Acadia National Park, Maine
Everything the RV Renter Needs to Know
Everything the RV Renter Needs to Know
The rapid development of the east coast in the early 20th century prompted wealthy donors, like John Rockefeller Jr., to mobilize efforts to preserve the beautiful coastal land that has since become Acadia. Today, it is a refuge for abundant wildlife and a natural playground with endless outdoor activities for visitors. During your Acadia National Park RV camping trip through Maine, Acadia National Park has got to be priority number one.
Acadia provides kayakers with an array of paddling options. If you have larger sea kayaks, the park’s coastline and bays are fantastic settings, offering beautiful views of the rocky shore. A good option for beginners is Frenchman Bay off Mount Desert Island. It is nicely insulated from the wind and waves and the scenery is still excellent.
If you head inland, Acadia also has a series of lakes and ponds perfect for kayaking. Jordan Pond and Eagle Lake on Mount Desert Island are some of the favorite options for larger bodies of water. If you’d like something a little on the smaller side, Aunt Berry Pond has a number of islands that make it particularly scenic and unique.
You’ll find more than 50 miles of incredible hiking trails at Acadia. This extensive trail system will take you all over the park and provide unique scenery experiences. Take in views of the waves crashing onto the rocky shoreline, scale a mountain, or stroll through the rich evergreen forests.
You’ll need to be extra vigilant when hiking at Acadia. Many of the trails include steep drop-offs and overhangs, so do not wander off-trail. Your dog is also also welcome on Acadia’s trails, but it must be restricted to a leash no longer than six feet.
Enjoy all the fun of beach swimming with amazing forest views at one of Acadia’s three swimming areas. Sand Beach, Echo Lake Beach, and Lake Wood all have unique feels to them. Lake Wood is a small pond, secluded in the woods. Sand Beach is the only ocean beach at Acadia and features classic sand and surf. Echo Lake Beach has a rugged charm, surrounded by forested cliffs.
Be aware that only Sand Beach and Echo Lake Beach are staffed with lifeguards. All swimming at Lake Wood is unsupervised, so this may not be the best option for younger kids. In addition, keep swimming restricted to these designated areas only. Although there are many ponds, streams, etc. in Acadia, many of them are used for the local water supply and should remain undisturbed.
This isn’t the climbing wall at your local gym. Acadia has incredible sea cliff routes that offer a climbing experience like no other. There are nine established climbing areas, but Otter Cliff and Great Head have the best sea cliff views.
If you’re a climbing veteran, you’ll love the large selection of varying routes with established bolts and pitons. If you’re newer to rock climbing and don’t have all the gear, park staff offer instruction and guided climbs at Otter Cliffs.
What the heck is tidepooling? Well, during low tide when the water recedes, shallow ocean creatures are exposed within the tidepools of seawater trapped in rock depressions. As you explore, you’ll likely find an array of sea slugs, snails, sea stars, barnacles, and sea anemones.
Tides fluctuate throughout the day, but the best time to go tidepooling is between 90 minutes before and after the low tide. The best areas to go tidepooling are Bar Island, Wonderland Harbor, or Schoodic Peninsula. The coastal rocks are slick so wear proper water shoes or hiking boots.
There are three different campgrounds at Acadia that are RV-friendly. However, only the Schoodic Woods Campground offers utilities. Here, you’ll find water and electrical hookups with up to 50-amp service. Reservations for all campgrounds are recommended.
Smuggler’s Den has more than 100 campsites for your camping comfort and is conveniently located on Mount Desert Island. Choose either a cement or gravel pad site with full hookup capability and 50-amp electrical service. Amenities include a heated pool, shower facility, camp store, and a playground.
During peak season in the summer, you may have better luck finding a campsite on the mainland at Timberland Acres. Only a 20-minute drive to Acadia, Timberland has 200 sites in a beautifully wooded setting. Roomy pull-through sites can accommodate 100-foot long rigs with full hookup access. The recreation area has plenty of activities for kids and adults, alike, including a swimming pool.
Just across the water from Mount Desert Island, camping at Narrows Too Camping Resort allows for quick and easy access to Acadia. More than 200 sites offer full hookup access and awesome shoreline views of the narrows. Your group will enjoy the camp store, laundry facility, dog park, and swimming pool as well.
Also located on the shore of the narrows, but on Mount Desert Island proper, Mount Desert Narrows Camping Resort is only a nine-minute drive to Acadia. You can relax and enjoy an ocean view from your full hookup campsite while the kids are swimming at the pool or enjoying the game room. The campground is also just minutes from the quaint resort town of Bar Harbor, where you can find great shopping and restaurants.
There is only one dining facility at Acadia, but it’s nicer than you might think. The Jordan Pond House Restaurant serves lunch, tea (light snacks and beverages), and dinner from May-October and prominently features fresh seafood on the menu. It’s high-quality food, so it leans on the expensive side (~$20-50 for dinners). You can always make your own food in your rental RV’s kitchen, if you prefer.
Head into Bar Harbor, immediately adjacent to the park, for a bunch of great food options. Dedicated breakfast joints, American cafés, Latin cuisine, and – you guessed it, seafood. A whole lot of seafood. All of the restaurants claim that their lobster roll is the best. So, it doesn’t hurt to taste-test them all, right?
Whether you spend your time at Acadia hiking and climbing mountains or perusing the coastal tidepools for aquatic wildlife, your RV experience will make for some great lifelong memories. Put Acadia at the top of your list for your RV excursion through the great state of Maine.