Acadia National Park, on Maine’s Atlantic coastline, has seen a surge of visitors this year. What’s more, park officials don’t expect visitation to drop any time soon, so Acadia is on track to set a new attendance record this year.
“Every single month [since last October] has been a record month” for park visitation, Adam Gibson, a social scientist for Acadia, says in a Bangor Daily News article. “And we still have the fall to go through. Fall is big in Acadia.”
Crown Jewel Of The North Atlantic Coast
Acadia National Park, called the “Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast” by the National Park Service, is a 47,000-acre recreation area on the Atlantic coast.
Visitors to the park, which is primarily on Maine’s Mount Desert Island, can see and enjoy 27 miles of historic motor roads, 158 miles of hiking trails, and 45 miles of carriage roads. While there in the summer, visitors can bike, hike, birdwatch, swim, stargaze, and, of course, boat. Popular activities in the winter are hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing.
The park is about 160 miles from Portland, Maine, and about 50 miles from Bangor, Maine. The town of Bar Harbor, located on Mount Desert Island, shares borders with Acadia and is a popular home base for those visiting the park.
Growing Interest In National Parks
Visitation at all U.S. national parks slumped in 2020 due to a combination of fears about traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent pandemic-related park closures. Last fall, however, people began traveling to places such as national parks where they could be outside and maintain distance from other people. That trend has continued, and, consequently, some national parks have been setting attendance records.
At Acadia, for example, only 2.67 million people visited the park in 2020, the National Park Service reports. While that may sound like a lot of people, that’s the park’s lowest annual visitor count since 2014.
This year is entirely different. The National Park Service reports that nearly 800,000 people visited Acadia in August — and Acadia has had an estimated 2.75 million visits so far in 2021. That’s about 84,000 more visitors than the park saw last year.
Kevin Schneider, Acadia’s superintendent, recently told the Acadia Advisory Commission that park officials expect Acadia to be especially busy in September and October, as usual, the Bangor Daily News reports. With that trend in mind, Schneider said the park could see 4 million visitors this year, which would set a new annual attendance record.
Know Before You Go
If you plan to visit the national park, you can find planning tips for visiting Acadia, written by the rangers who work there, here. If you’d like to try and time your visit to see peak fall colors, you can find information forecasting peak colors in Maine here.
While you’re thinking about Acadia, be sure to read:
- How To Spend A Day In Acadia National Park
- The Best Time To Visit Bar Harbor, Maine
- 10 Fabulous Reasons To Visit Acadia National Park During Winter
- And all the rest of our Acadia National Park coverage