Acadia National Park, ME
Visiting Acadia + Maine
Jordan Pond Loop
– Great hiking through amazing scenery
– Tons of restaurant and brewery options
– Easy driving routes + bus services
– Endless hiking options for beginner through advanced hikers
– Pot is Legal in Maine
– Very busy in the high season
– Limited and expensive lodging
– Restaurants can be rude
– Establishments close early and randomly
– Very “Touristy” in general
Hiking in Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is located on a series on peninsula and islands near Bar Harbor, ME. As a national park it has a great deal of quality infrastruture like roads, bathrooms, rangers etc. If you are planning a trip to Bar Harbor or Maine in general, you definitely want to keep Acadia on your to-do list. This is our limited guide on Bar Harbor, hiking Acadia, and visiting Portland, ME and the whole region. Below are some of our favorite hikes from our trip to Maine in September 2021.
Sand Beach, Acadia National Park
Jordan Pond 6 Summit Loop
Our favorite hike that we did was the 6 Summit Loop at Jordan Lake. This hike was a little over 9 miles total, and was a very challenging hike for us as intermediate hikers. This hike starts at the Jordan Lake Pond House (more on that down the page) and hits a number of the major peaks of Acadia including Pementic Mountain, the Triad, the Bubbles and more.
This is not an easy hike, nor is it the most difficult hike in Acadia (that belongs to the Precipice). You will definitely want to be prepared with some gear, including nice boots, hiking poles and a backpack. Here is the gear we used and links if you are in the market:
One of the coolest part of the 6 Summit loop is the variation of the scenery. The day we went (in mid-September) it was insanely windy and foggy at the top of the peaks. But going up a mountain like Pemetic was incredibly challenging and fun, and gave some great views along the way.
If you have time to do a 4-5 hour strenuous hike I highly recommend trying the 6 Summit Loop.
Barred Island Preserve Trail
The Barred Island Preserve Trail is located near Deer Isle, ME and is a beautiful out and back to Barred Island which has a land bridge available during low tide. It is a fairly damp area and has lots of cool looking bogs and moss making it a dreamy hike. Parking can be limited especially around low tide when folks want to walk the sandbar. Deer Isle is very cool, the bridge to get in is very old but super neat looking. There are some restaurants around the area but fairly limited – many folks will head to Stonington for lunch after a morning hike.
The Beehive Hike Acadia
The last hike we did was The Beehive Loop Trail which has some of the best views in Acadia. Like precipice it has some climbing and bouldering, so it definitely will require nice hiking boots like the Merril ones I use, and you will definitely want to avoid this hike if it is too wet. But this hike has some amazing scenery and was a great hike that we were able to complete in just about 2 hours. Its a perfect morning hike where you can go grab coffee and breakfast in Bar Harbor right after – we liked Choco-Latte for breakfast sandwiches and good coffee.
Other Hikes in Acadia National Park
Acadia has a number of other great hikes and paths. Here is the all trails link to all the best hikes in Acadia.
Eating and Drinking in Bar Harbor
Besides the hiking, Acadia and Bar Harbor have a ton of great restaurants and activities to keep you happy once you are done with some vigorous exercise. These are some of our favorite spots. One tip we would provide is to make sure you check the hours of a spot you REALLY want to see because restaurants in Maine really make their own schedules. We would look up the hours on Google and it would say they close at 7 on Tuesday, but they were closed when we got there just for THAT Tuesday.
Hip coffee house that serves incredible breakfast sandwiches with a little latin flair. Good coffee and plenty of outdoor seating along with free Wifi.
The Jordan Pond House is a staple of visiting Acadia, and a good lunch spot after a morning hike. Get there at least 30 minutes early as you will wait. But the “Popovers” are unique and delicious
This is a cool tapas style spot with amazing cocktails and a youthful atmosphere. Be prepared for a wait on a busy Friday or Saturday night – well worth it though.
Activities in Bar Harbor
Besides hiking and eating, there are a number of other fun activites in and around Bar Harbor. We recommend taking a drive to Deer Isle as its not only a pretty drive but the coast there is fantastic. We also recommend going to some of the outlying towns like Southwest Harbor and Northeast Harbor – they are pretty but the restaurants can be a bit rude. DO NOT tell the maitre’d or host that you are just getting drinks. They will not seat you, they seem to only want customers that are getting a full meal so just let them think thats your plan.
Margarett Todd Schooner
Cadilac Mountain Sunrise
If you are morning person and a fan on immensly beautiful sunrises, you might want to carve out the time for the Cadilac Mountain Sunrise. Some crazy people will hike this but to see the sunrise from the top you would have to start hiking well before 4am. We did what most do and drove – NOTE that you will need a car pass which will require a reservation made here. It is a lovely view and you will want to be in place by around 5am-ish. Then you can either hike around the mountain or grab some breakfast.
The Lulu Lobster Boat
I can easily say one of the most fun and interesting things we did was take a tour on the Lulu Lobster Boat. This is a working Lobster boat helmed by an impressive former Coast Guard captain who handles the driving and lobster duties. He is joined by an entertaining older gentleman who acts as your guide and emcee. It was truly fun and informational to get to see the lobster fishing process up close, and they were super professional and entertaining. Definitely recommend this tour if you have time. The boat was covered too so even when it rained we enjoyed ourselves.
Margaret Todd Schooner Tour
My lovely wife surprised me on one of the final days with a trip on the Margaret Todd which is a four masted schooner replica built in the style of old school schooners that used to parade the waters of the Northeast. It was a little pricey, and they didn’t end up going out into the bay very far – but this is a nice way to start an evening. They offer sunset views, drinks for sale, and live music on each cruise. They even let some volunteers help with the sails which was fun and much harder than it looks. If you want a romantic evening activity to do before dinner this is a solid choice.
Visiting Portland Maine
Acadia National Park isn’t the only attraction in the great state of Maine. We would recommend stopping by some of the other cities like Bangor, Freeport (home of L.L. Beane) and the largest city in Maine – Portland.
To get to Bar Harbor you will likely fly into either Portland or Bangor, though some flights do go to Bar Harbor. We flew into Bangor, and flights seemed to be less expensive into Bangor and Portland than Bar Harbor.
Portland was a neat place with lots of shopping, restaurants, a cool working waterfront and plenty of vibrancy and life.
Sand Beach, Acadia National Park
Portland, ME Food and Drink
Portland had a pretty cool food and drink landscape, especially when it comes to seafood and breweries. We made an obligatory stop at Shipyard which is sort of the OG brewery in town. Good beer and great pizza to be had there. A more modern vide is found at Austin Street Brewery or Rising Tide Brewing Company both of which are next to each other on the north side of the city.
Black Elephant Hostel
Seafood is easily found especially at waterfront classics like J’s Oysters or Lukes. You will find things close early and we wanted food past 8pm one night and ended up getting Kuno Thai food and some beers to go from the grocery – it was actually awesome. For lodging we stayed at the Black Elephant Hostel which was very affordable, had a nice staff, and full kitchen to put stuff in the fridge or cook if needed. We had a three person private room and private bathroom – it was great except it did get loud later in the night/morning.
Portland has a rich history of maritime industry, and one of the cooler things we did was take a tour of the Portland Observatory. This is a flag observatory that was privately owned and used in the shipping industry to alert crews on the docks when their ships were coming in. Radios and satellite have made the technology unneeded but the town remains and a trained guide will walk you up the tower with historical lessons along the way, culminating in a wonderful view of the city. Worth an hour of your time.
Planning a romantic weekend getaway in the southeast? You have probably heard of amazing (and popular) spots like Savannah and Charleston. While they are must visit spots if you haven't been, at this point those two cities are overrun with bachelorette parties, golf...
Those who love to ski and snowboard know that the best time to do so is when the powder is fresh. There is nothing quite like the feeling of knifing through a fresh mountain of snow with your skis or tablet, that was not made by a machine. We have outlined a list of...
The country of Austria is often forgotten by backpackers as it sits between two hotbeds of nomad activity: southern Germany, with the Alps and incredible English Gardens of Munich and Budapest with its combo of the cheapness/funness/unknown. I think that is because...
Everyone knows of the mythical and magical Czech capital of Prague. It first came on my radar when watching the original installment of my all time favorite movie franchise: Mission Impossible 1. Watching Tom Cruise run across the Charles Bridge with all the fog...
Lucerne (Luzern in German) sits in the dead center of the country of Switzerland on Lucerne Lake. Every major city in Switzerland sits on a huge lake, with the exception of Basel and Bern, though those two have the Rhine and Aare Rivers running through them. Lucerne...
The debate over which is the best city in Switzerland is officially over. It’s Bern, the de facto capital of Switzerland. Bern is located in the center of the country, a three hour train ride to every corner of this mountainous paradise. The old town is fairly small...
Zurich, Switzerland is on the short list of my favorite cities in Europe (the other contenders include: Berlin, Madrid, Barcelona, Helsinki, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Athens, Lisbon, Salzburg, Budapest, Brasov, and Bruges - Moscow and Istanbul if you count those too). The...
Ever since my first visit to Zurich in 2015 I have maintained that the entire world would move to this paradise if it weren't so goddamn expensive. On my two subsequent trips to Switzerland, there has been nothing to sway my mind off this take. I have since seen...
I cannot tell you exactly why I became so fascinated with this beautiful town in the western hills of Czechia. The more research I did into it, the cooler it seemed. Karlovy Vary is the 22nd largest city in the Czech Republic (according to Wikipedia), a country with a...
If you google "biggest festivals in the world" the results will yield four festivals that are not really music festivals. They're one day events like Street Parade in Zurich every July or Summerfest in Milwaukee, USA. I have been to the latter and it ends at 10 PM...