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Beginnner’s Guide to the Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park

Spending A Day in Acadia National Park

Things to see on the Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park

If you’re visiting Acadia National Park for the first time and you want to maximize your day, we’d recommend a drive down the Park Loop Road. Make sure to plan plenty of time to stop and get out and take photos – there are many beautiful sights to see.  If you’re planning on packing a picnic, there are a few stores on the way in to grab ice and sandwiches, drinks, and snacks. The only place inside the park to eat is the Jordan Pond House, and we cover our favorite places to eat in Bar Harbor at the end of this article.

​​What to Bring

We definitely recommend bringing lots of water and some light snacks, and grabbing them before you hit the park. We also recommend bringing a blanket, a camera, a wind jacket, and hair tie or baseball hat. You should be wearing hiking shoes, and bring some flip flops for the car. There’s no cell service inside the park, so make sure to remember to turn your phone on airplane mode to conserve batteries. We recommend downloading some Spotify/Google music/offline playlists prior to your journey, too. Finally, refer to our What to have in your Emergency Hiking Kit post f you’re hiking, and don’t forget to bring your Acadia trail map and Acadia Guide!

Side note: We stopped at the Hull’s Cove store (right before we entered the park and picked up some of the best beef jerky ever. Bonus – you can get it online. 

Getting started

First stop: Hull’s Cove Visitor Center

You’ll want to start by heading into the Hull’s Cove Visitor’s Center and exploring! You will get a good overall view of what to expect, and pick up your map and park pass. Also, you can use the restroom!

Purchase your park pass at the Visitor’s Center or at the entry gate, then head into the Park Look Road

Maps – bookmark this link!

Next: Cadillac Mountain

Once you head into the park loop road, your first stop should be Cadillac Mountain – make sure to take your time exploring the top! You can see for miles and the area has great views of Bar Harbor and the surrounding islands. Reservations are required as of 2021. You can get them here. 

Plan to spend at least an hour here. We recommend two, and checking out the gift shop is a must do. We love leaving with postcards, posters, or other local art.

Wen you come out of Cadillac, take a RIGHT and head down the park loop road, leaving Jordan Pond for later.

Extra: Stop at Schooner Overlook

People like to explore the Schooner Overlook you can access a nice coastal walk this way. This is also a Winter Access Point via the Schooner Head road if you are into winter hiking. Here’s how to access Acadia National Park in the winter. 

Next check out Sand Beach.

Click on the link to learn all about what you can do here! Hikes, exploration, and relaxation are on the list.

Great Head Trail, sand Beach, Acadia National park, Park Loop Road

Next Stop: Thunder Hole 

To get to Thunder Hole from Sand Beach, you could take the Ocean Shore Path as well.

Bonus: Otter Cliffs and Monument Cove

This is a great picnic spot! Get out, stretch your legs, and relax.

Little Hunter’s Beach

Click the link above to read more. It’s delightful!

Cairn, beach cairn, little hunters beach park loop road, acadia national park

Jordan Pond

Jordan Pond offers many hiking and picnic options as well. You could spend a whole day here, as we mention in the post linked to this section. The view of the bubbles is the most famous, and you can access that by taking the right towards them from the Jordan Pond House.

There’s so much more to do on the Park Loop road. Plan to spend all day and stop and get out many times.

Here’s a Google Map of the Park Loop road. It’s a 27 mile long loop, and can take about 45 minutes to drive with no stops.

Other things to do in Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park

Here’s our rundown of where to eat in Bar Harbor!

We’ve got a ton of hikes listed here – just search “Acadia National Park” or click the category on the menu. If you’re interested in additional activities, here are some things we’d recommend!

Margaret Todd Schooner

Scenic Flights of Acadia

Scenic Flights of Acadia, Love Maine Adventures, Things to do in Acadia National Park

Acadia Mountain Guides

Rock climb with Equinox Guide Service

There are limitless possibilities in Acadia National Park. I hope you enjoyed this summary of what to see on the Park Loop road!


Want to read more about adventuring in Maine? Check out our Beginner’s  Guide to Katahdin!

Heading through Bangor, Maine and wanting to rent kayaks for your trip to Acadia National Park? Give us a call! We’ve got kayaks available for rent by the day, half day, or week! 207-814-7710

Learn more on the Rent Kayaks page on this site!

Bangor Maine kayak rentals



Florida born, Maine living. Outdoor life is for me. I love adventures - hiking -photography - running - camping - reading - creating - learning - traveling - deep eddy vodka - cats and living, basically. Follow me on social - @DanielleDorrie

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