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Walking Vacation Coastal Maine: Walking Acadia ​

Activity Level: Easy / Moderate  |  Daily Mileage: 2 – 6 mi  |  Daily Walking: 2 – 4 hr
Land only
6 days from only
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive Acadia National Park / Witch Hole Pond

VBT will offer a shuttle from Bangor International Airport to Mount Desert Island and the Hulls Cove Visitor Center in Acadia National Park. The shuttle will be provided by your VBT leaders and will depart the airport at 12:00 pm. Meet our leaders outside the door across from the escalators. They will be wearing VBT staff garments, holding a VBT sign, and the vans will have VBT titles on them. If you are arriving after this shuttle departs, or your flight is delayed, you must make your own arrangements to reach Mount Desert Island. Please plan to have lunch before leaving the airport, or bring a packed lunch with you.

Guests driving to the tour should meet the group at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center in Acadia National Park and then drive to the Asticou Inn, in Northeast Harbor. Cars may be left in the inn's parking lot, without charge, for the duration of the tour.

Our group meets at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center at 1:30 pm. Look for your Trip Leaders and the VBT vans in the parking lot. Get acquainted with the Park, and the surrounding area, at the visitor center, then join our Trip Leaders for a safety briefing and orientation session. Afterwards, we'll embark on a warm-up walk along the Park's famed crushed-stone carriage roads to Witch Hole Pond.

Later we'll shuttle to our inn overlooking the beautiful, protected Northeast Harbor, where we'll spend three nights. There is time to settle in to our rooms. 

At 5:00 pm, meet up with the group for a tour orientation and welcome reception before our 6:00 pm shuttle to dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 2 - Jordan Pond Shore Trail

The highlight of our walk today is Jordan Pond—perhaps the most famous body of water in Acadia. This is a unique area of the Park, as the pond is framed on all sides by soaring mountains. These peaks include “the Bubbles,” Pemetic Mountain and Penobscot Mountain. After completing the shore trail, we'll have lunch in the delightful garden setting of Jordan Pond House. A park fixture since 1870, the restaurant is famous for its popovers—and, of course, it’s fabulous scenery.

After lunch you may wish to walk along the Asticou Jordan Pond Path to arrive at the Asticou Inn. This walk has a short moderate section. Dinner will be at another local restaurant tonight.

Day 3 - Explore Little Cranberry Island / Thuya Garden

Start your day with an elective early morning walk to the Thuya Gardens, then enjoy a leisurely breakfast. Afterwards, board a lobster boat to Little Cranberry Island, a journey of approximately 45 minutes. 

This pristine hamlet hosts a year-round community of fishermen, boat builders, craftsmen and “rusticators” (those who opt for country living). We'll visit the Islesford Historical Museum, open mid-June through September, before boarding the lobster boat back to Northeast Harbor.

It's our final afternoon in Northeast Harbor. You'll have the remainder of the day to explore at leisure. You might consider visiting the beautifully landscaped Azalea Gardens, which are within walking distance of our inn, or you may choose to visit the attractive boutiques and galleries. You may also take advantage of our inn's amenities, which include clay tennis courts and an outdoor swimming pool.

Enjoy a leisurely dinner this evening with your fellow walkers at the inn.

Day 4 - Little Long Pond / Ship Harbor Nature Trail / Wonderland 

You may opt to rise early and enjoy an amazing walk along a private carriage trail to Little Long Pond. We will pass Rockefeller’s boathouse and Little Long Pond, which was considered Mr. Rockefeller’s bathtub. It is an easy and relaxing walk on a wide, level trail.

After breakfast, we shuttle around spectacular Somes Sound—a five-mile-long body of water often described as the East Coast's only fjord—to the quieter side of Mount Desert Island. Our walks today along two notable park trails give us the chance to discover tidal pools and shaded spruce forests. The first, Ship Harbor Nature Trail, forms a figure eight, winding through a unique mix of shrub lands and shorelines before finally ending on a stone beach with an excellent view of many offshore islands. The second, Wonderland, is an out and back trail. Within just a short distance you will experience beautiful views of the islands off the coast of Maine.

After lunch, we shuttle to Bar Harbor, a resort town made famous during the late 19th and early 20th centuries as the preferred summer retreat for many of America's wealthiest families, including the Astors and Rockefellers. After checking into our inn, you'll have free time to make your own discoveries. There are many activities from which you can choose (at your own expense), such as guided sea kayaking in Frenchman Bay, or a sunset cruise on the schooner Margaret Todd.

For dinner on your own tonight, enjoy one of the many fine restaurants in town.

Day 5 - Shore Path / Great Head Trail / Otter Cliff

Rise early this morning for an optional sunrise walk along Bar Harbor's picturesque Shore Path. If tidal patterns allow, you may also walk along the sand bar to Bar Island, accessible only at low tide.

After breakfast, we'll set off to explore the Great Head peninsula, located on the eastern side of Sand Beach. Our loop trail begins with us ascending a stone stairway and brings us around the peninsula's perimeter, where we'll encounter fantastic views of Great Head's rugged coastline and the Atlantic Ocean.

Later, we'll discover Otter Cliff, a dramatic, 110-foot granite promontory overlooking a boulder-ringed cove. It is reputed to be one of the highest headlands north of Rio de Janeiro. As we gaze offshore, we'll see a bell buoy marking the location of an underwater rock formation known as the “Spindle.” Centuries ago, while sailing at high tide, French explorer Samuel Champlain—who is credited with discovering, and naming, Mount Desert Island—noticed smoke rising from a Native American encampment. Deciding to sail closer inland for a better view, his ship ran aground of the “Spindle,” requiring Champlain and his crew to seek refuge in Otter Cove for safety and repairs.

The remainder of the day is yours to explore Bar Harbor at leisure. Perhaps you'll browse its many specialty stores—ranging from bookstores to antique shops to outdoor outfitters—and art galleries. Or you may want to take advantage of our inn's spa facilities. 

Tonight, we'll toast our discoveries of Acadia during a farewell dinner at our inn.

Day 6 - Cadillac Mountain / Depart for home

This morning, we'll shuttle part of the way up Cadillac Mountain—at 1,530 feet, the tallest peak on the Eastern Seaboard—and continue on foot to walk the final stretch of North Ridge Trail. From Cadillac's summit, we'll delight in superb, panoramic views of the hauntingly beautiful National Park we've come to know so well. 

Afterwards, our tour ends. VBT's return shuttle to Bangor International Airport will depart Bar Harbor Inn at 11:30 am. We recommend flights out of Bangor no earlier than 2:00 pm. If you've parked at the Asticou Inn, our Trip Leaders will shuttle you back to collect your car.

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