I am an ocean girl. With a serious love of mountains.
I grew up around plenty of ocean, not a whole lot of mountains. But luckily, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend many a vacation out west in the Rocky Mountains. Banff holds a serious chunk of my heart. But the only thing ever missing in the Rockies – was a big blue ocean.
When I first learned that this year’s mother-daughter trip was Bar Harbor, Maine – my immediate thought was “it’s like the Hamptons or Cape Cod but in Maine.” Fancy hotels. Waterfront shopping. Lot’s of expensive but delicious seafood. Sure I’d heard about Cadillac Mountain (everyone will tell you to drive up Cadillac Mountain!) but I had absolutely no idea how incredibly amazing the park where the mountain was found, actually was.
Meet Acadia National Park – one of the most beautiful oceanside places I’ve ever been.
Let’s start with the obvious draw.
Cadillac Mountain stands at 1,528ft and is the highest point along the North American seaboard – meaning if you wake up early enough to drive up to the top for sunrise, you’re the first in United States to see the light. We didn’t make it up for sunrise (plus, it was foggy our first two mornings in Bar Harbor) but we made sure to drive up to the top twice, to get the most out of Cadillac Mountain.
Jordan Pond & the Bubbles
A visit to Acadia National Park is not complete unless you have high tea and popovers at Jordan’s Pond House. Named after the pond it rests on, this tea house / restaurant offers the most unique view I’ve ever had when sipping afternoon tea. It’s been open since the 1870’s and was first established to serve the well-to-do who would summer in Bar Harbor.
The excellent wait staff made sure we had the perfect table and their famous “hot popovers” were one of the best baked treats I’ve ever had in my life.
Sand Beach is found along the Park Loop Road, headed towards Thunder Hole (more on that later). In the summer, it’s a popular spot for sun-bathers and those willing to brave 50 degree celsius waters. In early September, it’s a beautiful beach walk whether on a rainy or sunny day (we went back twice to enjoy it on both!)
While the ocean view is stellar, one look behind you and you get mountains and small ponds to stare at equally in awe. On our second day in Bar Harbor, we learned there were deer swimming on the beach that morning. Not surprising considering the scenic backdrop.
Thunder Hole is one of those cool, nature is awesome, attractions where the right amount of water, with the right amount of force against a cave in the rocks creates the ultimate splash and thunderous clap! Our first visit to this popular spot along the Park Loop Road was near high tide and it wasn’t making much of any sound. On our second visit, we were there about five hours before high tide (they say it’s best two hours before high tide) and it was definitely making much more of a roar!
Lastly, one of the spots I was most looking forward to seeing (being a huge Leonardo DiCaprio fan, of course) was Otter Cliff. These were the cliffs filmed by the film crew of Shutter Island to portray the famous cliffs on Shutter Island in the movie (need a reminder?) Sure, Leo wasn’t ever hanging out on Park Loop Road but it was still cool to see the cliffs – again, both in wet, rainy weather ( very Shutter Island-esque) and in the sun!
Want more info on Acadia National Park? Both Trip Advisor and their Official Park Website were a huge help in planning our visit! Park passes are $20 for a car for a week (a steal!) and you’ll learn to love navigating the Park Loop Road around the park to all of these beautiful sights. Looking for the perfect, affordable spot to stay near the park entrance and minutes from downtown Bar Harbor? We loved our stay at the Bar Harbor Motel.
Next up this week? Bar Harbor and beautiful Mount Desert Island.
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