Nestled on Maine’s southeast coast, Acadia National Park may be small but it packs a mighty punch. Attracting over 3 million visitors every year, the region is known for its vast forests, stunning coasts and peaceful hikes. It’s most popular in the fall, when rainbow colored foliage creates the perfect photo backdrop – although we think it’s just as gorgeous at any time of the year.

You can’t actually stay in the park itself (unless you bring a tent) so you’re going to have to stay in one of the towns nearby. There are plenty of options to choose from which all offer something completely different, so you’ll have to do some research before you book your stay.

Which is where we come in! We’ve combined personal experience with hints and tips from locals and travel experts, to bring you the lowdown on the four of best places to stay in Acadia National Park. Whether you’re looking for a luxury break or visiting on a shoestring – we’ve got you covered.

So let’s dive right in!

Highlights of Where to Stay Near Acadia National Park

Historic Farmhouse near Acadia National Park: Great Cranberry

Great Cranberry, Acadia National Park 1

AirBnB Plus properties are hand selected for their unique interiors, charming locations and great guest service. This rustic pied-à-terre is located on Great Cranberry, one of the most secluded places in the region. You’ll get to enjoy unspoiled views towards the national park, as well as unspoiled beaches on the island itself. Guests also have access to shared bikes.

Cozy Cabin near Acadia National Park: Blue Hill Farm

Blue Hill Farm, Acadia National Park 1

Staying in a cabin is a great way to explore the Great Outdoors. They have a rustic, woodsy vibe whilst still offering all your usual home comforts. This particular cabin is actually housed on a working farm, giving you a fascinating insight into local culture. It’s a bit cozy, but with room for four people, this is great for both small families and couples.

Beautiful Hotel near Acadia National Park: Bar Harbor Inn and Spa

Bar Harbor Inn and Spa, Acadia National Park 1

If you’re looking to splurge then you can’t go wrong with this lavish 4-star resort right on the Bar Harbor coast. On one side of the hotel you can enjoy stunning coastal views, on the other you can enjoy the beautiful hills of Acadia National Park. After a long day of exploring the natural beauty, unwind in the gorgeous spa right in the heart of the hotel.

Acadia National Park Neighborhood Guide

CHILLED OUT CITY
Bangor, Acadia National Park 1
CHILLED OUT CITY

Bangor

Bangor is the closest city to Acadia National Park, making it a great base for those that prefer urban areas. It’s only an hour drive from the stunning scenery of Acadia, and is well connected to the rest of New England.

FIRST TIME IN ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park 1
FIRST TIME IN ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor is the closest town to Acadia National Park and the largest on Mount Desert Island. For first time visitors, you will get to enjoy immediate access to some of the most stunning scenery in the region.

ON A BUDGET
Ellsworth, Acadia National Park 1
ON A BUDGET

ELLSWORTH

Just north of Mount Desert Island, Ellsworth is a typical blue collar neighborhood in Eastern Maine. With plenty of affordable restaurants, bars, and cafés, this is a fantastic destination for those sticking to a strict budget.

FOR FAMILIES
Blue Hill, Acadia National Park 1
FOR FAMILIES

Blue Hill

Blue Hill is located just across the water from Acadia National Park, about a 40 minute drive in total. Whilst it can get busy in the summer (like everywhere else in the region), it’s still one of the most peaceful destinations nearby.

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Acadia National Park Top 4 Places to Stay

Although it’s small, Acadia National Park might be small is one of the best national parks in the USA. The park itself is located on Mount Desert Island which is connected to the mainland by bridge, but keep in mind you will need a car to get around.

Bangor is the closest city to Acadia National Park, and is only an hour away by car. It’s an urban area, packed with fascinating cultural insights and budget-friendly bars. You’ll also get to enjoy stunning views of the Maine Highlands from basically anywhere in the city.

Bar Harbor is just outside the national park, and is the largest town on Mount Desert Island. This is the best place to stay for first time visitors to the area, who can enjoy unrestricted access to the best of Acadia National Park. It’s also close to many of the ferries to the smaller islands.

Ellsworth is a blue collar town, and is one of the most affordable places in the region. If you’re travelling on a budget, you’ll be guaranteed to find some great deals on accommodation, dining and drinking here. Ellsworth is connected to the island by bridge, so you’ll only be about 20-30 minutes from the national park itself.

Last but not least, Blue Hill is just across the water from Mount Desert Island. Whilst it can get quite busy during the summer season, it still maintains a peaceful atmosphere that makes it the perfect family getaway. It has plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained, and is usually a little bit quieter in the Fall.

Still undecided? Read on for more information about each town below. We’ve included our top accommodation picks and the best things to do in each place to help you plan your itinerary.

1. Bangor – Chilled Out City Close to Acadia National Park

Bangor, Acadia National Park  1
Bangor is the perfect combination of urban and nature
source: EdwinWilke (Shutterstock)

Bangor is the closest city to Acadia National Park, making it a great base for those that prefer urban areas. It’s only an hour drive from the stunning scenery of Acadia, and is well connected to the rest of New England. 

You’ll find much more to do here in terms of nightlife and dining than in other areas near the national park. It also isn’t as touristy as the smaller towns, so you’ll get to enjoy some peace away from the tourist crowds.

Historic Home in Bangor: Lobster Theme

Lobster Theme, Acadia National Park

This quirky apartment is right in the heart of Bangor, and sleeps up to three guests . Built during the Civil War, you’ll get to stay in a small piece of local history. They offer substantial discounts on monthly and weekly rates, perfect for long term stays.

Rustic House in Bangor: CharmHouse on Forest

CharmHouse on Forest, Acadia National Park

If you’re planning a romantic getaway to Acadia National Park, this is the perfect accommodation for it. With serene interiors, historic architecture and beautiful nature surrounding the house, this is our top pick for couples in the area. It’s a self-contained unit so you’ll have plenty of privacy, but the local family that owns it are right next door if you need anything.

Quaint Hotel in Bangor: Country Inn at the Mall

Country Inn at the Mall, Acadia National Park

Right next to Bangor Mall, this is a great one for shopping addicts. Housed within a typical country inn, this unique hotel has a traditional vibe. The rooms are super spacious and equipped with sturdy furnishings. Bangor City Forest is within walking distance, offering some fantastic hiking trails. It’s a little bit out of the way, but this means it’s super quiet in the evenings.

Things to See and Do in Bangor:

Bangor, Acadia National Park 2
Stephen King’s House… explains the bats
  • Bangor is a cultural hub for Maine – there are multiple theater companies and orchestras operating within the city
  • The Thomas Hill Standpipe offers gorgeous views of the city – you’ll feel truly enchanted looking out towards the multi-colored foliage in the fall
  • Nightlife here is a little more understated than in larger cities but still worth checking out – we love Sea Dog Brewing Co in particular for the hip vibes and quality beer

2. Bar Harbor – Best Place to Stay around Acadia National Park for a First Visit

Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park 1

Bar Harbor is the closest town to Acadia National Park and the largest on Mount Desert Island. For first time visitors, you will get to enjoy immediate access to some of the most stunning scenery in the region. It’s super popular with tourists, so you’ll have plenty of excursions at your fingertips to really get to know the beauty of Acadia National Park.

Whilst it’s popular with tourists during the fall, Bar Harbor quietens down during the summer and winter seasons. This makes it a charming coastal town during these parts of the year, perfect for getting away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Inviting Apartment in Bar Harbor: Sunset Studio

Sunset Studio, Acadia National Park

This gorgeous studio sleeps up to four guests and has all the amenities you’ll need for a comfortable stay. The best dining and retail destinations are right on your doorstep, with the beach only a four minute walk away. The park is also a 5 minute drive away, and there are some great hikes close by.

Extravagant Home near Bar Harbor: Great Cranberry

Great Cranberry, Acadia National Park 2

This one is on a different island, but you’ll only be a short ferry ride away from Bar Harbor. You’ll get to enjoy completely unspoiled views, but still be close to local attractions. The house sleeps up to 8 guests, perfect for families traveling to the area.

Luxury Hotel in Bar Harbor: Bar Harbor Inn and Spa

Bar Harbor Inn and Spa, Acadia National Park 2

Every room in this stunning 4-star hotel has a balcony with views across to either the coast or the mountains. There is a small private beach and dock where you can bask in the serenity of the hotel, and guests rave about the breakfast offered every morning.

Things to See and Do in Bar Harbor:

Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park 2
  • Acadia National Park is right on the doorstep – head to the tourism office for hiking maps, and don’t forget to take a camera with you
  • Bar Harbor Historical Society run a small museum in the heart of the town where you can learn about local history and culture
  • Sailing is a popular activity – hire a boat from the Acadia Sailing Company, or take a whale watching tour if you’re more interested in a guided excursion
  • There are plenty of gorgeous eateries along the main street – we recommend Bar Harbor Lobster Bakes for some truly unforgettable New England cuisine
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3. Ellsworth – Where to Stay Near Acadia National Park on a Budget

Ellsworth, Acadia National Park 1
Acadia National Park is stunning in the fall
source: Chiara Salvadori (Shutterstock)

Just north of Mount Desert Island, Ellsworth is a typical blue collar neighborhood in Eastern Maine. With plenty of affordable restaurants, bars and cafés, this is a fantastic destination for those sticking to a strict budget. If you visit during the off-season you’ll also find some of the best accommodation deals in Ellsworth.

Surprisingly, Ellsworth is still super busy during the summer season. The town is bustling with travelers who are visiting the gorgeous scenery in the region. This means that for four months of the year you’ll also find a wealth of tourism companies offering excursions to Acadia National Park and beyond.

Secluded Dream in Ellsworth: Riverside Getaway

Riverside Getaway, Acadia National Park

This is a truly gorgeous little hideaway. Built to resemble a log cabin, the interiors are a little more modern and super spacious. The studio sleeps up to 7 guests in 3 bedrooms, and has all the comforts of home. It’s a little bit outside Ellsworth, but you’ll be right next to the Union River which creates a peaceful setting to wake up in every morning.

Peaceful Escape in Ellsworth: Lamoine Retreat

Lamoine Retreat, Acadia National Park

This gorgeous little apartment is a stone’s throw away from central Ellsworth. There’s a large deck surrounding the house where you can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding nature, as well as towards the town centre. The interiors are bright and spacious, with small details that add a touch of color and creativity. We also love the super modern kitchen – making it our top pick for self-catering guests near Acadia National Park.

Budget Friendly Hotel in Ellsworth: Ramada by Wyndham

Ramada by Wyndham, Acadia National Park

Ramada by Wyndham is known across the United States as a reliable, budget-friendly chain. Their Ellsworth hotel is certainly no exception, offering unbeatable comfort at equally enticing rates. Only a short walk from the retail outlets, this is a great pick for budget shopaholics. A small fitness center and hut top is also available.

Things to See and Do in Ellsworth:

Ellsworth, Acadia National Park 2
source: BW Folsom (Shutterstock)
  • The Woodlawn Museum is a fantastic destination to learn about East Maine’s history – there are multiple authentic and reconstructed exhibits of furnishings and vehicles
  • Head down to the Grand Auditorium – they host major cultural events throughout the year, and the gorgeous art deco architecture is an attraction in itself
  • Take a trip down Route 1 – here you will discover local and national brands offering clothing, souvenirs and furnishings at fantastic prices
  • Riverside Café is something of a local institution – the queues are huge during the summer, but the food is totally worth the wait
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4. Blue Hill – Best Area by Acadia National Park for Families

Blue Hill, Acadia National Park 1
Stunning
source: Jon Bilous (Shutterstock)

Blue Hill is located just across the water from Acadia National Park, about a 40 minute drive in total. Whilst it can get busy in the summer, it’s still one of the most peaceful destinations nearby. This makes it a fantastic choice for families looking to avoid the huge crowds closer to the park.

It’s also a great adventure destination offering outdoor activities and water sports that cater to the whole family. Inside the town centre you will discover historic architecture, museums and galleries. Just south you’ll also find the Brooklin area, which has an exclusive charm.

Peaceful Bungalow in Blue Hill: Swimming Cove

Swimming Cove, Acadia National Park

Nestled on the edge of a private swimming cove, this quaint bungalow comes with gorgeous views of the sea. It maintains a secluded vibe thanks to the surrounding trees but it’s actually only a five minute walk from the centre of Blue Hill. It sleeps 8 guests and is pet-friendly, making it the perfect spot for a family vacation.

Cute Cabin in Blue Hill: Blue Hill Farm

Blue Hill Farm, Acadia National Park 2

This cabin sleeps 4 people, and sits on the farm itself! Blue Hill Farm is a major part of the local economy and you’ll even get the chance to experience farm life if you arrange an experience in advance.

Traditional Inn in Blue Hill: Barncastle

Barncastle, Acadia National Park

Barncastle is one of the quirkiest castle’s we’ve written about – and we love it! It’s a crazy mish-mash of styles, but you’re sure to be comfortable throughout your stay. There’s wifi, a beer garden, and plenty of great hikes nearby.

Things to See and Do in Blue Hill:

Blue Hill, Acadia National Park 2
source: Albert Pego (Shutterstock)
  • This stunning sea kayak trip around the Brooklin Islands is well worth the short car journey from Blue Hill to the town of Brooklin
  • Blue Hill Falls is a truly epic destination where you can go tubing or kayaking through the inner falls
  • Arborvine is one of our top dining picks in the region – offering brew-pub fare, as well as fine dining at reasonable prices

Final Thoughts on Where To Stay near Acadia National Park

Despite its small size, Acadia National Park is a diverse region of southeastern Maine that attracts millions of travelers and road-trippers every year. The magical forests, cascading mountains, and dramatic cliffs make this a beautiful USA travel destination year round. The nearby towns also have unique cultural attractions that let you get up close and personal with rural Maine’s history.

If we had to pick one place as our favorite, it would have to be Blue Hill. It’s a little bit out of the way, but if you want to stay during the fall you’ll get to enjoy some peace and quiet here. The town itself is packed with hikes and adventure activities, with quick connections to the National Park over the bridge.

That being said, all of the areas mentioned in this guide come with their benefits. All that’s left to do now is pick your destination, grab those hiking boots and get going!

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.

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