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Great Drives

Maine's Acadia National Park

& Mount Desert Island

Maine's Atlantic seacoast is a wonder of rocky cliffs, surging tides, mud flats, and stoney beaches. A day's drive -- beginning 47 miles south of Bangor -- leads you to fine coastal adventures, around the highest mountain on the Atlantic Coast of North America, and through small fishing villags where time seems to stand still.

The centerpiece of this drive is Maine's only national park. A day won't be enough to sample the pleasures of visiting this unique park on Mt. Desert island, and the atmospheric towns of the Maine seacoast.

Mount Desert Island

The Acadia region of Maine stretches from Penobscot Harbor to Goldsborough Bay, with hundreds of islands, small harbors, and headlands, with rolling hills in the interior. As you drive south from Bangor, toward this scenic coastline, you'll come to Ellsworth, the commercial center of the region. You leave Ellsworth, continuing south toward the ocean, and cross to Mount Desert Island.

Acadia National Park, MaineHere, glaciers have carved lakes and valleys out of the underlying granite. Evergreens are scattered across the island, set on small sections of land surrounded by rocky outcroppings, with small lakes dotting the landscape. This is a summer and winter destination, excellent for summer camping and exploring the coastline, and also for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in wintertime.

There are a dozen communities on the island. Southwest Harbor offers a collection of cozy B and B inns and homes. Bar Harbor is the main recreation-oriented town, located on Maine Highway 3. You'll find modern shopping places here, along with cultural activities and a range of motels and bed and breakfast homes. Ten miles north of Bar Harbor is the campus of the University of Maine, in Orono. For more information on Bar Harbor and vicinity, write the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 158, Bar Harbor ME 04609, or call (207) 288-5103.

Acadia National Park

Thundering surf, granite ridges meeting the sea, the highest east-coast mountain, woods, little lakes ringed with wildflowers, and the wonder of seeing the magical sun as it approaches the shores of America. This is Acadia, a national park made up of more than a dozen sites, all in a region with small, picturesque seaside villages and offshore islands.

From the peak of Cadillac Mountain, you'll have the perfect New England vista, the coastline, as far as you can see, lovely little islands scattered across Frenchman Bay. that thrilling sunrise, blueberries, and wildflowers.

For just about the most unusual park tour available anywhere, take a local mail boat to Isle au Haut or, better still, a tour boat to Baker Island. On the outbound cruise you'll see ospreys and seals. And, on the island, you'll walk through an eerie birch forest, and spot many song and water birds. Spring and fall are the ideal months for exploring the Maine coast.

Walk, cycle, or ride a horse on the old carriage paths built by John D. Rockefeller after he had decided that the new automobile would ruin the area's ecology. The paths offer wonderful access to a waterfall, and a pond -- with loons. The park also has 120 miles of walking and hiking trails, including trails leading to Cadillac and Dorr mountains. Less traveled is Schoodic Peninsula, where granite laced with volcanic magma is splashed with surf. Walk from the peninsula (at low tide) to nearby Little Moose Island, and an intertidal zone, with myriad sea creatures in rocky pools.

Park Facilities

The park's main visitor center is located near Bar Harbor, on Maine Highway 3, just south of Hull's Cove. Two campgrounds are available, with a 14-day limit. For park information, go here.

Other Online Information:

Ellsworth, Maine and area

 

Fraser Bridges

 

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Acadia National Park ME

Anza Borrego Desert CA

The Apache Trail AZ


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