Are you wondering where to stay in Acadia National Park? Trust me, I know how tricky it can be. Before my first visit to Maine’s most famous recreational area, I felt the exact same!
With an area of 47,000 acres surrounded by a handful of gorgeous little towns and villages, feeling overwhelmed is completely normal. Fortunately, when you break down the neighborhoods where much of the accommodation is situated, it’s not as bad as you think.
This guide on the best places to stay near Acadia National Park will wipe away all of your confusion and help you choose the right location to base yourself. We’ll go through all the best areas to stay in Acadia, along with their pros and cons and hotel recommendations for each. Let’s get into it!
*Disclosure: This post contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link.*
Table of Contents
Overview of Where to Stay in Acadia National Park
If you’re looking for the best place to stay in Acadia National Park, you won’t be short of options; from camping at Blackwoods Campground to lodging in one of the villages at North Mount Desert Island, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Anyone who doesn’t want to stay directly in the park itself won’t be short of options either; the closest neighborhood with hotels is Bar Harbor, which is only 1.3 miles (2.1 km) away.
For this post, I’m going to speak about six of the main places that visitors tend to stick to when coming to Acadia National Park. All have their benefits and drawbacks and offer something different from the others, but I’m certain there will be one that suits your style.
You must establish your budget before choosing where to stay in Acadia National Park. Generally speaking, the closer you are to the park, the more expensive the place will be. But there are always some last-minute bargains to be snapped up as long as you keep an eye on the prices.
|AREA||BEST FOR||RECOMMENDED HOTEL||MORE HOTELS|
|Camping Inside Acadia National Park||Adventure travelers, budget-friendly||Blackwoods Campground||-|
|Bar Harbor||First-time visitors, convenience, foodies||The Elmhurst Inn||More hotels in Bar Harbor|
|North Mount Desert Island||Family-friendly, quiet escape||Eden Village Motel and Cottages||More hotels in Mount Desert Island|
|Ellsworth & Trenton||Budget-friendly, fine-dining, culture||Hampton Inn Ellsworth||More hotels in Trenton
More hotels in Ellsworth
|Northeast Harbor||Luxury stays, summer visits||Kimball Terrace Inn||More hotels in Northeast Harbor|
|Southwest Harbor||Quiet stays, off the beaten path, outdoorsy lovers||Lindenwood Inn||More hotels in Southwest Harbor|
|Bangor||City lovers, nightlife, dining, atmosphere, shopping||Fairfield Inn by Marriott Bangor||More hotels in Bangor|
Best Areas to Stay in Acadia National Park
1. Camping inside Acadia National Park
Let’s start with the bad news: If you want to stay directly inside the park, your options will be very limited. Unfortunately, there are absolutely no hotels within the premises of Acadia, so your only option is camping.
Even when it comes to camping, you won’t be spoilt for choice. In fact, there is only one designated campground inside the park: Blackwoods Campground.
Right in the heart of Acadia National Park and only ten minutes from the seaside, Blackwoods is a site made for small and large tents with additional space for RVs to park up, but it’s limited.
Additionally, the site has all the amenities avid campers could ask for, including flushable toilets, BBQ facilities, picnic tables, and more.
Since Blackwoods Campground is at the center of the park, staying here will give you prime access to a bunch of activities like biking trails, mountain walks, boat cruises, and a 27-mile (43.5 km) loop road system connecting you to the coastal areas.
Blackwoods Campground is the best place to stay in Acadia National Park if you’re after a low-priced getaway. Pitching a tent or parking up an RV is normally cheaper than splashing the cash on a fancy hotel, especially if you’re traveling alone.
2. Bar Harbor
Bar Harbor is where a lot of people tend to base themselves during their travels to Acadia National Park. The main reason for this is the short distance between the two – it’s only a five-minute drive, so even if you don’t have a car, you can take a cab or a bus.
Honestly, I love Bar Harbor; it’s the main access point to Acadia National Park, filled with yummy restaurants like Project Social Kitchen & Bar and cafes such as Coffee Hound at the Stadium.
Plus, the town has activities to suit every taste: rent an EV to cruise around, walk around the Jesup Memorial Library, or catch a movie at the Reel Pizza Cinerama.
Another huge perk of staying in Bar Harbor is that many ferries heading for the smaller islands in Acadia National Park depart from there quite frequently, giving you prime access to some parts of the recreational area you wouldn’t have if you stayed elsewhere.
Bar Harbor has a real charm to it; between the stunning seaside views and colored buildings along the shores, you’ll feel like you’re in paradise. You have to put it on your Acadia National Park itinerary!
The town only has a population of over 5,000 people, and much of the tourism is seasonal, so if you stay there during the off-season, it will have a real local feeling to it.
Whereas if you go in the summer, there’s a little more crowd and accommodation can be more expensive, so you have to weigh up your options.
Pros and cons of staying in Bar Harbor
- It’s very close to Acadia National Park
- There are a lot of things to do around the town
- You won’t be short of food options
- It can get expensive in the high season (summer)
- Accommodation options sell up fast
Best places to stay in Bar Harbor
A beauty of a 3-star hotel, only half a mile from the Bar Harbor Pier, the Bar Harbor Manor features Deluxe King Suites, spacious outdoor seating areas, fireside spaces, and free parking. If you can get ahead of the crowd and book here in advance, you’re in for a treat.
Set close to Town Beach, the adult-only Elmhurst Inn boasts gorgeous double-bedroom suites and is an excellent location if you plan to take part in off-road cycling. The hosts can send you in the right direction and even organize a rental for you.
Right next to a trail leading to Acadian National Park, there’s no better place to base yourself than the Acadia Inn if you plan to spend most of your time outdoors. The Queen Rooms here are an absolute treat and have all the amenities you could ask for, including a bathtub, which is superb after a long day of trekking.
3. North Mount Desert Island
North Mount Desert Island is a hidden gem unknown to many and doesn’t get near the number of visitors as Bar Harbor, but that’s its draw. It’s undoubtedly the best place to stay in Acadia National Park if you want a quiet escape.
The small areas of Salsbury Cove, Somesville, Pretty Marsh, and Hull’s Cove make up a good chunk of North Mount Desert Island.
It’s much cheaper to stay in these localities than other places I have included on this list of where to stay in Acadia National Park. A lot of the accommodations are motel-style, but they’re as clean as any hotel you would find around.
Don’t be shocked if there’s only an odd supermarket and restaurant where you’re staying; this is completely normal. I would advise you to try to find accommodation with a kitchen, so you’ll be able to cook in the evenings.
Of course, if you have a car, you can drive to a restaurant nearby without hassle, but not everyone’s in that situation.
Since North Mount Desert Island is more rural, fewer attractions will be around, which could be a bummer if you’re traveling with small kids. On the upside, nature is outstanding; for example, near Hull’s Cove is the picturesque Lake Wood, and close to Salisbury Cove is the Hamilton Pond.
Pros and cons of staying in North Mount Desert Island
- It’s affordable
- Less crowded
- Sightseeing options are limited compared to other areas
- Not many dining options
Best places to stay in North Mount Desert Island
Located a short drive from Salsbury Cove, the High Sea Motel is a lovely property with great access to Acadia National Park. If you stay here, you can enjoy an outdoor swimming pool, free coffee every morning, complimentary parking, and laundry and ironing facilities.
A little bit further away from the park’s grounds than other properties, this place has a selection of cute cottages available right next to a small lake and provides guests with barbecue facilities. Staying in Acadia National Park doesn’t get better than this.
Offering a complimentary breakfast buffet every morning, an outdoor swimming pool, and ample-sized king rooms, the Best Western Acadia Park Inn is a two-mile drive from Acadia National Park and one of the better properties in North Mount Desert Island.
4. Ellsworth & Trenton
Ellsworth and Trenton are two quiet working-class neighborhoods that you’ll pass through on the way to Mount Desert Island. Since the two aren’t located on the island, accommodation is reasonably priced, making it one of the best places to stay near Acadia National Park on a budget.
What I love about Ellsworth and Trenton is that they always have a good atmosphere around them. Lots of people stay in these two areas on their vacation, and it surprises me how the prices remain cheap. Who’s complaining?
If you decide to book your hotel in Ellsworth, don’t leave without trying Morton’s Moo Homemade Ice Cream; it’s incredible. Some other fun things to do in the area include visiting the Old Creamery Antique Mall, the Stanwood Homestead Museum and Bird Sanctuary, and the Telephone Museum.
Trenton is equally as charming as Ellsworth, but there are slightly fewer activities. Not to worry, though; a few games of disc golf at the Acadia Disc Golf Center and some rock climbing at Volta will keep you occupied.
The drive from Ellsworth to Acadia National Park is less than 30 minutes. If you don’t have a car, the easiest way to get there is by taking a bus to Bar Harbor and another to the park’s entrance.
Another option would be to ask your accommodation to arrange a ride; they usually know people driving there daily and might be able to find you a seat in their car for a low price.
Pros and cons of staying in Ellsworth & Trenton
- Accommodation is cheap
- Lots to see and do
- There are plenty of nice restaurants and cafes around
- Getting to Acadia National Park can take a while
- It can get busy during the summer
Best places to stay in Ellsworth
One of the finest hotels in Ellsworth, the Hampton Inn sits outside the town center and supplies guests with an indoor pool, a hot tub, high-speed wifi, and complimentary breakfast.
Atlantic Coast Inn is a short stroll from L.L. Bean Factory Outlet Store and offers Kind Rooms painted in fresh colors dressed with wooden furnishings and boasts flat-screen TVs with all your favorite cable channels.
Best places to stay in Trenton
This motel is excellent value for what you get: Deluxe Double Rooms with an extra bed, an outdoor pool, mountain views, and a playground to let your little ones blow off some steam. If you’re wondering where to stay visiting Acadia National Park, look no further than here.
5. Northeast Harbor
Northeast Harbor is a beautiful village 5.3 miles (8.5 km) from Acadia National Park and attracts a crowd fond of splashing the cash.
Many visitors come here in the summer to show off their yachts and spend big at the Northeast Harbor Golf Club. If you’re aiming to go all out on accommodation, Northeast Harbor is one of the best places to stay in Acadia National Park.
If you’re going to Acadia National Park from Northeast Harbor, you can park your car at Brown Mountain Park Area and walk from there. From my knowledge, no buses run there, but you can take a cab, and it shouldn’t cost any more than $10.
There aren’t many things to do in Northeast Harbor, but they have some pleasing cafes you should check out, like Milk and Honey Kitchen and Colonel’s Restaurant and Bakery.
Pros and cons of staying in Northeast Harbor
- Close to Acadia National Park
- There are lots of accommodation options if you’re willing to spend money
- It’s expensive to stay there
- Not much to do for tourists
Best places to stay in Northeast Harbor
This is an affordable gem in the affluent Northeast Harbor, with access to the Acadia National Park’s hiking trails only 3.2 miles (2 km) away. You’ll get to stay in a spacious double room with either forest or sea views and be able to use the onsite swimming pool on your days of relaxing.
The Harbourside Inn is a more expensive option but well worth the extra splash for its well-appointed guestrooms, close proximity to Acadia National Park, and friendly owners. To top it all off, there are homemade snacks available in the morning for guests.
6. Southwest Harbor
If you want to disconnect from everyday life for a couple of days and immerse yourself in nature, Southwest Harbor is the location for you.
This peaceful enclave sits right on the water on the western shores of Mount Desert. With a great variety of attractions for visitors, like the Wendell Gilley Museum, take a lobster cruise, and you can head out to Great Cranberry Island. There will be no shortage of things to keep you busy.
One of Acadia National Park’s entrances is only 1.6 miles (2.6 km) from Southwest Harbor; therefore, your journey there will be a breeze. Your transport options will be either taking a cab or hiking to the park, as no buses run, but it’s really not far at all.
While you’re in Southwest Harbor, make sure to allocate some of your time to explore the nearby islands like Sutton Island, Great Cranberry Island, Little Cranberry Island, and Swans Island.
Ferries from the Southwest Harbor depart at various times of the day, but the times depend on the season. Your accommodation will have up-to-date information, so don’t forget to ask.
Pros and cons of staying in Southwest Harbor
- Less busy than other locations
- Great access point to visit nearby islands
- A nice spot for water sports
- Close to Acadia National Park
- Limited access to public transport
Best places to stay in Southwest Harbor
Lindenwood Inn is located in a fantastic location in Southwest Harbor and is close to several great restaurants, including Beal’s Lobster Pier. Onsite, the property has a seasonal hot tub, ample garden space, and a relaxing terrace.
Delivering unbeatable deals all year round, Harbor Ridge is one accommodation option that provides brilliant bang for your buck. A one-night stay here guarantees you unobstructed views of Acadias mountains, access to a swimming pool and tennis court, and cozy lodging that will make you never want to leave.
The city of Bangor is a terrific place to station yourself for your upcoming visit to Acadia National Park if you would rather stay in a metropolitan area. It’s 43 miles (69 km) from the park, and the drive takes roughly an hour, so they’re quite a distance from each other.
One of the main benefits that comes with staying in a city like Bangor is that it has all your home comforts and a wealth of sights for entertainment. Moreover, the nightlife scene there is exceptional; bars like Paddy Murphy’s and Nocturnem Draft Haus are a must-visit.
Some buses will drop you to Bar Harbor, and you can get on another to take you to Acadia National Park, but honestly, I don’t think it’s worth it unless you have a car yourself. Buses can take quite a long time and will have you spending more time in a vehicle than out exploring.
Pros and cons of staying in Bangor
- Amazing city with plenty to do
- Not as touristy as other towns closer to Acadia National Park
- Far from Acadia National Park
Best places to stay in Bangor
The name says it all; treat yourself to a stay at Residence Inn by Marriott Bangor in Bass Park next to Penobscot River, featuring a modern fitness center, a swimming pool, a business center, and a well-laid-out bar.
Another fancy option, the Fairfield Inn by Marriott Bangor is only 5 minutes from Bangor Airport. It has a wide selection of guestrooms that might suit your budget, including Standard Double Rooms and Queen Rooms.
More of a motel-style accommodation, Country Inn at the Mall is a low-cost option in Bangor with continental breakfast included as well as access to an onsite gym. You can choose from two room styles, either a Deluxe Double Room or a Standard King Room.
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