A Shore Thing in Maine - Page 3

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Rock of Ages: The jagged coastline of Acadia National Park  (courtesy, National Park Service)

Days Five, Six, and Seven: Camden Hills to Acadia National Park (75 Miles)
From Camden Hills, it's a ten-minute drive to Lincolnville, where you catch the 20-minute ferry ride to Islesboro (call 207.789.5611 for schedule). Make sure to bring your bikes—Islesboro is one of finest places for families to ride in Maine. The island is relatively flat, yet hilly enough to offer majestic vistas of Penobscot Bay and long enough to feature a 28-mile bike loop. Picnic at Pendleton Point, where harbor seals and loons often lounge on the long, striated rocks.

Continue driving up the coast to reach Acadia National Park (207.288.3338; www.nps.gov/acad). Atop the short summit of 681-foot Acadia Mountain, peering down at the lobster boats anchored in Southwest Harbor, it's easy to understand why so many families are drawn to Acadia. Everything is on a human scale. Here, you will encounter one of the only mountains on the East coast that drops straight into the crashing surf, vast pockets of forest, dozens of lakes and ponds, rugged granite hills, and Somes Sound, the only truly glacially-formed fjord on the Atlantic Coast, which almost splits Mount Desert Island in two.

Acadia's more popular campground, Blackwoods, is situated off the congested Park Loop, which is why we suggest you opt for the alternative, Seawall (207.288.3338; www.nps.gov/acad/camping.htm), four miles south of Southwest Harbor on Route 102A. Primarily tent sites nestled in the woods, the campground is only a ten-minute walk to the tidal pools that hug the Atlantic shoreline. Availability is on a first-come, first-serve basis and park rangers arrive at 8:30 in the morning, so it's best to line up about a half-hour earlier, especially in late July and early August.

Once you've paid for your overnight accommodation, climb Acadia Mountain or rent canoes and paddle Long Pond, the largest body of water in the park. If you plan to bike some of the 43 miles of carriage paths, hard-packed gravel roads that criss-cross the entire eastern half of Mount Desert Island, try the remote Amphitheater Loop. North of Northeast Harbor off Route 198, the 4.4-mile pedal is an exhilarating up-and-down ride through dense woods and over historic bridges, with glimpses of the ocean around almost every bend. Afterwards, head to Beal's (1.800.245.7178; bealslobster.com) in Southwest Harbor for the requisite lobster roll with clam chowder. Then it's back to Seawall to walk the rocky shores.

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