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The Kid-Friendly Itinerary to Acadia National Park


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With an unbelievable locale on New England's gorgeous coastline near Bar Harbor in Maine lies the 47,000-acre Acadia National Park. This ocean-based recreational area features woodlands, rocky beaches, glacier-topped granite peaks. Just two hours east from Maine's capital, it's actually the highest point on that coast of the United States.

Primarily situated on Maine's Mount Desert Island with views of Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park offers some of the best wildlife sightings in the Northeast region of the United States. Perfect for a road trip and family travel, Acadia National Park with kids is an incredible getaway for all ages.

Acadia National Park with Kids

Orange red and yellow colors of the trees and plants in Acadia National Park in October

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If you are traveling with kids at Acadia National Park, adventuring by car is the best bet for you. Park Loop Road is a great way to explore the park and take in incredible vistas without even having to get out of the vehicle. Easily fly into Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport, Bangor International Airport, or the Portland International Jetport and rent a car if you cannot road trip. Some popular kid-friendly activities include checking out Thunder Hole, hiking to views of Bar Harbor from the top of Cadillac Mountain, swimming at Sand Beach, exploring the tide pools, or enrolling in the Junior Ranger program.

Hiking with Kids at Acadia

There are a handful of hiking trails suitable for kids at Acadia National Park -- learn all about them here. Family-friendly hikes can be found on the Schoodic Peninsula, the Jordan Pond House, the Great Head Trail, the Wonderland Trail, or a scenic walk to the famous Bubble Rock and South Bubble. Be sure to check the trail maps and difficulty, as some trails in Acadia are suggested for 12 year-olds and up. The historic Ocean Path is a great way to see Thunder Hole, Monument Cove, and the Otter Cliffs at Otter Point.

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Another wonderful way to see the park is by biking or hiking (or taking a carriage ride!) on the famous Carriage Roads, a legacy of John D. Rockefeller. Hikers and visitors will love checking out this extensive carriage road system, which is now managed by the Friends of Acadia. Friend of Acadia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the outstanding natural beauty of Acadia NP. This task was too much for the National Park Service (NPS) to do alone.

More Activities for Kids

Little boy wandering into vast Jesup Path in Acadia National Park, Maine, US.

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Even more entertainment for kids includes taking a carriage ride on Park Loop Road, eating a famous popover at Jordan Pond House restaurant, swimming at Echo Lake or Sandy Beach, and discovering the breathtaking Ocean Path. Make sure that high tide or low tide is working in your favor depending on what kind of adventuring you want to do!

Staying at Acadia National Park

If you are staying overnight, there are two campgrounds on Mount Desert Island, one campground on the Schoodic Peninsula, and five lean-to shelters on Isle au Haut. There is no overnight parking allowed anywhere in the park. Hence, if you want to stay overnight, be sure to make reservations. Check Recreation.gov to book for Blackwoods Campground, Seawall Campground, or Schoodic Woods Campground, especially during peak seasons in the summertime. If you are more of a hotel family, stay in Downtown Bar Harbor or somewhere nearby Bar Island.

Important Information for your Visit

The physical address for Acadia NP is 25 Visitor Center Road, Hulls Cove Visitor Center, in Bar Harbor, ME 04609. The park requires all visitors to have an entrance pass, and all cars in the park must have a pass on display in their windshield. Private vehicles are $30, motorcycles are $25, a person with no vehicle is $15, and an Acadia annual pass is $55.

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