Free Resources for Discovering Acadia National Park

January 7, 2022

Sarah Shelton

Sarah Shelton

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Visiting the National Parks is on our family bucket list. We love all-things outdoors and have visited many of the State Parks in Florida where we live, but there are so many National Parks that we’d love to visit one day. Check out these resources to learn about Acadia National Park and see what it has to offer your family. 

a house on a mountain over the water and text


Where is Acadia National Park located?

Acadia National Park is located on the Eastern Seaboard on the coast of Maine. It is one of the top 10 most visited National Parks in the United States. This park has 47,000 acres on Maine’s Mount Desert Island. It protects the natural beauty of the rocky shores along the Atlantic coastline of the United States.

This national park has been called The Rocky Coast at the Wild Sea. It is famous for its woodlands that turn into a rocky beach landscape.

More than two dozen mountains can be seen above the rocky sea shore and even glacier granite mountain peaks. The top of Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on a mountain the East Coast of the United States.

It is an amazing place to visit where you can get the woods, mountains and a sand beach all at one time. 

There are many different areas that encompass Acadia National Park such as: The Schoodic Peninsula, Mount Desert Island, and many smaller islands along the coast.

Beautiful fall colors of Acadia National Park in Maine USA
Beautiful fall colors of Acadia National Park in Maine USA — Photo by f11photo

History of the Park

Before Acadia became a National Park, a few philanthropists were responsible for preserving the landscape and creating recreational activities we still enjoy today. 

George B. Dorr was a conservationist who was devoted to preserving the landscape. As the Bar Harbor area expanded with home buyers he and  Charles W. Eliot, former President of Harvard established the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations to help preserve the area. 

George B. Dorr knew that the only way to protect the land was by making it a national park so he gave 5,000 acres of land to the federal government.

Name Changes

After George B. Dorr gifted the land to the government, President Wilson announced the Sieur de Monts National Monument in 1916.

It was changed to Lafayette National Park in February, 1919 and became he first national park east of the Mississippi. Charles Dorr was the first park superintendent.

The park was officially given the name it has today, Acadia National Park, in January 1929.

Carriage Roads

John D. Rockefeller owned a summer home in Seal Harbor. This is where he came up with the idea to construct the beautiful carriage roads you see today. He did not want the traffic of cars to ruin the beauty of it all and preferred to travel by horse and carriage.

He began to purchase acres of land in the park to design his carriage roads with stone bridges. Today, no cars are allowed on these roads and visitors enjoy exploring by hiking, horseback riding, or a bike ride.

An old brick house with trees in the background
Old Carriage House in Acadia National Park in Maine, USA. The famous oil baron, John D. Rockefeller built this carriage house, gate houses, stone bridges and carriage trails in the Acadia NP and donated them to the U.S. Government park system. — photo by jvalineSeller

What is there to do at Acadia National Park?

This park is a nature lover’s dream. Park visitors enjoy coming in the fall to see the breathtaking fall foliage. You can even go cross-country skiing to see the park in the winter time.

Late spring is also a popular time to visit the nearby islands, picnic areas and backcountry camping.

Cadillac Mountain is a good place to see the spectacular views of the glaciated coastal and island landscape. Vehicle reservations must be made in advance as this is a very popular tourist location. Many families and couples enjoy having a picnic here and watching the sunset.

There are over 120 miles of trails just waiting to be explored in this park, as well as the 57 miles of carriage roads and historical stone bridges.

You can visit the 187 acres of Jordan Pond. Spend an afternoon on the water with a kayak, canoe or just sit on the rocks by the lake. Don’t forget to visit the historical Jordan Pond House for a nice light lunch afterwards.

Early morning panoramic view of the fog, water and autumn colors of Long Pond in Acadia National Park
Early morning panoramic view of the fog, water and autumn colors of Long Pond in Acadia National Park — photo by [email protected]

What kind of wildlife can you see at Acadia National Park?

One of the main reasons to visit a national park is the ability to spot wildlife that you normally wouldn’t have a chance to see where you live.

There is a wide variety of animal life that can be seen here. With over 40 species of mammals, 330 species of birds, reptiles and amphibians, there are many types of wild life to search for when you visit.

Some of the most common animals people look for are: moose, black bears, foxes and deer as well as amazing seasonal birding opportunities.


338 species of birds have been recorded at Acadia. It is known as a premier location for bird watching in North America. Birding is popular here for every single season. 

During the cold winter months, if you are lucky you may see a snowy owl while cross-country skiing.

Search for peregrine falcons in the early spring and summer months, as well as many different sea birds and bald eagles.

In the Fall you can help record migrating hawks as they fly south for the winter.

Find out more about the birds that can be found at Acadia, complete with photographs and information.

Marine Wildlife

This park is a great place for viewing different types of marine mammals.

The rocky shoreline is where the land and water meet. Here you can find invertebrates, mussels and snails. There are also many types of crabs such as hermit crabs and the invasive green crab and Asian shore crab.

Explore the beautiful tide pools of Acadia to find many different types of sea stars. Learn more about tidepooling, where to go and and the best time to go to find the best creatures. 

Harbor seals and grey seals are common along the shores of Maine. You may also see a harbor porpoise in the same area as seals, though they are shy and don’t come as close. 

The Ocean Path Trail in Acadia National Park, Maine
The Ocean Path Trail in Acadia National Park, Maine — photo by CheriAlguire

Other Mammals

The most often seen mammals are squirrels and deer. Yet Acadia is also home to otters, minks, foxes, beavers, raccoons, bats, porcupines, coyotes, and even bobcats, moose and black bears have been spotted. 

When John Rockefeller created his carriage roads, he also created gatehouses to the entrance of each one. Little did he know that they would later be home to three vulnerable species of bats. They take shelter in the tiny cracks and holes in the stones of the gatehouses. These Myotis bat populations are a threatened species.

Find out how the National Park Service is going to preserve the historic buildings and gate houses at the carriage roads in this article. You will also learn about how they fit the females with radio transmitters so they know where they are going.

Learn more about the different mammals that can be found at this park with photographs and information. 

Recommended Resource: National Parks Notebook – A Notebook Companion™ for National Parks of the U.S.A.

Explore the national parks of the U.S.A with our publisher-approved Notebook Companion™. Using the notebook alongside the popular book book National Parks of the U.S.A. will help you squeeze all the amazing content out of it and use it for your homeschool.

National Parks Notebook spiral bound and National Parks of the U.S.A. book

Resources for Discovering Acadia National Park

These printables and coloring pages will go great in a National Park or nature notebook.

Acadia National Park Printables

Acadia National Park worksheet and coloring page – Color the rocky coast with woods in the background on this pretty coloring sheet.

Coloring Page of Acadia National Park – Another pretty view to color, of the rocky coast of Acadia National Park.

4 Day Itinerary for Acadia National Park – This is a great breakdown of everything that you can see and do in 4 days.

80 page Foundation Document for Acadia National Park – This document includes a description of the park, its purpose, significance, values and resources.

Animals and wildlife of Acadia National Park. There are printable bird and species checklists, plus lots of information about the wildlife with photographs and facts from the National Park Service.

Resources for Families to Teach at Home – Craft ideas and printable activities to use at home while learning about this national park.

U.S. Natural Landmarks Notebooking Journal – This notebooking journal will provide your students a chance to explore 30 national landmarks and record what they learn in their own notebook. Acadia National Park is the first national park on the list.

Websites, Articles and Acadia National Park Virtual Tours:

Taking a virtual tour is like taking a field trip from your own home. It is a great way to have a chance to experience a place you may not be able to visit.

Acadia Magic is home to the Acadia National Park Insider Guide. All the information that you need to learn about visiting this park is located on this website. It is great for planning a visit to this great place.

Everything You Need to Know About Acadia National Park – Great information about the park from National Geographic.

15 Breathtaking Things to do in Acadia National Park – 15 things that you don’t want to miss if you visit this park.

13 Best Things to do In Acadia National Park – Find out about some of the best places to visit within the park and what not to miss.

Virtual tour of Acadia National Park via Google Earth – This article teaches you how to access the tour, and there is a detailed breakdown on how to view the park with this awesome technology.

All Trips Acadia National Park – There are six different webcams where you can see live action of the different views and beaches in the park. 

North Atlantic Coastline at the Acadia NPS website. This is a live webcam where you can catch glimpses of the sunrise, sea gulls and ships passing by on the Atlantic Coastline.

In Conclusion

Acadia National Park is a true beauty, and nature lovers will enjoy the lush surroundings and beautiful landscapes. The wildlife at Acadia National Park is breath-taking, and there are so many adventures to be had with your family!

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