23 Captivating Beaches
in Acadia National Park 2023
The beaches in Acadia National Park are both captivating and mysterious. With tide fluctuations up to 12 feet, at times, the beaches can be completely covered by the water, while at other times, the rocky coastline exposes natural wonders.
Our quest to explore the beaches in Acadia National Park led us to some highly trafficked areas and remote hidden gems. Even as non-hiker hikers, we were able to traverse a few easy hiking trails and discover stunning coastal views.
Beaches are typically defined as a sandy or pebbly area by the edge of an ocean, sea, lake, or river where land meets the water. It’s a place where people often go to relax or play while enjoying the sun and water.
The unique coastline of Acadia brings a broader definition of beach. For this article, we will include some amazing views although “not technically beaches”, I feel they fit into the Beaches in Acadia National Park category.
Whether you are looking for a romantic picnic spot, angry waves, or a quiet place to relax, the beaches in Acadia National Park are worth exploring in this article.
So, pack a lunch, and let’s go on a road trip! The Beaches in Acadia National Park are waiting for you!
Introduction to Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park beaches are simply beautiful, however, Acadia is not your typical National Park. Its boundaries are somewhat undefined due to historical development, where summer homes and roads were established before the park’s creation.
To protect the land from overdevelopment, landowners and conservationists generously donated parcels of their private land to the National Park System.
In 1919, these public lands officially became Acadia National Park, drawing over 4 million visitors annually. So, when you visit, you’ll discover some of these unique beaches both within and just outside the park, creating a special blend of nature and local life which makes Acadia even more enchanting.
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Beaches in Acadia National Park: Loop Road
The most familiar area and most visited part of Acadia is the Loop Road. The drive is only 27 miles, and there is a lot to see and do. Keep in mind, the Loop road is one way, so if you want to stop, don’t wait, otherwise you will have to come back around.
1. Sand Beach
Sand Beach, one of the scenic beaches in Acadia National Park, is a natural cove surrounded by tree-lined cliffs. Its tranquil waters and soft sand make it a favorite spot for families.
Lifeguards are on duty during the summer, ensuring a safe experience for water enthusiasts. Although the ocean temperature, hovers around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, visitors both young and old enjoy swimming at Sand Beach.
Convenient restroom facilities are available, and the beach is just a short stroll from the parking area, making it easily accessible for visitors. While there’s ample parking in nearby lots, the Sand Beach area can get quite busy, especially in the summer.
When you visit Sand Beach keep in mind it is a rare beach where the “sand” is largely made up of calcium carbonate particles which are broken shell fragments that make up one the most beautiful and fun beaches in Acadia.
2. Thunder Hole
Thunder Hole is a unique stop along the Loop Road. Although not technically a beach, this area fits the broader perspective and definition. From the lookout platform, visitors can marvel at the thunderous sounds of the water rushing into the cavern below. Although visitors are prohibited from swimming at Thunder Hole, the views are outstanding.
Along the path, cut-throughs grant access to the granite cliffs with spectacular views of the ocean. Nevertheless, proceed with caution as this area can be dangerous and slippery. The area around Thunder Hole is a beautiful place to relax and picnic while gazing out at the water.
There is a nearby parking lot, as well as parking along the right side of Loop Road. Because of the popularity of Thunder Hole, the area can become crowded. Be prepared to walk along Ocean Path and enjoy the views from above the ever-changing sea.
3. Boulder Beach and Monument Cove
Boulder Beach and Monument Cove are located between the Gorham Mountain Trail Head Parking lot and Otter Cliffs Parking lot, past Thunder Hole.
This area is a favorite among photographers. With spectacular sunrises, dark skies, and a beach made up of smooth rounded rocks, Boulder Beach is a peculiar area. From the beach, you can often see rock climbers scaling Otter Cliffs.
Contrary to what I have read in other blogs, for some people (like me) accessing the water can be tricky.
Unless we missed the well-traveled path to the beach, the only ways down were the “nature paths”. In other words, these paths were steep and slick, with not much to grab on for support. For more advanced and sure-footed hikers, the way down is probably a breeze.
4. Otter Cove Beach
A quick stop at Otter Point provides gorgeous views of the Otter Cove Beach and Causeway. Upon approach, the sea is on the left and a smaller inlet or cove is on the right. At high tide, there is barely, if any, beach. At low tide, Otter Cove Beach is a fun place to explore tide pools.
A fun fact about the Causeway Bridge is its construction. Without going into great detail, the bridge was designed and built with a “stop board system”. In thought, the stop boards were to control the waters rushing into the cove, keeping the cove water warmer and calmer for swimming.
Unfortunately, the boards were never installed, but the cove does make a nice place to kayak.
5. Little Hunters Beach
Little Hunters Beach is made up of a million small stones. As the water pulls back over the stones, listen carefully to the crackling sound. The rocks seem to sing when the water rushes over them.
Be forewarned, there are a lot of steps that lead down and your walk may require crossing a small stream. Even if you don’t go all the way down to the beach, you can peek from the platform. Little Hunters Beach is a quiet beach where you can relax or explore.
Like many of the beaches in Acadia National Park, the natural shoreline is rocky. Although it might be tempting to take a smooth small pebble as a souvenir, removing any natural resource, mineral, plant, or animal from our National Parks is illegal.
To put the removal of stones in perspective, look at the beach and imagine what it would look like if 4 million people a year took even one stone home with them.
To quote John Muir:
“Take nothing but pictures
Leave nothing but footprints
Kill nothing but time”
6. Jordan Pond
Reaching depths of 150 feet, Jordan Pond is the deepest lake in Acadia. Although the pristine waters are inviting, swimming and motorized boating are prohibited, as Jordan Pond provides drinking water to the neighboring communities.
Instead, take a stroll around the lake, or paddle your kayak on the water and enjoy the mountain views.
While here, be sure to visit the Jordan Pond Guest House. For over 130 years, guests of Acadia have been enjoying mouth-watering pop-overs and champagne on the lawn. This is your chance to dine like the Rockefellers.
While at the Guest House, take in the views from the deck overlooking Jordan Pond. The inspiring landscapes will leave you in awe.
More Beaches in Acadia National Park
7. Hunters Beach
As one of Acadia’s best-kept secrets, Hunters Beach is spectacular.
The trail leads through the lush forest, over a footbridge, along the brook, to a magnificent secluded beach. Whether exploring the rocks and cliff trail intrigues you or relaxing on the log “bench” is more your style, Hunters Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Acadia National Park.
Approaching Hunters Beach there is a small parking area at the trailhead. Proceed slowly as there is no signage for the beach. The trail to the water is about .6 miles roundtrip. Since the trail to the beach is fairly flat, it is an easy walk.
Exploring Hunters Beach was a highlight of our trip. I hope you love it as much as we did!
8. Seal Harbor Beach
Like most of the beaches in Acadia National Park, high tide sometimes covers Seal Harbor Beach. The gentle waves in the cove and sandy beach make Seal Harbor Beach a beautiful place to spend the day. Relax while enjoying the surrounding landscape, or take a swim in the shallow waters.
Parking and restrooms are located just across the street for convenience. Don’t be surprised if you see some of the rich and famous residents like Martha Stewart in the area. After all, Seal Harbor Beach is home to the most famous restrooms in the country. John D Rockefeller and Edsel Ford financed the facility so their visitors wouldn’t have to “find a tree”.
I don’t know about you, but I always appreciate a modern restroom.
9. Bracy Cove and Barley Beach
This lovely stretch of beach is easy to find, as it is located directly off Hwy 3 at the Little Long Pond Carriage Road. The views are outstanding while the waters are still and calm. The beach is mostly small rounded stones. As the tide recedes, visitors enjoy tidepooling.
Parking is across the highway at the Carriage Road entrance, another place in Acadia where you can enjoy an afternoon stroll on the quiet roads and gardens.
10. Echo Lake Beach
Summertime is especially fun at Echo Lake Beach, so bring your bathing suit. Echo Lake Beach offers ample parking, restrooms, and a sandy lakefront, perfect for picnics. Visitors to Echo Lake can enjoy a full day of hiking and swimming or kayaking on the lake.
We were fortunate to catch the stunning color pop as the leaves were reaching peak season. Because it was “off-season”, the beach area was quiet and inviting. Without a doubt, Echo Lake Beach made the top of my list of captivating beaches in Acadia National Park.
Try not to miss this one!
Located on the “quiet side” of Mt. Desert Island is a world of its own. Seawall is a beautiful coastal area with views, angry waves, and magical landscapes. Many visitors to Acadia never make it over to this side of the island. We were talking to our neighbors in the campground, who had been visiting Acadia for years, and mentioned the area. They had no idea about the place! Seawall is a hidden gem.
We spent a lot of time around this area, exploring the trails, the pristine ponds, and the little towns. There are shipbuilders, galleries, and of course, the docks. If you time it right, you can buy freshly caught lobster from local lobstermen at dock price.
For us, the solitude and sounds of the waves made for an enjoyable afternoon picnic at Seawall State Park. With snacks and a bottle of Cabernet, we sat for a few hours, just loving life. Next time, we will bring firewood for a wonderful afternoon bonfire. They have convenient fire rings at the picnic area.
12. Wonderland Trail Beach
Once you step into the forest, you will think you are in Wonderland. It is spell-binding with tall trees and winding paths. Before you know it, you are at some of the most breathtaking beaches along the coast.
Wonderland was one of our favorite trails, only about 1.5-mile roundtrip and mostly flat. The rocky coastal views are magnificent. We almost didn’t come out here. Thankfully, I stumbled across some photos on Instagram and I knew, we had to make time. We were not disappointed and you won’t be either.
13. Hadley Point Beach
Hadley Point Beach is a favorite among locals on Mt. Desert Island. With a public boat ramp, visitors can launch their small watercraft and enjoy a day on the bay. The water is crystal clear with a beach made up of small pebbles.
This is a great place for a late afternoon campfire while relaxing on the beach. Parking is ample, but there is only a porta-potty for restrooms. When it comes to irresistible beaches in Acadia National Park, Hadley Point makes the list!
14. Hulls Cove Beach
The tide fluctuations make Hulls Cove a fascinating beach to visit. At low tide, the water can recede capturing sea creatures in tidepools between the rocks. At high tide, the seawater comes up to the highway completely covering the rocky beachfront.
One of the best places to enjoy Hulls Cove Beach is the nearby Chart Room Restaurant. Happy Hour on the back pier is a great place to see outstanding views into Frenchman’s Bay and the crazy tide activity.
15. George Dorr’s Pebble Beach (Old Farm)
Prepare to be amazed at the stunning views from George Dorr’s Pebble Beach. The flat gravel trail leads to a secluded cove and rocky beachfront. The views are nothing short of spectacular.
Listen carefully as the waves rush over the pebbles. The crackling sound is magical.
Exploring the ruins of the Dorr homestead is equally alluring. The front porch would have looked out into Compass Harbor, while the back and side porches faced the forest. You can walk the staircase leading from the house to the beach for a glimpse of what the Dorr family experienced every day in Acadia National Park.
Folklore and ghost tales say that George still roams the property long after he died in 1944.
16. Lakewood Pond Beach
If a quiet secluded hidden gem is your ideal beach, then make your way to Lakewood Pond Beach. Although the road to the parking area is marked PVT (private) don’t be deterred. The recreation area is a designated part of Acadia National Park. There is ample parking at the end of the road and modern restrooms.
The short walk down the dirt road will lead you to a quiet lakefront surrounded by forest. In the summer, Lakewood Pond is a favorite among locals for cliff jumping and skinny dipping. During the fall months, the lake is a perfect area to spend the day, away from the crowds and surrounded by a vast array of colors.
Undoubtedly, Lakewood Pond Beach is one of the most exquisite beaches in Acadia National Park.
Beaches in Acadia National Park:
Plan to spend one day of your Acadia trip on the Schoodic Peninsula. There are hidden beaches, country roads, small towns, and a winery or two. Of course, you can find some local restaurants and lobster pounds along the way.
There is nothing commercialized on the Schoodic Peninsula and I hope they keep it that way. The natural beauty and relaxed feel are perfect for the soul.
17. Schoodic Point
Although about a 45-minute drive from the main entrance at Cadillac Mountain, Schoodic Point is still part of Acadia National Park. The area is quite remote and worth every bit of the drive.
The seascapes are breathtaking and you can walk out on the boulders and slabs for a better view. The scenic loop at Schoodic should not be missed when visiting Acadia. This is one of the most rugged and scenic parts of Acadia National Park.
18. Beach – Lamoine State Park
Lamoine Beach is an easy beach to find on the Schoodic Peninsula. The calm waters invite swimmers and kayakers for an enjoyable day. While walking the shoreline you will see beautiful views of Mt. Desert Narrows and Frenchman’s Bay.
The lawn area and picnic tables are comfortable amenities for an afternoon by the sea.
Camping is available at the Lamoine State Park Campground. There are waterfront sites as well as wooded sites. When exploring the beaches in Acadia National Park, mark this one for sure!
19. Marlboro Beach, Lamoine
Like many beaches in Acadia National Park, Marlboro Beach is located in a quiet cove in the Mt. Desert Narrows. This secluded beach is best accessed during low tide. The waters are calm and crystal clear making it a popular swimming area for locals.
Marlboro Beach is best known for its “mud flats”. As the waters recede, the mud or silt holds intricate ecosystems that are important to the area’s wildlife.
Strolling on the beach brings to mind the texture of Kinetic Sand, in the way your feet gently sink into the ‘sand’ with a surprisingly spongy feel. Conversely, walking into the mud may feel more like quicksand.
20. Jones Pond Recreation Area – Gouldsboro
Located on the Schoodic Peninsula, you can find a freshwater favorite, Jones Pond. Although there are no lifeguards on duty, locals and visitors enjoy swimming in the calm cool waters. There are boat ramps, restrooms, and ample parking spots available.
To be transparent, we did not make it to Jones Pond, so I can only go on what others say about the area and unfortunately, I have no pictures. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the area!
21. Tidal Falls Preserve, Hancock
Tidal Falls Preserve is a beautiful park that is a great place to stop and see, especially if you like tide-pooling. One of the most extraordinary aspects of the area is the fluctuation of tides. They can rise and fall up to 20 feet.
Visitors are intrigued by the tidal changes The Tidal Falls Preserve captures. Timing your visit with the tides can give you a first-hand look at a waterfall reversal. That’s right, the waterfall flows up, rather than down—a pretty cool phenomenon.
Beaches Near Acadia National Park: Bar Harbor
22. Town Beach
Town Beach is located within walking distance of the pier below Agamont Park, the focal point of Bar Harbor. Timing is everything in Mt. Desert Island as the tides are fascinating.
This rocky coastline has outstanding views and the most amazing sounds we have ever heard. As the waves hit the shoreline and pull back out to the ocean, the cobblestones crackle. It sounds like a bowl of Rice Crispies but louder. Robb and I were completely captivated.
23. The Sand Bar or Land Bridge
No, there is no alcohol in this bar. During high tide, the entire area is submerged. Then like magic as the waters recede at low tide, the seas literally part exposing a huge sand bar or “land bridge” connecting Bar Harbor to Bar Island. This is acutally how Bar Harbor got it’s name.
Talk about a crazy experience. When planning your trip to Bar Harbor, walking The Land Bridge is one the best things to do!
Now that we’ve shown you the captivating beaches in Acadia National Park, here are a few suggestions for waterfront accommodations. Click the links to check pricing and availability.
Campgrounds with Waterfront Views
Hotels with Waterfront Views
Final Thoughts: Beaches in Acadia National Park
The beaches in Acadia National Park offer a unique coastal experience that combines natural beauty with accessibility. From the serene shores of Sand Beach to the rugged landscapes of Boulder Beach and the hidden gems along the Schoodic Peninsula, these coastal wonders provide a range of picturesque settings for relaxation and exploration.
The ever-changing tides, the soft feel of rounded rocks underfoot, and the captivating skies make the beaches in Acadia National Park an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a beachcomber, or someone seeking tranquil moments by the sea, these beaches have something special to offer.
So, pack your sunscreen and your sense of wonder and embark on an adventure to explore the beaches in Acadia National Park for yourself.
Robb Strobridge & Maureen Wright
Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016. We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good. Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!