Boston to Acadia Road Trip
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Boston to Acadia National Park
Thousands of people a year take a Boston to Acadia Road Trip. We have done it ourselves a number to times and have learned the best places to stop, the best things to do, and how to have a successful road trip.
Did you know that Acadia National Park is one of America’s top ten most visited national parks? With over 3.4 million visitors every year, it’s no wonder this beautiful place was made a national park! If you’re considering taking a road trip from Boston to Acadia National Park, there are plenty of stops along the way worth exploring. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of our favorite things to see and do on your way to Maine.
You do not need to stop at every place we mention, and you don’t have to stop at all, but if you want to experience a little more New England this is a great way to see it. Here is how to do a Boston to Acadia Road Trip!
Start in Boston
- Walk across the historic Longfellow Bridge, built in 1906 over Charles River to connect Boston with Cambridge.
- Visit the Old North Church, which was used to send signals that started the Colonial fight against British Rule.
- Visit King’s Chapel, a church dating back from 1686 and where you can see amazing stained glass windows created by John Foster West.
- Walk along Boston Harbor for breathtaking views of America’s oldest seaport town.
- Take an architectural tour through Beacon Hill or Downtown Crossing to learn about the rich history of these areas in the midst of changing times.
- The Freedom Trail offers a self-guided walking tour around Boston’s most important historical locations, including the Old State House, where colonists first gathered to protest British rule and became part of America’s history as John Hancock read The Declaration of Independence from its balcony for the first time.
- Take your kids to the Boston Children’s Museum and let them enjoy a super fun afternoon!
If you want more information on things to do in Boston, check out our post on Boston on the cheap.
What is the distance from Boston to Acadia National Park?
You will travel North on Interstate 95 to Route 1 from Boston to Acadia
Total driving time- approximately 5 hours or 266 miles.
Leave Boston and drive 1 hour to Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Stop in Portsmouth
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is a charming town on the Atlantic coast with a strong colonial history and beautiful architecture. It’s also home to Pease International Tradeport, which Portsmouth Naval Shipyard now runs
The town has many distinctive features, including The Old Colonial Church of 1763 and the waterfront mural that wraps around its harbor walls depicting scenes from maritime life in New Hampshire for over 100 years.
If you have time consider stopping at the fantastic Strawbery Banke Museum that traces the development of three centuries from colonial times through today.
For information on a weekend in Portsmouth check out our post.
Drive 37 minutes to Kennebunkport
Stop in Kennebunkport, Maine
Kennebunkport, Maine is a quaint coastal town with many things to do. The highlight of the area is undoubtedly its beaches and you can have fun exploring everything from tidal pools at low tide (usually near dawn or dusk) to panning for gemstones in rock-filled streams
The town of Kennebunkport has a lot of charming shops, restaurants, and places to enjoy the view. It is famous for being the summer home of the Bushes, and you can see why anyone would like to vacation here.
If you love the town, visit in December to enjoy the annual Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude.
Drive 36 minutes to Portland
Stop in Portland Maine
Portland is the cultural center of Maine and home to the Portland Museum of Art, which was founded in 1882 and is home to one of Maine’s best collections. It also has a small but notable collection from Monet
The city itself boasts an artistically inclined population as well as great shopping opportunities. Our favorite treats are Gorgeous Gelato and Holy Donuts.
Enjoy the cobblestoned streets, the beautiful waterfront, and some world-class seafood.
Drive 1 hour to Boothbay
Stop at Boothbay to see the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
If you want a great place to stretch your legs, this is the best stop you can take! The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is the largest in New England and a feast for the senses.
This is a great place for kids to get their wiggles out while exploring the huge Children’s Gardens and for you to learn about plants in all their varieties.
Truly one of the best gardens in New England.
Drive an hour to Camden, Maine
Stop in Camden, Maine
Camden is one of the most charming cities in coastal Maine and is a great place to stop for lunch. Grab something to eat at “The Waterfront Restaurant” and have some fabulous Maine lobster.
If you need to stretch your legs, you can take a stroll and window shop in their quintessentially New England downtown.
We recently spent a fall weekend in Camden and loved it!
Drive an hour and 43 minutes to Bar Harbor.
Stop in Bar Harbor
Stop in Bar Harbor to check into your hotel, grab some food and get ready for a great time in Acadia National Park.
The Acadia Hotel in Bar Harbor is just steps from the ocean and offers a great location with some excellent amenities. The hotel itself has an indoor pool, hot tubs, a workout facility, and complimentary bicycle rentals for all guests. For hotels in Bar Harbor, check out our rated Best hotels in Bar Harbor.
If you are interested in dinner in Acadia/Bar Harbor, I would recommend The Thirsty Whale Tavern. Their lobster rolls are next-level delicious.
Head the few minutes from Bar Harbor to Acadia National Park.
Acadia National Park
Tips for Acadia National Park
If you are planning on visiting Acadia National Park, then be sure to follow these tips:
- Pack plenty of water/snacks
- Plan your route by viewing maps online or using Google Maps·
- Make sure the trails are passable before you set out.
- If you are hiking with a dog, make sure they have plenty of water and space in their pack. (Dogs are allowed in the park, just make sure to clean up after them on trails.
- Pack extra clothes and food for the trip back home.
- Go on a weekday to have more of the park to yourself.
- Visit early in the morning for stunning views
- This will guarantee that your time is spent enjoying Acadia National Park instead of worrying about what to do when an accident occurs or if you run out of gas on the trail! Remember this vacation is all about recharging so there’s no need to worry too much while exploring one of America’s most beautiful parks.
Things to see in Acadia National Park
Cadillac Mountain is the highest point in the park and offers fantastic views of Frenchman Bay, Mount Desert Island, and Bar Harbor. Climb Cadillac for some spectacular vistas before hiking back down, or take it easy by driving up on a shuttle bus.
Want to see what all the fuss about waterfalls is? Walk through Jordan Pond Path, where there are three beautiful falls as well as drinking water available for purchase from vendors along the path itself.
The Otter Cliff Trail is another great place to walk if you want something more challenging than Jamaica Pond Path: this trail will lead hikers over rocks and scrambling up cliffs with views of Bar Harbor and the surrounding islands.
If you want to get away from it all, consider visiting the Schoodic National Wildlife Refuge on Route 15 in Acadia. The refuge is regarded as one of New England’s most pristine areas of natural beauty and a perfect place for viewing wildlife.
The visitor center provides information about this area’s rich cultural heritage and its ecology, including over 20 miles (32 kilometers) of hiking trails that pass through salt marshes, bogs, meadows with wildflowers like blue-eyed grasses or purple bell heathers, rocky headlands where harbor seals are often seen sunning themselves. You can also kayak along coastal cliffs overlooking coves filled with nesting seabirds.
For directions, park hours, and lots of trail options, check out our post on Acadia National Park!
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