Jen’s Guide for Fun with the Kids
The following are things that I’ve done as a mother, a science camp counselor, an educational program coordinator, and most importantly, as a kid growing up in Acadia. Whether your hiking the BIGGEST mountain or touching the COOLEST creature in the touch tank, I hope this list helps you create some wonderful family memories together. Enjoy!
We’ve created a Google map with all of the locations for your convenience. Click the upper left hand box to interact with the map.
Fresh water swimming
Ponds End at Long Pond- grass picnic area, swimming beach with sand bottom, and canoe and kayak rental across the street. No lifeguard.
Echo Lake- Sand swimming beach with lifeguard in Acadia.
(In the state of Maine, the world “beach” does not imply sand!)
Sand Beach- large beach of crushed shell in the Park, cold water and can be busy in August.
Compass Harbor- wonderful 10 min hike to very protected sand beach, warmer water.
Seal Harbor Beach- town beach of sand with a playground. Shallow warmer water.
Seal Cove- pebble beach, grass picnic area.
Pretty Marsh Picnic Area- nice 10 min hike down to gazebo and rocky shoreline in Acadia.
Hikes for little legs
The Bar- walk across sand/rock bar exposed at low tide to Bar Island. BE MINDFUL OF THE TIDE!
Beech Mountain- 1 mile round trip, open mountaintop with fire tower. Great blueberries in August.
Flying Mountain- .3 mile to summit, open views of Cranberry Islands. Continue .6 mile to Valley Cove beach for lunch and a swim.
Hunters Beach Trail- .3 mile to beautiful rock beach following Hunters Brook along the way.
Ships Harbor Nature Trail- 1.2 mile loop through woods and along the ocean.
Little Long Pond- .5 mile along beautiful fields on private Rockefeller Carriage Roads. Boathouse and swimming area are a wonderful picnic spot. Continue just a bit further for fields of blueberries in August.
Great Head- Loop just east of Sand beach, up to 1.6 miles long. Breathtaking views.
The Beehive- The BEST trail for true adventurers! Iron rung ladders, cliff edges and spectacular views all along this near vertical .6 mile hike.
Climbing and Sea Kayaking
Acadia Mountain Guides offers a “Family Climb”, min age is 6, as well as a climbing camp and adventure camp.
Atlantic Climbing School offers a “Family Climb”, min age is 8.
There are several sea-kayaking outfitters on Mount Desert Island. Make sure they offer a family trip.
Dive-in Teacher with Diver Ed aboard the Starfish Enterprise - Eddie is the one of the funniest people I’ve ever met and wonderful with kids. Not to be missed!
Nature tours- many boat companies run 2-hour nature cruises around Frenchman Bay. See seals, porpoise, birds, and lighthouses.
Lulu Lobster Boat ride- haul lobster traps and a nature tour to boot!
Acadia National Park Programs
ANP has a junior ranger program for kids complete with activity booklet and ranger led programs.
Acadia Quest is a wonderful scavenger hunt type program in the Park.
Acadia Mountain Guides climbing camp, rock climbing camp.
Camp Beech Cliff, located on Echo Lake, has activities such as arts and crafts, sailing, and ropes courses. A top notch summer day camp.
College Of The Atlantic has two camps both of which focus on nature awareness and environmental education. Jen taught here for several years. Family Nature Camp and Summer Field Studies (children only 9-3 daily) are both a week long.
YMCA summer camp, traditional camp activities including sports, arts and crafts, swimming, and outdoor activities. They also have specialty camps including soccer, sailing, and gymnastics.
Summer Festival of the Arts is a day camp offering classes taught by professional artists and teachers in music, dance, visual arts, creative writing, and theater. An amazing program for children!
“Oh no! It’s raining- what now?” Inside stuff and touch tanks
Oceanarium and Lobster Hatchery- touch tank, marsh tour, lobster museum, very hands on. Two locations, each are very different.
Dorr Museum of Natural History- wonderful touch tank, and exhibits of many different animals.
Abbe Museum- Museum of Maine’s Native Americans.
Acadia National Park Visitor Center- great 3-D map of the Island, bookstore, and short movie about Mount Desert Island and the Park.
Sieur de Monts Nature Center- small but nice, next to Wild Gardens of Acadia.
Somesville Library, the most charming little library in the world with a fantastic children’s room (if I do say so myself)! Jen volunteer’s here as the children’s librarian 244-7404
Southwest Harbor Library, 5 star library with award winning children’s room
Northeast Harbor Library, an outstanding and well stocked children’s room
Bar Harbor Jesup Library, beautiful building with children’s room
Seal Harbor Library, super small and super cute with the best view a library could have 276-5306
Stone Soup- great toys and clothes
Sherman’s Bookstore- kids books, toys and games
Carrols Drug- large selection of games and toys
Naturalist Notebook- super cool science store and museum
Out of the Pod- seasonal clothing store