Air Tours

Acadia Air Tours. This outfit provides sightseeing flights over Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Most tours run from 15 minutes to an hour and range from $150 to $450 for two people. The sunset tour is $50 extra. 968 Bar Harbor Rd., Trenton, ME, 04605. 207/667–7627.


Acadia Bike. With mountain bikes and hybrids, Acadia Bike rents models that are good for negotiating the carriage roads in Acadia National Park. 48 Cottage St., Bar Harbor, ME, 04609. 207/288–9605 or 800/526–8615.

Bar Harbor Bicycle Shop. Rent bikes by the half or full day at the Bar Harbor Bicycle Shop. 141 Cottage St., Bar Harbor, ME, 04609. 207/288–3886 or 800/824–2453.

Coastal Kayaking Tours. This outfitter has been leading trips in the scenic waters off Mount Desert Island since 1982. Rentals are provided through its sister business, Acadia Outfitters, on the same downtown street. Trips are limited to no more than 12 people. The season is May through October. 48 Cottage St., Bar Harbor, ME. 207/288–9605 or 800/526–8615.

Downeast Sailing Adventures. Take two-hour and sunset cruises for $35 with six passengers or $50 with fewer. Departures are from Upper Town Dock in Southwest Harbor and several other locations. Upper Town Dock, Clark Point Rd., Southwest Harbor, ME, 04679. 207/288–2216.

Margaret Todd. The 151-foot four-masted schooner Margaret Todd operates 1½- to 2-hour trips three times a day among the islands of Frenchman's Bay The sunset sail has live music, and the 2 pm trip is narrated by an Acadia National Park ranger. Trips are $37.50 and depart from from mid-May to October. Bar Harbor Inn pier, Newport Dr., Bar Harbor, ME, 04609. 207/288–4585.


Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co.. This company has four boats, one of them a 140-foot jet-propelled double-hulled catamaran with spacious decks. It's one of two large catamarans used for whale-watching trips, some of which go at sunset or include a side trip to see puffins. The company also offers lighthouse, lobstering, and seal-watching cruises, and a trip to Acadia National Park's Baker Island. 1 West St., Bar Harbor, ME, 04609. 207/288–2386 or 800/942–5374.


Acadia National Park maintains more than 125 miles of hiking trails, from easy strolls around lakes and ponds to rigorous treks with climbs up rock faces and scrambles along cliffs. Although most hiking trails are on the east side of the island, the west side also has some scenic trails. For those wishing for a long climb, try the trails leading up Cadillac Mountain or Dorr Mountain. Another option is to climb Parkman, Sargeant, and Penobscot mountains. Most hiking is done from mid-May to mid-November. Snow falls early in Maine, so from as early as late November to the end of March cross-country skiing and snowshoeing replace hiking. Volunteers groom most of the carriage roads if there’s been 4 inches of snow or more. You can park at one end of any trail and use the free shuttle bus to get back to your starting point.

Distances for trails are given for the round-trip hike.

Acadia Mountain Trail. If you're up for a challenge, this is one of the area's best trails. The 2½-mile round-trip climb up Acadia Mountain is steep and strenuous, but the payoff is grand: views of Somes Sound. If you want a guided trip, look into the ranger-led hikes for this trail. Rte. 102, Acadia National Park, ME, 04609. 207/288–3338.

Ocean Path Trail. This easily accessible 4.4-mile round-trip trail runs parallel to the Ocean Drive section of the Park Loop Road from Sand Beach to Otter Point. It has some of the best scenery in Maine: cliffs and boulders of pink granite at the ocean's edge, twisted branches of dwarf jack pines, and ocean views that stretch to the horizon. Be sure to save time to stop at Thunder Hole, named for the sound the waves make as they thrash through a narrow opening in the granite cliffs, into a sea cave, and whoosh up and out. Steps lead down to the water, where you can watch the wave action close up, but use caution here (access may be limited due to storms), and if venturing onto the outer cliffs along this walk. Ocean Dr. section of Park Loop Rd., Acadia National Park, ME, 04609.


The park has two swimming beaches, Sand Beach and Echo Lake Beach. Sand Beach, along Park Loop Road, has changing rooms, restrooms, and a lifeguard on duty from the first full week of June to Labor Day. Echo Lake Beach, on the western side of the island just north of Southwest Harbor, has much warmer water, as well as changing rooms, restrooms, and a lifeguard on duty throughout the summer.

Echo Lake Beach. A quiet lake surrounded by woods in the shadow of Beech Mountain, Echo Lake draws swimmers to its sandy southern shore. The lake bottom is bit muckier than the ocean beaches nearby, but the water is considerably warmer. The surrounding trail network skirts the lake and ascends the mountain. The beach is 2 miles north of Southwest Harbor. Amenities: lifeguards; toilets. Best for: swimming. Echo Lake Beach Rd., off Hwy. 102, Acadia National Park, ME, 04679.

Sand Beach. This pocket beach is hugged by two picturesque rocky outcroppings, and the combination of the crashing waves and the chilly water (peaking at around 55°F) keeps most people on the beach. You'll find some swimmers at the height of summer, but the rest of the year this is a place for strolling and snapping photos. In the shoulder season, you'll have the place to yourself. Amenities: lifeguards; parking; toilets. Best for: sunrise; solitude; walking. Ocean Dr. section of Park Loop Rd., 3 miles south of Hwy. 3, Acadia National Park, ME, 04665.