We spent 7 days in Acadia National Park in Maine this July and it was amazing. For those who don’t know, we have three boys, ages 2.5, 4.5 and 7.5. Pre-COVID, vacations were…rough. Sleep was poor, tantrums were frequent, and the portability factor of our family was less than ideal. This trip though, was different!
One factor that led to an easier vacation this year was definitely the fact that we no longer have any infants OR any nappers. This allowed a more flexible schedule and less tired parents. Now let’s get to the good stuff…
Our family loves to explore and hike. (You can check out some of our favorite Massachusetts day trips here.) What Acadia National Park offers that Massachusetts doesn’t (at least not in one small radius) is hugely varied terrain. You can go from hiking in the forest, through caves and up stairs to vast cliffs along the side of the ocean within a couple minute drive. Want to climb the side of a mountain instead? Drive another 5 minutes and you’re there.
I don’t know if your kids are like mine, but my boys LOVE TO CLIMB. Give them rocks to scale and jump off of and they are happy for hours. Maine’s rocky coast has nothing but amazing rock climbing. Thank goodness for an aunt and two uncles to help assist our three on the treacherous parts!
Another highlight of our trip was seeing the sun set atop Cadillac Mountain and then watching the fireworks over the Bay from up there. It isn’t often that we let our kids stay up until sunset in the Summer so they were particularly excited to watch the sun sink lower and lower. All of Acadia National Park is scattered with wild blueberry bushes and there are a lot of them on the mountainside. Exploring the summit and eating blueberries along the way was idyllic!
Classically, my camera battery died shortly after we made it to the top so I had to make do with my cell phone. One of my favorite shots is below with my oldest in his pajamas, arms in the air. He told me: “Mommy I have never seen the sun HALFWAY UP AND HALFWAY DOWN before!”
Having downtown Bar Harbor a quick drive away was another highlight of our trip. We spent a couple afternoons there wandering around, having ice cream, and finding some delicious cafe treats. The second day we were there, we took a nature cruise out of the Harbor and got to see porpoises, a bald eagle, seals, and many cool sea birds!
I say “hidden gem” a bit tongue-in-cheek in this title because, in reality, Sand Beach is very popular. So popular, in fact, that it’s hard to get there early enough to get parking! We snagged the last spot on this overcast mid-week day and were shocked at the beauty of this beach. While the rest of the coast up here is rocky and jagged, Sand Beach is like a tiny sandy paradise. The colors of the water almost looked tropical, despite the frigid temperatures!
In conclusion….if you like the outdoors, want to have a plethora of activities to choose from, and have kids — you should go!
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