Hiking is one of our go to ways to get out and explore the beautiful state that we live in. We are so blessed to live in a state that has access to the beach and the mountains with some of the most beautiful national parks around. One of those parks is Acadia National Park. The park itself is situated on Mount Desert Island, makes up about 47,000 acres and sees about 2 million visitors annually with the busiest months in the summer. We typically visit the park in the late fall which is off season for many of the restaurants and hotels located in Bar Harbor but also when the park is less busy. Every year before we go I always research the best hikes in Acadia National Park with this trip being no exception.
This year, due to COVID-19 and a few days off together, Aaron and myself headed to the park to do some hiking with out toddler in tow. The park was surprisingly quiet due to restrictions so parking and exploring the trails was incredibly easy. In planning our spur of the moment trip, I knew that Avery would be coming and that may limit some of the hikes that we took on. There are so many hikes to do in Acadia but some of them can be extremely challenging, especially with children in tow.
Best Hikes in Acadia National Park with Kids
This hike is on the outskirts of the park but definitely worth the drive to it’s entry point. It was actually our first stop of the day due to it being a little out of the way. Even though it is outside the park area, you are still required to display your park entrance pass. The hike itself wasn’t bad and a great hike for those with small children. Avery wanted to do some of the walking on her own but when we hit the steep parts I put her in the carrier.
There are two different ways that you can go from the trail parking lot but no matter which way you chose, the trail loops around. We took the first left off the trail to get to the summit. Most of this trail was uphill but manageable even while carrying a 30 pound toddler on my back. At the summit there is an old fire tower. Unfortunately for us, the morning was pretty foggy and the view at the top was not great. Coming down the the trail that looped back to the parking lot we were rewarded with amazing views of Long Pond.
Another fun hike in Acadia National Park to do with kids the Bubbles is off the Park Loop Road and before you get to Cadillac Mountain Road. There are two different hikes that you can take here; North or South Bubble. We chose the South Bubble which takes you up 768 feet to a rock that is precariously perched on the edge of one of the cliffs. The views are absolutely spectacular up here.
Again, Avery was in the carrier for the majority of the hike but we did see children hiking with their parents. Once at the top, make sure to hold on to your children especially if there is a lot of fog due to many steep cliff drop offs.
Ocean path is the perfect trail for those with small kids or those that don’t want to tackle big hikes. It runs from Sand Beach to (here) and is fairly flat and level. There are multiple areas off the path that you can walk out onto rocks and small cliffs that overlook the ocean. The entire path is about 2 miles long (4 miles round trip) and easily traversed. Beginning at Sand Beach and ending at Otter Cliff and passing by Thunder Hole.
Top of Cadillac Mountain
While you can always hike one of the many trails to get to Cadillac Mountain, driving up to the top an walking around on the trail there is perfect for families with children. Plus the view is amazing. I will note that it is cooler and more windy at the top of Cadillac Mountain so plan accordingly.
This is a popular mostly flat hiking spot in Acadia National park. The Jordan Pond restaurant is right there and extremely popular during the warmer months. The loop is around 3.5 miles and the trail runs alongside the pond with some raised wooden walkways and some rocky areas. We did parts of this trail in the fall and it was so beautiful and easy enough for Avery, who was then 1.5 years old to explore a little bit.
Have you ever been to Acadia National Park? What are some of your favorite hikes there?