top of page

Fun in Acadia & MDI, Maine

Cate and I have been going to Acadia annually since 2008.  For the last ten years or so, we spend two weeks on the quiet side of the island, renting a house just north of Southwest Harbor. 


As the crowds get larger, we spend more time away from Bar Harbor and the most popular parts of the park.  If it's your first time visiting, these "must sees" are fun and impressive, but do expect things to be busy.  You can find those iconic outings on any "top ten" list or search, below are some of our favorite, more hidden things to do and see.  

Things to do

Echo ledges

a way to dip in the lake with a little adventure

Follow a trail down a steep hillside behind the Acadia mountain parking lot to the lake.  There is a small "cliff jump" and rocky ledges to sit out between swims.

Picnic areas

the park's picnic areas seem to be less crowded and are always beautiful; pick up lunch from somewhere nice and enjoy it outside:

Seawall has fire rings and tables right on the ocean

Fabri is a nice wooded area just beyond the most popular areas of the park

Pretty Marsh is a bit out of the way but so peaceful.  Follow the trail down to the water to find the picnic pavilion

Hunter's beach

a half mile hike leads to a secluded cobblestone beach with a babbling stream flowing right into the ocean

Easy hikes with a view

these are shorter and easier hikes, but lead to spectacular views:

Flying Mountain - not only a great view, but take the trail over the top and down to a beach great for tide pooling, wildlife witching, and even a dip

Beech Mountain - hike up to a fire tower and views of Long Pond; stop at the farmstand on the way out

Acadia Mountain - to keep this short and easy, go up and down on the same trail; the loop always feels a bit long

Gorham Mountain - another out and back hike to keep it short.  This one is very popular; plan to get to the trail parking by 8AM

Ed takes you out on his boat, where he then dives to the ocean floor with a video camera.  He shows you around and then brings lots of sea creatures up to the boat for the best touch tank ever.  

Walks to the ocean

There are several short walks out to the ocean for wildlife viewing and tide pooling- great to do on a cloudy day

Bass Harbor lighthouse

Ship's Harbor


Blagden Preserve - we almost always see seals at the end of the trail!  Bring binoculars!  Walk down the path towards the ocean; bear left at the end.  Look for 2 red Adirondack chairs and seals are usually on the rocks to your left. This preserve is not part of the park and seldom crowded.


MDI Lobster

a very causal place for great fried seafood, BBQ, and lobster

picnic tables outside overlook Southwest Harbor

123 Main

breakfast choices and delightful lunch boxes; perfect to take on a picnic

Stop by Colonel's for a donut while you're in town

Mothers Kitchen

fantastic lunches


our favorite place for lobster, with a scenic drive across the island to get there

over the years, the lobster stew has become our top choice

it has gotten very popular recently, so get there early and prepare to wait

Red Sky

a more upscale option for a nice dinner out

Common Good Cafe

the better choice for popovers!

They run a soup kitchen for locals in need.  To fund operations, they do a popover sale during the summer for donations.

Other goodies

These are our favorite places for food shopping, desserts, and treats:

Parson's lobster - a fish market with super fresh fish, amazing smoked salmon pastrami, and cooked shrimp

MDI ice cream - simply the best

Sawyer's specialties - wine and cheese shop, 2 locations

Bar Harbor popcorn - the blueberry is our favorite

bottom of page