On our round trip through New England last week (October 2018), we visited the Acadia National Park in Maine, USA. Even though the Acadia National Park was founded in 1916, it was known by two different names before being renamed into Acadia in 1929. The Park is over 49,000 acres big and the landscape includes mountains, lakes, forests and of course the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean.
Since we were driving around in our 30 feet RV (9.1 m), our base camp was the Bass Harbor Campground. The campground was super cool and really close to several trails and the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. I will upload a blog post about the different campgrounds we stayed at in the upcoming week – so stay tuned 😉
Due to bad weather and traffic we arrived really late on our first day, so we only had 1.5 days in the park, which is definitely not enough to see everything. We started our day with a short walk to the Bass Harbor Head Light, which was built in the 1850th. It is not possible to visit the lighthouse itself, since members of the US Coast Guard are living there, but there are two trails to see the lighthouse and get good pictures: you can actually walk down to the lighthouse and see it up close (paved ground, wheelchair accessible), the other trail will lead you down some steps and you can climb the cliffs to get a good look at it from below. The lighthouse is supposed to be one of the most photographed ones in New England and it is really cute. The weather was not bad, but the wind made it challenging to walk and climb the cliffs. You can get an awesome view at the ocean and the coastline as well as the lighthouse. If you are thinking of driving to the parking area, make sure to get there early or super late, since there are not many spots available. There was a long queue of cars waiting for someone to leave, even though it was late October and there were not many visitors in the park.
There are two trails right around the corner from the Lighthouse called “Wonderland” and “Ship Harbor Trail”. Since finding a parking spot for the big RV is not easy anywhere in the National Park we decided to do the “Ship Harbor Trail” which was a really good choice. The trail will lead you through the forest and along the coastline right down to the ocean. The trail is one of the most beautiful ones I’ve ever done: it’s a nature trail, so you will be walking on the forest floor as well as “climb” cliffs and stones. It is shaped like an infinity sign, so you are able to walk two complete different trails when going to the water and walking back to the parking area.
Driving in the National Park itself with an RV this big is a challenge; I’m not going to lie. Not only considering the limited parking areas but also the bridges: it’s not possible to drive the whole park loop, since one bridge only has a 11.8 feet clearance and the RV is 12 feet high. Our first stop was the Visitor Center to get info on possible routes with the RV because the worst thing that could happen is being stuck somewhere and not being able to turn. The Park Loop Road is a 27-mile (43 km) long loop with the most scenic views on the mountains, lakes and coastline of the park. We were told, that we were able to drive until Jordan Pond Parking, take the trails there and get back up to the visitor center. Since there was no way of parking the RV near the start of the Bubble Rock Trail (hiking up to the South and North Bubble overlooking Jordan Pond) my sister hiked up and we drove down to the Jordan Pond Parking to do the Jordan Pond Trail. The parking lot is big but only had space for four big RV’s, so if you are there during the summer month, you should be there as early as possible. What really bugged me, was that there were normal cars parked in three of the four RV spots (marked with “RV parking only”), which is a little unfair. So please consider parking in normal parking spots if you are there with a car – every RV driver will thank you for that. Believe me, it’s not as easy as it looks to get into a tiny spot with a 30 feet vehicle.
The Jordan Pond Trail/Path is basically a trail circling the lake with amazing views of the surrounding. Since we were there during the Indian Summer, the colors of the leaves in the sun light were magical ranging from green over yellow and red to brown. The trail itself is 3.4 miles (5,4 km) long and relatively easy to walk. The water in Jordan Pond is crystal clear but since it is a drinking water source swimming is not allowed.
On our way back towards the visitor center we stopped at Eagle Lake and watched the sunset.
Since we were not able to complete the Park Loop Road, we took Highway 3 instead, which leads you through parts of the park and along the shoreline. We stopped along the way multiple times to walk along the beach and take pictures of the ocean: Otter Creek and Otter Cove, Bracy Cove and Little Long Pond as well as the Asticou Azalea Garden (Botanical Garden).
Restaurant tip: if you want authentic and super delicious seafood, go to Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound. It doesn’t look too fancy from the outside, but they offer a wide range of fresh seafood and other dishes. You can either take it with you, or eat outside the restaurant. We ordered a lobster, a crab roll and the scallop platter – everything tasted amazing.
One and a half days is definitely not enough to explore the park properly, but we got a good look at it and did some amazing trails. I should add, that they offer bus routes throughout the park during the summer month, so you could easily discover the Park Loop Road by leaving your RV at the Visitor Center and hop on the busses. Since the season was already over when we were there, we couldn’t use that service anymore. The entrance fee for the park is $30 for 10 days, which is rather expensive compared to the National Parks in the West, but worth it if you are staying more than two days and using the bus service as well.
If you have any questions or feedback please comment down below or contact me, I’m always looking forward to hearing other people’s experiences or answer questions.