Acadia National Park

Sightseeing at Acadia National Park

©2006 National Park Services The beauty of Mount Desert has been depicted in both prose and paint.

Visitors can spend a morning at Acadia National Park among the tidal pools, gazing in wonder at the colorful sponges, sea anemone, starfish, and periwinkles, or they can go for an extended hike among the Canadian-like forests of white spruce and paper birch, red maple, and quaking aspen near the summit of Cadillac Mountain. At 1,530 feet, Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the Atlantic Coast of the Americas north of Brazil. From its often breezy summit, hikers can take in a panoramic view of this wonderland of granite islands and tranquil sea.

For people looking for more solitude, Acadia offers several smaller outer islands, including Isle au Haut, about 15 miles southwest of the primary island in the park (Mount Desert). Acadia is also known for its wildlife, which includes a profusion of coastal bird-life, such as great blue herons and gulls, warblers and juncos, ospreys and eagles, guillemots and terns. Master wildlife photographer Eliot Porter was known to spend hours stalking the birds of Acadia. Marine mammals include harbor and gray seals, porpoises, and finback whales.

Acadia National Park Photo Opportunities

Acadia National Park offers picturesque panoramas sculpted by the unrelenting sea over thousands of years. To capture this beauty on film, try one of these vantage points:

  • Cadillac Mountain: People say that Cadillac Mountain is one of the places where dawn first brushes the United States. Daylight greets this mountaintop, the highest point on the East coast between Canada's Gaspe Peninsula and Rio de Janeiro, in spectacular waves of purple, red, and blue.
  • Somes Sound: A deep coastal valley has been filled by the sea to create Somes Sound, the only true fjord in the contiguous 48 states. Framed by the Cadillac Mountain range, sunsets over Somes Sound are spectacular.
  • Schoodic Peninsula: Across an inlet to the east, the Schoodic Peninsula is a remote, untamed intrusion into the ocean, where enormous granite rocks brace against the endless lashing of the waves. From Schoodic Peninsula, the view out over the water is starkly beautiful.
  • Frenchman's Bay: Containing Sheep Porcupine Island and Bald Porcupine Island, Frenchman Bay is located off the northeast side of Mount Desert Island near the Visitor Center. Sunrises over the bay are particularly breathtaking.
©2006 National Park ServicesThe same pristine Maine coast that inspired maritime artist Winslow Homercan be seen in the sweeping landscapes of Acadia National Park.

Now that you've read about the must-see sights of Acadia, let's back up and examine how these amazing mountains and lakes came to be. On the next page, learn about the glaciers that carved out rock formations and the explorers who discovered them.