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When to visit Acadia, where else to include?

Old Dec 14th, 2011, 01:34 PM
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When to visit Acadia, where else to include?

I love beautiful scenery, wildlife, birds, and all things ocean-oriented (including food). But I don't like crowds. Many years ago we drove through Maine on our way back from Atlantic Canada and planned to spend a day or 2 in Bar Harbour and Acadia NP, hopefully finding some last minute accommodation somewhere in the general vicinity - but the traffic jams in the area were so crazy that we only had time for one trail, didn't get into town at all, and just moved on and stayed elsewhere.

This was in July, did expect "busy" but this was much more than expected(especially compared to Atlantic Canada provinces). Anyway - usually I avoid vacationing in July and early August and aim for the last half of June or the end of August closer to Labour Day. What are your thoughts for crowds at those times? September is possible, but I find that attractions and facilities in some destinations start closing down for the season right after Labour Day. Too early in the season I have concerns about weather and fog.

Would appreciate opinions. Also other areas in Maine to check out given my interests (will be tieing the visit in with a Quebec trip - probably about 5 to 7 days in Maine).
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Old Dec 14th, 2011, 03:10 PM
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September is our favorite time of year to visit Acadia-pleasant weather, and much smaller crowds (no mosquitoes, either). Most everything is open, usually till Columbus Day. We spend a week there at a time without getting bored, so I have no suggestions for other places.

~Liz
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Old Dec 14th, 2011, 03:46 PM
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elberko,
What time for fall colors? Sept or first of Oct?
I hope to go during the next couple years.
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Old Dec 14th, 2011, 04:45 PM
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I was there the last week of July last summer and it really wasn't bad. We were there mid-week and I think that made a huge difference. Acadia gets a lot of weekend trippers from Boston and surrounding area. The town itself had 'healthy' crowds - but we always got a parking space when we needed it. We had hotel reservations but I noted that lots of places has vacancy signs out. So even mid summer it's not really crowded except on certain weekends/holiday periods.

The problem with Acadia is that the 'season' is really short. You'd probably be OK in June and September, and might find fewer people, but things do close up, and the weather is cooler. Southern Maine (south of about Camden) has a longer shoulder season. I would certainly avoid Labor Day weekend itself if you want to avoid crowds.

Here's a mini report (and link to my photos) from when I was there last summer - http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...s-and-tips.cfm
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Old Dec 15th, 2011, 02:43 AM
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The last time we were there it was late June. I don't remember any problem with bugs. We have liked visiting Maine mid-June but the weather can be chancey and it's definitely cold out on the water for boat rides. But, mid-June is when lupines are blooming. We attended the lupine festival, a small town event, on the Blue Hill Peninsula which is just south of Acadia. We picked up a map to visit the best places to see fields of lupines.

We usually camp when we go to Maine and like a campground in Searsport and another one in Wiscasset. Searsport is close enough so Acadia is a fairly easy day trip. Timing is critical. Camden is nice and we love to take a picnic to the top of Mt Battie for the tremendous view overlooking the harbor (we take the auto road). Mid-week is the best time to go.

From Wiscasset, we have enjoyed Bath's Heritage Days in early July and exploring the different peninsulas in search of the best lobster roll or steamed lobster dinner. We have done this over 4th of July weekend with no problem. You just don't try to go over the bridge during commuting hours esp late Friday afternoon. It's Rt 1 but the bridge is narrow and traffic has to halt for pedestrians in downtown Wiscasset. We usually do not go to Boothbay Harbor unless we have a specific reason because this is another very popular area with a lot of traffic. There are plenty of places on the coast that aren't crowded, you just have to look a little harder for them.
We have been in Camden the third weekend in Sept and it is still very popular weekend destination then, too. I would expect the same of Acadia.
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Old Dec 15th, 2011, 04:25 AM
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We went to PEI after Acadia and I LOVED it.

Although it sounds like you may be already familiar with PEI.
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Old Dec 15th, 2011, 07:04 AM
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you could try the northern part of Acadia, and stay someplace around Winter Harbor. Its very pretty, and far quieter than Mt Desert. But its a much smaller area with less to do. I don't know how the trails are there. Lots of birds and seacoast scenery however.

Another option is to go to Mt Desert Island but stay on the "quiet" side, away from Bar Harbor. I spent a week in Bass Harbor once, and it was lovely and quiet. The hiking on that side of Soames sound is very nice (and that's where we saw the peregrine falcons that nest on Mt Acadia). And you can easily drive into Bar Harbor for a day if you want to.
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Old Dec 15th, 2011, 07:57 AM
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We were just on MDI this past September (2nd week, after Labor Day). All the shops are still open, but a few restaurants (one of the lobster pounds) have closed for the season. Other places may have "Fall hours" which usually means opening a bit later and closing earlier.

We stayed near Somesville. Apart from Bar Harbor which still have plenty of tourists, the rest of the island was pretty quiet.

When we left (9/17), the leaves have *just* started to turn, so if you want to see foliage, I would choose 2nd half of Sept to visit.

The ONLY downside of going after Labor day is IF you want to rely solely on the Island Hopper to get around. The Island Hopper schedule changes after Labor day and the buses are much less frequent for the routes OUTSIDE of Bar Harbor. It won't affect you if you plan to drive around the island, or if you stay IN Bar Harbor.

Here's my 9-day trip report from Sept 2011:
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...-sept-2011.cfm
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Old Dec 15th, 2011, 08:21 AM
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What time for fall colors? Sept or first of Oct?

Beats me! As far as I can tell it's the week AFTER whenever we are there!

~Liz
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Old Dec 15th, 2011, 08:49 AM
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I think some other things might reduce after Labor day, though the Island hopper is the big one. I think some of the ranger programs, and boat tours and such reduce offerings after Labor day and may only be offered on weekends. But those things may not be important to you.

i have been in both late May (Memorial day) and early September and September was better. It was very wet in May. The weather in September was lovely, though it got quite cool at night. But the bugs were way down too...no black flies or mosquitos after Labor day!
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Old Dec 15th, 2011, 11:50 AM
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I recommend the Schoodic Peninsula, which I believe is where Winter Harbor is located. It is a part of MDI, and is beautiful. We didn't stay overnight but we did drive around, and there weren't any crowds at all. We loved the rugged ocean scenery.

Also, on the main part of MDI, we stayed at the Inn at Southwest Harbor, which is much less crowded than Bar Harbor.
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Old Dec 15th, 2011, 02:33 PM
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I second the recommendation of the Schoodic Peninsula. I was there last September, right after Labor Day and there were no crowds at all. I spent 2 nights there, followed by 3 nts. in Bar Harbor and I really enjoyed the Schoodic more. Part of Acadia is located there and it's rugged and beautiful.

I recommend the Oceanside Meadows Inn, right on the ocean in Prospect Harbor.
http://www.bnblist.com/me/oceanside_meadow_inn/
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Old Dec 20th, 2011, 10:06 AM
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Thanks for all the tips and info, I've picked up a bunch of guides from the library and bookstore and can use the above to help target my research. Any further suggestions on places to stay would also be great. Would really like a water view and preferrably a suite with kitchen, possibly even a cottage (we are considering staying as long as a week). Nice scenic not real busy setting. Thanks again.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2011, 02:39 PM
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mat, we went to Acadia the last week in Sept a couple of years ago and the weather was wonderful and the crowds were negligible. I don't remember anything being closed. We stayed in a VRBO property which had a kitchen, but it wasn't on the water. Had a great time. Can't eat enough of those lobsters nor tire of the gorgeous scenery.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2011, 05:42 PM
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mat54, I'd look into renting a condo or a house if you're staying for (or close to) a week. You'll get much more space for less money. However, be aware that almost all house rentals are Sat -> Sat, so you'll have to adjust your schedule to accomodate the rental check-in and check-out.
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