NileGuide Expert Says:
No matter what your outdoor passion, Acadia National Park has opportunities for enjoying nature in all its glory.
NileGuide Expert tip:
Check out Acadia in the off season when its possible to roam the park at your leisure. Winter is great for cross country skiing and snow shoeing. May and late September/October is great for hikers, cyclists and kayakers.
- Acadia National Park is a destination of stark contrasts. Its towering summits remind you of the commanding inland peaks of New Hampshire's White Mountains. And yet, the roaring surf of the Atlantic Ocean is always close by. In many ways, it satisfies outdoor enthusiasts who love both the sea and mountains. The beauty of this national park is almost beyond description. Everywhere you turn is another perfect postcard moment – tree covered cliffs that span the horizon, soft sandy beaches that are constantly reconfigured by the ceaseless pull of the ocean, and carriage roads that weave through stunningly picturesque stands of forest and upland hills. For nature lovers, in particular, Acadia is a place of perfection. Hikers can wander through well marked trails, cyclists and walkers frequently traverse the meticulously maintained carriage roads covered with crushed gravel, lovers of the sea can endlessly amble along its craggy coves and inlets, and kayakers can leisurely paddle along its many lakes, streams or the ocean shoreline. No wonder that Acadia can be a tough entry for travelers. Since the park does not take reservations for its campgrounds, it is not uncommon for campers to wait for hours (sometimes days) to stake their claim to a site at the height of the summer season. Off season, especially winter, is a very different story, however. Cross country skiers, for instance, rarely encounter crowds as they enjoy the superior glide afforded them along the 32 of the 45 miles of carriage roads that are available for Nordic skiing in the winter. Thanks to the good work of the Acadia Winter Trails Association, a committee of the volunteer Friends of Acadia organization, many cross country ski trails are tracked and groomed – a big plus for lovers of this snow sport (and a feature that is typically found only at for-profit cross country ski centers). Snowshoe fans, too, will find much to praise about Acadia as they have the many hiking trails to themselves. Later in the year, cyclists can enjoy unobstructed pedaling if they come to Acadia prior to Memorial Day in May or after Columbus Day weekend in the fall. Of course, there is much to be enjoyed when Acadia National Park is in all its glory during the exciting summer season, too. Without question, Acadia is an outdoors experience not to be missed for those exploring Downeast Maine.
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