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Saint Croix Island International Historic Site

4 Must-Visit National Parks in Maine (2024)

There are countless reasons why NATIONAL PARKS hold one of the biggest charms of any State or Country, and here’s how Maine proves the same. Maine, the easternmost U.S. State, though, is home to only one designated National Park, “Acadia National Park,” but it is also home to six beautiful National Park sites. The number of National Park bodies in Maine is visibly smaller, but these grand landscapes overpower the same. Featuring history and heritage, an abundance of natural beauty, a rocky coastline, excellent hiking trails, amazing fall foliage, and Mountain summits, Maine’s National Parks are incredible outdoor grounds to be at.

Maine, or as they lovingly call it, the Pine Tree State, is located in the New England region. Standing true to its loving name, the State and its National Park area boast endless forests of white pine along with many other kinds of wood. National Parks have never been Maine’s biggest draws, given the rocky coastline overpowers the same, but for an enthusiast, they are definitely unmissable.

4 Must-Visit National Parks in Maine

Wondering where to start with? Well, here we present a guide to the Best National Parks in Maine for your ease. Have a look:

1. Acadia National Park

The ‘Only’ designated National Park in Maine is Acadia, which deserves only praise for thousands of reasons. Sitting along the rocky shores of Maine’s Mount Desert Island, the Acadia National Park covers a huge area of 47,000 acres. Its entire expanse protects and features the most incredible beauty of the eastern U.S.A. and is even amongst the greatest of the country in general. Acadia is all about deserts, islands, beaches, mountains, woodlands, grasslands, exposed granite domes, glacial erratic, a rich cultural heritage, a high level of biodiversity, and an abundance of habitat. The national park is home to Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on the United States Atlantic Coast. Acadia National Park is undoubtedly known as the Crown jewel of the Northern Atlantic Coast, and for all the right reasons.

Given its Grandness, Acadia National Park Offers Many Incredible Things To Do:

  • For hiking, the National Park boasts nearly 125 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads. Some popular routes include Beehive Loop Trail, Beech Mountain Loop,
  • North Bubble Trail (difficult and moderate), Jordan Pond Nature Trail Loop, Cadillac Mountain Loop, and Ocean Path Trail (easy).
  • Some popular spots in Acadia include Somes Sound (the only fjord on the East Coast), Jordan Pond, Eagle Lake, and Long Pond for activities like kayaking, canoeing, and paddling. Rental equipment is available at various spots in the park.
  • For the best views and experience the first sunrise in the U.S.A. (Between October 7 through March 6), summit Cadillac Mountain, Acadia’s well-known site. The early sunrise views, incredible photography opportunities, and the tranquility of Cadillac’s summit are worth all efforts.
  • Acadia National Park also boasts an array of beautiful and visit-worthy lighthouses in Maine. The list includes Baker Island Head Light Station, Bass Harbor Head Light Station, and Bear Island Head Light Station. All of these boast panoramic Atlantic views and rich history.
  • Acadia is also popular for housing a rich and varied history. Some of the popular landmarks include Carriage Paths, Bridges and Gatehouses, Fernald Point Prehistoric Site,
  • Robert Abbe Museum of Stone Antiquities, Islesford Historical Museum and Blue Duck Ships Store, and Schoodic Peninsula Historic District.
  • Some popular campgrounds in Acadia include Blackwoods Campgrounds, Duck Harbor Campgrounds, Seawall Campgrounds, and Schoodic Woods Campgrounds.
  • Other Popular Tourist Attractions to Visit in Acadia National Park: are Schoodic Point, Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Bubble Rock, Wild Gardens of Arcadia, Jordan Pond, and Park Loop Road.

11 Tips for Visiting Acadia National Park in Maine

As with any and many U.S. National Parks, Acadia as well gets crowded on summer holidays or holidays in general. Therefore, if you are planning your visit during the season time, consider picking the midweek to avoid the crowd. Early morning or late afternoon visits, too, can help you avoid the crowd.

  1. For the sunrise hike to the summit of Cadillac Mountain and sunset, visit Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.
  2. Acadia National Park is a popular spot for bird watching and bird photography.
  3. Though Acadia opens year-round, many facilities remain closed from October through late May, given the harsh winters.
  4. Acadia is home to more than 40 different species of mammals, and therefore chances of spotting one are high here. Make sure while you are invading deep into the woods, you are cautious about your surroundings.
  5. Acadia can be explored on foot, by cycle, by bicycle, and in a car quite easily.
  6. For an overnight stay, Acadia National Park boasts a handful of campgrounds and some good options for hotels, inns, and rentals.
  7. Temperature-wise, Acadia in spring stays between 30°F and 70°F, in summer between 45°F to 90°F, in Falls between 30°F to 70°F, and in winters between 14°F to 35°F.
  8. Snowfall here usually has a long season since it begins in November and continues till April. Acadia also experiences a good amount of rainfall and fog throughout the year.
  9. It is better to download Google Maps or get a map hard copy for Acadia instead of relying on the park’s cell service.
  10. Blackflies are most frequent from mid-May to mid-June, and even Mosquitos, therefore, go prepared.
  11. While packing for Acadia National Park, pay special attention to hiking shoes, bug spray, sunblock, camera gear, maps, medicines, and rain jackets.

2. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

A recent addition to the National Park System of Maine, the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is another must-visit. This adventurous outdoor playground spans over 87,563 acres and was designated by President Barack Obama on August 24, 2016. Since it is yet less discovered and overlooked, Katahdin maintains another level of charm. Like any other National or State park, it offers a range of activities to indulge in. Be it is about hiking in the Deasey Mountain, fishing at the Wassataquoik tributary, canoeing at the East Branch of the Penobscot River, or backpacking at International Appalachian Trail, experiences at Katahdin are truly incredible. Due to its remoteness, the National Monument also offers incredible viewing of night skies and occasional displays of the aurora borealis at several selective points. This land is open for seasonal hunting, rare wildlife spotting, and winter activities like snowmobiling. For an overnight stay, Katahdin visitors can choose to spend time at Sandbank Stream, the monument’s only drive-in designated campsite.

Travel Tip: The best time to visit Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is at Falls, given the cool and crisp weather and the beauty of fall foliage.

3. Saint Croix Island International Historic Site

A small patch of land between Maine and New Brunswick in the Saint Croix River is what describes the Saint Croix Island International Historic Site as an initial introduction. Though as one begins learning about it further, Saint Croix appears as the oldest permanent settlement in New England, which commemorates the 1604 site of the first French colonization attempt. This historic site is the smallest of all that falls under the National Park service’s category in Maine. A visit here as well is short-lived but a memorable one. Though one can’t visit the island’s historical remains since it is heavily preserved, there is a huge section of the historic site open for visitors. There’s an Interpretive Trail Shelter and Viewpoint that well explains the history of the area. Other than that, the park offers ranger-led tours and short films for additional learning opportunities. It is also a great place for bird watching or enjoying an afternoon picnic. Saint Croix Island International Historic Site is a year-round attraction though it remains closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (check for National holidays as well).

4. Maine Acadian Culture

The fourth and last on our list is the Maine Acadian Culture. A must-visit National Park in Maine, it is an affiliated area that ties together a variety of sites on the U.S. side on the Maine–New Brunswick border right beside the Saint John River Valley. The historical and cultural sites found here celebrate and remember the French descendants of “Acadians” who flourished here n the 17th and 18th centuries. The landscape features several museums and historical sites that visitors can tour on foot. Some of the popular tourist attractions of this area include Governer Brann Schoolhouse, the Fort Kent Blockhouse, Fort Kent Railroad Station, the Acadian village museum, the Fred Albert House, Tante Blanche Museum, and more. The summer season here is all about a host of indoor and outdoor activities. Whereas when the seasons move towards fall, nature’s pallet of red, orange and yellow are worthy of being admired. Whereas when the winters step in, the Maine Acadian Culture region begins boasting activities such as snowmobiling, ice fishing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and cross-country skiing. The area, though, isn’t like the usual national parks, but history and culture enthusiasts must check it out.

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