Thursday, August 2, 2012

Acadia National Park review

We've heard lots of good things about Acadia National Park and decided that last year was the year we'd go exploring it. Obviously, that didn't happen.  As it turned out, you needed to book your campsite waaaayyy in advance to secure a spot. This year, we got smart, and booked our July getaway as early as the camping season opened, which was in March.  

The park is located at Mount Desert Island in Maine. In spite of its name, there's nothing desert-like about this place. It's lush and it's on an island, so there are plenty of things to do - from hiking different trails - cliffs, ridges, along the sea - to doing water activities like swimming, kayaking, taking tours to see puffins and whales.
Honestly, I think that this may be my favorite park to date, and that's saying a lot. Sure, it doesn't have the grandeur of Yosemite or Zion and the bears of Shenandoah, and we didn't even see any of the resident moose, but it's the diversity that's in the park that really stood out for me. That, and the many ranger-led activities.

For the first night, we joined a bunch of people on a "Stars over sand beach" program, where the ranger talked about the constellations, while we were all lying down in the sand. With the lapping waves behind us, the mountains in front of us, it sure beats going to the planetarium. We even saw 2 shooting stars and 2 circling satellites!  

Another thing that impressed me was how clean the park was. The toilets were not filled with cobwebs like others I've been in. The lakes are pristine. And in spite of the volume of hikers that week, you get a sense that most of them aren't first-timers and know this park like their Aunt Sally's backyard! It was so nice to see so many little children of all ages raised their hands when asked who among them have been to Acadia before. It's such a family-friendly park. The hiking trails vary in difficulty and length, for beginners and avid hikers alike. The lakes and beaches cater to family fun in the water. In the meantime, if you're sick of beans cooked over your camp stove, and just want to have pizza, the town of Bar Harbor sits pretty on the island too.

We're definitely coming back. 

Insect eggs

View at dawn

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