Before you go to Acadia National Park in Maine, you’ll research all of the best things to do on Mount Desert Island. You’ll drive the Park Loop Road. You’ll be sure to stop to see Otter Cliffs, Sand Beach, and Thunder Hole. You’ll stroll down the Main Street of Bar Harbor.
But I want to share with you seven stunning sights to see that may be off the beaten path or require a little extra effort. And some of these are manmade! Bring your camera.
1. Start with Acadia’s most well-known site, Cadillac Mountain.
At 1,530 feet, it the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard and the perfect place to survey the spectacular beauty of Mount Desert Island. But, believe me, it’s worth it to get up to see the sunrise and view the Porcupine Islands in Frenchman Bay at dawn.
2. Visit the famous Stone Barn Farm in Bar Harbor.Barns, bridges, and churches are as much a part of the Maine landscape as some of its natural wonders. Add to your itinerary the cobblestone barn on Norway Drive, built in 1820, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
3. Walk, bike, or carriage-tour Acadia’s carriage roads.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. oversaw construction of 45 miles of carriage roads available to you today that weave around the mountains and valleys of Acadia. They will bring you to some spectacular sites and sightings, which may include David Rockefeller himself taking a drive.
4. Let Jordan Pond and The Bubbles take your breath away. Jordan Pond House visitors not only take in tea and popovers, but this iconic view. I urge you to explore Jordan Pond’s shoreline and see if you prefer the views from a point slightly more west, as my husband does. The 3.2-mile walk around the pond is delightful.
5. Be charmed by the Somesville Bridge.
The village of Somesville, founded in 1761, is Mount Desert Island’s oldest settlement. The bridge, often cited as one of the most photographed spots in Maine, will get your attention first, but then you should focus on Somes Sound, the seven-mile-long fiord that divides Mount Desert Island.
6. Behold the boats on Bass Harbor at dusk.
A highlight of the so-called “Quiet Side” of Mount Desert Island is the working fishing village of Bass Harbor. When you visit this quiet community, you’ll certainly also want to see the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, built in 1858, and to have dinner at Thurston’s Lobster Pound.
7. Find inspiration at Little Long Pond in Seal Harbor.
Charles Eliot, the influential president of Harvard University, in 1901 founded an entity on Mount Desert Island to acquire lands for public use, setting the stage for the establishment of the national park eighteen years later. His son and views like this one – which he felt to be the most beautiful on the island – were his inspiration.
It’s hard to limit this list of must-see scenes to just seven! Comment below and share your favorites!