“The only national park in all of New England, Acadia offers unrivaled coastal beauty and activities for both leisurely hikers and adrenaline junkies.“lonely planet
Acadia National Park in Maine is the fifth-most-visited national park in the country, with four million visitors per year. People are drawn to the dramatic scenery, with mountains located right next to ocean waters. The hiking is excellent, in part because the treeless mountains provide exceptional views that are uncommon on the east coast. Unlike most national parks, there is a cute small town just outside the park (Bar Harbor) that provides excellent hotels, restaurants, pubs, and activities. And the local seafaring culture produces interesting history and amazing seafood. How is that for a list of reasons to visit Acadia National Park?
The National Park
Not only is Acadia National Park the most popular park in the northeast, it is the only national park in the northeast. The area has a long history of 12,000 years of human occupation but it was not until 1916 with the donation of 5,000 acres by a local philanthropist that the area became Sieur de Monts National Monument, which would eventually become Acadia National Park. Yes, the national park can be busy with tourists. But as with most national parks, the tourists tend to go to certain locations and during certain seasons. We make great use of the variety of terrain in the park, driving away from Bar Harbor and the more populated eastern side of the park for many of our hikes.
Acadia National Park Hiking
With more than 150 miles of trails, the Acadia National Park hiking opportunities are plentiful. There is a lot of variety as well. Trails to the peaks of the island offer outstanding seascape views from a relatively low altitude. Trails along the Atlantic coast shoreline allow for explorations of beaches and tidal pools. We can even walk on the 45 miles of scenic carriage roads, a gift of John D. Rockefeller and his family, for a more moderate hiking experience. The beauty of Acadia for us is we can offer a variety of hikes at different levels all in the same general area, making sure everyone is able to do as much or as little as they wish.
Bar Harbor, Maine
Acadia National Park would not be nearly as popular without nearby Bar Harbor. The town is walking distance to the park and offers all the hotels, restaurants, gift shops, outdoor activity providers, and pubs one can want. It is rare to have such a cute, fun town so close to a national park and spending time in Bar Harbor is one of the positives of this trip.
Culture and Cuisine
The coast of Maine has a very distinct culture, centered on the fishing industry. Tales of sea towns, ancient mariners, and shipwrecks in Maine can be found in movies, TV, and books. We experience this culturw on a ride on a lobster boat and visits to the smaller local towns of Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor. There is also loads of seafood for those who love it, including lobster, clams, shrimp, mussels, fish, and more. But for non-seafood eaters, there are plenty of other options.
For a great hiking vacation that features a fantastic seaside town, join us in Acadia National Park!
Zephyr Adventures is an authorized permit holder of the US Forest Service and equal opportunity service provider. We will be using a Special Use Permit to conduct this tour. For more national park adventures see our Banff Multisport, Glacier National Park Hiking, and Best of Yellowstone Hiking adventures.
Photo Credit: Dobbs Productions and Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce
Private Tour Info
Private tours can be arranged for groups of eight or more.Start planning your private tour
- Dates: June 19 - 23, 2024
- Cost Per Person: $3,100
- Single Supplement: $750
- Activities: Hiking
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Guides: Allan Wright, Jeremy Tomkiewicz
- Hike the treeless peaks of the Northeast's only national park with exceptional seaside views
- Take a lobster boat ride into Somes Sound, search for wildlife, and learn about the local mariner history
- Walk across a landbridge during low tide to Bar Island
- Spend a morning biking the carriage roads of Acadia National Park or sea kayaking in Frenchmen Bay
- Walk the streets of cute Bar Harbor, Maine - our local town for the week which is full of shops and pubs
We meet you either at the airport in Portland, Maine if you need a shuttle or in the afternoon at our hotel in Bar Harbor if you are driving to the tour or flying to nearby Bar Harbor Airport. After introductions and a brief orientation of our week ahead, we will shuttle into the park to the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. From the visitor center, we will walk on the historic carriage roads, a 45-mile network of gravel roads built by philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. to facilitate foot and horse traffic in the park. Our route this afternoon is the Witch Pond Loop and you will have three distance options from which to choose. This evening we will walk to dinner at Stewman’s Lobster Pound for a traditional lobster dinner including clam chowder, mussels, steamed whole lobster, potatoes, corn, and blueberry pie.
Hiking Distances: 2.3, 4.7, or 5.2 miles
This morning we will enjoy a buffet breakfast in the hotel and then depart for our first really hike in Acadia National Park, what is affectionately called the Peak Bagger's Delight. You can choose to hike up one, two, three, or four peaks today: Bald Peak, Parkman Mountain, Gilmore Mountain, and Sargent Mountain (second highest in the park). Located in a less-visited part of the park, the peaks get us above treeline (which is not high since we are so far north) and we'll have outstanding views of the nearby coastline and evergreen forests. The hiking is not difficult but definitely uphill, and so you'll have the option to also walk on the flatter carriage roads in this area of the park if you prefer. After our hike, you'll have time on your own to explore and grab lunch in cute Northeast Harbor. Back in Bar Harbor in the afternoon, you can choose to explore town, hang out on the hotel porch or in the outdoor pool, or join us for an optional walk across the tidal land bar to Bar Island, which appears twice a day at low tide. This evening we'll eat at Lompoc Cafe, a cute small restaurant that specializes in unusual flavors and creative dishes such as beet carpaccio, tofu banh mi, crab BLT, or scallops in Korean BBQ sauce.
Hiking Distances: 2.7, 4.0, or 4.2 miles
Today we depart after breakfast for a hike up Acadia Mountain, the namesake mountain of the park. The main route is a nice loop trail to the top of Acadia Mountain. With a little more mileage, you can add a second peak by hiking up Saint Saveur Mountain. And if you'd like a bit more distance, we'll extend the loop and hike on Flying Mountain Loop, which includes the mountain as well as a walk along the Somes Sound coastline. For lunch we explore a second small boating community, Southwest Harbor, with a meal at Upper Deck, featuring a large menu and water views. You'll have a bit of time to explore this harbor town on your own after lunch. Then we have a treat - a two-hour boat cruise on the Elizabeth T, a 21-passenger lobster boat that cruises the local waterways as we look for wildlife and learn about the local lobster industry. We'll return to Bar Harbor with dinner on your own this evening, so you can explore one of the many options in town.
Hiking Distances: 2.9, 3.7, or 5.5 miles
We shake it up this morning, walking to Acadia Outfitters after breakfast where you will have the chance to either bicycle or kayak. We can bicycle directly from Acadia Outfitters in town into the national park, where we make use of the carriage roads network. From our starting point of Duck Brook Bridge in the park and you will have options of the Witch Hole Pond Loop, the Eagle Lake Loop, or the Tri Lakes Loop for a total of nine, 14, or 19 miles. If you choose to kayak, we'll go with a professional guide into Frenchman Bay off the coast of Bar Harbor for a fun and educational trip. After the morning activity, you will have time for lunch on your own in Bar Harbor. We'll then meet for two to three-mile walk through Bar Harbor, learning a bit about the history, seeing the sights, and trying to climb up Tilting Rock if you can! This evening is our final dinner: we will drive into the national park to dine at Jordan Pond House, the only restaurant in the park. In operation since 1893, the restaurant sits on a hill along Jordan Pond and overlooking a great lawn.
Biking Distances: 9, 14, or 19 miles
Kayaking Distance: Varies
Walk Distance: 2 - 3 miles
On our final morning we will get up early to eat breakfast and then depart for a final hike in the Great Head area along the ocean. Great Head is a rock promontory that juts into the Atlantic Ocean, with stunning views, rocky crags, and tide pools. You can choose a shorter or longer loop walk on Great Head. Alternatively, from the same parking lot, we can hike up the Beehive Trail, which is known for the steep drops and iron rungs that help you. This trail is not for the faint of heart (or balance challenged) but is a fantastic option for a final morning for those who dare. We then return to our hotel, check out, and depart, with a dropoff at nearby Bar Harbor Airport or a shuttle to the larger airport in Portland, Maine.
Main Route: up to 5 miles.Book this Tour
BAR HARBOR GRAND HOTEL / BAR HARBOR
The Bar Harbor Grand is our favorite hotel in Bar Harbor, checking off a number of boxes. It is both modern and historic - built in 2003 but a replica of the historic 1895 Rodick House luxury hotel. It is located right on Main Street and so within walking distance of everything in town, yet a couple blocks east of the center and so relatively quiet at night. They have a fantastic front porch with rocking chairs and you can bring in your own bottle of wine to enjoy. We think you will love this property as our home for four nights.Book this Tour
Arrival & Departure
The closest large airport is in Portland, Maine. If you fly into Portland and wish to have a shuttle with us, we will meet you at 10:00 AM in the morning on the first day of the tour for the three-hour plus drive to Bar Harbor, where you will have time to go grab lunch before our afternoon meeting. If you are planning to drive to Bar Harbor or fly into the smaller Bar Harbor Airport, we will meet you at 2:15 PM on the first day of the tour in our central Bar Harbor hotel.
On the last day of the tour, we will do a final early morning walk and depart at 10:30 AM. If you need a shuttle we can drop you off at Bar Harbor Airport at 11:00 AM or at Portland Airport at 3:15 PM, with a lunch stop en route on the waterfront in Augusta, Maine.
- Two Zephyr guides will accompany each trip, with a third guide added if needed.
- Double occupancy lodging is included. If you are coming on a trip solo, you have two options: 1) Pay the single supplement to receive your own room. 2) Ask us to try to find you a roommate of the same gender to share a room with; if we are not successful you will be charged the single supplement and receive your own room..
- All breakfasts, one lunch, and three dinners are included. Gratuity for these meals is also included. Note we will have one lobster dinner - if you wish to have more lobster you will have plenty of opportunity at lunches.
- All your ground transportation is included once you meet your guides on the first day.
- All group activities.
- NOT INCLUDED: Beverages, desserts, three lunches, one dinner, gratuities to your guides, hotel expenses (such as housekeeping or porter service), personal expenses and travel to and from the destination.
This area of Maine is beautiful from June through September, when high temperatures average in the 70s. It can rain (or snow) year round, with about 10 days of rain per month and, sometimes, quite heavy rainfalls. The shoulder seasons of May and October can be beautiful as long as you are prepared for slightly colder temperatures but the benefit is few crowds!
Changes to Your Itinerary
While everything under “What is Included” will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a winery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road or trail undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout trip) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience.
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