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Acadia without a car... unique experience or huge headache?

New York City, New...
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Acadia without a car... unique experience or huge headache?

Has anyone tried it? I've never been to Acadia but I've read it's not recommended to drive to the park so I'm trying to avoid $300+ car rental if it's just going to sit in a parking lot for a week.

I'm aiming to go the week before 4th of July when the shuttle (exploreacadia.com) starts (6/23 - 30). I've found flights via Jet Blue to the Bar Harbor airport rather then going to Bangor. Although the shuttle seems to cover a lot of the island, Bar Harbor sounds like the best bet without a car (undecided about camping within the park itself). The shuttle runs about every half hour which is pretty good.

Any advice or other options? Something I'm missing...? Other towns to stay in besides Bar Harbor?

Bar Harbor, Maine
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for Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park
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1. Re: Acadia without a car... unique experience or huge headache?

I agree that Bar Harbor is your best option. The Village Green is the staging location for all or nearly all of the shuttle routes. The one place that the shuttle can't take you is to the summit of Cadillac Mountain. There are tour buses (e.g., Oli's trolley) and taxi/limo services that will take you there at considerably less that $300.

Regarding where you will stay: if you plan to camp in the park (and in your situation, that would be Blackwoods), you need to reserve a site early. In late June you might be able to walk and get a site, but I wouldn't count on it.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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2. Re: Acadia without a car... unique experience or huge headache?

I agree with the things cwvoigt pointed out. But I disagree with whoever said that it is not recommended to drive to the Park. Wanting to save $300 is laudable. But assuming that Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor is one big traffic nightmare simply isn't true. Renting a car would definitely give you lots more flexibility. You could do day trips up the coast to Lubec and down the coast to Camden. If all you really intend to do is hike the trails of Acadia and maybe take a boat tour, then a car isn't needed.

Highland Lakes, New...
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3. Re: Acadia without a car... unique experience or huge headache?

I'm from North Jersey, not too far from you :-) We know what traffic looks like. One thing to consider, is that any time I've heard people in the Acadia area talk about "traffic", and "busy", I let out a small chuckle….The worst traffic they see there is still better than a typical day in NYC. My opinion, is that without a car, you are limiting what you can do. The park is quite large, and there are tons of other areas to explore as well. Like mentioned, Lubec is great, and we also hiked the Cutler Bold Coast which was amazing. The path opens up to great granite cliffs, and we sat at the top watching seals play in the ocean. Pretty cool. The only way I would suggest not getting a car, is if you plan to not leave the island and/or park. You can EASILY fill a week without even scratching the surface of the island.

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4. Re: Acadia without a car... unique experience or huge headache?

Our first trip to Bar Harbor I almost made the exact same plans of flying to the Bar Harbor airport and skipping the car. It can be done but I'm glad I didn't. We flew into Bangor for a little less money and the car rentals are cheaper. I just rented my car for June, $192.70 for a weekly rental. The reason I decided on the car and will always rent a car is freedom. As I looked closer at the bus schedules I noticed it would be a lot of planning. There are 7 different routes on the island and you might have to jump on 2 different routes to get were you want to go. This still wasn't a deal breaker. The final decision to rent came about after I mapped out a few of the hikes we wanted to take and realized we might be sitting either on a bus or at a bus stop for 1 hour each way to get the equivalent distance of a 15 minute drive. Plus as someone mentioned there is no bus to the top of Cadillac. We hiked to the top one morning and it was so foggy we couldn't see 5 feet in front of us. It was nice being able to drive back up that evening to see the sunset, not to mention driving up there for sunrise on the final day of the trip was the perfect ending to a perfect trip.

5. Re: Acadia without a car... unique experience or huge headache?

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