on our day of adventuring in Acadia National Park with our naturalist guide. Starting at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center, we’ll hear from NPCA experts and National Park Service staff for an introduction to Acadia. Today drive along Acadia’s scenic Park Loop Road, stopping to learn about the area’s plant life and take in the serenity of the Wild Gardens of Acadia and the Jesup Path and Hemlock Path Loop trail, which winds its way through stands of white birch and hemlock trees. From there, we will continue to Sand Beach, a small inlet between the mountains and rocky shores. We’ll see powerful waters at Thunder Hole and start our afternoon hike nearby. Our knowledgeable guide will help us navigate the terrain as we discover what makes this area unique and why it is one of the most popular parks in the country. After our hike we’ll proceed along Park Loop Road, stopping en route as we make our way to picturesque Jordon Pond. Here, we will have the opportunity to embark on another hike, or simply relax along the water and take in the surrounding landscape. This evening, after heading back to the Inn to freshen up, enjoy dinner as a group at one of Bar Harbor’s delicious restaurants.
The Inn on Mount Desert (B, L, D)

Day 4: September 26 - Bar Harbor to Millinocket: Have a leisurely breakfast at the Inn today before checking out, loading up, and departing on an a 3-hour drive north, into the serene Maine wilderness. Our next stop is the New England Outdoor Center (NEOC), our home for the next three days and base for exploring Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and Baxter State Park. Upon arrival to this woodland refuge, enjoy a delicious lunch overlooking Millinocket Lake. You’ll have time to investigate your surroundings this afternoon; go exploring via kayak or canoe, or relax lakeside with direct views of Mount Katahdin, Maine’s highest mountain. Later, cruise the lake on a guided pontoon boat tour and keep an eye out for moose and other wildlife! After settling into your cabin, meet the group for dinner at NEOC’s on-site restaurant, where your NPCA staff hosts will set the stage for our time in Maine’s North Woods. The remoteness of this area lends itself well to great stargazing, so bring your binoculars and take a look at the night sky above us. New England Outdoor Center (B, L, D)

Day 5: September 27 - Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument: After breakfast at River Diver’s Restaurant on-site, we’ll begin our day with an overview of Katahdin – literally! On a 30-minute scenic flight, you’ll get an aerial view of the greater Katahdin area. Back on the ground, transfer 1 hour to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, an 87,500-acre landscape with rich biodiversity and awe-inspiring mountains, forests and free-flowing rivers. Gather as a group for a picnic lunch and delve into the story of how Katahdin became a National Park site. Hear from your NPCA staff expert about the work that went into the Katahdin park designation, and learn about NPCA’s mission to foster community and visitor connections with the region’s nature and cultural history, while also honoring the Tribes of the region. NPCA continues to advocate for the National Park Service to better interpret Tribal history at Katahdin. In the afternoon, drive Katahdin’s Loop Road, a 17-mile journey highlighting significant cultural, biological and geological features. Please note that this is a gravel road, so be prepared for a bumpy ride! We’ll stop to enjoy scenic viewpoints and hit the trail to better understand of why this place has been a source of inspiration for hundreds of years. As the day comes to an end, we’ll head back to our cabins to refresh before coming together for dinner on-site at NEOC.
New England Outdoor Center (B, L, D)

Day 6: September 28 - Baxter State Park: Enjoy breakfast this morning on-property. After, we will participate in an exclusive interactive program with Wabanaki REACH, a local educational non-profit, to gain a deeper understanding of Wabanaki history in Maine and the impacts of colonization on native communities. Following this memorable experience, we will drive 1-hour northwest, to Baxter State Park, arriving at Daicey Pond. We’ll share a picnic lunch here, with the option to canoe atop the pond and relax on the shore. Listen as your NPCA staff host discusses their work regarding the Appalachian Trail, which ends in Baxter State Park. After lunch we’ll head out on an easy 2.3 mile hike—Little and Big Niagara Falls via the Appalachian Trail—before returning to NEOC for the remainder of the afternoon. Tonight, meet with NPCA staff and partners to reflect on the week and conclude the evening with a joyous farewell dinner.
New England Outdoor Center (B, L, D)

Day 7: September 29 - Departures: On our final morning, enjoy breakfast before transferring 1 hour and 30 minutes to the Bangor International Airport (BGR) for your mid-afternoon flight home.

Please note: This itinerary is subject to change based on weather conditions and park closures related to COVID-19.

NPCA TRAVEL ELIGIBILITY: NPCA is the only independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advocacy on behalf of the National Park System. Over 70% of our funding comes from donations from individuals like you. NPCA trips are an exclusive NPCA member benefit. One traveler per group must be an NPCA member to participate in an NPCA trip. An annual membership starts at $15 per person. Please make dues payable to NPCA by check or credit card at

TRAVEL SAFE WITH NPCA: Your safety is our top priority. NPCA has worked diligently with each of our travel partners to develop important safety measures for all our trips. As guidelines and protocols evolve, we are committed to creating flexible options for those interested in rescheduling or booking new travel. For more information, check out our COVID-19 Travel Update.

MORE INFORMATION: For full details on this trip, including inclusions, exclusions, accommodations, terms and safety protocols, please download the detailed trip brochure.

Download Detailed Trip Brochure (1 MB pdf)

MAKING RESERVATIONS: To secure your space on this NPCA trip, please contact our Educational Travel Program team at 1.800.628.7275 or email the Travel Program at

TRAVEL PROTECTION: We strongly recommend purchasing important optional travel insurance that will cover you for a variety of travel-related contingencies, such as trip cancellation, interruption, and/or delay; baggage loss, theft, damage or delay; accident and/or sickness medical expenses; accidental death; as well as evacuation/repatriation coverage. Please note that a Pre-Existing Condition waiver is available if you purchase the policy within 21 days of making your initial trip payment. Also consider the optional “Cancel for any Reason” protection. All questions regarding the plan’s coverage should be directed to Travel Insurance Select through USI Affinity at 1-800-937-1387 or by visiting their website.

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calendary icon Date July 16, 2023
  • Cost:
    $7,515 per person double occupancy; $1,360 single supplement
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