Maine Scenic Drives: Acadia Byway

Highlights of Acadia Byway

© Breathtaking mountain views are visible from Acadia Byway.
┬ę Breathtaking mountain views are visible from Acadia Byway.

Acadia Byway takes you through a diverse area of scenery, from the seashore to the green vegetation inland. Park Loop Road, constructed specifically to take visitors through the variety of sights that Acadia has to offer, leads you along a path of breathtaking delight. The views from Acadia's mountaintops encompass shadowy forests, gleaming lakes, hushed marshes, bold rocky shores, and coastal islands. The ocean, which surrounds Acadia on all sides, strongly influences the atmosphere of the park.

Travel the byway, and stop to enjoy the tide pools along the beaches. Pockets in the rocky shore trap pools of water as the tide recedes, and remarkable plants and creatures grow and live in them, surviving the inhospitable world between tides. A little farther along, step into part of the woodlands where sunlight filters through the branches of spruce, fir, birch, aspen, and oak. Around another curve, a clear, shimmering freshwater lake appears. At yet another place along the byway, climb through the mountains and enjoy the stark beauty of the cliff faces and numerous plant species.

While traveling this byway, take your time. Because this route is on the coast and in a national park, you'll find no end to the brilliant views. Although the byway runs just 40 miles, you can spend several days here.

Visitor Center: Pick up some brochures at the visitor center near Hull's Cove. If you're planning to hike, you'll want to know how difficult each of the hikes is so that you can plan according to your level of expertise. You'll also want to find out the cost of ferries if you plan to go out to the Cranberry Islands or go whale-watching.

Bar Harbor: Spend time in the city of Bar Harbor, soaking in the relaxed atmosphere, eating at a fine or local-flavor charming restaurant, and exploring a few of the hundreds of specialty shops. You can seek out plenty of nightlife: bars, clubs, concerts, and specialty movie theaters (one is Art Deco; one has couches and pizza). You may even be able to catch one of the two annual music festivals, part of the annual film festival, or an opening night at an art gallery.

Dorr and Champlain Mountains and The Tarn: Spend the day hiking around Dorr and Champlain Mountains and The Tarn. Explore off-road Acadia National Park on a mountain bike; take the 45 miles of carriage roads that are safe, serene, gorgeous, and well maintained.

Thunder Hole, Otter Cliffs, Otter Point, and Cranberry Islands: Make sure to hit Thunder Hole (and its associated historical ranger station). Otter Cliffs and the adjoining Otter Point are simply remarkable. You may want to don a jacket as you sit on the rocks and have a picnic lunch. Hop a ferry out to the Cranberry Islands to explore or take a ferry to whale-watch. You can see many other kinds of wildlife while whale-watching: bald eagles, puffins, and peregrine falcons. You can ocean kayak or canoe, deep-sea fish, or take a windjammer cruise. Equipment for all of these activities may be rented, and plenty of guides are available.

Along the Acadia Byway, you'll enjoy Acadia National Park, Mount Desert, Cadillac Mountain, and the hiking trails and bicycle paths accessible from the Loop Road. Take your time and enjoy this scenic drive.

Find more useful information related to Maine's Acadia Byway:

  • Maine Scenic Drives: Acadia Byway is just one of the scenic byways in Maine. Check out the others.
  • Bar Harbor: Find out what there is to do in this city along Acadia Byway.
  • Scenic Drives: Are you interested in scenic drives beyond Maine? Here are more than 100 scenic drives throughout the United States.
  • How to Drive Economically: Fuel economy is a major concern when you're on a driving trip. Learn how to get better gas mileage.