With more than four million visitors in 2021, Acadia National Park was one of many national parks that saw a surge in visitors in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That said, there are a few spots in the 48,000-acre park that qualify as “hidden gems,” according to The New York Times.
If you want to avoid the summer crowds while experiencing the masterful wildlife and scenic seascapes of Acadia National Park, the Time recommends Schoodic Peninsula, a small section of Winter Harbor representing the only part of the park located on mainland Maine. Unlike many other parts of the park, Schoodic Peninsula does not require advance reservations. The highest point on the peninsula is Schoodic Point, which can be reached on foot, by car or by bike at the end of a 7 km loop trail.
Also recommended by the newspaper is the distant Isle au Haut. Located 25 miles southeast of busy Mount Desert Island and accessible only by ferry, Isle au Haut’s 18 miles of trails offer more challenging hiking along the park’s shores.
If you’re still up for visiting busier parts of Acadia like Mount Desert Island — home to popular attractions Sand Beach and Cadillac Mountain — Friends of Acadie executive director Stephanie Clement told the Time it is advisable to aim for an early morning or late evening visit.
“Sand Beach is divine both early in the morning and right at sunset,” Clement said.
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