Visiting Acadia during the Centennial? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

ask acadia on my mind

Ask Acadia on My Mind!

We are starting to plan our first trip to Acadia National Park. We are looking into a trip in August but now I see it’s the very busiest month and I’m concerned it will be too crowded. I don’t like traffic and feeling like an ant on trails when hiking.

We hope to stay in a rental home for a week. Which locations would you suggest? How hard is driving around the area in August? We like to bike. Are there bike rental companies? Are dogs allowed on the hiking trails in the park? About how long does it take to get from say, Bar Harbor, to the Schoodic part of the park? Thank you! – Peter from Eugene, OR

Dear Peter,

We’re with you – we don’t like feeling like an ant on trails when hiking either! Good idea to start planning your trip so early, with bigger crowds than usual expected to be visiting Acadia National Park during this Centennial year. But even though August is the busiest month, it’s still possible to find relative solitude, as we have that time of year.

See our recent blog post “5 tips to beat the crowds while visiting Acadia National Park,” with such ideas as buying your park pass online and hiking popular trails early or late. For example, if you climb the popular Beehive Trail early (before 11 a.m. but the earlier the better) or late (4 p.m. or later), you won’t feel like you’re part of the swarm, or like an ant on a trail.

Island Explorer bus in Acadia National Park

Take the Island Explorer to minimize Acadia traffic jams. (NPS photo)

Since this is your first trip to Acadia and it sounds like you want to minimize driving in traffic while maximizing access to bike rentals, dog-friendly hikes and the Schoodic section of the park, you might want to find a place to stay in or near Bar Harbor, preferably on the fare-free Island Explorer bus route.

We have a page of year-round Bar Harbor lodging, restaurants and other businesses that you may find helpful, although we don’t have specific links to rental home listings. We’ll soon be adding businesses that are open only seasonally to that page, so check back for updates.

Places to stay, things to see and do while visiting Acadia during the Centennial

conners nubble

Late July through early August is prime wild blueberry picking time on the trails of Acadia, such as along Conners Nubble.

If you’re looking for a rental home for a week, you can always work with one of the local Realtors, or use such Web sites as Homeaway.com or Airbnb.com. Tripadvisor.com features Bar Harbor listings for house rentals and apartments as well as for hotels and motels.

You might also find helpful an Ask Acadia on My Mind! Q&A we did last year for a reader looking to rent a home in Otter Creek, south of downtown Bar Harbor on ME 3.

The reason we suggest Bar Harbor: You can rent bikes (see the Bar Harbor page of year-round listings for a link to a bike shop) and either ride over to the carriage roads via West Street or take the Island Explorer Bicycle Express from the Village Green over to the Eagle Lake entrance to the carriage roads; you can take the ferry from Bar Harbor to Schoodic and hop on the Island Explorer over to the hiking or biking trails there, saving you an hour or more in 1-way drive time; and you can find dog-friendly restaurants, lodging and even a store known as Bark Harbor to get your pet a souvenir.

You may find these other blog posts that we’ve done to be helpful as you plan your trip, Peter, whether you like to hike or bike on Mount Desert Island or Schoodic Peninsula, and whether or not you want to take your dog along:

schoodic woods

Explore the new Schoodic Woods section of Acadia by bike or on foot. During the summer, you can take a bike on a Bar Harbor-to-Winter Harbor ferry, and hop on the Island Explorer to Schoodic.

You may also find our page linking all Ask Acadia on My Mind! Q&As to be helpful, as well as the official Acadia Centennial calendar of events. You can also find out a lot by going to the Acadia National Park Web site.

And of course, for in-depth hiking trail descriptions, we’re partial to our Falcon guides to Acadia, which you can order via Amazon.com, or buy at Sherman’s Books and Stationery in downtown Bar Harbor, or at the Eastern National bookstore at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center of Acadia National Park.

By starting your research so early, Peter, it seems you have a pretty good chance of minimizing that feeling of being an ant on a trail. Happy trails to you!

Another in a series of “Ask Acadia on My Mind!” Q&As

If you have a question about Acadia National Park on your mind, whether you’re a first-time visitor or long-time fan, leave a comment below, or contact us through the Contact page. We may not be able to answer every question, or respond right away, but we’ll do our best. See our blog’s page linking in one place all the Q&As.

Dolores Kong & Dan Ring

About Dolores Kong & Dan Ring

Dolores Kong and Dan Ring are co-authors of the Falcon guides Hiking Acadia National Park and Best Easy Day Hikes Acadia National Park, and also blog at acadiaonmymind.com. They’ve backpacked the 270-plus miles of the Appalachian Trail in Maine, and are members of the Northeast 111 Club, having hiked all major peaks of the Northeast. Dolores, a former staff reporter at The Boston Globe, is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional and senior vice president with Winslow, Evans & Crocker, Inc. (member of FINRA/SIPC) in Boston. Dan, a journalist and former Statehouse bureau chief in Boston for the old Ottaway News Service and for The Republican, the daily newspaper for Springfield, Mass, is also an operations professional with Winslow, Evans & Crocker, Inc. (member of FINRA/SIPC), in Boston. They are married and live outside Boston.