Boston to Acadia National Park Road Trip

The road trip from Boston to Acadia National Park is one of the very best in New England. It’s a spectacular route that passes through beautiful New Hampshire countryside before following the scenic coastline of Maine. By the time you arrive at Bar Harbor in Acadia National Park, you will have been treated to stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, quaint coastal towns, and countless picturesque lighthouses. Your final destination is also pretty spectacular. Acadia National Park is easily one of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. It features a stunning coastline, pristine lakes, and mountain trails. This is one road trip where both the journey and the destination are equally spectacular.

Distance From Boston to Acadia National Park

The distance from Boston to Acadia National Park is approximately 280 miles or 450 kilometers by road. The driving distance will vary depending on the specific route you take and any stops you choose to make along the way. The estimated driving time from Boston to Acadia National Park is 5 to 6 hours, depending on traffic and weather conditions.

George Washington Monument at Public Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Historic Boston is the starting point for this excellent road trip.

Best Road Trip Route Between Boston and Acadia National Park

The best road trip route between Boston and Acadia National Park largely depends on your preferences, priorities, and what you want to see.

The most popular route is the direct Inland Route. Taking Interstate 95 north from Boston, you pass through Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Portland, Maine. You continue north along the I-95 through the towns of Augusta, Waterville, and Pittsfield before turning east and traveling through Bangor to your final destination of Acadia National Park. It’s a fast route on good-quality roads. The 280-mile distance should only take 5 hours to drive if you don’t hit any significant traffic. 

Acadia National Park at sunrise
Beautiful Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Acadia National Park

The other possible route is the Coastal Route via Route 1 north of Boston, which will take you through picturesque New England towns such as Rockport and Rockland. You then turn onto Route 1A and follow the scenic coastline through towns such as Camden and Belfast. From there, you can either take Route 3 to reach Bar Harbor, the gateway town to Acadia National Park, or continue along the coastline to reach the Schoodic Peninsula, which is also part of Acadia National Park and offers a quieter alternative to the more popular areas of the park. The 315 miles on this route should take around 6 hours and 30 minutes to drive. 

Regardless of your route, plan for plenty of stops to enjoy the stunning scenery, sample local cuisine, and explore some charming coastal towns.

Best Things to see on a Road Trip Between Boston and Acadia National Park

There are many beautiful and interesting things to see on a road trip between Boston and Acadia National Park. Here are some of the best sights and attractions along the way:

  1. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: This charming coastal town features historic architecture, scenic parks, and a bustling food scene.

  2. Portland, Maine: Known for its picturesque waterfront, craft breweries, and delicious seafood restaurants.

  3. Camden, Maine: A quaint harbor town with a picturesque downtown, a working harbor, and views of the nearby mountains.

  4. Bar Harbor, Maine: The gateway town to Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor offers an array of dining, shopping, and recreational activities, as well as beautiful views of Frenchman Bay.

  5. Mount Desert Island: Home to Acadia National Park, this island is known for its charming villages, historic homes, and scenic drives.

  6. Blue Hill Peninsula: This scenic area features beautiful views of Penobscot Bay, charming towns, and plenty of opportunities for hiking and outdoor recreation.

  7. Belfast, Maine: A small coastal town with a historic downtown, great food, and beautiful bay views.

  8. Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory: Located in Prospect, Maine, this impressive bridge and observatory offer stunning views of the Penobscot River and the surrounding area.

These are just a few of the many sights and attractions that you can see on a road trip between Boston and Acadia National Park. 

Jordan Pond and view of the Bubbles in Acadia National Park, Maine.
View across Jordan Pond to the Bubbles in Acadia National Park,.

Best Time for a Road Trip Between Boston and Acadia National Park

The best time for a road trip between Boston and Acadia National Park largely depends on your preferences and priorities, as each season offers unique advantages and challenges. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Summer (June-August): This is the peak tourist season, with warm temperatures, long days, and plenty of outdoor activities. However, it can also be crowded and expensive, and you may need to book accommodations well in advance.

  2. Fall (September-November): This is a popular time to visit Acadia National Park, as the foliage turns vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. The weather is cooler and less humid, with fewer crowds than in summer.

  3. Winter (December-February): While the park is open year-round, winter can be challenging due to snow and ice. However, if you enjoy winter sports like skiing or snowshoeing, this can be a great time to visit.

  4. Spring (March-May): This is a quieter time to visit Acadia, with fewer crowds and lower prices. The weather can be unpredictable, but you may catch the tail end of the snowshoeing and skiing season.

Overall, the best time for a road trip between Boston and Acadia National Park depends on your interests, budget, and schedule. If you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy cooler weather, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring or fall. If you prefer warmer temperatures and longer days, then plan a trip in the summer.

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