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15 Beaches in Acadia National Park Not To Miss

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When you think of downeast Maine, USA, you likely imagine rugged wind swept coastline, and rocky shorelines. However, there are plenty of beaches in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island and the Schoodic Peninsula to explore. From rocky coves, to sand beaches and swimming in the Atlantic Ocean for the brave. Many are even pet friendly.

While Sand Beach is most popular (and busy), it’s not your only option. Especially if you are looking to escape the crowds in the summer. Or don’t want to fight for a parking spot.

We’ve pulled together a guide to the 15 best beaches in Acadia National Park. So pull up a beach chair, and good book, and let’s go!

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BEST BEACHES IN ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

Swimming in Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is on the list of the 10 most popular national parks in the United States. There is an entrance fee for visiting the park, and its rocky shore, so make the most of your day here.

There are three designated swimming beaches in the park, Echo Lake, Lake Wood and Sand Beach. All are great for families, and mobile visitors of all ages.

Sand Beach & Echo Lake are staffed by lifeguards from Memorial Day through Labor Day. 

Sand Beach is one of the most popular spots in Acadia. Dip your toes or body in the ocean if you’re brave. The average ocean  temperature runs 50-60° Fahrenheit (10-15° Celsius) depending on the time of year. Be sure to pack all your beach essentials.

Echo Lake is a popular freshwater beach in the summertime. You can reach it off Route 102 in Southwest Harbor.

Whereas Lake Wood is a secluded pond near Hulls Visitor Center. There are no lifeguards here, and the access road doesn’t open until June 1.

You can’t go wrong with adding a beach day to your Acadia vacation itinerary.

Now let’s get into the many beaches in and near Acadia you can visit.

Acadia Beaches Along Park Loop Road

Park Loop Road is the prime visitor destination in the park. While many of these beaches are crowded, you can find some quieter, hidden gems in the mix. 

Parking can be difficult between 9am to about 3pm here. Taking the free Island Explorer Shuttle is a great option for getting around the main loop, and to many places on Mount Desert Island.

1. Sand Beach Acadia

Location: Park Loop Road. Look for the signs

Pets Allowed: Yes, except June 15 to Sept. 15

Amenities: Restrooms, changing rooms, and water fountains

Note: Not Accessible. Large staircase leading down to the beach from the parking lot.

Sand Beach in Acadia National Park is an iconic place to spend a few hours. Especially if it’s your first time in the park. Nestled into Newport Cove along the steep cliffs of The Beehive Trail this is a beautiful quarter-mile stretch of sandy beach.

It’s also the only sandy ocean beach in the park. So if you have youngsters who want to build sandcastles, this is the beach. 

Located off Park Loop Road, on the east side of Mount Desert Island, it’s one of Acadia National Park’s most popular beaches.

So go early or later in the afternoon, as the parking lot is full from about 9am until about 3-4pm.

It’s even fun to explore as a rainy day activity in Acadia. So don’t let weather stop you.

2. Boulder Beach Acadia

Boulder Beach, Acadia sunrise over the ocean.
Boulder Beach Acadia at sunrise

Location: Park Loop Road between Monument Cove & Otter Cliff

Amenities: None

Pets: Yes (must be on a leash)

Note: Not accessible

Boulder Beach in Acadia is one of the best places to take sunrise photographs, and is popular with photographers. 

This section of the shoreline is covered in large, smooth boulders. It can be reached by an easy walk along the Ocean Path, past Thunder Hole, and other attractions, then following a short nature path down to the beach. 

It’s a great spot to find starfish and tidal pools when the tide is lower. 

It’s between Monument Cove and Otter Cliff, which are also both popular photo stops. You can park at the parking lot just north of Boulder Beach near Otter Cliffs.

3. Otter Cove Beach / Otter Cover Overlook

Location: Just before Otter Cove Bridge

Amenities: Fabbri Picnic Area, Washrooms

Pets: Yes (must be on a leash)

On the left side as you approach the Otter Cove Bridge and Causeway, you’ll find the 6th viewpoint of Park Loop Road, Otter Cove Beach and Overlook. 

This small rocky area is more of a stopping point than a full on beach.  But it is a fun place to explore the tidal pools at low tide and a good stop over for scenic views.

4. Little Hunters Beach

Little Hunters Beach, a secluded cobblestone beach in Acadia

Location: Off Park Loop Road, southeast of Otter Point

Pets:  Yes (must be on a leash)

Amenities: Historical/Interpretive Information, Scenic Viewpoint

Little Hunters Beach is a delightful rocky cobblestone beach, with smooth pebbles southeast of Otter Cove and Point.

You can’t see it  from the road, so it’s often overlooked and quieter during peak season. You may even luck out and get the beach to yourself.

Park in the small pull-off on the right hand side, and walk down the wooden stairway to the left.

Listening to the waves as they roll over the tumbling rocks is enchanting.

It’s not recommended to swim here due to a strong undertow, and there are no lifeguards on duty. 

A favorite spot to do a little “plein air” painting. Bring out some paints for the family and  leave with a special souvenir.

More Acadia Beaches on Mount Desert Island

Traveling off the main Park Loop Road, In Acadia National Park will allow for a quieter beach experience, often with easier parking options. 

5. Echo Lake Beach

Location: South of Somesville and just north of Southwest Harbor off Route 102

Pets: Yes, except May 15 to Sept 15

Amenities: Seasonal Lifeguards, Wheelchair accessible Restrooms, Changing rooms

Note: Beach is accessible via a paved path from the parking lot to a connector boardwalk onto the beach

Echo Lake has the best freshwater beach in Acadia. It’s also one of the few places you can swim in freshwater in the park. The water is much warmer than the ocean so it is popular for locals and visitors. 

Located on the quieter west side of the island, it has a nice small sandy beach for the kids to play on and a shaded area to one side. Surrounded by woodlands and rocky cliffs, it’s a great place to spend the day, or to cool off after a hike. 

Echo Lake is staffed by lifeguards from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

The lake is beside Beech Mountain, and you can also hike the summit trail from the parking lot, before a dip in the lake.

You can also take the Island Explorer shuttle bus here (Route 7 Southwest Harbor).

6. Hunters Beach, Acadia

Location: Cooksey Drive off Route 3

Amenities: Parking

Pets: Yes (must be on leash)

Hunters Beach is not actually beside Little Hunter’s Beach. It’s a short drive down the road off Route 3.

You’ll need to take a quick family friendly Hunters Beach Trail, which is only 0.6 mile (1km) round trip from Cooksey Drive. Hunters Beach is well worth the short trek through the forest to a beautiful cove covered with cobblestone rocks and a small brook flowing to the ocean.

There’s only  5 or 6 parking spots at the trailhead, but you can park up and down the road a little ways in either direction.

Add this to your bucket list of Acadia National Park Beaches, while visiting Acadia in Fall or year round.

7. Seawall

Pebble rocks forming the seawall at the Seawall Beach, Acadia.
Pebble Rocks for the Seawall in Acadia National Park

Location: Off Route 102 and 102A (Seawall Rd). 30 minutes from Hull Visitor Center

Amenities: Picnic area, restrooms, parking

Pets: Yes (must be leashed)

Seawall, Acadia National Park is located in the southwest corner of Mount Desert Island, near Southwest Harbor. 

This large loose rock beach is popular with locals and visitors at sunrise. Or a quick stop on their way to hiking trails & sites in the area such as Ship Harbor and Wonderland Trails and Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.

This area is unique as powerful ocean storms have created a massive seawall of large and small rocks. Perfect for beachcombing, and looking at tidepools at low tide. 

8. Wonderland Beach Trail 

Location: Between Seawall Campground and the Ship Harbor Trail on Maine Route 102A

Amenities: Parking

Pets: Yes (must be on a leash)

Note: Not accessible. Trail has uneven footing in areas.

Wonderland Trail is a short family-friendly coastal trail (1.4 miles round trip) ending at a small beach. People go here to explore tidepools at low tide, do a little bird watching and enjoy the beautiful sunset views.

The trail is an easy old gravel road. 

9. Hadley Point Beach

Location: Off Hadley Point Road

Amenities: Parking, Portable Toilets, boat launch, barbecue pits

Pets: Yes (must be leashed)

Hadley Point Beach is popular with locals as a picnic area and boat launch for motorized boats and kayaks. It’s a small beach off Route 3 & Hadley Point Road, on the northernmost part of Mount Desert Island.

It’s a great place to do some bird watching as it’s an important feeding ground for migrating songbirds.

Also close to Hadley’s Point Campground, if you are interested in camping in the area. 

10. Hull’s Cove Beach

Location: Hull’s Cove, off Route 3, Five min. from Bar Harbor

Hull’s Cove is a small rocky inlet, just a half-mile from the Hulls Cove entrance to Acadia National Park. It’s known more for its Visitor’s Center, than the cove itself. 

While the beach isn’t a popular destination,  if you’re walking around the village already, it’s fun to do a little beachcombing at low tide

11. George Door’s Pebble Beach (Old Farm)

Location: Parking lot is right before the Old Farm Road when heading out of Bar Harbor on Rt 3

Amenities: Parking

George Door’s Pebble Beach may just be Acadia’s best kept secret. 

On the site of the old farm of Acadia’s founder George B. Dorr, you’ll find his old estate trail to a beautiful, quiet, rocky beach. 

The trail is a fairly easy and flat 1 mile stretch. Take the right staircase which goes by the old well and leads you to the private beach.

Local’s refer to it as George’s Beach if you’re asking for directions

12. Seal Harbor Beach

Beachcombing on Seal Harbor Beach, Maine

Location: Seal Harbor, southeast Mount Desert Island (Route 3 from Bar Harbor)

Amenities: Restroom, parking

Pets: Yes (Must be leashed)

Seal Harbor Beach is the alternative to Sand Beach if you’re looking for a sandy beach on Mount Desert Island, near Acadia. 

This gorgeous public beach sits in the village of Seal Harbor, next to the Stanley Brook entrance to Acadia National Park. It’s small, but typically not too crowded. 

A great place to walk your dog, hunt for sea glass and view some beautiful yachts, and lobster boats in the harbor.

Check out the colonial style building which houses likely the most famous restroom in Maine (thanks to the Rockefellers). Seal Harbor is a popular summering place for the rich and famous over the years. 

PRO TIP: As parking is very limited, take the free Island Explorer shuttle bus to Seal Harbor Beach (Route 5: Jordan Pond House)

Beaches on the Schoodic Peninsula

Schoodic Peninsula is the separate, much quieter part of Acadia National Park. It’s located near Winter Harbor, ME, and is about a 1 hour from Bar Harbor, ME.

You can also take a ferry from Bar Harbor, ME to Winter Harbor, ME. The Schoodic also has its own free park shuttle just for the peninsula area, that you can grab from the ferry terminal.

13. Schoodic Point

Granite rocks and trees along the shore of Schoodic Point Acadia.
Schoodic Point, Acadia National Park

Location: 1 hour north of Bar Harbor, 9 Atterbury Circle

Amenities: Restrooms, parking, fire pits, dock, picnic tables

Pets: Yes (must be leashed)

Schoodic Point sits at the southernmost tip of Schoodic Peninsula in Winter Harbor, Maine.

While not for swimming or a beach per se, this rocky point is popular with sunbathers and picnickers.

Looking out over Frenchman Bay toward Mount Desert Island you can see stunning views of Cadillac Mountain. While you experience the surf crash against the rocks.

Just don’t get too close to the edge, as the rocks can be slippery, and waves have swept people out to sea. Keep an eye on your kids. 

The Frazer Point picnic area offers restrooms, picnic tables, fire pits, water fountains, and a dock.

Plenty of hiking trails leave from the area including Schoodic Head Trail, Anvil Trail and East Trail. The easy Sundew Trail takes you along the coast to the Schoodic Education and Research Center.

There’s ample parking or take Island Explorer shuttle bus Schoodic Route to stop C.

14. Jones Pond Recreation Area

Location: Recreation Road, off Pond Road (Route 195) in Gouldsboro 

Amenities: Boat launch, picnic area, dog-friendly swimming area, playground, fire / grill pits, restrooms, parking, fishing

Pets: Yes (must be leashed)

The James Pond Recreation Area is a local favorite, and the largest body of freshwater on the Schoodic Peninsula. 

Kid and dog friendly, this is a fun place for families. Shaded picnic areas near the water make this a perfect place to spend the day on or off the water. 

There are no lifeguards on duty, but the water is calm and a popular place to swim in the summer. 

Beaches Near Acadia National Park

15. Lamoine State Park & Lamoine Beach

Location: State Park Road off Route 184, eight miles southeast of Ellsworth. Lamoine Beach is about 1 mile past the state park.

Amenities: Picnic facilities, boat launch, parking

Lamoine Beach is a popular swimming destination close to Acadia. In fact it provides beautiful views of Cadillac Mountain and Bar Harbor on clear days. Sunrise is spectacular here. 

While not completely sandy, it’s sand with small pebbles and warm shallow water, make it a popular and quieter family beach destination. 

To the east you’ll find Lamoine State Park. Here you can enjoy some camping, with hot showers, boating, and there’s  also a dock and boat access.

FAQs

Does Acadia National Park have beaches? 

Acadia National Park has three designated swimming beaches: Sand Beach, Echo Lake and Lake Wood. As well as many other small coastal beaches tucked along the shores. Including rocky cobblestones at Little Hunters Beach and Boulder Beach, popular with photographers at sunset. 

What is the best beach in Acadia National Park?

The best beach in Acadia National Park is Echo Lake Beach, for its warm, gentle, shallow lake waters,  and small kid-friendly sandy beach. Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Locals and visitors often prefer this beach to the popular oceanside Sand Beach.

How cold is the water in Acadia?

In Acadia National Park, water temperatures vary across the seasons. Ocean water temperatures are cold, ranging from  50 to 60° F (10-15° Celsius), at Sand Beach, throughout the year. Whereas lake water in Echo Lake ranges from 64°F in June, to 73° F in August (17° – 22°C)

What is the closest beach to Bar Harbor?

The closest beach to Bar Harbor is the popular and iconic Sand Beach, off of Park Loop Road. From downtown Bar Harbor it’s only about a 4 mile, or 10 minute drive to Sand Beach. It’s in Acadia National Park so you will need a park pass to enter. 

Can you swim at Little Hunters Beach?

Swimming at Little Hunters Beach is not recommended due to the strong undertow off the shores. As well, there are no lifeguards on duty, and the water is cold. In the summer, ocean temperatures rarely reach above 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12.8 Celsius).

Can you swim at Seawall Acadia? 

It is not recommended to swim at Seawall Acadia, due to its rocky shores, and strong waves that could carry you out to sea. For swimming in Acadia National Park it is better to visit Sand Beach for the ocean, or Echo Lake or Lake Wood for freshwater lakes. 

Do you need reservations for Sand Beach Acadia National Park?

At this time you do not need reservations for Sand Beach in Acadia National Park. In 2020, a pilot project introduced timed reservations for Sand Beach entrance access, to reduce severe traffic and parking congestion. However it created more problems than it solved, and has not been reintroduced.

Do people swim in Bar Harbor?

People do not swim in Bar Harbor as there isn’t a beach, and the harbor is a busy port for yachts, cruise ships and other seafaring vessels. Swimming happens instead near Bar Harbor in Acadia National Park at the popular Sand Beach or Echo Lake.  

What beaches in Bar Harbor can you find sea glass?

n Bar Harbor, you can find sea glass off the shore at Bar Island. During low-tide you can walk the land bridge, an extension of Bridge Street and find beach glass of various colors. Beach glass tends to collect at the high tide line on the island.

What beach has round rocks in Acadia?

The most popular beach with round rocks in Acadia is Boulder Beach, due to its photogenic round boulders, and spectacular sunrises. Little Hunters Beach is another beautiful rocky cobblestone beach, with smooth pebbles southeast of Otter Cove and Point.

Final Thoughts on Beaches in Acadia

Now you have a better idea of the beaches in Acadia National Park you can enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a picturesque rocky sunrise, or a fmaily friendly beach to spend the day.

I hope this helps you plan out your Acadia vacation, and the perfect beach day.

ACADIA & BAR HARBOR RESOURCES

Here are our favourite resources we use to research and book our trips. They offer competitive deals, and good customer service. Plus itineraries and more travel ideas for Acadia area:
4 Day Acadia Itinerary
Boston to Bar Harbor Road Trip: What not to miss
15+ Things to do on rainy days in Acadia
Bar Harbor Pet Friendly Hotels
Top 10 Bar Harbor Hotels, Inns & Cottages
Best places to grab breakfast in Bar Harbor
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Best things to do in Maine

Booking.com – Book your accomodations here, for lowest lodging rates.
VRBO Book family friendly accommodations, without the cleaning!
Viator – Find & book even more experiences, tours & fun lessons world wide.
Discover Cars – Make finding the cheapest or best car for your trip easy (worldwide)

Anything else? Check out our Family Travel Resources & Tips page

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