Acadia National Park protects the natural beauty of the highest rocky headlands along the Atlantic coastline of the United States, an abundance of habitats, high biodiversity, clean air and water, and a rich cultural heritage. Each year, more than 3.3 million people explore seven peaks above 1,000 feet, 120 miles of hiking trails, 45 miles of carriage roads, 17 stone bridges, and four lighthouses. – http://www.nps.govCadillac Mountain is the highest point on the east coast of the United States. Cadillac Mountain is composed largely of pink granite. Nature and time have created a beautiful speckled design on the rocks. What is so striking on Cadillac Mountain are the deep gouges in the bare granite creating an elaborate never-ending maze of greenery weaving its way through the granite. This is a result of enormous continental glaciers that squashed the land and sheered off mountaintops.  We left an overcast, chilly Bar Harbor that morning as we headed out to Cadillac Mountain. Greeted by the sun we can see below that Bar Harbor is still covered in fog, only the top of Bar Island and other outlying islands visible. Wild blueberries were everywhere, tiny and sweet. 

Native American peoples have inhabited the land we now call Maine for 12,000 years. Today four distinct tribes—the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot—are known collectively as the Wabanaki, or “People of the Dawnland.” Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park have remained in the center of Wabanaki traditional homelands for thousands of years. Long before Europeans arrived, the Wabanaki traveled here in seaworthy birchbark canoes. Setting up temporary camps near places like Somes Sound, they hunted, fished, gathered berries, harvested clams, and traded with other Wabanaki. –

One night at dinner we met a couple at a nearby table. They had raised their children in Bar Harbor, Maine. Since they’d moved away but were in town visiting and marveling at how much the town had changed. They recalled memories of taking their daughters to Little Hunters Beach, a hidden gem not visible from the road. With a high recommendation we put it on our itinerary. An easy, scenic hike opened up to an amazing beach. The low rocks were fun for the kids to scramble and gave us a beautiful picnic spot to take in the views and the sounds of the ocean. Oliver loved collecting the sea snails from the shallow water and tossing them back into the ocean. With each release he’d say “Be free snail!” I wonder how many sea snail families he ripped apart. Long Pond is the only pond with public boat rentals. After all five of us piled into a canoe and figured out our balance, we were able to enjoy the park in a completely different way. 

Acadia National Park, with its amazing and varied terrain and views, was the perfect destination for our first national park family vacation.