WELCOME TO ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
– The rundown-
– 26 mountains, 40 miles of coastline, 47,000 acres, 158 miles of hiking trails, and 45 miles of carriage roads. Happy exploring!–
It’s hard to express the feeling you get as you see the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain, hear the waves crash near Thunder Hole, and feel the wind in your hair at Otter Cliffs. Acadia is all about taking in the beauty of nature and making unforgettable memories. The annual two million visitors to this national park understand this!
Acadia, located on Maine’s Mount Desert Island, is one of the most popular parks in the country and covers over 47,000 acres. The months that draw the biggest crowds are July, August, and September. But the park is equally as stunning in the fall when leaves change color. The park also comes alive in winter, as snowfall leads to people enjoying numerous activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling.
Things To Do
Enjoying nature is definitely one reason why travelers come to Acadia National Park. For those who love the outdoors, Acadia is pure heaven. Here’s just a sampling of what outdoor enthusiasts can do:
– Horseback riding
– Cross-country skiing
– Ice fishing
But here’s the beauty of Acadia National Park: You don’t have to be the type of person that runs a 5k every weekend, goes to a 6 a.m. spin class before work, and has a hiking location bucket list to enjoy this destination. Anyone can enjoy Acadia! What’s amazing is that the hiking trails accommodate everyone-the trails range from beginning to advanced-and there are activities that aren’t completely, physically demanding. Here’s what you also can do:
– Walk part of the 3.4 mile Jordan Pond Full Loop Trail
– Drive-not climb- Cadillac Mountain to see the sweeping views
– Eat Maine pop-overs at the Jordan Pond House
– Visit the Bass Harbor Head Light
– Eat lobster and visit the Abbe Museum in Bass Harbor
– Not into horseback riding? Take a Wildwood Stables carriage tour
Acadia accommodates everyone, whether you live in a big city and want a moment of clarity or you’re an experienced hiker looking to test a new spot.
The History of Acadia National Park
Indigenous people lived on the land that is now present-day Acadia. The Wabanaki referred to Mount Desert Island as Pemetic, or “the sloping land.”
French explorer Samuel de Champlain stepped foot on Mount Desert Island on September 5, 1604. Due to the area’s rocky terrain, Champlain called it Isles des Monts Deserts. The Acadia area became known as New France.
French Jesuits began to establish their presence here in 1613. The English, under the direction of Captain Samuel Argall, interrupted the plans for a French mission and destroyed French forts.
In 1759, an English victory at Quebec asserted English control and led to the downfall of the French in the Acadia area. Massachusetts Governor Francis Bernard gave free land to people after acquiring a royal land grant on Mount Desert Island. Two settlers, Abraham Somes and James Richardson, relocated to present-day Somesville, the oldest settlement on the island that is now the cutest village ever on the Somes Sound.
After the Revolutionary War, John Bernard (son of Francis) took control of the western half of Mount Desert Island and Marie Therese De Gregoire, the granddaughter of Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac( the Frenchman who Cadillac Mountain was named after) took control of the eastern half of this island.
In the 19th century, the area quickly became a fishing and farming mecca. Newcomers to Mount Desert Island got involved in farming, lumbering, fishing, shipbuilding, and sailing. This point proved how Maine had a rich maritime heritage.
The beautiful seascape attracted not only artists (Enter Thomas Cole from the Hudson River School), but the wealthy too. The Rockefellers, Morgans, Fords, Vanderbilts, and Astors vacationed here in the 1880s. They had sprawling summer homes-it’s so funny that they called these estates “cottages”-and went boating, picnicking, and horseback-riding.
Acadia originally opened as Sieur de Monts National Monument in July 1916 under President Woodrow Wilson’s leadership. The name was then changed to Lafayette National Park in February 1919. Acadia got its present name in January 1929.
The hardships experienced during the Great Depression and World War II affected Acadia. Tragedy struck in 1947 when a fire devastated a huge area of the park. Yet John D. Rockefeller, Jr. established a vital role as an Acadia supporter when he gifted 11,000 acres of land and oversaw the construction of the prevalent carriage roads.
Why You Should Visit
Anyone will be content in Acadia National Park. The park is perfect for every demographic. A child will be curious as a trail unfolds. Those who are more older will love the serenity. Families can go kayaking and see who reaches the other end of Jordan Pond first. Couples can unwind at a Bar Harbor restaurant. Friends can take the perfect group photo in front of Bass Harbor Head Light during golden hour. Little ones will love the nature boat tours departing from Bass Harbor. Acadia warmly embraces everyone!
And again, you don’t need to be an athlete to enjoy Acadia in all its glory. There are bus tours and carriage rides. Try delicious lobster and pick a cute souvenir to commemorate your visit in the adorable village of Bar Harbor. Seal Cove has an auto museum and Southwest Harbor is home to the Wendall Gilley Museum.
The biggest reason as to why everyone should visit a national park at least once in their lifetime is because you’ll never forget how nature made you feel. There’s something really magical about seeing the ocean cliffs or the Cadillac Mountain views for the very first time. It will be permanently fixed in your head. As you look into nature, you’ll feel yourself relaxed. You’ll get clarity and leave Acadia National Park with a different mindset. You won’t be the same person you were before your trip.
It’s no wonder that Acadia is referred to as the “Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast.” You’ll leave with a deeper appreciation for nature, a content heart, and a happy spirit.
Happy trails! xx