Travel A Day of Hiking and Seafood at Maine’s Acadia National Park
How to visit national parks as lockdowns lift
From figuring out which parks are open to the best practices once you’re there, take a look at these tips for traveling responsibly.On Memorial Day this year, visitors waited for sunrise at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. The park, one of America’s most visited, has begun a phased reopening after closing to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Rose-colored granite peaks and sheltered coves frame Acadia National Park, which encompasses some of Maine’s most luminous seacoast. Less than a three-hour drive from, the 47,000-acre coastal preserve is etched with a maze of trails, walking and cycling paths that lead to hidden tide pools, rain-fed lakes, and summits with views across the Gulf of Maine.
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It’s also among theto visit without a car. Starting in summer 2021, the park will require advance reservations to access some popular areas by car, encouraging visitors to instead take advantage of the that travel to nearly every corner of , stopping at trailheads, campgrounds, and seaside lobster spots. The shuttles loop right through Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park’s picturesque gateway town, and many hotels are walking or cycling distance from a bus stop.
Due to concerns over, shuttle buses are suspended indefinitely, one of a handful of measures put in place since the pandemic. All national park are currently closed, as are some picnic areas; Maine also has a in effect for out-of-state visitors. For now, that means the below itinerary is perfect for exploring in your own car. But by next year, this day-long route from Bar Harbor will likely be a blueprint for discovering the island without a vehicle.
10 Best Places to Camp in the Most Popular National Parks
From Olympic National Park in Washington to Acadia National Park in Maine, these are the best places for national park camping. There’s something magical about setting up camp in a national park, surrounded by impressive mountains, wooded forests, or rocky desert landscapes. National park camping allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty of our country’s most stunning destinations, from the Pacific coastline of Olympic National Park in Washington to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Acadia National Park.
Sunrise comes early to Mount Desert Island, the 108-square-mile island where most of Acadia National Park is located. Just outside the park boundaries is summery Bar Harbor, home to many of the island’s hotels, restaurants, and services. It even has its own miniature islet, teacup-sized Bar Island, which is linked to the waterfront by a natural sand causeway at low tide.
Starting here, wake up with a cappuccino fromas you stroll toward Bar Island, following a thin ribbon of sand flanked by tide pools and colorful starfish. Remember that timing is everything: You only have 1.5 hours on either side of low tide to explore the island’s mile-long walking path, winding through the forest with views of Frenchman’s Bay. (Tide times fluctuate from day to day, so check before setting out.)
In a rare bipartisan vote, Congress sends billions to the national parks
Lawmakers commit to fixing roads and buildings on forests and grasslands, as well as putting $900 million a year toward land and water conservation.Leaks at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church National Historic Park, where Martin Luther King, Jr. served as pastor, have left crumbling plaster and stains on the ceiling. The primary electrical system at Fort Mason in Golden Gate National Recreation Area has been deemed unsafe.
From there, breakfast atis blocks away, featuring triple-stacked pancakes topped with maple syrup and wild Maine blueberries or buttery lobster Benedict. After breakfast head to Sand Beach, where you can choose between two spectacular hiking trails: One follows the water, and the other climbs into the granite mountains.
Weaving between forest and ocean views is the mostly flat, a 1.7-mile round trip that starts by crossing pretty Sand Beach. For something more challenging, test your vertigo on the 3.2-mile , an adventurous trail that emerges from a forested gully onto bald granite boulders, traversing rock faces fixed with iron rungs and staircases.
How to get there with Island Explorer:shuttle to Sand Beach stop
Next, head from Sand Beach to Jordan Pond, where a pair of rounded summits called The Bubbles are the backdrop for a long, slender lake excavated by retreating glaciers during the last Ice Age. On the southern tip is, with outdoor tables that spill across the lawn towards the shoreline. The kitchen does respectable takes on classics from chowder to crab cakes, but popovers are the real draw here; eating the hollow rolls with sweet butter and strawberry jam is a Mount Desert Island tradition.
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They’re also ideal fuel for an after-lunch stroll around Jordan Pond itself, which is ringed by a 3.3-mile loop trail that turns fiery with colorful foliage in the fall. In the spring and early summer, though, drive or climb back on theshuttle towards Northeast Harbor and the Japanese-inspired . Here, cherry blossoms in May usher in June’s azalea and rhododendron blooms, followed by blowsy water lilies in July.
How to get there with Island Explorer:shuttle to Jordan Pond; shuttle to Northeast Harbor
As the afternoon deepens, follow the sun toward the island’s westerly “quiet" side, on a road that skims the southern coast’s pebble beaches and headlands. Take thebus to the end of the line at the fishing hamlet of Bernard, getting off near the waterside . There’s always a line to order, but that means you can linger as chefs lower net bags of lobsters, clams, mussels, and corn cobs into steaming vats of boiling water outside the door.
This is the spot to tie on a napkin for lobster dinner with all the fixings, dining on an over-water porch with views of fishing boats and sleek yachts. Dessert is a slab of tender wild blueberry cake, which you can nibble while walking back to the bus stop, where thewill take you back to Bar Harbor.
Why are so many artists drawn to Maine?
As the state marks its bicentennial, creative thinkers look to crashing waves, craggy mountains, and colorful seasons for inspiration.Painters Betsy Eby and Bo Bartlett spend their summers on Maine’s remote, tiny Wheaton Island. The speck of earth—nearly 22 miles from the mainland—is reachable by charter boat or plane or a short row from the nearby fishing community of Matinicus Island. The pair find inspiration amid its waves and weather.
How to get there with Island Explorer:shuttle to Bernard, then back to Bar Harbor
Where to sleep
A walkable downtown and dozens of restaurants make Bar Harbor a central base for exploring the island with your own car or by shuttle bus. With views across Frenchman’s Bay from private balconies, the grandis located right on the Shore Path, a pedestrian trail crowded with wild roses and whitewashed fences. If you’d rather camp, the national park’s rustic has walking-path access to the ocean, as well as to Bar Harbor.
How to plan a car-free trip for 2021
runs buses to Bangor from (four hours, 35 minutes) and (two hours and 10 minutes). From there, continue to Bar Harbor on the or a bus operated by . Flying into Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport (BHB) is another good option, and shuttles connect to the airport in season.
Gallery: 14 Best Road Trips in America (Condé Nast Traveler)
I-15: Las Vegas to Salt Lake City
Overseas Highway: Miami to Key West
Pacific Coast Highway: San Francisco to Los Angeles
Route 66: St. Louis to Amarillo, Texas
The Blue Ridge Parkway: Afton, Virginia, to Cherokee, South Carolina
Great River Road: Memphis to New Orleans
Oregon Coast Highway 101: Seaside to Brookings, Oregon
Alaska-Canadian Highway: Vancouver to Anchorage
Road to Hana: Kahului to Hana, Hawaii
Hill Country Route: Lampasas to Brenham, Texas
Scenic Route 100: Wilmington to Stowe, Vermont
Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway: Albuquerque to Taos, New Mexico
How will America’s state parks survive 2020? .
In an unprecedented year of pandemic and natural disasters, cash-strapped state parks now face funding cutbacks.This year’s wildfires burned through California’s Big Basin Redwoods State Park in August. Most of the iconic redwoods survived, but historic structures in the park were destroyed.