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Tag: Thunder Hole

Mainely Acadia: Park Loop Road

The view from the top of Cadillac Mountain

When visiting Acadia, the best place to start is the Park Loop Road. So, on our most recent trip, our first day in the park involved driving around and stopping at the many overlooks. Last year, we picked up an audio tour of the Park Loop Road at the Visitor’s Center. Luckily, we kept it because it came in handy taking my family around. We did get a few funny looks from other motorists when we stopped at several of the vantage points and sat, unspeaking, staring out the windshield, but it is a great way to learn more about the area than the signs tell you. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this audio tour is sold online, but I do recommend you purchase it at the visitor’s center when you arrive at the park.

The crowds are already gathering at Thunder Hole in the morning.

The Park Loop Road can get very congested, so I recommend you begin your drive early before the crowds arrive. Because the sun rises so early in Maine, my whole family was up most days before 6 AM (the house we were staying in could have used some blackout curtains, that is for sure!) so it wasn’t difficult to get an early start on our tour. Even with an early morning start, the popular stops were already brimming with people. By the time we got to Jordan Pond House for lunch, there was not a parking spot to be had. I think Chris circled for over 3o minutes trying to find a place to park. They told us it would be a 20 minute wait to be seated and he wasn’t back when our buzzer went off. If you are planning on stopping at Jordan Pond House at lunchtime, I recommend you park at Hull’s Cove and take the bus. Last year we didn’t have a problem parking, but we dined in the early afternoon.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come back next week to read more about our Mainely Acadia trip! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Acadia National Park: Park Loop Road

Thunder Hole at Acadia National Park

After we left Salem, we headed North to Maine. Upon first entering the state, I fell in love. There is something breathtaking and different about Coastal Maine. It looks like a mountain range, but smells like the beach. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. We arrived at Acadia and set up camp at Seawall Campground, which is located on the “quiet side” of the island. I didn’t really understand why they call it that until the next day.

Our first full day at Acadia was dedicated to driving the Park Loop Road. The Park Loop Road is the 27 mile road John D. Rockefeller Jr. built around Mount Desert Island so visitors can explore the park by automobile (instead of driving cars on the miles of the park’s carriage roads). We began our tour at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. While at the visitor center, we picked up an audio tour of the park look road to listen to on our drive. I really enjoyed it because we learned some history of the park as well as some information about natural side of Acadia. Also at the visitor center, we got our first taste of Acadia’s summer crowds. Holy Cow. Before this trip, I read Moon’s Acadia National Park Travel Guide and it mentioned that July and August are the busiest times to visit Acadia. I went into it picturing the Sleeping Bear Dunes on Labor Day but it was more like Disney World around Christmas. Parking lots were packed. As you can see in the Thunder Hole picture above, people were just everywhere. Truly, trying to get a clear picture was like trying to get a picture of Cinderella’s Castle without the people in it. It just wasn’t going to happen. Between the crowds and the heat, I really struggled with photographic inspiration in one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

Schooner Head Overlook at Acadia National Park

The Moon book really pushed for visitors to use the free Island Explorer Buses (sponsored by L.L. Bean). They reduce emissions and help with the crowded parking lots. We decided for our first day in the park we would drive the Park Loop Road to give us the flexibility to stop and see anything we wanted to see. One of our first stops was the Schooner Head Overlook (left). Compared to the rest of the park and other sections of the Park Loop road, this was a very quiet spot. We only saw a few people on the trail, one of which was setting up an easel to paint. This would be a great place to watch a beautiful Acadia sunrise and to catch the first rays of sun in the United States.

Of course, we had to stop at Thunder Hole (above). It was very cool to hear the waves thundering into the natural rock inlet. It really does sound like thunder. We wanted to stop at Sand Beach and see the only sandy beach in the park, but we couldn’t find a parking spot, so we kept driving. If you are looking to visit Sand Beach, I highly recommend taking the Island Explorer because we visited around 9 the next morning and the parking lot was already full.

Crowds aside, I do recommend driving the Park Loop Road at least once because the Island Explorer bus doesn’t stop at every place you may want to see. In particular, the bus does not go to the top of Cadillac Mountain, so if you want to see the highest peak on the east coast (and if you’re in Acadia, you should) you can only get there by car or by climbing it. Personally, I don’t hike something if I can drive it and I definitely don’t hike up the side of a mountain, so we drove and that is the topic for next week! Be sure to come back to hear all about it!

If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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