Over Labor Day Weekend 2020, we decided to do our long-awaited camping trip to Acadia National Park! Only, COVID is here. This means that no park campgrounds are open, private campgrounds in Bar Harbor are packed, and there are a lot of RVs! We drove up to Maine on Saturday and were back in Boston by Monday night. Overall, I see the hype of Acadia. It was so beautiful, and really nice hiking! I’ve written up a guide on all things Acadia during COVID: where to eat, where to stay, and where to play (meaning, to hike)!
WHERE TO STAY
We are avid Hipcampers. If you don’t know what Hipcamp is, get ready. It’s one of our best finds in the Northeast! Hipcamp is Airbnb for camping, with a huge range in properties. You will find everything from pitching a tent in someone’s backyard for $15 (we’ve done that) to luxury Airstreams in Joshua Tree for $400 (we have not done that). We were hoping to set up camp somewhere in the vicinity of Acadia National Park, but could only find a site roughly an hour from the park. Park campgrounds are CLOSED and private grounds in the Bar Harbor area are either RV stations or motels.
We stayed here, and from what I understand it’s owned by one guy who decided to set up a campground and hook up his mobile home in the area! The property owner’s name was Wolf, he was super responsive, and had roughly 15 sites to set up at! There was a fully functioning shower and bathroom, and firewood for sale.
It was amazing. Out here in the middle of nowhere, right in the lobster fishing area of Maine, this campground was completely packed! We stayed two nights, and have nothing but positive things to say about it! It was roughly an hour away from the Park and the drive to get there was beautiful. Perfect for a weekend exploring Acadia National Park.
GETTING TO THE PARK
So, we got to Acadia on Sunday morning of the 3-day weekend, and knew we wanted to hike! Aiden has a lifetime National Parks pass, so luckily we didn’t need to wait in line to get a pass, but we saw signs everywhere that it is preferred you buy your pass online before entering the park. We stopped at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center, where park rangers were stationed outside to give suggestions on hikes in the park.
We had friends who were driving up from New Hampshire and planned to meet us in Bar Harbor for lunch, so we only had time for a shorter hike. Also, the Park Loop Road at Acadia has a lot of one-way only drives, so if you start down one way, you will need to do the whole loop before finding an exit!
WHERE TO PLAY: HIKING
We wanted to do the North and South Bubble hike, as they are more difficult and higher than other hikes, but we are so glad we chatted with that park ranger. She mentioned that not only would we not be able to find parking at the Bubble trailheads, but there was no way we would make it to Bar Harbor by lunch. We would need to drive the whole one-way Park Loop Road instead of just turning around. THANK YOU ACADIA PARK RANGERS FOR THE GREAT ADVICE! She suggested we hike Dorr Mountain, the mountain next door to Cadillac Mountain, and it was great. The trail was straight up on the way down, but we opted to do the loop on the way down to not have to scramble down rocks.
Dorr Mountain is what’s known as a “ladder trail” where part of the trail you are maneuvering yourself on a rock or cliff side along rungs and ladders. It was super cool on the way up, but i’m glad we didn’t have to hike down that!
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
Our favorite topic… food and beer. We were ready for lunch after our hike at Dorr Mountain, so we jogged back down to the car, drove out to Bar Harbor, and waited for our friends! This Sunday happened to be the date of our Fantasy Football draft so naturally, we found a brewery in downtown Bar Harbor to quench our thirst and get our draft picks! Atlantic Brewing Co, thanks! They had a great blueberry ale, and lunch looked good too!
When our friends got to Bar Harbor, we went to the Thirsty Whale Tavern for lunch. This place was one of those where it wasn’t too attracted by tourists, but the food was great! I had my first-ever lobster roll… and I’ve been living in New England for 6 years.
WHERE TO PLAY: OCEAN FRONT VIEWS
After lunch, we decided to do the Ocean Path with our friends, as that was the best place for a sunset! On Ocean Path Road, you park on the side of the road and walk the path, but the path is right next to the road. It is absolutely beautiful and has some cool turn-offs to find cool views. We were tight on time, we decided to drive it from viewpoint to viewpoint! We stopped at Sand Beach Overlook and at Thunder Hole, and also found a few great side trails! Highly recommend, it is a busy path but understandably so.
So there, you have it! How to spend a weekend in Maine and one day in Acadia National Park! Of course, it would have been nice to camp in Acadia and do a few more hikes in the park (especially on a weekday). But, with what time we had, I feel like this was a perfect itinerary to get a feel for Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, ME! I hope you enjoyed reading this guide, if you want to receive to-the-point guides like this to your inbox, hit the subscribe button. Located at the top and bottom of this page!
P.S. This whole area of Maine has some of the best vintage and antique shops I have ever seen. If Aiden and I weren’t moving in a few months, I would have spent a week’s salary on shiplap, buoys, and vintage furniture. Definitely make a pit stop at some of these, they are amazing!