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Family-friendly Activities for a Perfect Day in Acadia National Park

It’s a perfect day in Acadia National Park: skies are blue, air is warm. Now, whatever shall you do?

We’ve got suggestions.

1. Visit the Abbe Museum’s location at Sieur de Monts Spring

The Abbe Museum opened in 1928 in Acadia National Park. Originally, the museum displayed Native American artifacts from the region. Today, it has locations in both Bar Harbor and Acadia, produces education and cultural events and has collections representing 12,000 years of Native American culture and history. Yet the small, charming original museum still welcomes visitors during the warmer months.

2. Bike the Carriage Roads

John D. Rockefeller Jr., whose dad started Standard Oil, built the forty-five miles of carriage roads through the park so he could ride horses without cars around. Those carriage roads work just as well for bikes. As you swoop through forests and pass ocean vistas, stop and admire the handsome stone bridges that Rockefeller commissioned.

3. Hike for the hills

Hiking up Acadia’s heights will give you some of the best views of Acadia and the sea surrounding it. Try the Cadillac South Ridge trail and Cadillac North Ridge trail up Cadillac Mountain* or the Beachcroft and Champlain South Ridge Route.

4. Take the kids for a walk

Acadia has hikes that will challenge the stoutest outdoors person. And it has others that are perfect for a family with kids. We suggest the aptly named Wonderland Trail or the Jesup Path and Hemlock Road Route.

5. Stop and smell the flowers

Near the park are two remarkable historic gardens: Asticou Azalea Garden and Thuya Garden. Part of a local preserve, the gardens were created with plants from an older, local garden to create beautiful and tranquil settings. Japanese and English garden design influenced the construction.

6. Take a break for a snack

Sure, you could settle for an energy bar and a drink of water. But why not take afternoon tea (complete with a popover) on the lawn at Acadia’s historic Jordan Pond House? People have been flocking to the restaurant for over a century to afternoon tea along with the great views of the restaurant’s namesake pond. Arrive early to find a parking spot, or better yet, take the Island Explorer buses to arrive on time for your reservation.

More Fun in Acadia For Kids

With thousands of acres of wilderness to investigate, Acadia National Park provides the perfect antidote to technological distractions. At Acadia, you and your family have many choices for observing nature at work, including: walking through the woods and seeing squirrels, salamanders and deer; climbing a mountain and watching for peregrine falcons while you pick wild blueberries; or kneeling down next to a tidal pool and studying crabs, starfish, shrimp and periwinkles.

Unique Spots

If you time it right, you and your family can hear the booming sounds of waves crashing into Thunder Hole, sending sprays 40 feet into the air. If you climb Cadillac Mountain early in the morning, you can be the first in the United States to witness that day's sunrise. From May 26 through Oct 19, vehicle  reservations are required for Cadillac Summit Road between sunrise and sunset.


You and your kids can take a horse-drawn carriage ride along the park's carriage paths to explore the island the way John D. Rockefeller and his guests once did (you can also bike along these paths). You can also get a different perspective on the park aboard a tour boat. What you and your kids will see from the deck looks much like it did when Samuel de Champlain first broke the horizon in the fall of 1604.


Your family can play miniature golf, croquet or badminton at one of the island's popular stops. You can also stay overnight at  Blackwoods or Seawall Campground  and enjoy a cookout by the sea.

*From May 26 through Oct 19, vehicle reservations are required for Cadillac Summit Road between sunrise and sunset.

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