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The Perfect Acadia National Park Itinerary For 1-4 Amazing Days

Located near the northeastern corner of the United States, Acadia National Park sits on the rugged Maine coastline. Visit Acadia National Park for incredible views, lovely drives, bike rides, hikes, and more. This post will help you plan the perfect Acadia National Park Itinerary, with suggestions for spending 1 day or up to 4 days in this amazing National Park.

In addition to 4 different itinerary suggestions, you can also find helpful planning information about visiting the park such as how many days to spend in Acadia national park and more below.

If you’re looking for more information to help you plan your trip, you can also check out our complete Guide to Acadia National Park where you can find suggestions on the best hikes, the top things to do in Acadia, and more.

You can also find lots more information about visiting other US National Parks on this site and follow along on our goal to visit (and share) every US National Park.

You may find Affiliate links (from Amazon and other programs) on this page, so items I recommend may also earn me a small commission.

Acadia National Park Itinerary: the view from Bar Harbor
Acadia National Park Itinerary: the view from Bar Harbor

Overview of Acadia National Park Itinerary for 1-4 Days

Whether you are just starting to plan your visit or are just looking for a few more ideas, the itineraries below are designed to help make the most of your visit. Below you can find a quick snapshot of 4 different itineraries from one day in Acadia National Park all the way up to 4 days in Acadia National Park. You can also scroll down for complete details on each Acadia National Park itinerary.

If you are visiting for more than 4 days (which is something I definitely recommend!) you can stretch the 4-day itinerary out and make your visit more relaxed. This will also give you a chance to visit some of the other nearby areas along the Maine coast on a day trip.

Acadia National Park Itinerary: The view from Jordon Pond House

Here is a quick snapshot of 4 different itineraries

One Day in Acadia National Park: If you’re trying to see Acadia National Park in one day, you will want to prioritize several short activities. Get an early start and drive the loop road to Sand Beach. From here choose one of the short hikes in the area. Continue on the loop road, stopping at the different scenic overlooks. In the afternoon, visit Jordon Pond and walk around Jordon Pond and possibly hike South Bubble. Finish the day in Bar Harbor for a seafood dinner.

2-day itinerary Acadia National Park: With 2 days in Acadia National Park, you can enjoy a few additional parts of the park. Use the one-day itinerary for day one and on day 2 start with a drive out to the Western part of Mount Dessert Island. Stop in Southwest Harbor, hike the Wonderland Trail, and visit Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. In the afternoon, explore some of the many adventure activities (rent kayaks, go for a bike ride, try rock climbing, or head out on a whale watch).

3-day itinerary Acadia National Park: With 3 days in Acadia National Park, you have time to hit all the major sites and add in a few additional hikes or activities. Many of the Acadia best hikes are short, but with 3 days, you can get out and explore a few of the longer hikes. On your 3rd full day in Acadia, start your day off by watching the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain. After your early morning, explore the carriage roads by bike, or choose one of the longer hikes.

4-day itinerary Acadia National Park: In my opinion 4 days in Acadia is the perfect amount of time (you can read more below on how to choose the right number of days for your visit). This gives you time to choose the best activities for your group but also gives you time to relax. For your 4th day on Acadia, consider visiting the Schoodic Peninsula, spending time at Sand Beach, or finding a swimming hole.

Acadia National Park Itinerary: Rugged Coastline in Acadia

What to Know for Planning Your Itinerary for Acadia National Park

If you are planning a trip to Acadia National Park, you can use this information below as an overview to help you create the best Acadia Itinerary for you.

Overview of Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is mostly located on Mount Desert Island, which you can reach via a bridge. On the northeast side, you will find Bar Harbor – the largest town and the entrance to Acadia National Park. This is also where you will find the visitor center and most of the places to eat and stay on the island. From Bar Harbor, you look out across Frenchman’s Bay towards the Schoodic Peninsula (the least visited part of Acadia). You can reach the Schoodic Peninsula by ferry or car. The Isle Au Haut is also part of Acadia and can only be reached by boat.

The most visited part of Acadia is South of Bar Harbor on the southeastern part of Mount Desert Island. To the west of Mount Desert Island, you will find a quieter part to Acadia and many fabulous hikes and places to visit. Southwest Harbor is another small town near the entrance of Some Sound.

The glacially carved landscape of Acadia offers rocky outcrops, lakes, fjords and a rugged coastline. In addition to the incredible coastal views, you will also find abundant marine life and a tradition of fishing, lobstering and living off the sea.

Getting around Acadia is generally easy, although there are crowds in the summer that make driving and parking tricky. Acadia has a plan to improve transportation in the park, and you can use the free Island Explorer to get around to the main sites. This shuttle is an excellent way to get around the park.

Acadia National Park Itinerary: Hiking the Beehive Hike

Things to do on Your Acadia Itinerary

If you are putting together your own itinerary for visiting Acadia, your best bet is to select your top things to do in the area. You can see more details on Things to do in Acadia, or use the list below to help plan your trip.

If you are visiting Acadia National Park in fall, make sure to add some activities to see the changing leaves. If you are visiting Acadia National Park in the winter, you should also consider snowshoeing or cross country skiing.

When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Acadia?

The best time of year to visit Acadia is late spring through October. This is when the temperature is the warmest and you can expect the best weather for outdoor activities. Summer is also the busiest time to visit Acadia. In the fall you can expect slightly less people and also gorgeous views when the leaves change colors.

Acadia National Park is open year-round, so even visiting in the winter offers activities. The carriage roads are great places to ski or snowshoe when there is snow on the ground. Late winter tends to be cold, muddy and buggy.

The image below shows the average weather throughout the year.

Weather Data Table of Visiting Acadia National Park
Weather data (based on past 10-year averages) and 2021 monthly visitor data

How Many Days in Acadia National Park is Enough?

While it is possible to spend 1 day in Acadia National Park, you should plan at least 3 days to fully explore Acadia. If you have more time, 4 days or more will give you the opportunity to relax and enjoy the Maine coast. Many people are visiting the area on a Boston to Acadia National Park road trip. If you are spending a week on the road trip, plan at least 3 days in Acadia.

Itinerary for Acadia National Park – 4 Amazing Options

Below you will find suggestions on the perfect Acadia National Park Itinerary depending on how long you stay. You can also substitute some of the activity suggestions above if you want to choose something different for your itinerary. Note that these itineraries are designed for people looking to get out and do a lot of exploring. You can also plan in some downtime between activities, or if you want more time in Bar Harbor, consider swapping out a few things and spending more time in town.

For each of the itineraries below, you can also see suggestions for additional activities and alternative itineraries.

Acadia National Park in One Day

With just one day in Acadia National Park, you have time to see the highlights and do a short hike (or two). This one-day itinerary is jam-packed, so make sure you get an early start.

Start the day with an early drive into the park (or take the shuttle). With an early start, you will be one of the first hikers out on the trail. As you come in on the Park Loop Road, you have 4 excellent hiking options. These trails are all short so if you have time, you can do more than one hike. These are all some of Acadia’s best hiking trails.

  • Beehive Trail: This is a popular 1.5-challenging hike that leaves right from Sand Beach. The hike has several ladders and rungs that help you scramble up the rocks.
  • Precipice Trail: This 2.5-mile hike starts from a parking lot before you get to the Sand Beach lot, and is a challenging hike that involves ladders and rungs and some climbing.
  • Great Head Trail: There are a few places to park for this trail including at the Sand Beach Lot. This lovely, rocky trail winds along the coast with views out to the water.
  • Ocean Path: This is the easiest trail and is a mostly flat trail along the coast. Hike this trail as an out-and-back trail starting at Sand Beach.

After your hike, continue on Park Loop Road. Park and visit some of the scenic overlooks along the road, including Thunder Hole and Otter Cliffs. Stop off at Jordon Pond House for lunch. This is a great place to eat lunch while overlooking Jordon Pond – make sure you get some of their favorite popovers.

If you have to wait for a table at the Jordon Pond House, you can wander around Jordon Pond or hike to South Bubble.

Acadia National Park Itinerary: Thunder Hole

After your lunch, drive up to Cadillac Mountain to take in the view (you will need to make a reservation). In the evening, head back into Bar Harbor to enjoy a walk around the town and a seafood dinner.

Options for your 1-Day Acadia Itinerary: After a morning at Sand Beach and hiking, head back into town to rent bikes for the afternoon. You can find many Acadia bike rental shops in town and can explore some of the carriage roads for the afternoon – if you want to cover a lot of ground, consider renting ebikes for the afternoon.

Acadia National Park 2-day Itinerary

With 2 days in Acadia National Park, you have time for a few more hikes, and can rent a bike to explore some of the carriage trails. If you aren’t into biking Acadia, you can also choose from one of the many other activities such as rock climbing, renting kayaks, fishing, or going on a boat trip to see whales or puffins.

Below is a suggestion for an Acadia 2-day itinerary:

Start with the same itinerary as described in the 1-day itinerary above. Drive into the park on Park Loop Road and stop for an early morning hike. You can hike right from one of the trails from Sand Beach. Pack a picnic and you can enjoy lunch at the beach after your hike. Hike up the Beehive Hike, the Ocean Path, or the Great Head Trail. After lunch, drive the loop road and stop at Thunder Hole and Otter Cliffs. Make a stop at Jordon Pond House for some popovers and finish with a walk around Jordon Pond, a hike up South Bubble, or a drive up Cadillac Mountain. You can see more details above. Enjoy dinner in Bar Harbor.

On the second day, drive out to the western part of the park and enjoy the less crowded part of Acadia. Stop in Southwest Harbor, hike the Wonderland Trail, and visit Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. In the afternoon, rent ebikes to explore the park on the Carriage Roads. If you don’t want to rent bikes, consider taking a boat tour or whale watch from Bar Harbor.

Acadia National Park 3-day Itinerary

Three days in Acadia National Park is a perfect amount of time to truly see the park and get in plenty of hikes and sightseeing. For this 3-day itinerary, you can easily substitute and switch the days around based on the weather. For this itinerary, do the same 2 days as the itinerary above – drive the loop road, some of the short hikes, visit Jordon Pond House, drive out to the western part of the island, and rent bikes.

For your additional day for this Acadia National Park Itinerary, start with watching the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain. If you haven’t already spent a day on bikes, spend the rest of the day biking on the carriage roads, or do some of the longer hikes on the western side of Somes Sound.

Acadia National Park Itinerary: The view from South Bubble to the North

Acadia National Park Itinerary 4 Days

With 4 days you can really enjoy yourself in Acadia National Park. Consider adding on a visit to the Schoodic Peninsula, or if you need some downtime, spend 1/2 a day at Sand Beach, or visit a swimming hole at Lake Wood Pond. Just like the 3-day itinerary above, consider switching the days around based on the weather. Here is a quick look at the itinerary for 4 days:

Day 1: Drive the loop Road, hike the Beehive or Precipice Trail. Picnic on Sand Beach and then walk out along Great Head. In the afternoon, drive the Park Loop Road and stop at the scenic overlooks. Finish the day with a visit to Jordon Pond House.

Day 2: Watch the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain, then rent bikes to explore the Carriage Roads. You can make this an entire day. Finish with a seafood dinner in Bar Harbor.

Day 3: Today you will split your time with a drive out to the western part of Mount Desert Island. Explore the Wonderland Trail and Bass Harbor Head Light. In the afternoon choose from either a short hike such as South Bubble, or book a tour on a whale or puffin-watching cruise.

Day 4: On your last day in Acadia, head out to the Schoodic Peninsula. Take the ferry from Bar Harbor and spend the day hiking in this quiet part of Acadia.

If you’re looking for other options for the best Acadia National Park Itinerary, check out 15 Absolute Top Things to do in Acadia National Park for an Amazing Visit.

Acadia National Park Itinerary: Lake Wood Pond

Where to Stay in Acadia National Park

There are many places to stay in Acadia for every budget. We’ve camped at both Blackwoods and Mount Desert Campground and like them both. Most of the campsites in Acadia book up well in advance so book early! You can find several other private campgrounds in the area as well.

There are also plenty of options if you aren’t camping. Below are 3 options we’ve heard good things about:

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