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More beauty in Acadia National Park, Maine

Even with little planning and research, Acadia National Park in Maine, U.S. left us enthralled. A trip to Acadia National Park would require some amount of driving to get there and depending on where are you are starting from, this could be between a few hours to a very long drive. Thus parents with young kids might wonder, “It it worth it?” And take my word for it.. the answer is a big resounding yes. Even with a toddler who was terribly car sick in the drive from New York to Portland, Maine, the beauty of Acadia was so worth the trouble to get there.

Acadia National Park is vast and can be a little overwhelming. I previously wrote about Cadillac Mountain. Here are some other stops in the National Park that can help you plan a trip. Hopefully the pictures can convey the beauty where the words may have failed.

1. Sand Beach:

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While its name is clearly unpretentious and a bit lacking in flair, the Sand Beach is nothing short of lovely. I have seen beaches with softer-white-powder-sand and beaches with more-turquoise-waters but I had never seen a beach in a cove with so much greenery surrounding it. Bordering the beach on all three sides are the ubiquitous forests of birch and Pine. The Sand Beach is not too far from the entrance to Acadia National Park and since we made our way there at 6:30 am on a Monday morning, we were rewarded with having the entire cove to ourselves. The beauty of the beach is accentuated with rocks and pebble formations, and Siena had a great time hopping on the pebbles and splashing in the gentle waves. If anyone is asking me, I would gladly rename this beach Emerald Cove.

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2. Park Loop Road:

This road which runs against the rocky coast of a large portion of Acadia has many lookout points to take in the waves crashing the rocky outposts. A lot of these lookout points are also the starting point of hikes and trails which are very popular with families.

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3. Jordan Pond:

This lake surrounded by mountains is known for its very clear water. A lush green and wooded walking trail meanders around the whole perimeter of the lake. We were easily able to walk sections of this trail with our toddler. We stopped at one point and dipped our toes in the calm waters, and saw schools of fish swimming around our feet.

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Before walking the Jordan Pond path, we stopped at the Jordan Pond House restaurant for lunch. Their specialty is a puffy soft pastry called pop-overs.  Even if you do not have time for a full meal, do try to snag a table and enjoy the pop-overs with a view of the lovely pond.

4. The Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse:

This iconic lighthouse perched on a cliff is often the image that appears when you google Acadia National Park. This was our last stop in Acadia before driving back to Portland and the lighthouse did not disappoint.  After walking down a mud path and climbing over rocks, we were rewarded with expansive views of the Atlantic and the lighthouse. However, as much as I tried to go into a corner take a picture, I could not get a good picture of the lighthouse and the cliff. A good picture would most certainly have to taken from a boat. Below you would only see my sad attempt at capturing the lighthouse.

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If these posts have piqued your interest in Acadia National Park, consider staying at the Holiday Inn, Bar Harbor. Its location is great for exploring Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. With its heated outdoor swimming pool and restaurants overlooking the ocean, it packs a lots of Maine-coastal charm.

p.s. – Now that we have moved to the Seattle area, Acadia National Park and Maine are an entire breadth of a continent away from us. Hopefully, we would get a chance to visit this beautiful, rocky, rugged place again!

Cadillac Mountain, and our first National Park visit with a toddler.

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The view of the Atlantic Ocean from atop the Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, Maine.

We climbed a mountain! We actually climbed a mountain, with our three year old! Okay, in the spirit of full disclosure, we drove to a mountain summit with our three year old properly harnessed in her car seat, but still, as any parent would attest, the fact that we toured a bonafide US National Park and managed to see the views from Cadillac Mountain with our little one makes me very proud and happy!

Cadillac Mountain is one of the tallest peaks on the east coast of the United States and is a part of Acadia National Park in Maine. If you have a small child or children and are wondering if a national park holiday is worth your time, and money, and sanity, there is good news! Acadia National Park is very drivable, and you can soak in a lot of scenic beauty by driving and through small and easily doable hikes.

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The many viewing points at the summit.

Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Acadia National Park gave me the feeling of having left the United States, even though we were very much in it or at least at the very east of it. With sweeping views of waves crashing over a rugged coastline dense with forests of pine, fir and birch trees, Acadia National Park felt remote and a perfect antidote to the busyness of New York.

One of the stops on our road trip in this National Park was the Cadillac Mountain.  While we did not investigate into this, there appeared to be hiking trails that can get you to the summit of the mountain. We took the scenic Summit road though, up to the parking lot at the top, and then explored by foot.  There a 3 or 4 stopping points along the way too, so that if you absolutely cannot resist the urge to take pictures, you can park the car safety and let the camera shutters go wild.

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Enjoying family time at Acadia National Park

Once we reached the top of Cadillac, there was little else to do but just enjoy the beauty surrounding us. On the pink granite dotted with shrubs and wild flowers, there is a well marked and long gravel path which let Siena, our little one, also explore the summit safely and easily. The view in front of us was of the vast Atlantic, dotted with numerous Maine islands, including the most popular one, Bar Harbor.

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A quite moment to enjoy the beauty of the moment

Stay tuned for more on what we saw and did in Acadia National Park.

Practically speaking:

  • Wear good hiking shoes and carry drinking water (and snacks if you are travelling with little kids). Also carry sunscreen and a sun-hat if you travelling in summer like we did.
  • The daily weather is a tad unpredictable. It might be cloudy in the morning but could get very sunny later in the day.
  • Most definitely carry and apply bug spray when you are out and about in this thickly wooded National Park!
  • Acadia is a very popular tourist destination (as we came to realize), so if you are visiting during a public holiday, expect a lot of crowds and wait times for available spots in parking lots.

 

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