The couch potato’s guide to Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is a beautiful 47,000 acres of famous outdoors. Hikers and bikers, runners and generally healthy and super active folks from around the world make their pilgrimage to Acadia every summer season to take advantage of the trails and opportunities to be up close and personal with nature.

But what about the rest of us?

If you’re like me and you’re not exactly active, or if you have small kids or mobility issues then you’re going to want to know about these seven awesome spots in Acadia that are accessible and fun to experience. So, pack a lunch, grab a camera and map, and check out these easy and fun trails.


BDN photo by Linda Coan O'Kresik

BDN photo by Linda Coan O’Kresik

With Seawall Pond on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, the Seawall area is a fantastically beautiful pathway of granite stones and sand that offers an easily accessible way to enjoy Acadia up close. Visitors can wander around the water’s edge in search of crabs or starfish or enjoy lunch on one of the picnic tables available for public use.

Wonderland Trail

Wonderland Trail is certain to set off the wild imaginations of children with its fairytale-like atmosphere thanks to the beautiful plants and fauna. The one and half mile trail is one of the easiest trails in the park and offers a lovely spot to rest for lunch and views of the ocean.

Ship Harbor Nature Trail

Ship Harbor

BDN photo by Aislinn Sarnacki

Located on route 102A, which is the road that loops around Southwest Harbor, is Ship Harbor Trail. Park your car and walk along a wooded trail that will take you from the road to the ocean’s edge. The trail is a total 1.3 miles roundtrip and is about as easy as they come in Acadia.

Jordan Pond

Jordan Pond

BDN photo by Gabor Degre

This impressive pond was formed from glaciers and is now crystal clear water that measures around 150 feet deep. Some say that you can see as far down as 50 into the water, but you’ll have to peek from a boat or a landmark as swimming is not permitted in Jordan Pond. But you can bring your leashed dog with you to walk the beautiful and super easy pathway that wraps around the pond.

Carriage Roads

ACADIA PROJECT -- The Carriage Roads and stone bridges in Acadia National Park were financed and directed by philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Micky Bedell | BDN Micky Bedell

BDN photo by Micky Bedell

Back in 1913, John D. Rockefeller used his wealth to construct a series of roads and stone bridges that could be used solely for walkers, bikers, horse, and carriages, but no motor vehicles. Today, the carriage roads stretch through 45 miles of Acadia and offers picturesque views.

Parking lot to Sand Beach

BDN photo by Gabor Degre

BDN photo by Gabor Degre

This is the ultimate mini-hike. If you get to Sand Beach and the main parking lot of full, which is likely to happen since this is one of the most popular spots on the island, then you’ll have to hoof it from another small parking lot that winds through a wooded path. It’s roughly a quarter mile to the beach. It’s actually a nice little hike and will give you the chance to stretch your legs before you spend some time relaxing in the sand.

Bar Harbor Shore Path

BDN photo by Denise Farwell

BDN photo by Denise Farwell

While not technically in Acadia, the Shore Path of Bar Harbor is a much beloved walking path that starts at Agamont Park and hugs the ocean shoreline for nearly ¾ of a mile. This is an excellent path for families with small children as there is a public park, restrooms, and food all close by.

For more information on Acadia National Park click around our Acadia 100 blog where we are documenting the majestic beauty of this incredible park in Maine’s backyard.