Five days in Acadia National Park, Maine

I love planning trips. Gone are the days when I buy a guidebook in advance of booking a flight. Nowadays I scour the internet to read travel blogs and websites for hotel recommendations, must-do activities and insider tips. To that end, I’ve found others’ itineraries and recommendations so helpful so I wanted to share a great long weekend Matt and I spent in Maine last summer in an easy-to-copy format.

Who should go on this trip: Active east coasters who want to go to a national park without flying west
When to go: Maine gets cold and windy, so this depends on your personal constitution. We went in July and I thought that was perfect
Is it expensive?: It doesn’t have to be. JetBlue offers relatively low fare flights from JFK to Portland. You could stay in a luxury hotel/B&B right in Bar Harbor or find something smaller further afield.

Here’s a 5 day/4 night plan for enjoying Acadia National Park.

Day 1: Fly into Portland, Maine

  • Rent a car at the airport and drive into Portland proper.
  • Walk around the small city and it’s cobblestone streets.
  • Get a drink or a bite at Portland Lobster Company; they have live music and low key Maine fare.
  • If you scored a coveted reservation at Fore Street, save room for dinner! The food scene in Portland is pretty impressive for such a small town, so check out this list for recommendations. You’ll want to make a reservation in advance.
  • If you’d like to get a run in, I recommend the South Portland Greenbelt Pathway. Here are some other routes to consider.

portland lobster

Day 2: Drive from Portland to Bar Harbor

  • It’s a 3-hour drive if you take the 295/95 and closer to 4 hours if you take Route 1. If you take Route 1, plan to stop at some very adorable seaside towns including Rockland, Camden or Belfast.
  • Arrive at your B&B by mid-day, check in and do a short hike to get your bearings. I recommend the Great Head Trail for an easy hike near the beach.
  • Head to Stewman’s Lobster Pound for dinner and get a table right on the water.
stewmans lobster pound
Stewman’s Lobster Pound

Day 3:  Biking and hiking

  • Have a hearty breakfast at your B&B and then head to Bar Harbor to rent bikes to enjoy the miles of carriage road trails inside the park. There are routes with varying degrees of difficulty and the Bar Harbor Bike Shop can give you a map with detailed information.
  • After you’re properly exhausted, grab lunch in town and then head back to Acadia National Park to hike the famous runged Beehive trail.

biking acadia national park

Day 4: Running and kayaking

  • The carriage roads aren’t just for biking. They offer a beautiful, relatively smooth place to go for a trail run. Beware of hills!
  • After lunch in town, head to one of the many adventure shops for a kayak tour near Bartlett Island. Sign up in advance so you can guarantee your spot. You’ll paddle by gorgeous nature preserves and billionaires’ homes.

Pretty Marsh, Maine

Day 5: One last hike 

  • Wake up early to squeeze one more hike in before heading back south. Take the challenging Gorge Path Trail to the top of Cadillac Mountain. This is the queen of Acadia and you won’t want to miss the Cadillac Summit.
  • Make your way back down to Portland and stop at a few more seaside towns if you have time.

Where to stay?
Near Acadia National Park, we stayed at the Coach Stop Inn. It’s more affordable than B&Bs right in Bar Harbor, and the innkeepers do a great job of making this 1800s house feel like home. We enjoyed afternoon sweets and 3-course breakfasts.

More info on hiking and biking in Acadia.

Have you been to Acadia National Park?  


  1. March 5, 2018 / 7:33 am

    This sounds like such an amazing place to visit! I absolutely love having active trips 🙂
    That lobster looks delicious too.


    • Nicole
      May 27, 2019 / 7:33 pm

      delayed reply (apologies) but it WAS

  2. April 11, 2018 / 8:36 am

    Great trip! Acadia is my favorite place in the world! Have you been able to check out the Schoodic section of the park? It’s a bit quieter but the views are amazing. If you do, you should check out the new Acadia East Campground and picnic at Schoodic Point

    • Nicole
      April 11, 2018 / 10:54 am

      awesome!! great tip.

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