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Itinerary suggestions - 4th July weekend

North Brunswick...
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Itinerary suggestions - 4th July weekend

We are visiting Acadia during 4th july long weekend, staying in Bar harbor. We love hiking, photography and nature. As we are coming from New Jersey, following is current itinerary. Please provide your suggestions about it...

Thursday – Leave NJ around afternoon and stay somewhere on the way to Acadia.

Friday – 4th July. To reach Acadia by noon, driving park loop and visiting Otter point etc, enjoy 4th july celebration with fireworks in bar harbor.

Saturday – Precipice hike in the morning, Jordon point hike, Bee Hive train in evening

Sunday – Morning kayak tour, ½ day for Schoodic peninsula

Monday – Sunrise over Cadillac mountain, leaving for NJ

Am I missing any other interesting hike/point of interest? Shall we add another day?

Georgia
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1. Re: Itinerary suggestions - 4th July weekend

Three points.

On Fri, 7/4; just be aware that there will likely be a good bit of traffic headed north on the highway in the morning. If you spend the night south of the Mass/NH border, there will be a lot of beach traffic and probably miles of stop and go on the highway heading into Maine and almost to Portland. You might be wise to try to stay around Portland, but even then, being 4th of July weekend, traffic could be bad in the PM on that Thurs. If you are south of the Mass/NH border, leave real early to beat the traffic.

Also on the 4th traffic and parking could be tough in Bar Harbor. It may be wise to park the car and then take the free tram to Acadia.

Another idea that I'll throw out to the Bar Harbor residents, is it possible or desirable to watch the fireworks from the top of Cadilac Mtn? If so, I'll guess parking might be tough there too.

Finally, just stating the obvious. I'd be flexible on my Cadilac Mtn sunrise. Pick an AM where the weather is clear.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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2. Re: Itinerary suggestions - 4th July weekend

It won't be possible for you to hike the Precipice Trail in early July. The trail is closed to protect hikers from the peregrine falcons which are nesting on the cliffs and attacking hikers to protect their young. The trail will reopen when the young have fledged, which is usually some time in late August. However, the Beehive Trail is very nearby and is similar, but shorter, than the Precipice Trail. It too has iron rungs and can be very dangerous. People have fallen off either of those trails and died. Personally, I don't see the attraction. But some die-hard hikers love those trails. A shorter, easier hike is the Great Head Trail, which you pick up on the other side of Sand Beach from the parking lot. It has gentler cliffs and nice views.

There is no Jordan point hike. Perhaps you are thinking of Jordan Pond. The hike around the pond is nice but will seem very tame after the climb up the Beehive. There are other hikes on the carriage roads and up mountains that start from the Jordan Pond parking areas. There are many, many trails in Acadia. One favorite is up the north ridge of Cadillac and down the south ridge, about a six mile hike with great views. Trails that will be quieter and almost as scenic would be Acadia Mountain or the Perpendicular Trail on the Western Mountains, outside of Southwest Harbor, on the other side of the island from Bar Harbor.

It is indeed possible to watch the fireworks from the top of Cadillac Mountain. And, yes, the parking lot up there is often full, with a huge traffic jam coming down the mountain and into town when the fireworks are over. We watch the headlights come down the mountain from our house and are glad to not be there ! We did watch the fireworks one year from the top of the mountain and found it a bit odd because the light and the sound are minutes apart.

The biggest problem on the 4th of July is finding a parking spot in Bar Harbor. If you have booked lodging right in the village, then you are golden because you will have your own parking spot. If you are staying anywhere outside of the village, you will definitely have to hunt for a parking spot when you come in for dinner and the fireworks.

Traffic coming onto the island and into Bar Harbor or Acadia at noon shouldn't be too bad. By that time the parade will be over, some cars will be leaving, others won't yet be arriving for the fireworks, which are at about 9 p.m. Coming from the north (and the only bridge onto MDI), I would take the very first chance to enter the Park, which is a few miles before you reach Bar Harbor. The main visitor's center is located at this entrance to the Park. You will then be up on the Park Loop Road and can bypass the village until you come down off Cadillac Mountain and enter the village from the West, on Eagle Lake Road.

It's an hour's drive, off the island, to Schoodic. It is nice out there. But with such a short visit to Acadia, you might just want to visit the other side of Mount Desert Island rather than spend two hours of your afternoon on the road in July traffic. It's just a 12 minute drive from Bar Harbor to the parts of Acadia on the other side of MDI. Plus the village of Southwest Harbor is nice. Or you might go down to Northeast Harbor and visit the azalea gardens and Thuya Gardens and drive along Somes Sound on Sargeant Drive.

North Brunswick...
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3. Re: Itinerary suggestions - 4th July weekend

Thanks for your detailed suggestions!!

North Brunswick...
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4. Re: Itinerary suggestions - 4th July weekend

@bonniemaev - so, what is the best time to visit those gardens in NorthEast harbor? Is morning or evening is better?

I think we wont go to Cadillac mountain for fireworks, as we are staying in the bar harbor itself, we'll watch it from street only. Any suggestion for where to watch it in Bar Harbor?

Bar Harbor, Maine
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5. Re: Itinerary suggestions - 4th July weekend

I don't think morning or afternoon makes much difference for the gardens. Agamont Park, a grassy waterfront village green space, is the place to watch the fireworks.

Highland Lakes, New...
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6. Re: Itinerary suggestions - 4th July weekend

I've spent 4th of July in Maine, keep in mind from New Jersey perspectives what most Mainers consider "busy" is less traffic than we have on a normal day here in Jersey. :-) Ever go down the shore in summer? It's NOTHING even close to that.

I agree with Bonnie though, if I had a few days, (having been to both sides) I would personally choose to spend my time on the island as opposed to going to the Schoodic side. Schoodic is beautiful, we spent a full week there and barely scratched the surface. It's much quieter, great views from the trails, but I think the time would be better spent in the main part of the park.

Edited: 1:30 pm, June 05, 2014
North Brunswick...
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7. Re: Itinerary suggestions - 4th July weekend

@Kevin K - Believe it or not, I was getting worried about traffic! Because “busy” for me means busier than what I’m used to here in NJ. So, your perception really relieved me a little.

@bonniemaev - Thanks again for your tips!!

Maine
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8. Re: Itinerary suggestions - 4th July weekend

I agree with traffic being relative and in most cases bad traffic in Maine would be nothing compared to other locations. I would be prepared for lengthy delays on Thursday evening coming into Maine, no matter what you are used to. Long weekends bring a lot of traffic into the state from the south.

As an example of what it can be like leaving the state on a holiday weekend - I spent Memorial Day weekend out of state and so was returning to Maine around 5p on that Monday. Traffic leaving Maine was stop and go from the NH tollbooth all the way to the Maine tollbooth and then an additional 6 miles north of the Maine tollbooth. Probably a total of about 20 miles of backup. It can be just as bad coming into the state on the start of the weekend, so if it's possible to avoid the busy times, then you're better off.

Highland Lakes, New...
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9. Re: Itinerary suggestions - 4th July weekend

@Rutansh - Outside of an accident or road closure, I wouldn't expect the traffic to be any worse than what you're used to in Edison, and it will most likely be less. :-) We never saw a place in the park that we would have called "packed". One time at Jordan House, when everyone was saying how busy it was, and they told us we would have to wait a while, our table was ready literally before we had time to buy a soda from the shop :-) Just be realistic about it and you'll be fine. Bar Harbor gets busy, especially if ships are coming in, and Jordan Pond is also a big attraction. Cadilac Mountain always has people too. But even at these places, the traffic and people tend to be concentrated. At Jordan House, most people are around the shop and back lawn, a 1-3 minute walk down any of the trails and you will most likely be alone. Same at cadilac. Besides the tippy top by the parking lot, it's usually relatively empty.

10. Re: Itinerary suggestions - 4th July weekend

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