Just wondering if anyone has any experience in Acadia National Park. Heading there later this summer and was hoping to get some recommendations as to the best trails/sights to see. Or if there are any other places just clamoring to be explored in the area outside of the park. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all!
I visited Acadia and camped there for 6 days. It was gorgeous and the nights get cool even in the middle of July (not sure where you are coming from). My favorite hike was bubble rock, the view was amazing. The Ocean Path is also beautiful, I feel like you can't go wrong with the views of Acadia. We really enjoyed just walking along the coast looking for san dollars and interesting rocks.
Outside the park, we did one of the whale/puffin watching trips (Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company). It was amazing for birdwtaching, the puffins come right to the ship, artic tern, bald eagle, etc. The day we went it was very rough sailing and they gave everyone a chance to back out and get a refund because whale to come up in bad weather. The crew has a lot of students from the College of the Atlantic that will talk whale all day!
I've been a few times! I recommend Blackwoods campground if you want some car-camping. It's well-maintained and I've always had respectful neighbors.
It's also a short walk away from the ocean, which can be pretty awesome for stargazing, given the lovely dark skies in Acadia. I hit the wrong time of the month for stars on my last trip, but I wasn't disappointed:
As for hikes, the beehive is a fun clamber, but it can get crowded. Indeed, given how accessible everything is, trying for non-peak times is often best, as a many visitors don't have any backcountry-style etiquette. Acadia Mountain in the western part of the park is one a-bit-less-known hike that I found lovely.
One fantastic thing about Acadia is the free shuttle that runs through the park. It really opens up your hiking options since you don't have to do loop hikes or out-and-back. Definitely take a look at the schedule/stops and try to coordinate with your hikes.
If it's open when you are there (and you aren't too afraid of heights), you should try hiking the Precipice Trail. It is only open certain times due to peregrine falcon nesting, so if you're able to do it it's a treat. If it's closed, the Beehive is a similar hike that's fun to do with good views. Hiking around/above Jordan Pond is also a highlight. Cadillac Mountain at sunrise, whether you drive to the top or get up early and try to hike up before the sun hits (we did it this way, very fun) is also beautiful.
ALSO: bring some kind of container with you to collect wild blueberries! We found a lot of them at the South end of Bubble Pond.
If you want a different, less busy experience than most park visitors get, head to the Schoodic Peninsula section of the park. It's separate from Mount Desert Island and gets a lot fewer visitors but still has a lot to see.
Don't forget to make time to walk around Bar Harbor itself. Lots of great ice cream shops, seafood, etc., and the shuttle stops there too.
Oh yes. I concur on the shuttle; it's very often a much better plan than driving. A large part of the road is one-way, so it can be super-duper frustrating to plan an outing, and then find the parking full and you unable to back-track.
And yeah, bar harbor after a long day hiking can be lovely. Last time I was there, we found Basil Blueberry ice cream. A revelation.
Don't limit yourself to just the hikes! Acadia has a network of miles of old carriage roads to bike and there are easily accessible bike rental places in Bar Habor.
I really liked the Precipice trail. It is a harder trail but offers some great views and scenery. Ocean Path was also a great one. Bass Head Lighthouse isn't too far away if you like lighthouses.