Thursday, June 6, 2024

Acadia in the Rain

Sand beach


 The national parks of the United States are known for their beauty. One of the parks at the top of that list is Acadia National Park in Maine. It offers the best of Maine’s sea coast, from rocky beaches to the views from mountain tops.

Acadia National Park sits (mostly) on Mount Desert Island, about 35 miles (58 Km) southeast of the city of Bangor. It has an area of over 49,000 acres (77 sq. Mi.). Acadia also has park land on surrounding peninsulas and islands. Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the Atlantic coast of the U.S. is here, along with granite domes, cobble beaches, and glacial lakes. Acadia was the first national park created from land donated by private citizens.

Frenchman's Bay

The main access to Acadia National Park is along the 27 mile long Park Loop Road. The road is fully open from April 15 through December 1, weather permitting. The Loop was completed in 1958, by a design team put together by John D. Rockefeller, who also helped create a series of carriage roads throughout the park. It is a one-way passage for most of its circuit, and passes by the parks main attractions. I had the chance to drive the Park Loop on a rainy day in early May.

Early May can be an unpredictable time to visit Maine’s coast. The weather can be cold and rain storms roll through the area. But this was the day on my schedule to spend in the park, so off I went. I have found that, as long as it is safe, rain is not a reason to avoid visiting a park. In fact, as long as you are prepared for the weather, you can often find sights that are unique. 

Near Seal Bay


I entered the park through the Sieur du Monte Gate, just south of Bar Harbor. My first stop was Sand Beach. This 300 yard long beach stretches between rocky ridges on either side of the short cove that is its home. Getting onto the beach proved a little difficult, as the stairs from the parking lot end in an area that is filled with large stones. But once on the sand, it was worth the effort. The low clouds framed the view out to the Atlantic, while the fog had rolled in over the surrounding land, shrouding the nearby hills. Even though it was raining, the water was calm, so nearby Thunder Hole was quiet.


Next I headed for Jordan Pond. This lake was carved out by glaciers during the last ice age. Jordan Pond sits in a valley between several mountains, ridges and granite domes. It has an area of 187 acres, and a maximum depth of 150 feet. Its water is crystal clear, and there is an easy 3,8 mile hike around it. Once again, the clouds and fog created some beautiful scenes. Jordan Pond is also where you will find one of the two largest park stores, and a cafe that is rumored to serve excellent pop-overs. Unfortunately the cafe was closed when I visited.


My final stop was at the summit of Cadillac Mountain. The trip up to the top of the mountain is not directly on the Park Loop, and during high season (between May 15 and October 31) you have to reserve a ticket to drive up there. Reservations open up 90 days ahead, and sell out quickly, so plan ahead. The summit offers amazing views of Mount Desert Island, Frenchman’s Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. I was able to see some of these during my drive, taking advantage of the several pull-outs to stop and take some photos. But as I neared the top of Mt. Cadillac, the clouds rolled in. However they created their own atmosphere, with eerie scenes of rocks and trees fading into the fog. 

Bar Harbor and Frenchman's Bay


Acadia National Park is beautiful place, and it is worth a visit os several days. There are great hikes, and, as I will discuss in a future post, Mount Desert Island has a lot to do.

Nuts and Bolts

Acadia National Park is open all year, however parts of it are subject to seasonal and weather related closings, so check their web-site when making plans.

The entrance fee for a car is $35 for a 7-day pass. The allows a non-commercial car/van and all of its passengers entrance.

Between June 1 and Oct 31 there are a series of fee-free shuttles busses that serve the park, Bar Harbor and some other surrounding villages. If you enter the park on one of these buses, there is a $20/per person usage fee.

The timed reservation for Mount Cadillac is $6.

All yearly NPS passes are valid at Acadia National Park at all times EXCEPT for the Mt. Cadillac reservation.


  1. Absolutely beautiful. I hope to visit one day.

  2. I'm not a great outdoors person. I love observing nature from my terrace or porch but am not much for hiking or climbing or anything like that. However, these photos make me want to become part of the beautiful scenery. Thank you for capturing them in your lens.