Scenic Road Tours of Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is so spectacular that it has two federal scenic byways winding within its borders.
The 40-mile Acadia All-American Road - the longer of the two - is so special that it’s been designated an All-American Road, considered among the most beautiful drives in the country.
The route begins just inland of the park on Route 3, in the mainland town of Trenton. It follows the highway south across the bridge and onto Mt. Desert Island. From there, the route moves past trees, houses and shorelines to the town of Bar Harbor. The route enters Acadia National Park and joins the famous Park Loop Road, which meanders around the rock-strewn coast and past some of the most popular sites in the park.
Park Loop Road
The Park Loop Road edges by the surging waters of Thunder Hole, the warm sands and chilly waters of Sand Beach and the famous pink granite of Otter Cliffs. Then, it turns inland towards the woods and crags of the park’s interior. There, you’ll find Acadia’s famous Carriage Roads – built by the Rockefeller family for horses and carriages – along with Jordan Pond House, a historic, lake-side restaurant. A side trip will take you up nearby Cadillac Mountain, which at 1,530 feet is the highest point in Acadia. From May 26 through Oct 19, vehicle reservations are required for Cadillac Summit Road between sunrise and sunset.
Some roads on Acadia – particularly those on Mt. Desert Island – can get crowded. Skip the crowds by steering down the 29-mile Schoodic Scenic Byway, on the park’s less-busy Schoodic Peninsula. Located on the mainland east of Mt. Desert Island, the Schoodic Byway includes great coastal views, small towns and plenty of quiet. The 29-mile starts near the town of Hancock.
Acadia Bus & Trolley Tours
If you want to leave the driving to someone else, Oli’s Trolley and National Park Tours offer narrated bus tours within Acadia. You can even tour Acadia’s famous carriage roads in a horse-drawn carriage, courtesy of Carriages of Acadia, Inc. Get more information on these tours here.
Another way to tour without the crowds is to park your car and use the Island Explorer bus service. It can take you throughout the park and to other nearby areas. The buses offer basic transportation (think city bus) that is free, frequent and friendly.