Exploring the Charming Towns Near Acadia National Park
When visiting the rugged and beautiful Acadia National Park located on the coast of Maine, travelers may also want to explore the local towns nestled nearby. These towns not only provide convenient accommodations and dining options but also exude their own coastal charm, offering a complete experience of this picturesque region. Staying in or dining out in the surrounding towns can enhance your visit to Acadia with local flavors and warm hospitality.
Bar Harbor: The Gateway to Acadia
Bar Harbor, situated on Mount Desert Island just next to Acadia National Park, serves as the gateway to the area. This bustling town is the most popular base for park visitors, with numerous hotels, bed and breakfasts, inns, and restaurants catering to every budget and preference. The historic streets of Bar Harbor are lined with shops selling local crafts and galleries featuring the work of Maine artists. Dining here is a delight with seafood being the highlight; you must try the Maine lobster or indulge in a traditional lobster bake.
Southwest Harbor and Northeast Harbor: Quieter Alternates
For those seeking a quieter alternative to Bar Harbor, the towns of Southwest Harbor and Northeast Harbor are perfect. Located on the southwestern side of Mount Desert Island, these towns offer a more laid-back atmosphere while still providing convenient access to Acadia. You'll find charming inns, local dining options, and unique shops without the crowds. In these harbors, the catch of the day never disappoints—whether it be lobster, scallops, or mussels.
Trenton: The Doorstep to the Island
Just before crossing the bridge onto Mount Desert Island, Trenton offers a range of motels and lodges, making it an ideal spot for those looking to stay near the park without being on the island. Trenton is also famous for its lobster pounds where you can enjoy freshly caught and cooked seafood in a rustic setting. Don't pass up on the opportunity to try a true Maine lobster roll here.
Ellsworth: A City with All the Conveniences
Ellsworth is located mainland, a short drive from the island, and is the commercial center of the region. Visitors can find larger hotels and well-known dining chains, alongside local eateries and inns. Ellsworth offers the conveniences of a city, including supermarkets, pharmacies, and other stores, making it a good home base for stocking up on supplies before heading into the park.
Famous Local Dishes to Try
The local cuisine in towns around Acadia National Park is heavily influenced by the sea. The most famous dish is undoubtedly the lobster, prepared in numerous ways—from lobster rolls at roadside stands to gourmet preparations in fine dining establishments. Additionally, blueberry pie made with wild Maine blueberries is a must-try sweet treat. For breakfast, enjoy blueberry pancakes or sample the local catch with a traditional fish chowder.
Helpful Websites for Planning Your Trip
Before embarking on your journey to Acadia National Park and its neighboring towns, there are several helpful websites you can visit to plan your stay:
National Park Service - Acadia: Official information about Acadia National Park, including maps and resources for visitors.
Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce: A resource for finding accommodations, restaurants, and activities in Bar Harbor.
Southwest Harbor / Tremont Chamber of Commerce: Information on places to stay and dine in Southwest Harbor and nearby areas.
Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce: For options outside Mount Desert Island, this site offers a range of accommodations and services in Ellsworth.
Maine Tourism: The official travel site of Maine with a wealth of information about the entire state, including destinations, events, and culinary highlights.
By venturing into these towns, you'll not only enrich your adventure with excellent local food and cozy accommodations but also absorb the vibrant culture and community that thrive around Acadia National Park. Whether it's after a day of hiking trails and taking in scenic vistas or as part of a dedicated food tour, the region's offerings are sure to leave a memorable impression.