Cycle Friendly Destinations

A 10 Day Cycling Vacation in Acadia National Park

the nighttime view of Bar harbour in the Acadia National Park. Calm water with a silhouette of pine trees along shore. In the sky are twinkling stars, the moon is hidden behind the tree line but still lights the sky. In the distance over the water is a lone lit lighthouse. The sky is completely clear and the view to the horizon seems endless.

From the practicalities of navigating the rugged terrain of Acadia to the enchantment of its serene beauty, this article is your comprehensive guide to planning an unforgettable cycling adventure. We offer insights on the best routes, the ideal times to visit, and tips on making the most of your journey.

You’ll gain valuable information on what to expect, how to prepare, and even how to find those hidden gems that make Acadia unique. We hope you’ll finish reading this article with a plan and a sense of excitement and anticipation for the experiences that await you in Acadia National Park. Let this be the start of a journey beyond cycling, leading you to discover new horizons both outside and within.

google map with a pin at the location of Acadia Park

Let us paint a picture of what you can expect if you endeavour on the same adventure.

This Post Is For

  • This post is for people who love outdoor adventures and nature.”
  • “Ideal for avid cyclists looking for new, scenic routes to explore.”
  • “Perfect for those interested in combining physical activity with stunning natural landscapes.”
  • “Great for individuals or groups seeking a well-rounded vacation with a mix of cycling, hiking, and local culture.”
  • “Suited for both seasoned cyclists and those looking for a leisurely biking experience amidst nature.”

A Cycling Odyssey: Breathtaking Landscapes Beckon

Feel the crisp breeze caress your skin as you pedal through breathtaking landscapes, embarking on a cycling vacation that transcends the ordinary. Welcome to Acadia National Park, where every uphill battle is rewarded with panoramic vistas that steal your breath away. Nestled along the rugged coastline of Maine, this natural masterpiece beckons with its unique blend of lush forests, dramatic cliffs, and serene lakes. Thus creating a haven for cyclists seeking a transformative adventure.


As you embark on this two-wheeled odyssey, you’ll quickly discover why the effort to reach Acadia is worth it and a privilege. Picture yourself conquering challenging ascents, your muscles pulsating with determination,. Then to be greeted by the sun’s warm embrace at the pinnacle. Below, the Atlantic Ocean stretches as far as the eye can see. Its waves crashing against the imposing granite cliffs that guard the shoreline.

a view of bar harbour from above showing all the trees in different colors with the autumnal change taking place. The shore line and water seem calm and serene
View of Acadia Park

The Symphony of Experiences: Unveiling Acadia’s Charms

Beyond the physical rewards, Acadia National Park offers a symphony of experiences for those who seek them. Traverse the iconic carriage roads, a testament to human ingenuity that winds through ancient forests and leads you to hidden treasures. Encounter crystal-clear lakes where the water’s mirror-like surface reflects the surrounding majesty. Then inviting you to take a refreshing dip or bask in the serenity.


But it’s not just the landscapes that beckon – Acadia’s charm lies in its diverse activities. Explore the charming town of Bar Harbor, a gateway to the park, where you can savor local delicacies and engage with the welcoming coastal culture. Hike to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, where the first rays of sunrise touch the United States each morning., It ignites the sky with a palette of colours that defy description.

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Local Cycling Laws

  • Bicycles are permitted on all park roads, carriage roads, and paved bike paths.
  • Bicycles must yield to all users.
  • No bicycle may exceed 20 mph on the carriage roads.
  • Bicycling is not permitted on hiking trails or on privately owned carriage roads.
  • During winter where carriage roads are groomed for skiing, bicycles are not permitted.
  • A park entrance pass is required for all areas, including the Park Loop Road, gravel roads within the park, and carriage roads.
  • Wear a helmet. Maine state law requires that helmets be worn by all bicyclists under age 16.

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Nature’s Grandeur Unveiled: Cycling as Immersion


In Acadia, your cycling journey unfolds not merely as a vacation but as an immersion into the heart of nature’s grandeur. As you pedal through verdant forests, past tranquil lakes, and alongside rugged cliffs. You will then realize that the effort it took to get here is a small price to pay for the memories you’ll carry forever. So, saddle up, embrace the challenge, and let Acadia’s beauty fuel your spirit as you embark on a cycling adventure.

Bubble Rock, with a view south toward Jordan Pond

When To Visit The Park

The best time to visit Acadia National Park depends on your personal preferences. Each season has its unique advantages and disadvantages.

Summer (June-August)

The most popular time to visit is summer Acadia National Park, as it offers the warmest weather and the longest days of the year. Summer is also when the park’s facilities and amenities are open.

Pros:

  • Warm weather
  • Long days
  • All facilities and amenities are open
  • Many ranger-led programs and activities

Cons:

  • Crowded
  • Expensive accommodations
  • Hot and humid weather
  • Mosquitoes

Winter (December-February)

Winter is the least popular time to visit Acadia National Park, as the weather can be cold and snowy. However, the park is still beautiful in the winter, and there are many winter activities to enjoy, such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and ice skating.

Pros:

  • Fewest crowds
  • Cheapest accommodations
  • Winter activities to enjoy
  • Beautiful winter scenery

Cons:

  • Cold and snowy weather
  • Some facilities and amenities may be closed
  • Short days

Fall (September-November)

Fall is a beautiful time to visit Acadia National Park as the leaves change color and the crowds start to thin out. The weather is still mild, but it can get chilly at night.

Pros:

  • Beautiful fall foliage
  • Fewer crowds
  • Mild weather
  • Many ranger-led programs and activities

Cons:

  • Some facilities and amenities may be closed
  • Weather can be unpredictable

Spring (March-May)

Spring is an excellent time to visit Acadia National Park to avoid the crowds and enjoy the mild weather. However, some facilities and amenities may be closed, and the weather can be unpredictable.

Pros:

  • Fewer crowds
  • Mild weather
  • Wildflowers in bloom
  • Fewer mosquitoes

Cons:

  • Some facilities and amenities may be closed
  • Weather can be unpredictable

Monthly Weather Bar Harbour

Getting There

From The UK

The adventure begins and the first decision you need to make is, are you taking your own bike or will you be renting? If you are taking your cycle then you will need a strong bike box for the journey. The closest major airport is Bangor International Airport ME USA (Here)and costs just over a thousand pounds with British Airways. The flight time is around 14 hours. Here is British Airways Bike Policy, there are additional fees to pay if you are taking your own cycle. These are prices based on flight out on the 1st of April 2024 and return on the 11th of April.

Google Flight Data

  • 16:05 – 23:36Virgin Atlantic, DeltaKLMOperated by Endeavor Air DBA Delta Connection12 hrs 31 minLHR–BGR1 stop2 hrs 50 min JFK478 kg CO2-14% emissions£1,039round trip
  • 13:00 – 22:46AmericanOperated by Piedmont Airlines as American Eagle14 hrs 46 minLHR–BGR1 stop4 hrs 50 min PHL593 kg CO2+7% emissions£1,059round trip
  • 17:30 – 23:36DeltaKLMOperated by Endeavor Air DBA Delta Connection for Delta Air Lines11 hrs 6 minLHR–BGR1 stop1 hr 25 min JFK415 kg CO2-25% emissions£1,174round trip

Ways to get to Acadia National Park from the USA

By car

The most popular way to get to Acadia National Park is by car. The park is located in Bar Harbor, Maine, about 240 miles from Boston and 350 miles from New York City. The drive to Acadia is scenic, and many places to stop along the way, such as Freeport, Maine, which is home to L.L.Bean.

By plane

Two airports near Acadia National Park are Bangor International Airport (BGR) and Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport (BHB). Bangor International Airport is the larger of the two airports and offers direct flights from many major cities in the USA. Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport is a smaller airport, but it is located closer to the park.

By train

Amtrak offers train service to Bangor, Maine. Once you arrive in Bangor, you can take a taxi or bus to Acadia National Park.

By bus

There are a few bus companies that offer service to Acadia National Park. Greyhound is the largest bus company and provides service from many major cities in the USA. Concord Coach Lines offers service from Boston and New York City.

Bar Harbour

Which option is best for you?

The best way to get to Acadia National Park from the USA depends on your budget and preferences. Flying is the way to go if you are looking for the most convenient option. However, flying can be expensive, especially during peak season.

If you are on a budget or want to enjoy the scenery along the way, taking a car, train, or bus is a good option. These options will take longer than flying but will be less expensive.

Tips for getting to Acadia National Park from the USA

  • Book your flights or tickets in advance, especially during peak season.
  • Be aware of the time difference between your home state and Maine.
  • If you rent a car, be sure to book it in advance, especially if traveling during peak season.
  • Acadia National Park is a popular tourist destination, so be prepared for crowds.
Beech Mountain, Acadia National Park, USA

Bangor Airport To Acadia National Park

Once you arrive at Bangor International Airport, you can take a taxi or shuttle to Acadia National Park. The taxi ride will take about an hour and cost around $100. The shuttle ride will take about an hour and a half and cost around $30. However if you have brought your own cycle you will have other arrangements because the shuttle will not take cycles.

Car Hire Bangor International Airport

All the major car hire companies operate out of the airport, Hertz, Enterprise, Avis and Budget. There are lots of aggregator sites that will compare all the major car rentals prices here, saving you time.

  • Economy (Kia Rio or something similar) $33 a day
  • Compact (Ford Focus or similar) $45 a day
  • Fullsize (Chevrolet Malibu or similar) $50 a day
  • Midsize SUV (Nissan Rogue or similar) $56 a day
  • Standard SUV (Ford Edge or similar) $60 a day
  • Mini Van (Chrysler Pacifica or similar) $64 a day
  • Fullsize SUV (GMC Yukon or similar) $ 84
  • Standard Elite Van (Ford Transit Wagon or similar) $81 (Essential if you have brought your own bikes)
  • Standard Sports Car (Dodge Challenger or similar) $75
man sat on the floor high in the hills holding his cycle looking down towards the view of Bar Harbour in Acadia

Cycle Hire

If you haven’t brought your own cycle to Acadia there are plenty of cycle hire shops around starting at just $36 a day or $160 for the week. This is the discounted price for pre booking. We do recommend that you do bring your own safety gear.

  • Acadia Bike = Here They also hire E bikes for those who need a little assistance.
  • Acadia E Bike Adventure = Here
  • Acadia Outfitters = Here
  • Island Time Bike Rentals = Here

Cycling in Acadia

Acadia provides different opportunities for bicycling on carriage roads, bike paths, gravel roads, and paved roads. There are various options based on experience, elevation change, type of bicycle, and destination.

Carriage Roads

Winding through the heart of the park, the carriage roads have crushed rock surfaces perfect for bicycling. Use a carriage road map for orientation and distances between intersections Before venturing out, review the expectations for carriage road etiquette:

  • Cyclists share the carriage roads with horses and pedestrians. Everyone yields to horses and bicyclists yield to everyone.
  • Class 1 E-bikes are permitted on carriage roads. Class 2 and 3 are not allowed.
  • No bicycle may exceed 20 mph on the carriage roads.
  • Bicycling is not permitted on hiking trails or on privately owned carriage roads.
  • In the spring, carriage roads often close to all traffic during mud season, typically March and April. Please respect all posted signs and notices. To stay updated on temporary closures, visit http://go.nps.gov/AcadiaAlerts.

Park Loop Road

The Park Loop Road offers scenic views but is winding and narrow and may be congested with vehicles. There is no shoulder on the road. Biking the Park Loop Road is not advised during the busy part of the day (generally 10 am to 4 pm). It would be best if you cycled with the traffic flow on the one-way section of the Park Loop Road. The road up Cadillac Mountain is very steep and can be dangerous.

Do I need an entrance pass to bike on the Park Loop Road?

  • Yes, bicyclists must have a park entrance pass to ride in the park. This includes the Park Loop Road, gravel roads within the park, and carriage roads. If a park entrance pass is not on you, please be able to provide proof of your pass on a parked car.
  • When approaching Sand Beach Entrance Station, queue in line with vehicles and do not bypass the fee booth.

Where does the traffic flow change on the Park Loop Road?

Before biking the Park Loop Road, familiarize yourself with one-way and two-way traffic sections and safety information. Bicyclists should use caution when riding on any park road. 

Island Shuttle

The FREE island shuttle service will take you to all of the towns on the island and all the stops in Acadia National Park. The buses have front and rear bike racks for up to 6 bikes and make regular stops along their routes to pick up tired bikers. More info on the Bicycle express service.

Accommodation

Discover the enchanting allure of Acadia, where nature’s splendor meets luxurious accommodations. Nestled amidst pristine landscapes, our handpicked stays offer a serene retreat after a day of exploration. Dive into a world where comfort meets wilderness, and every sunrise promises a new adventure. Experience Acadia like never before!

  • Thornhedge Inn: Thornhedge Inn is an authentic Bar Harbor classic summer cottage. Woodwork, art and curiosities are little changed since it was built as summer home in 1900. Every guest room features luxurious linens, original woodwork and art. Every room a has a private bath. ($250-$400 a night) Here
  • Edenbrook Motel: Edenbrook Motel is family owned and operated to provide guests with vacation-improving service. Our 5-acre, quiet location is home to 47 rooms spread across four buildings. Its unique hillside location offers mountain air on one side and a fresh sea breeze on the other. Your active days on the island are rewarded with a deep, restful sleep at night. (May 2024 around $100 a night ) Here
  • Bar Harbour Inn: Overlooking Frenchman Bay and the Porcupine Islands, the Bar Harbor Inn is an iconic New England vacation destination welcoming guests from around the world. Genuine Maine hospitality, superior service, and timeless charm greet our guests as they arrive at our Bar Harbor resort. ($375-$600) This is a very popular place to stay because of its location, if you want very specific dates we recommend booking 18-24 months in advance.
Bar Harbour Inn

10 Day Itinerary For Acadia National Park

Day 1:
  • Arrive at Bangor International Airport, pick up your rental car, or check into your hotel.
  • Drive to Bar Harbor and check into your accommodations.
  • Rent a bike from one of the local shops.
  • Take a leisurely bike ride around Bar Harbor.
Day 2:
  • Cycle the Park Loop Road. This 27-mile paved road winds around Mount Desert Island, passing by many of the park’s most popular attractions, including Cadillac Mountain, Jordan Pond, and Thunder Hole. 
  • Opens in a new windowacadiamagic.com
  • Park Loop Road, Acadia National Park 
Day 3:
  • Cycle the carriage roads. John D. Rockefeller Jr. built these dirt and gravel roads in the early 1900s, offering a more scenic and challenging cycling experience than the Park Loop Road. Some popular carriage road rides include the Jordan Pond Loop, the Eagle Lake Loop, and the Beech Hill Loop. 
  • Opens in a new windowacadiamagic.com
  • Carriage roads, Acadia National Park 
Day 4:
  • Take a day trip to the Schoodic Peninsula, part of Acadia National Park located on the mainland. The Schoodic Peninsula is less crowded than the central part of the park and offers fantastic cycling opportunities, including the Schoodic Point Loop and the Schoodic Mountain Trail. 
  • Opens in a new windowwww.nps.gov
  • Schoodic Peninsula, Acadia National Park 
Day 5:
  • Cycle the Western Mountain Roads. These gravel roads offer stunning views of the Acadia coastline and are more challenging than the carriage roads. Some famous Western Mountain Road rides include the Seal Cove and the Western Mountain Loop. 
  • Opens in a new windowwww.nps.gov
  • Western Mountain Roads, Acadia National Park 
Day 6:
  • Take a break from cycling and visit Cadillac Mountain. Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the East Coast of the United States and offers spectacular views of the surrounding area. You can drive to the summit or hike one of the many trails. 
  • Opens in a new windowwww.citrusmilo.com
  • Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park 
Day 7:
  • Cycle the Jordan Pond Loop. This 3.5-mile paved loop is an excellent option for a leisurely ride and offers stunning views of Jordan Pond and the Bubbles. 
  • Opens in a new windowwww.mainetrailfinder.com
  • Jordan Pond Loop, Acadia National Park 
Day 8:
  • Dinner: Havana (Bar Harbor)Cycle the Eagle Lake Loop. This 5-mile paved loop is more challenging than the Jordan Pond Loop and offers excellent views of Eagle Lake and the surrounding mountains. 
  • Opens in a new windowwww.nps.gov
  • Eagle Lake Loop, Acadia National Park 
Day 9:
  • Cycle the Beech Hill Loop. This 13-mile carriage road loop is one of the most challenging in the park, but it offers stunning views of the Acadia coastline and mountains. 
  • Opens in a new windowwww.mainetrailfinder.com
  • Beech Hill Loop, Acadia National Park 
Day 10:
  • Return your rental car or check out of your hotel.
  • Drive to Bangor International Airport and catch your flight home.
a white bowl full of crab meat and cooked mussels with a red sauce (probably made from crab shells and wine)

Ten Day Food Options

Day 1:
  • Lunch: Geddy’s (Bar Harbor)
  • Dinner: Havana (Bar Harbor)(menu)
Day 2:
  • Lunch: Jordan Pond House Restaurant (Seal Harbor)
  • Dinner: Abel’s Lobster (Mount Desert)
Day 3:
  • Lunch: Testa’s Bar & Grill (Bar Harbor)
  • Dinner: The Chart Room (Bar Harbor)
Day 4:
  • Lunch: Thirsty Whale Tavern (Bar Harbor)(menu)
  • Dinner: Lamberto’s Main Street Italian Restaurant (Eagle Lake)
Day 5:
  • Lunch: Texas Seafood & Steakhouse (Eagle Lake)
  • Dinner: Austin’s Barbeque & Catering (Eagle Lake)
Day 6:
  • Lunch: Simple Simon’s Pizza (Eagle Lake)
  • Dinner: The Elm Tree (Beech Hill)(menu)
Day 7:
  • Lunch: Cafe This Way (Bar Harbor)(menu)
  • Dinner: Jordan’s Restaurant – Breakfast – Lobster Rolls – Burgers – Pancakes – Sandwiches (Bar Harbor)
Day 8:
  • Lunch: Project Social Kitchen & Bar (Bar Harbor)
  • Dinner: Leary’s Landing Irish Pub (Bar Harbor) (menu)
Day 9:
  • Lunch: Chase’s Restaurant (Winter Harbor)
  • Dinner: The Pickled Wrinkle (Birch Harbor)
Day 10:
  • Lunch: The Gallery (Winter Harbor)
  • Dinner: The Hotdog Cart (Winter Harbor)

Must Do When Visiting Acadia National Park

The one thing you must do or see while at Acadia National Park is to drive the Park Loop Road. This 27-mile paved road winds around Mount Desert Island, passing by many of the park’s most popular attractions, including Cadillac Mountain, Jordan Pond, and Thunder Hole.

Along the way, you’ll have stunning views of the Acadia coastline, mountains, and forests. You’ll also have the opportunity to stop at many scenic overlooks and trailheads.

If you only have time to do one thing in Acadia National Park, driving the Park Loop Road is the best way to see the park’s highlights.

Here are some other popular things to do in Acadia National Park:

  • Hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain for sunrise or sunset.
  • Visit Jordan Pond and enjoy a popover and cup of tea at the Jordan Pond House Restaurant.
  • Take a walk along the Ocean Path Trail and admire the views of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Visit Thunder Hole and watch the waves crash against the rocks.
  • Explore the carriage roads on foot, by bike, or by horse-drawn carriage.
  • Go kayaking or canoeing on one of the park’s many lakes and ponds.
  • Visit the Abbe Museum to learn about the history and culture of the Wabanaki people.

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Part of our 5 best places for a cycling vacation in USA series.

Bar Harbour Inn Image Attribute