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Bar Harbor Must See Spots

Jordan Pond

Welcome to Jordan Pond, a mesmerizing gem nestled within Acadia National Park, Maine.  This pond is a true wonder, cradled by mountains and embraced by lush forests – the kind of place that steals your heart.

The road to Jordan Pond is an adventure in itself. As you approach, you'll wind along the Park Loop Road, surrounded by thick woods, glimpses of mountains, and a tease of the sparkling Atlantic Ocean. It's a build-up of excitement as you catch glimpses of the pond through the trees.

And there it is – Jordan Pond's views will leave you speechless. The pond stretches out, clear as crystal, mirroring the mountains and the vast blue sky above. The reflection is like a masterpiece, with the mountains giving the pond a dramatic backdrop. You can't miss "The Bubbles," two peaks called North Bubble and South Bubble, rising gracefully from the water's edge, adding their charm to the scenery.

Don't worry if hiking isn't your thing – there are options for everyone to reach Jordan Pond. The Jordan Pond Path is a popular pick, a smooth gravel trail that goes around the pond. It's an easy walk, perfect for different fitness levels, and around 3.2 miles long. You'll find viewpoints along the way to rest and soak in the beauty. Plus, there's a well-kept carriage road circling the pond, great for walking, jogging, or a wheelchair-friendly adventure.

 
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jordan pond, acadia national park
Jordan Pond

Sunrise at Cadillac Mountain and the Carriage Roads 

Ready to chase the sunrise atop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park? Here's your game plan for an epic experience. Heads-up, though – early birds get the best views, so prep for an early start!

Kick off by making your way to Bar Harbor, the entrance to Acadia National Park. Ask a local about traffic when you check-in at your hotel – early mornings can get a bit crowded, so you might need to beat the dawn rush.

Once you're in Bar Harbor, head to the Hulls Cove Visitor Center, your hub for all things Acadia. Maps, info, brochures – get your essentials here.

Jump on the Park Loop Road from the visitor center. Follow the signs for Cadillac Mountain or Summit Road.  As you drive up, notice the landscape changing around you. You're winding through forests of spruce and fir, setting the serene tone.  Before long, you'll hit the summit parking lot. Park up and head to the sunrise viewing area – signs will guide you. It's a bit of a walk, so comfy shoes are your best friends.

Once the sun's up, why not explore Acadia's carriage roads? These historic paths are for biking, hiking, and horseback riding. Rockefeller Jr. made 'em, and they lead you through lush forests, calm lakes, and cute stone bridges. Acadia's diverse beauty, up close and personal.

 
 

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Sunrise from Cadillac Mountain
Frenchmen Bay & Bar Harbor from Cadillac Mountain

Sound and Fury of Nature - Thunder Hole at Acadia National Park

 
 

Let's talk Thunder Hole – a natural show along Acadia National Park's Ocean Path. Get ready for crashing waves, rumbling roars, and misty sprays.

First up, head to the east side of Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park. You can hop onto the Ocean Path from a bunch of spots, but a popular kickoff is the Sand Beach parking area.  From there, follow the signs to the Ocean Path. The trail gives you a front-row seat to the rugged coastline, complete with killer views of the Atlantic Ocean and those towering cliffs.  As you stroll, let that salty sea breeze give you a high-five, and take in that fresh ocean scent. The trail's a breeze – well-kept and not too tough, perfect for just about everyone.

Around 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) from Sand Beach parking – you've hit Thunder Hole. You can't miss it – the noise and mist give it away, like a natural drumroll.  Take your time and explore. Find a cozy spot to watch the show. Thunder Hole's like a natural channel where waves bust in with power.

For the primo show, hit Thunder Hole during high tide. If the ocean's got some attitude that day, even better. But remember, waves can get wild, so play it safe and keep a good distance from the action.  When waves meet rocks at Thunder Hole, it's a symphony of sound – like distant thunder. And trust me, seeing water shoot up into the sky – it's like nature's fireworks.  

 
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Thunder Hole Acadia
Thunder Hole - Acadia

Schoodic Peninsula

 

Schoodic Peninsula, located on the eastern side of Mount Desert Island, offers stunning views, picturesque landscapes, and abundant wildlife. Here is a description of the area and what you can expect to experience during your visit:

To reach Schoodic Peninsula, you'll need to travel to the eastern part of Mount Desert Island. From the town of Bar Harbor, follow Route 3 to the mainland and continue east until you reach Winter Harbor. There, you'll find the entrance to the Schoodic Peninsula section of Acadia National Park.  Alternatively, you can also take a scenic ferry from Bar Harbor.

As you enter Schoodic Peninsula, you'll immediately notice the rugged coastline and dramatic rocky shores. The peninsula is characterized by its granite cliffs, wave-swept beaches, and tranquil coves, creating a visually striking and picturesque landscape.

Begin your exploration by following the Schoodic Loop Road, which encircles the peninsula. The road offers numerous pull-off areas and scenic overlooks where you can stop and take in the breathtaking views.

One of the highlights of Schoodic Peninsula is the Schoodic Point Overlook. Here, you'll find panoramic vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, with waves crashing against the rocky shoreline. The sight of the endless expanse of water meeting the rugged coastline is truly mesmerizing.

As you venture along the Schoodic Loop Road, keep an eye out for the Schoodic Head viewpoint. From this vantage point, you'll be treated to sweeping views of the surrounding area, including Frenchman Bay and the distant mountains of Mount Desert Island. 

Throughout Schoodic Peninsula, you'll encounter diverse ecosystems, including lush forests, meadows, and intertidal zones. Take some time to explore the trails that wind through these natural areas, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the peninsula.

Wildlife enthusiasts will find plenty to admire at Schoodic Peninsula. Keep a lookout for a variety of bird species, such as bald eagles, ospreys, and shorebirds. Seals can often be spotted basking on rocky outcrops, and if you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a harbor porpoise or a whale swimming offshore.

As you explore Schoodic Peninsula, take advantage of the various hiking trails that wind through the area. From leisurely strolls along the shoreline to more challenging hikes through the forests, each trail offers a unique perspective of the peninsula's beauty.

 
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Acadia National Park, Maine
Lake at Schoodic Peninsua