A Family Affair: Vacationing in Acadia National Park
|Sand Beach at Acadia National Park, Maine (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)|
Acadia’s most popular campground, Blackwoods, is situated off the Park Loop on the east side of Mount Desert Island. Set in a forest of spruce and shrubs, the 306 sites are near the trailhead to Cadillac Mountain. Seawall is another campground run by the national park on the island’s quieter west side, four miles south of Southwest Harbor on Route 102A. The 212 drive-up or hike-in campsites are linked to shoreline and self-guided nature trails. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance by calling 877-444-6777.
If you want to overnight in comfort, grab one of the rooms at the Bar Harbor Inn for $199 to $379 in summer, including free continental breakfast. The inn is within easy walking distance of the numerous of restaurants in town. As the name implies, rooms in the Oceanfront Lodge feature balconies with views of the ocean.
Many families will mention lunch at Jordan Pond Gatehouse as the highlight of their vacation at Acadia. Grab one of the picnic tables on the sloping manicured lawn and gaze at the view of South Bubble and Penobscot mountains looming over the pond waters. Then dig into the hot-out-of-the-oven homemade popovers, bowls of seafood chowder, and a cranberry salad topped with curried chicken, all washed down with strawberry lemonade. The best bit for children is the dessert popover, this one dripping wet in hot chocolate sauce and topped with a scoop of mocha ice cream. Afterward, take a stroll on the Jordan Pond Nature Trail to see the turtles sunning on the logs.
For the requisite lobster roll and clam chowder, grab a picnic table at Beal’s overlooking the hard-at-work lobstermen in the small fishing village of Southwest Harbor. Toddler-friendly fare includes chicken nuggets, fish and chips, and grilled cheese sandwiches.
In Bar Harbor, Café This Way features a homey mix of overstuffed couches and chairs. In fact, every table at this restaurant is different, but the food coming out of the kitchen is consistently good. Entrées include such fare as Sicilian-style grilled tuna or cashew-crusted chicken. A short walk away, Reel Pizza offers both dinner and a movie. Simply order a pizza when you enter, grab a seat, and watch for your number to flicker on the side of the theater to indicate when your pie is ready. If you have room for dessert, head on over to Ben & Bill’s for their homemade ice cream (the adults shouldn’t miss the lobster-flavored ice cream).
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication