The Best Camping Near Acadia National Park, Maine

The Best Camping Near Acadia National Park, Maine

Check off your bird-watching bucket list or explore fascinating tide pool ecosystems from campgrounds near Acadia National Park. The variety of wildlife species in the park is rivaled only by the variety of activity options available!

Acadia National Park, Maine
Check In – Check Out
2 Adults

About Camping Near Acadia National Park

From saltwater beaches to freshwater ponds, campgrounds near Acadia National Park offer no shortage of spots to swim or boat. Let hiking trails of every level of challenge lead you to magnificent vistas and intriguing coastal hideaways. Between Mount Desert Island and Schoodic Peninsula, camping near Acadia National Park offers abundant opportunities to get your blood pumping, snap a beautiful photo, and catch a glimpse of unique wildlife.

Top Campgrounds Near Acadia National Park, Maine

View More

Acadia National Park Camping FAQs

There are few parks with greater name recognition than Maine’s Acadia National Park. Synonymous with some of the most beautiful fall colors in the country, Acadia is a bucket list destination during spring, summer, and fall. You’re more than welcome to venture up this way during winter, of course, but the work required to appreciate Acadia in the winter isn’t for the faint of heart.

What Is Acadia National Park Known For?

Acadia National Park is mainly known for all the things that Maine is known for—except, maybe, the lobster. Acadia is synonymous with the rugged outdoor nature of Maine and is famed for having great hiking, biking, and camping. The national park allows visitors to experience the woods of Maine and its coasts all in the same place, making it one of the most popular parks in the National Park Service system.

Main points of interest, like Cadillac Mountain, for example, generally are called to mind when people think of Acadia National Park. New England is renowned for its beauty, but Cadillac Mountain, sitting on the eastern seaboard’s highest point, is truly in a league of its own. Whether you’re bringing a camera or just capturing the memories in your head, Acadia lives up to every expectation.

Top Sights to See in Acadia National Park

Cadillac Mountain

The highest point on the eastern seaboard and the best view in the park. What’s not to love? Whether you want to hike it or drive it, Cadillac Mountain absolutely must be on your itinerary. The hike is moderately challenging and roughly 4.4 miles long, though any experienced hiker should be able to tackle it. If you aren’t an avid hiker, though, get a vehicle reservation and make the scenic drive.

Park Loop Road

The Park Loop Road traverses the eastern side of the most popular section of Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island. The drive takes around three hours, though you could easily stretch that out towards four if you aren’t in a rush. While you don’t need a special permit to drive the park loop road, you’ll need a vehicle reservation when you want to drive Cadillac Summit Road.

Thunder Hole

This spot puts you right up on the water as you stand on a carved-out inlet. Thunder Hole is a great example of what Maine’s coast looks like in a nutshell, with its rocky outcroppings and crashing waves. The name is, at least somewhat, literal. While not thunder per se, the waves crash into Thunder Hole itself and certainly make a loud noise. An hour or two before high tide (be sure to consult tide charts) is the ideal time to be here and hear the roar.

Best Time to Visit Acadia National Park

There’s really no way to visit Acadia National Park without running into the crowds. At least, there’s no convenient way. While you can visit in the off-season, all the park’s campgrounds are closed. If you want to go the route of booking at a private campground, you can still enjoy the off-season here.

For most campers, June to October is the best time to visit, depending on schedule and preferences. Summer here is comfortable, with the highest temperatures in July, where the daytime average is in the mid-70s. Summer nights drop to around 50 or 55, but with a light jacket, you’ll be very comfortable.

Later in the season, towards the end of summer and beginning of fall, the crowds dip slightly. While the crowds really won’t go away until after the fall colors get here, there’s a mini reprieve after the summer ends. Of course, once the fall colors come in, there’s a second peak season. That said, if you’ve never seen the fall colors in Acadia, it’s worth every single person you have to wade through in the crowds.

Tips for Camping Near Acadia National Park

Plan Ahead

There are four campgrounds in Acadia National Park spread throughout the park’s islands and mainland. How many of them are first-come, first-served? Absolutely none. You’re going to need reservations as far in advance as you can to ensure a spot. Reservations at Acadia Campgrounds go live two months ahead of time, and you want to jump on those ASAP.

There are 577 campsites available, so you’ve got a shot. The only thing is that everyone else wants one as well, and Acadia National Park sees 4 million visitors a year. Is it impossible to get a campsite here? Of course not, but it certainly isn’t easy.

Store Your Food Properly When at Camp

You probably won’t see a black bear here. In fact, you’re almost guaranteed not to. The only way you’re likely to see a bear is by leaving your food out, and that’s just not the way you want to see one. Make sure your food is properly secured in a food locker or your vehicle.

Realistically, you’re much more likely to be harassed by hungry raccoons interested in your snacks than a bear. Smaller critters want to rifle through your food and have no shame in doing so. Lock up all things with smells.

Free Camping Options Are Few and Far Between

Roughly one percent of Maine is run by the federal government. What this breaks down to is that your free camping options are super limited. The White Mountain National Forest is the only place you can reliably free camp in the state, and it’s not located near Acadia National Park. You really want to be sure you know where you’re camping for the night.

Tips on Entering Acadia National Park

Take the Bus

Admittedly, this won’t help you enter the park. However, it will improve your experience as soon as you get in. The roads are narrow and winding, and, more importantly, parking spaces are super limited. Do you really want half your Acadia National Park experience to be scouring for parking like you’re trying to find a spot at a box store on Black Friday? No, of course not. The bus shuttles visitors around the park quite reliably, which means you never have to think about parking.

The Carriage Roads Get Busy

These old roads have been a part of the park for roughly a century. While they’re wide enough for two cars to pass each other, they’re not the massive roads that we’re used to driving on our commutes. Compound that with the fact that walkers and bicyclists will be on them as well, and you get some traffic congestion. Driving aggressively will not get you anywhere any faster, and it’ll only make everyone’s day worse. Take your time and just enjoy the views. You’ll get there.

Cadillac Mountain Requires Vehicle Reservations

Everyone wants to drive the Cadillac Summit Road. It’s a beautiful drive that gets you to one of the most famous points in the park. Unfortunately, that means the road gets quite busy, and it just isn’t equipped to handle that kind of traffic. Now, Acadia National Park is instituting vehicle reservations for anyone wanting to drive the Cadillac Summit Road from late May to late October. Is it a hassle? Yeah, a bit. However, it’s completely worth it.

How to Camp in Acadia National Park

You really just need a little bit of luck with the reservation system. The most popular campgrounds here are Blackwoods and Seawall Campgrounds, as they give you the most central location in the park. One is on each side of Mount Desert Island, so really, they’re both great. The other two are in some of the less-trafficked areas of the park, so returning visitors may want to consider Schoodic Woods Campground or Duck Harbor Campground.

Because of Maine’s lack of free camping, Acadia National Park’s campgrounds are the only public lands game in town. If you can’t grab a spot in the park, there are several awesome Campspot campgrounds within driving distance that offer unique looks into the Maine wilderness.

The Best Campspot Campgrounds Near Acadia National Park for Tent Campers

Balsam Cove Campground

Balsam Cove Campground captures the idyllic nature of Maine. This secluded campground on the banks of Toddy Pond, known as “Maine’s best-kept secret,” provides a retreat away from the noise of the outside world, so there’s nothing in between you and your experience in Acadia National Park. Of course, should you want to venture out, you’ll be near all of Maine’s main attractions.

Whether you want to fill your days with blissful nothing or every activity under the sun, Balsam Cove Campground has you covered. With beachfront, kayaking, a playground, and outdoor volleyball area, it’s easy to stay active at all times. Of course, if you just want to find some peace and quiet, you can always cast a line in the pond and not return until you’ve caught something.

Best Campspot Campgrounds Near Acadia National Park for RV Campers

Timberland Acres RV Park

Timberland Acres RV Park is basically just a small clearing in the middle of the woods, but in the best way possible. It’s a great place to be all year long, but fall is especially magical. Regardless of when you’re here, you’ll be just a short drive from the entrance to Acadia National Park.

Though it’s just a clearing in the woods, Timberland Acres is not short on amenities. There’s an arcade, pool, rotating list of special events, and a playground, so everyone will have something to enjoy. Of course, as you’d expect, there are hiking trails through the surrounding woods, so you don’t have to head into the park to appreciate the woods of Maine.

Forest Ridge Campground

Forest Ridge Campground covers just under 50 acres of land in Ellsworth, Maine. Though it spans 50 acres, there are well fewer than 100 spots, meaning everyone has plenty of breathing room at their campsite as well as room to explore. This is perfect for RV travelers who will have all the space they need, even in full-sized rigs.

This campground is a bit more off-the-beaten path, in a metaphorical sense. The roads here are easily traversed, and all campers should be able to move about the campground with ease. While here, you’ll have Wi-Fi, laundry, showers, and access to a pool, so you can stay relaxed from first thing in the morning until you call it a night.

Best Campspot Campgrounds Near Acadia National Park for Lodging

Cottonwood Camping and RV Park

Did you know there’s a Wild Blueberry Capital of the World? It’s located in this section of DownEast Maine, and you can camp in the heart of it! You’ll feel like you’ve left civilization behind as the campground is off the main road, and the sites are all set back from the road that runs through the campground. Cabins here are cozy and unique, but easily the biggest draw at Cottonwood Camping and RV Park is the treehouse!

Cottonwood Camping and RV Park provides a more minimalistic, true camping experience while still covering all the basics, like showers and dump stations. If you’re here in the season, though, be sure to check out the live music.

Hadley’s Point Campground

Hadley’s Point Campground took fifth place in the category Best Campgrounds for Couples at the 2023 Campspot Awards. While this place can be quite the romantic retreat, solo travelers will enjoy it all the same. Whether you’re heading here with someone or not, this is one of the best ways to experience Maine’s woods.

Creature comforts abound here, especially if you’re staying in the cabins. You can get all the basics at the general store or head to the pool for a relaxing evening. No matter how you’re staying, when the sun starts to set, you’re in for a show.

Acadia National Park is easily one of the most breathtaking national parks. With millions of annual visitors, it’s hard to argue with the numbers. Still, even if it’s crowded, Acadia National Park is easy to appreciate.

Camp Guides