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17 Best Photography Spots In Acadia National Park

17 Best Photography Spots In Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park protects 48,000 acres of coastline, lakes, and mountains where visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, and outstanding scenery. The park preserves about half of Mount Desert Island, as well as parts of the Isle au Haut, Schoodic Peninsula, and 16 smaller surrounding islands.

The human history of Acadia dates back more than 10,000 years ago with the Wabanaki people. In the 17th century, fur traders began frequenting the area and in the 19th century, it started to become a summer tourist area. In the 19th century and 20th centuries, the Acadia area became a popular place for wealthy families to vacation, including the Rockerfellers who helped establish the park.

Acadia National Park has countless places to enjoy and we compiled some of the greatest places to view and photograph. This list of the best Acadia National Park photo spots is alphabetical and includes:

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

Bass Harbor Head Light is a lighthouse in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, Maine. It is located in the southwest portion of the island. The entrance to Bass Harbor and Blue Hill Bay has been marked by Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse since 1858. It is estimated that approximately 180,000 people visit the lighthouse annually, which makes it the fifth most popular spot within Acadia National Park.

Fun Fact! Bass Harbor Head Light was included on the 2012 America the Beautiful quarter, the 2016 National Park Service centennial postage stamp, and the 1988 National Register of Historic Places listing.

Beehive Trail

The Beehive Trail is a thrilling 1.5 mile loop trail in Acadia National Park. The trail begins at the Beehive Trailhead which is located across from the Sand Beach parking lot off Park Loop Road. Hiking the 1.5 mile loop trail takes about 2-4 hours due to the steep 450-foot elevation gain and multiple obstacles. Along the trail, hikers will find several handrails to navigate over exposed rocks, iron rungs to climb up, and granite steps. From the top of the trail, hikers are rewarded with spectacular views of Sand Beach, Great Head, and the surrounding area. To return back, hikers take the Bowl Trail which is a relatively easy trail compared to Beehive.

Blue Hill Overlook

Acadia National Park is home to many stunning views and one of the best places to take in the views is the Blue Hill Overlook. The overlook is located along Cadillac Mountain Road about 1/4 a mile away from the summit. The overlook has a parking lot which makes it accessible by vehicle, but hikers can also start lower and make their way up to the overlook via several trails.

Although, many people watch the sunrise from the summit of Cadillac Mountain, few know about Blue Hill Overlook and the glorious sunsets that can be seen from the viewpoint.

Bubble Rock

Bubble Rock is undoubtedly Maine’s most well-known boulder and one of Acadia National Park’s most popular destinations. This massive geological formation, perched precariously on the eastern side of South Bubble’s top, is an exceptional example of a glacial erratic. The massive boulder was carried here by the tremendous activity of previous glaciers. According to scientists, the boulder is thought to have originated 40 miles north of its current resting place. The Bubbles Divide Trail and Bubbles Trail allow hikers to access Bubble Rock and South Bubble’s 768-foot summit.

Cadillac Mountain

Cadillac Mountain is one of the main attractions within Acadia National Park. The mountain stands 1,530 feet tall and is the highest point on the east coast of the United States. The summit is accessible by car or by hiking. The views from the top of the mountain are spectacular as you can take in the coast and the island scenery.

Cadillac Mountain is a famous sunrise viewing destination as it is the first place to view the sunrise in the United States from October 7 through March 6. Of the 20 mountains on Mount Desert Island, Cadillac Mountain is a must-visit and a classic Acadia National Park photography spot!

Carriage Roads

  • Location: Varies

The philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his family endowed Acadia National Park with 45 miles of rustic carriage roads that wind their way through the park’s mountains and valleys. Rockefeller, a competent horseman, desired to journey into the heart of Mount Desert Island by horse and carriage. The roads were constructed from 1913 to 1940 and offer sweeping vistas and close-up views of the landscape. Rockefeller made it a point to not flatten the hillsides to build the roads, but rather to build breast walls and retaining walls to preserve the land.

Acadia National Park’s carriage roads are the best example of broken-stone roads – a type of road commonly used at the turn of the 20th century – in America today. The carriage roads are true roads that were built by hand and span 16 feet wide. The roads were also built to last as they consist of stone culverts, wide ditches, and three layers of rock. The roads today are used for walking, biking, cross-country skiing, and more!

Echo Lake Beach

Echo Lake Beach is a beautiful, freshwater swimming area on the southern end of Echo Lake. It is accessible right off Route 102 in Southwest Harbor. The 32-acre lake is popular among locals and visitors as it boasts clear and warm water. The sandy beach is a great spot for photographing too as the setting is spectacular.

Gorham Mountain Trail

Gorham Mountain Trail is one of Acadia National Park’s most popular hiking trails. Gorham Mountain, with a top elevation of 525 feet, is not one of Mount Desert Island’s taller peaks, but it’s near proximity to the ocean gives hikers great views. The 3+ mile loop trail is rated as moderate and consists of mainly dirt paths along with some rocks.

Jordan Pond

Jordan Pond is a 187 acre lake produced by a glacier and it has a maximum depth of 150 feet. On both the left and right sides, there are steep inclines. To the west is the Penobscot Mountain which stands 1194 feet tall. To the east is the Pemetic Mountain which rises 1247 feet. The water is very clear, with an average visibility depth of 46 feet (14 meters), but it has been measured as high as 60 feet (18 meters), which is the highest ever recorded in Maine.

Little Hunters Beach

Little Hunters Beach is located near Hunters Head, southeast of Otter Cliff and Otter Cove, on the southeast side of Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park. The Park Loop Road provides access to Little Hunter Beach, however the view from the road is essentially blocked. A stairwell on the left leads down to the beach. This is a small cove with a wonderful pebble beach that features tons of round granite marbles. The sound that comes from the round marbles is amazing to hear!

Otter Cliff

Otter Cliff in Acadia National Park is one of the most beautiful vistas along the North Atlantic Seaboard. It is one of the tallest headlands north of Rio de Janeiro, standing at 110 feet. Otter Cliff is located just 0.7 miles after Thunder Hole, near to the Park Loop Road, on Mount Desert Island, Maine. Photographing the Acadia National Park coastline is a must and Otter Cliff is one of the most stunning features!

Otter Cove

One of the outstanding sights along the Park Loop Road is Otter Cove (just before Otter Cliffs and Otter Point), which offers visitors views both out to sea and inland. Otter Cove is thought to be the location where French explorer Samuel de Champlain landed his boat in early September 1604. Champlain repaired a hole in the hull after running into a rock ledge opposite Otter Cliffs.

Precipice Trail

Precipice Trail is located about a mile north of the Beehive and Sand Beach within Acadia National Park. The trail scales the east face of Champlain Mountain which is Acadia National Park’s 6th tallest peak. With an exposed and nearly vertical 1,000 foot climb, the Precipice Track is Acadia National Park’s most demanding and well-known hiking trail. It is rated as “difficult,” and only physically fit and experienced hikers with no fear of heights should attempt it.

Sand Beach

Sand Beach, on the east side of Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park, is a beautiful beach that stretches about 300 yards. The beach is not very large because it is uniquely nestled between mountains and the rocky Acadia shoreline. The beach is located just off Park Loop Road after the fee entrance on the northeastern side of the island. Although swimming is allowed, many opt for sightseeing because the water typically has a max temperature of 55 degrees in the summer.

If you’re looking to take in the beauty of Sand Beach from a unique viewpoint, check out Great Head Trail!

Schoodic Point

Schoodic Point is a well-known part of Acadia National Park because of its beauty and unique location. Schoodic Point is the only part of Acadia National Park located on the mainland and not Mount Desert Island. For reference, it is about a 1 hour drive from downtown Bar Harbor.

Despite its location away from the park, it is well worth checking out! Schoodic Point features beautiful granite headlands that have been eroded by storm surges and flood tides over the years. Visitors can also hike up the 440-foot Schoodic Head which offers stunning vistas of the ocean, forests, and mountains.

Thunder Hole

Thunder Hole is an iconic spot in Acadia National Park located just past Sand Beach along Park Loop Road. Thunder Hole is a naturally formed small intel along the Acadia coastline that produces amazing sights and sounds. On a wavy day, water comes crashing in to the inlet and cumulates in a small cavern at the end of the inlet. This cumulation creates amazing noises as the waves crash. It is often referred to as sounding like thunder, reference the location name. On a stormy day, visitors can also see water splash dozens of feet in the air and often feel it themselves.

Wild Gardens of Acadia

A varied group of community volunteers maintains the Wild Gardens of Acadia in Acadia National Park, Maine. It is based on the usual environments of Mount Desert Island. In nine different display areas, over 300 native species are labeled to make identification simple. The garden is located at the Sieur de Monts Spring and Nature Center and is open all year. If you love photographing and viewing beautiful plants – don’t miss out on visiting the wild gardens!

Hope you enjoyed these 17 Best Spots In Acadia National Park!

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Blog Post by:

Tom Riley (Founder and CEO of Whereaboutss)

Tom Riley

Tom Riley

View all posts by Tom Riley

Photographer based on Cape Cod

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