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, especially from Cadillac mountain.
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 just a hotel room on a shoestring – we’ve got you covered.
So let’s dive right in!
- Highlights of Where to Stay Near Acadia National Park
- Acadia National Park Neighbourhood Guide
- Acadia National Park Top 4 Places to Stay
- 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Acadia National Park
- 1. Bangor – Chilled Out City Close to Acadia National Park
- 2. Bar Harbor – Best Place to Stay around Acadia National Park for a First Visit
- 3. Ellsworth – Where to Stay Near Acadia National Park on a Budget
- 4. Blue Hill – Best Area by Acadia National Park for Families
- Final Thoughts on Where To Stay near Acadia National Park
Highlights of Where to Stay Near Acadia National Park
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are my top recommendations for places to stay near Acadia National Park. It’s going to be a highlight of your USA backpacking trip for sure, especially your time on the East Coast.
Looking at staying at a historic inn, want a heated outdoor pool or just a super cheap hostel room, we’ve got you covered!
Historic Farmhouse near Acadia National Park: Great Cranberry
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 beautiful views of the national park, as well as unspoiled beaches on the island itself. You’ll love these spacious and comfy guest rooms.
Cosy Cabin near Acadia National Park: Blue Hill Farm
Staying in a cabin in Maine 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 cosy, 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
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, it’s also not far from downtown bar harbour. It’s one of the best hotels near Acadia National if you want a mix of action and relaxation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 a bridge, but keep in mind you will need a car to get around. From hiking up Cadillac mountain to kayaking around the bay, sampling local brews or indulging in the awesome food of the region, there are heaps to do here.
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 Harbour 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 as well as heaps of places to eat in downtown bar harbour.
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 including some of the best hotels near Acadia National as well as the best things to do in each place to help you plan your itinerary.
Want a good deal? Be sure to pick up an ‘America, The Beautiful Pass‘, it’s $80 and gives you entrance to every National Park in the US for 12 months, plus a whole heap more!
The USA is blisteringly beautiful. It’s also blisteringly expensive! Visitng two national parks in day can run you $70+ in entry fees.
Orrrr… you kick those entry fees to the curb, buy an annual ‘America the Beautiful Pass’ for $79.99, and get unlimited access to ALL 2000+ federally managed sites in the States totally FREE!
You do the math. 😉Buy the Pass!
5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Acadia National Park
It’s time to detail a more detailed look at the five best areas to stay in Acadia National Park! It’s one of the best places to visit in the USA if you’re looking to escape the cities and explore the amazing natural side of America.
In this guide, we’ve got you covered not just with neighborhoods but the best hostels, airbnbs and hotels near Acadia National too.
1. Bangor – Chilled Out City Close to Acadia National Park
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’s 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.
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: Mid-Town Smart Bungalow
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 at hand if you need anything.
Quaint Hotel in Bangor: Country Inn at the Mall
Right next to Bangor Mall, this is a great one for shopping addicts. Housed within a typical country inn, this unique Acadia 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 is a cultural hub for Maine – there are multiple theatre 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-coloured 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
- Go have a look at the wild and somewhat creepy house of the horror writer Stephen King.
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 a popular place to stay 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, even right in the centre of downtown Bar Harbor!
This gorgeous studio sleeps up to four guests and has all the modern amenities you’ll need for a comfortable stay. The best dining and retail destinations are right on your doorstep, with the golden sand beach only a four-minute walk away. The park is also a 5-minute drive away, and there are some great hikes close by. The guest rooms are super comfy and the information center at the village green is right around the corner.
Extravagant Home near Bar Harbor: Great Cranberry
This one is on a different island, but you’ll only be a short ferry ride away from downtown Bar Harbor. You’ll get to enjoy completely unspoiled views whilst still being close to local attractions. This Acadia National Park lodging sleeps up to 8 guests and has all the modern amenities you’ll ever need, perfect for families traveling to the area.
Luxury Hotel in Bar Harbor: Bar Harbor Inn and Spa
Every room in this stunning 4-star Acadia hotel has furnished balconies with views across to either the coast or the mountains and yet is right in the heart of central Bar harbour. There is a small private golden sand beach and dock where you can bask in the serenity of the hotel, and guests rave about the breakfast offered every morning. If you’ve been searching Acadia National Park hotels for the perfect spot, then this might just be it!
Things to See and Do in Bar Harbor:
- 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. Be sure to head up Cadillac mountain for the best views.
- 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
- Take advantage of the information center at the village green to make sure to be up to date on all the local tourism information, especially before heading out hiking.
3. Ellsworth – Where to Stay Near Acadia National Park on a Budget
Just north of Mount Desert Island, Ellsworth is a typical blue-collar neighbourhood 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 travellers 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.
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 6 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
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 colour 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 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 and the hotel serves a continental brekkie too! A small fitness centre and hut top are also available. If you’re searching for the most reliable and solid Acadia National Park hotels, then this is a great choice.
Things to See and Do in Ellsworth:
- 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
4. Blue Hill – Best Area by Acadia National Park for Families
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.
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
This cute cottage in Maine 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 is one of the quirkiest castles 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:
- 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
- Arborvitae is one of our top dining picks in the region – offering brew-pub fare, as well as fine dining at reasonable prices
- Check out the Rockefeller’s gate lodges dating from 1913 to 1940 along the historic carriage roads.
A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!
An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected. It’s just that easy.
Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and ditch the plastic.Buy an eSIM!
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Acadia National Park
Look, I know buying travel insurance sounds very unexciting. But believe me, you can’t plan for everything. Let’s face it, when you’re heading into the wild you need to be covered.
It’s good to get lost sometimes, but it’s also good not to get too lost. There are people that want you home in one piece.
There’s one travel insurance provider The Broke Backpacker trusts for all his wildest shenanigans… World Nomads!
Click the button below to get a quote on your insurance or read our in-depth review of World Nomads’ coverage. And then… let the shenanigans begin. 😉
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 travellers 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 favourite, 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.
Do you own an awesome hostel, hotel or apartment? Want to be featured in our list? Email [email protected] to find out how.
Bye for now, but not forever!
If you want MORE top-tier Broke Backpacker content like this, then sign up for our weekly newsletter below to get the latest and greatest!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!