The only U.S. National Park in New England, Acadia helped birth the U.S. conservation movement in the 19th century and is the oldest national park east of the Mississippi. The 47,000 acres on coastal Maine that comprise the park are part of the ancestral homeland of the Wabanaki Confederacy, known as the People of the Dawnland. Cadillac Mountain—the 1,529-foot peak that dominates Acadia—is considered the best spot on the East Coast to greet the sunrise. Crisscrossed by charming carriage roads, Acadia draws millions of visitors each year with its extensive hiking and biking trails, 27-mile scenic drive, rugged beaches, and rich history.
One of the more intense (and more fun) hikes is Precipice Trail. It's got some narrow ledges and switchbacks and culminates with a 1,000 foot vertical climb to the top. It's incredibly exhilarating, if you're not distracted by the stunning views along the way! While it's certainly not for the faint of heart (or those with vertigo), it's definitely manageable, as long as you take your time.
If you're starting to think that Acadia is all rocky coastline, think again. Sand Beach is one of the prettiest beaches on the entire East Coast, and its tucked away amongst the forests and mountains of the park, so it'll feel like you're at your own secret swim spot!
If you're looking for something a little more relaxing than hidden caves and crashing waves, then Jordan Pond is right up your alley. The pond itself is crystal clear and calm, and the Pond House is famous for its afternoon tea and popovers. Whether you're just taking a leisurely stroll around the pond, or you want to kayak on it, it's definitely one of the most serene places in all of Acadia.
Be the very first person in the country to watch the sun come up. Because Acadia located at the easternmost edge of the country, it's lucky enough to be the first spot sunlight touches each morning... and since it's located on a stunningly rugged coast, it's always a breathtaking sight. If you want to be a stickler, you'll have to leave your cozy campsite pretty early for a hike up the park's famed Cadillac Mountain to get the very, very first glimpse of the sun.
Technically, it's the very first to see the sunrise in the fall and winter months, and spending New Year's Eve on the mountain to see the first sunrise of the new year is a popular tradition among some. But even if you visit during the summer and find yourself the second or third person to watch the sun rise in the morning, you'll at least get a mesmerizing panoramic view of the park from the peak!
The authentic atmosphere of Stewman's Lobster Pound can't be beat. Right on the water, this seafood shack is a great spot for some Maine lobster (or shrimp, or clams, or oysters.) Go for the lobster bisque or the lobster stew, or a lobster roll. If you're not a seafood fan, they offer other options, plus tons of tasty drinks. Oh, and if you're all blueberry-ed out come dessert time, try another Maine's favorite: Whoopie pie!
Acadia is a four-season destination, and in Maine that means some serious variations in weather conditions and temperatures depending on when you decide to visit. In summer, expect daily highs of 78 to 80 degrees and lows in the 50s. In winter, coastal temperatures dip to highs in the 30s and average lows in the teens. Spring and fall temperatures fall somewhere in between. Summer is the driest time of year, with an average of 6 to 7 rainy days per month in July and August; that rises to 10 days in December and January, and remember—at that time of year the moisture may fall as snow, not rain.