What to do in Acadia National Park with Kids
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Are you heading to Acadia National Park with kids and wondering what to do in Acadia with kids? You’ve come to the right place! Acadia National Park is one of the best National Parks to visit with kids. From scenic hiking trails to the Junior Ranger program here’s what to do in Acadia National Park with kids.
How to get to Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is located on the Maine coast, near the city of Bar Harbor. Portland is 2 hours from Acadia National Park, Boston is 4.5 hours away. New York City is just under 8 hours away.
The closest airport to Acadia National Park is Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport, just 10 minutes from the park. But flights here are expensive and schedules aren’t the best. Bangor is 45 miles away and a much better option. Since we had plans to road trip through the area, we flew into MHT and took our time getting to Bar Harbor.
Best time to visit Acadia National Park
The best time to visit Acadia National Park is in the fall, when the fall foliage is in full bloom. The temperatures in the fall can be chilly (40s and 50s) which tends to keep the crowds down.
Summers are very popular at Acadia National Park but that can also mean huge crowds. Certain roads require advance reservations in the summer so be sure to check before your trip. That said, we visited in July and were expecting massive crowds but it wasn’t crowded at all! When we got to the Wonderland Trail, there were only 2 other cars in the lot and we didn’t see anyone until we got to the beach.
Where to stay when visiting Acadia National Park
Camping near Acadia National Park
There are multiple campgrounds in Acadia National Park. Two campgrounds are on Mount Desert Island, and one campground on the Schoodic Peninsula. You must make reservations in advance (up to 60 days) so be sure to book if you are planning to come in the busy summer months.
Best family-friendly hotels near Acadia National Park
Because this is a popular destination, there are many family friendly hotels near Acadia National Park. We stayed at the Hampton Inn Ellsworth/Bar Harbor. It was 25 minutes from our hotel to the visitors center.
Some other great family friendly hotels near Acadia National Park are the Best Western Acadia Park Inn and Holiday Inn Bar Harbor.
Things to bring when visiting Acadia National Park with kids
- Sunscreen: If you’re visiting in the summer months, don’t forget a good quality sunscreen!
- Sun Hat: We love these Sunday Afternoon hats for kids. They provide great coverage and are easy to pack.
- Hiking Boots: Merrell is our go to brand and these kids hiking boots have been amazing.
- National Parks Journal: This is the journal Milana fills out on all of our National Park trips. We stamp it and put a photo of the park in there as well.
Books and games about Acadia National Park
Things to do in Acadia National Park with kids
There are lots of things to do in Acadia National Park with kids! From exploring the many trails, learning about the park in their Junior Ranger activity booklet and going on scenic drives, you are bound to find something your entire family will love.
Best kid-friendly hiking trail in Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park has lots of hiking trails for all abilities. Here are some of the best hiking trails in Acadia National Park for kids.
- Bubble Rock: This is one of the most popular trails in the park so you might have to wait for a parking spot to open. The trail is only 1 mile round trip and our favorite! The first half mile is uphill, on rocks and stairs so keep that in mind in case anyone in your group has mobility issues. At the top, you will see the giant Bubble Rock.
- Wonderland Trail: This is probably what you are expecting when coming to Acadia. The trail is only 1.4 miles round trip and after walking through the wooded area, it opens up to the ocean. Great place to explore at low tide!
- Jordan Pond Trail: This is a 3.5 mile loop trail that follows a path along the famous Jordan Pond. If you don’t feel like doing the entire thing, simply turn around and go back.
- Ocean Path Trail: This trail is 2.2 miles each way and takes you along the coastline.
- Cadillac Summit Loop Trail: You need to make advance reservations to be able to drive on this road from May to October, so keep that in mind! This is a short 0.8 mile loop trail with amazing views and definitely worth a visit.
Junior Ranger program in Acadia National Park
Just like all the other National Parks, Acadia National Park has a Junior Ranger program. Be sure to pick up an activity book at one of the visitor centers so your kids can earn their Junior Ranger badge. The visitors center didn’t open until 8:30 so we drove to the Wonderland Trail first (30 minutes from here) and then stopped at the visitors center after to pick up our junior ranger book.
Where to eat with kids near Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park has one restaurant inside the park, the Jordan Pond House. Reservations are recommended and this restaurants is only open seasonally.
Because Acadia National Park is near the city of Bar Harbor, there are tons of food options available nearby. If you want seafood, check out the Happy Clam Shack. You can’t miss it from the road, it’s super cute and stands out!
Because we were kind of done with seafood at this point in our trip, we headed to downtown Bar Harbor for some Indian Food at Royal Indian. Our family loves Indian food so this was a nice break from all the seafood! There are lots of restaurants in downtown Bar Harbor, so head there after the park for some food.
Have you been to Acadia National Park with kids? It’s one of the best national parks to visit with kids and dogs. The trails are beautiful and the views are amazing. It’s one of our favorite US National Parks! Want to read this later? Pin one of the images below to save for later.