Just a two-hour drive from Camden, ME lies one of America's premier natural environments, Acadia National Park. Boasting numerous ecosystems and enchanting seaside vistas, this park has beckoned travelers for generations. With a little planning, you can enjoy a day's adventure in Acadia during your stay with us at the Captain Swift Inn.
Check out our five must-sees for a day trip to Acadia. Pack a sturdy pair of hiking boots, fill your water bottle, and stock up on snacks before heading off to the park. You may also want to rent a bike from Maine Sport before leaving Camden.
Start your day with our 8 a.m. candlelit breakfast seating so that you can maximize your time in the park. Then head out along Atlantic Highway (Rt. 1) through the towns of Belfast, Bangor, and Ellsworth, winding your way through Maine's famed pine forests. You should reach the park before 11 a.m. If you choose to drive through the park, consider that parking is at a premium. The Island Explorer Bus runs free throughout Acadia, hitting all the major destinations.
With the sun high in the sky, you may want to head first to the aptly named Sand Beach. Changing rooms and restrooms are available so you can dress to hit the waves. Be mindful that water temperatures rarely rise above 55F/13C – prepare for a brisk swim! If the cold waters are too much, sunbathing is a reliable alternative. Lifeguard service is provided on a part-time basis.
A half-hour hike from Sand Beach, or a mere five minutes by car, Thunder Hole offers an unparalleled glimpse of the power of the Atlantic. The waves crash into this unique rock formation, creating the illusion of distant thunder. Walk right down the stairs to the shore, where the water can splash up to 40 feet high!
Jordan Pond lies inland about a 20-minute drive from Sand Beach. Hiking trails of varying difficulty encircle this idyllic body of water. Plan on a circuit of anywhere from one to four hours depending on your chosen route. Also, consider whether you would like to dine before or after your hike at Jordan Pond House, Acadia's only restaurant. (Note: business is lightest after 4 p.m.) Famous for its afternoon teas accompanied by fresh popovers, Jordan Pond House also features iconic Maine dishes like lobster stew and blueberry sorbet.
At a height of 1,530 feet (466 meters), Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the Atlantic seaboard. Through fall and winter, the mountain is the first place in the U.S. to see the sunrise. A trip up the mountain requires extra precautions. Obtain registration for your car before your trip, and stick to designated pathways to preserve the numerous endangered plant species found here. It is worth the extra effort to enjoy one of the most majestic panoramas in New England.
These century-old broken-stone roads meander throughout Acadia. Forty-five miles' worth of biking and hiking await you, taking you to most major sites in the park. Cycling enthusiasts can easily ditch their car at the park entrance and spend the day exploring the wonders of Acadia through pedal power.