Boston to Acadia National Park: Road Trip Routes, Stops & Tips

Last Updated on August 30, 2022 by Snezana Grcak

Our team offers a concise and informative travel itinerary for everyone interested in exploring the North East Coast. Find the best route for a scenic drive and a map of attractive stops from Boston to Maine. For the best road trip from Boston to Acadia National Park, visit at least one city or historic town in each state. We recommend Salem, Portsmouth, Portland, and Camden, as well as any beautiful beach located north of Boston. You will also discover top places on Mount Desert Island with amazing coastal or sunset views, such as Cadillac Mountain and Jordan Pond.

Driving Route: Interstate 95 or Route 1?

Acadia National Park is placed 275 miles away from Boston, or about four and a half hours of uninterrupted drive. If you have a tight schedule, Interstate 95 is the best choice. However, we recommend taking a few breaks: to rest and check out attractions along the way.

Route 1 (U.S. 1) runs from Maine to Florida like Interstate 95, but it passes closer to the shore and historical towns, providing beautiful scenery. Due to the lower speed limit, it prolongs the driving time, but it’s still better than interstates during peak times and heavy traffic.

Alternatively, take I-95 and I-295 to Portland and then get onto Rt. 1 north of Portland. Use it all the way to Ellsworth and then switch to Route 3 for a smooth ride to Mount Desert Island.

Road to Acadia National Park

Where To Stop Along the Way

Go through the list of our top five places between Boston and Acadia National Park, and use the helpful tips.

  1. Salem, MA

During your first stop, we suggest visiting walkable downtown places like the House of Seven Gables, Salem Witch Museum, Witch Dungeon Museum, and Peabody Essex Museum. Head to Olde Main Street Pub or Gulu-Gulu Cafe to grab a drink or bite.

  1. Beaches

Many public beaches are placed on the East Coast north of Boston, and you should stop by and check out at least one of them. The Shuttle Fare team recommends the following.

Click on each link for car parking options, fees, and other general info.

  1. Portsmouth, NH 

Make another stop in the beautiful port city of Portsmouth. Go on a tour of the Strawbery Banke Museum and then take a two-minute walk to beautiful Prescott Park. Visit the Congress/Market Square if you want to go shopping, and don’t miss La Maison Navarre’s amazing French pastry.

  1. Portland, ME

Downtown Portland offers more eateries and bars than other places in the area, and Duckfat is the most popular option. Two minutes from Duckfat is the Black Elephant Hostel, a comfortable and affordable place to stay the night.

  1. Camden & Rockland, ME

Camden and Rockland, located a 15-minute drive apart, are beautiful small towns in Penobscot Bay. Long Grain in Camden is a perfect place for lunch, while Rhumb Line will provide incredible views for your coffee break. If you decide to spend more time in the area, we recommend hiking in Rockland and checking out the Rockland Harbor Breakwater Lighthouse.

Before finally heading to Acadia National Park, don’t hesitate to stop by Fort Knox State Park and take a look from the world’s tallest bridge observatory. 

Boston to Acadia National Park Stops

National Park Passes & Fees

Passes are available on-site and online at the following prices.

Type of PassEntrance + Parking Fee
7-Day Private Vehicle Pass$30
7-Day Motorcycle Pass$25
Acadia Annual Pass$55

The $30 rate also applies to non-commercial oversized vehicles, while the individual pass for bikers or hikers is $15. Click here for additional information about all car and RV parking options.

What To Do in Acadia National Park

Whether you hike, ride a bike, or drive, you’ll enjoy the National Park’s landscapes and peaks. Here are the island’s top five places.

  • Cadillac Mountain is a must-see. Drive up or hike to the top and stay until dark to enjoy a breathtaking view of the starry night. The peak is also perfect for sunrise watching, while Blue Hill Overlook is ideal during sunsets. Both have parking lots near the top.
  • Champlain Mountain is the go-to choice for those who want to enjoy great vistas away from crowds. Use the Huguenot Head trail on the west side, then head down the south ridge and take the Island Explorer to the starting point.
  • Jordan Pond hike is a short but exciting activity with cool rocky sections. We suggest you stop by Jordan Pond House and have lunch at an outside table.
  • Bar Harbor is a lively place with many little downtown shops and dining options. We recommend Geddy’s if searching for lobster joints, while 2 Cats is ideal for breakfast and has a delicious hot sauce.
  • Southwest Harbor is less “touristy” but offers a few nice restaurants, shops, galleries, and lovely coastal views. 
Acadia National Park

The Best Time for the National Park Visit

Acadia is one of the best national parks to visit in summer, but that means dealing with a lot of tourists. Come in late September or October to avoid the crowds and enjoy magnificent colorful views of the surrounding nature. Depending on your preferences, we suggest summer or fall as an ideal time for a Boston to Acadia National Park road trip.