Famous for mountain peaks and rocky coastlines, Acadia National Park boasts some of the best hiking trails and scenic drives in New England. Its top attractions include panoramic views from Cadillac Mountain, the scenic Park Loop Road, and the turquoise waters of Sand Beach.
And while a visit promises a memorable experience any time of year, there’s no denying that Acadia National Park in fall is a magical sight. The park’s dense hardwood forests made up of maples, oaks, and beech put on an incredible display of color every October.
When planning a trip to Maine’s southern shores, figuring out the best things to do shouldn’t be your only priority.
Here are some of the best places to stay near Acadia National Park so you can have a fantastic time both in nature and out!
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This three-star hotel features old-style decor to embody the spirit of the 1800s.
The Bar Harbor Grand Hotel is in a prime location to Acadia National Park as well as the main attractions of downtown Bar Harbor. This period hotel is a replica of the Rodick House, an iconic hotel that graced the city streets in 1875.
While styled after the past, guests can enjoy nothing but modern amenities and conveniences like a heated outdoor pool, hot tub, fitness center, and free WiFi. Take your pick from deluxe queen and king rooms or a two-bedroom unit perfect for for a family vacation. All of the rooms come with mini-fridges and coffee makers so you can start your day off right!
- Best Hotel in Downtown Bar Harbor
Rates start at $152/night. Click here to book it!
This waterfront bed and breakfast boasts incredible ocean views and is within walking distance to the Bar Island Land Bridge.
The Saltair Inn Waterfront B&B is a boutique hotel known for homey decor and its incredible waterfront views. Behind the hotel, a wooden deck and a grassy yard with Adirondack seating offer an idyllic place to watch lapping ocean waves.
Other unique amenities include a shared lounge with a blazing fireplace, private beach access, and a delicious complimentary breakfast served daily. In addition, Saltair Inn has standard suites and upgrade options that include a spa bath or ocean view.
This hotel also offers easy access to Acadia National Park entrance which is just a quick three-minute drive away.
- Best oceanfront hotel in Bar Harbor
Rates start at $210/night. Click here to book it!
This three-star inn is nestled along Bar Harbor’s picturesque Town Beach overlooking Frenchman Bay and Bar Island.
At the Bar Harbor Inn and Spa, relish in the luxury of oceanfront dining and relaxing spa facilities all conveniently in one place. This New England lodge features not just one restaurant but two and serves a complimentary continental breakfast included with your booking.
When you tire of the hotel’s dining options, some of Bar Harbor’s top restaurants are within walking distance. During your visit, be sure to make time for a stroll along the waterfront trail that highlights the property’s striking coastline. There’s also an in-ground swimming pool and hot tub available. This is by far the best bar harbor hotel to book for a trip to Acadia National Park!
- Best luxury hotel in Bar Harbor
Rates start at $209/night. Click here to book it!
This cozy manor exudes European charm and is known for its Tudor-style architecture and pretty ivy covering its facade.
The Ivy Manor Inn Village Center is a magical bed and breakfast in downtown Bar Harbor. Located at the center of Main Street, Ivy Manor Inn is just a short walk to popular attractions such as the Shore Path and the idyllic Village Green town square.
This historic Inn has 18 guest room options and offers an intimate stay free of crowds. The primary style of accommodation is standard rooms. However, the hotel also has stand-alone private cottages available that are spacious and oh so cozy.
After a day exploring the beauty of Acadia National Park, relax under the stars while lounging on the inn’s outdoor area that’s equipped with a bar top and fire pits.
- Best for a boutique experience
Rates start at $149/night. Click here to book it!
Looking for a fun way to spend the afternoon in Bar Harbor? We highly recommend checking out this Bar Harbor Culinary Walking Tour that will take you to some of the best foodie spots around Village Green. During this tour you'll get to try drool-worthy foods such as lobster sliders, clam chowder, italian sandwiches, ice cream and more! Book the tour here.
This small Bar Harbor guest house is painted a cheery yellow and is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of downtown.
The Yellow House Inn is a quiet retreat located down a private road far from the touristy streets but close to the area’s top attractions. The hotel emanates a charming cottage core ambiance and is known for serving an exceptional hot breakfast included with all bookings.
Every room at the hotel has been decorated in a unique style and features beautiful antique accents. Guests love the wraparound porch at the Yellow House Inn, where it’s possible to sit and relax on padded rocking chairs while taking in the peaceful surroundings. Acadia National Park is just a five-minute drive away.
- Best Bar Harbor Bed and Breakfast
Rates start at $514/night. Click here to book it!
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This two-bedroom vacation rental sits right across the water from Acadia National Park and is a short drive from other charming fishing villages.
The Idle Hour is a quaint waterfront cottage that’s known for spectacular sunrises and ocean views. This two-bedroom accommodates four guests and features a sunny interior with Maine-inspired decor.
The star of this Surry vacation rental is the lovely deck that sits right on the water. From the deck, take the stairs down to a narrow strip of the shore where you can dip your toes into the water.
Some of Maine’s most charming little villages like Blue Hill and Ellsworth are not far from the property. There’s also a fantastic local lobster shack down the road that shouldn’t be missed! Overall, The Idle Hour vacation rental is a great place to stay for smaller families or a couple on a romantic getaway.
- Best for an oceanfront stay near Acadia National Park
- Sleeps: 4
Rates start at $285/night. Click here to book it!
This incredible cabin allows guests to escape to the woods while enjoying close access to Southwest Harbor and Bar Harbor.
Enjoy undisturbed R&R at the Tall Pines Retreat, an outdoorsy VRBO for two in Somesville. Filled with wooden and stone elements, the interior will make you feel one with nature. This vacation rental is in the lower portion of the host’s home but feels very private.
The Tall Pines Retreat sits on a 3.5-acre property and features a stone fireplace, wood stove, and expansive wooden deck that overlooks the property’s private pond. The only living thing you may catch sight of is local wildlife like bald eagles, deer, and if you’re lucky, sea otters. Acadia National Park is a short five-minute drive away.
- Best for a rustic escape to Acadia National Park
- Sleeps: 2
Rates start at $200/night. Click here to book it!
This recently renovated apartment is in the heart of Seal Harbor, a tiny coastal town known for sailboats and Seal Harbor Beach.
Experience an off-the-beaten-path destination at The Nest, a bright and airy two-bedroom apartment on the southeastern shores of Mount Desert Island. This VRBO is near the Stanley Brook entrance to Acadia National Park and is also only 15 minutes from Bar Harbor.
Inside this second-story unit, there are two bedrooms and a pull-out sofa bed that can sleep up to five guests. You’ll also find a balcony, a galley kitchen that’s well-stocked as well as laundry facilities.
- Best Seal Harbor vacation rental
- Sleeps: 5
Rates start at $420/night. Click here to book it!
This incredible log home boasts an impressive five bedrooms that can accommodate ten adults and is under the cover of thick woods.
Tall chalet-style windows and a lovely log exterior greet you at this Bar Harbor Log Cabin. When you’re not off exploring the natural wonders of the region, there’s plenty to keep you entertained at home.
Strike up an exciting game of pool or foosball, or draw a piping hot bath in the Master bedroom’s jacuzzi tub. When it’s chilly out, keep warm next to the cozy stone fireplace.
The hosts have also set up the outdoor area with lots to do, including a patio seating area around a fire pit, and a balcony furnished with dining tables and a grill.
This home also welcomes travelers with pets. All in all, the Bar Harbor Log Cabin is the perfect place to stay for traveling friends or larger families.
- Best for large groups visiting Bar Harbor
- Sleeps: 10
Rates start at $693/night. Click here to book it!
This restored Maine farmhouse is close to two of Acadia’s main park entrances and boasts incredible views of Gorham Mountain.
The Red House is a historic Maine cottage located inside Acadia National Park near Thunder Hole and Sand Beach. It features two bedrooms that can sleep five guests and is hosted by caring individuals known for their clear and quick communication.
The hosts have stocked the home with thoughtful touches such as a local travel guide, board games for family fun, and a fire pit in the backyard. The home also has a partially covered deck that’s furnished with a dining table and grill. The property is far enough away from city lights that it offers spectacular and clear stargazing.
- Best remote Acadia National Park vacation rental
- Sleeps: 5
Rates start at $243/night. Click here to book it!
Ready to book a trip to Acadia National Park? With so much beautiful scenery and endless hiking trails, this stunning National Park is truly one of the top things to do in New England!
Here are a few frequently asked questions about Acadia National Park to help you even more with your trip planning!
What Town Is Closest To Acadia National Park?
The closest town to Acadia National Park is Bar Harbor. This is where you will find all the best hotels and amenities such as restaurants, bars, souvenir stores, and other shops.
The entrance to Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island, a short drive south of Bar Harbor. At the entrance booth, you will need to pay $30 for a vehicle pass which is valid for 7 days.
For visiting National Parks, I recommend getting the America the Beautiful Pass. This pass costs $80 but it includes unlimited entries into any US National Park for a year. I purchase this pass every year and it pays itself off within a couple of visits saving you lots of money in the long run. Buy it here!
What Airport Is Near Acadia National Park?
Bangor International Airport (BGR) is the closest airport to Acadia National Park. This airport is a convenient choice for those traveling to Maine, especially if you have plans to visit Acadia National Park, Baxter State Park, Mount Katahdin, or any of the coastal towns.
Bangor International Airport is about an hour’s drive from Bar Harbor so be sure to set aside plenty of time for your return flight. This is a very small airport with high travel traffic so you can expect long lines during check-in and security.
Pssst! We use Google Flights and Kayak to book our flights. Kayak allows you to easily search for the best flight deals from hundreds of airline sites.
How Many Days Do You Need For Acadia National Park?
We recommend setting aside 1-2 full days to explore all the best things that Acadia National Park has to offer including viewpoints, hiking trails, and scenic drives.
A few of the top things that we recommend doing in Acadia National Park include:
- Hiking the Beehive Trail
- Hiking the Precipice Trail
- Watching sunrise from Cadillac Mountain
- Stopping by Jordan Pond
- Hiking to Bubble Rock Overlooks
- Walking along the Ocean Path
What Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit Acadia National Park?
The peak seasons for visiting Acadia National Park are summer and fall for outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, camping, canoeing, and sightseeing.
We visited Acadia National Park in mid-October for peak fall colors and it was such a special experience. But you only have a small window of a couple of weeks to see fall colors on the coast in Maine otherwise you might completely miss them.
TRAVEL TIP: For fall road trips we use the foliage prediction map that has helped us plan several of our fall trips. This map shows the progressive changing of the leaves for each region in the United States.
Do You Need a Reservation For Acadia National Park?
You do not need a reservation to enter Acadia National Park, but you do need one if you plan to drive to the summit of Cadillac Mountain (which we highly recommend you do!). Cadillac Mountain sits at 1530 feet in elevation offering one of the best views of Acadia National Park from the top, especially for sunrise.
If Cadillac Mountain is on your bucket list, you will need to make a Cadillac Summit Road vehicle reservation ahead of time. These reservations can be made online – 30% of the tickets are released 90 days in advance and the remaining 70% of tickets are released two days ahead.
If you wish to visit Cadillac Mountain for sunrise, try to reserve these tickets well in advance. Sunrises are the most coveted times and get booked up quickly!
Do You Need a Car In Acadia National Park?
For our New England road trips, we always get a rental car. Public transportation is fairly limited in New England, especially if you’re looking to visit multiple States or go to outdoor attractions, hiking trails, and lookout points that tend to be outside of the cities.
If you don’t plan to get a rental car, you can also take the Island Explorer free shuttle or book a narrated bus tour of Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park that will take you to all the top attractions within the park!
Acadia National Park protects 47,000 acres of pristine wilderness, but did you know that it’s one of the smallest US National Parks? Since Acadia National Park is not very big, consider getting Island Time E-bike rentals for exploring this park. An E-Bike allows you to freely roam around in fresh air without worrying about looking for parking or missing your bus.
This post is contributed by Brittany Varano. Brittany is a freelance travel writer and avid photographer with a love of hiking and solo travel. Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, she fell in love with travel blogging after living and teaching English in South Korea. You can follow her adventures on Instagram or her travel blog lifeofbrit.com, where she shares helpful travel guides and budget tips for solo travel in Asia and beyond.
Looking for more New England travel inspiration? Here are some of our other popular New England travel guides that you may like:
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- Guide To Driving Kancamagus Highway In New Hampshire
- 10 Memorable Things To Do In Franconia Notch State Park
- The 10 Best VRBOs In The Adirondack Mountains
- 10 Fun Things To Do In Burlington, Vermont For Visitors
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