There’s nothing quite like packing up the car, selecting the perfect playlist, and setting off on a scenic adventure. And if you’re considering a road trip from Boston to Acadia National Park, you’re in for a treat. This journey, spanning approximately 271 miles, can be completed in about 5.5 hours, making it the ideal long weekend getaway in New England.
But there’s no need to rush. You could easily spend five to seven days on this journey. Each picturesque stop blends history, culture, and breathtaking views. Here’s a quick rundown of some must-visit destinations along the way.
Scenic Stops from Boston to Acadia National Park
Naturally, the starting point for your Boston to Acadia National Park road trip is the vibrant city of Boston. Even if your itinerary only allows for a day in this iconic city, you can still soak up a wealth of experiences. From the trail of revolutionaries on the Freedom Trail, the rooms of the Paul Revere House, and the historical significance of the Old State House to the lush expanse of Boston Common and Public Gardens, there’s much to discover. Dive into the bustling atmosphere of Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, indulge in the culinary delights of the North End, or find yourself transported back in time at the USS Constitution and Museum. So, if time permits, gift yourself at least a full day to embrace the charm of Boston.
Embark on a magical history tour in Salem, a place steeped in tales of witches, maritime lore, and colonial history. A visit to the Salem Witch Trials Memorial and the House of the Seven Gables is a must. Wander the charming streets and immerse yourself in stories that feel straight out of a history book. Keep an eye out for iconic locations from the movie Hocus Pocus, as many of its outdoor scenes were filmed in Salem!
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Next, drive to Portsmouth, a quintessential New England city. Its streets are dotted with houses and majestic buildings that whisper tales from the 1700s. Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront or visit one of its quaint cafes for a taste of local flavor. The Isles of Shoals offer a blend of historical tours, serene nature trails, bird watching, marine research facility tours, and unparalleled oceanic tranquility just off the coasts of New Hampshire and Maine. It’s easy to get there with a ferry run by The Isles of Shoals Steamship Co. that travels from Portsmouth to Star Island every few hours.
As you approach Portland, the scent of saltwater and the call of seabirds welcome you. Portland’s Old Port is a picturesque neighborhood with cobblestone streets, historic brick buildings, and bustling fishing piers. Treat yourself to fresh seafood or explore the unique boutiques and galleries. Visit the Portland Head Light, a historic lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, an iconic landmark and Maine’s oldest lighthouse that’s worth the short 15-minute drive from downtown.
Bar Harbor, Maine
The journey from Boston to Acadia National Park wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Bar Harbor. This delightful town, home to just over 5,500 residents, is the gateway to Acadia. Before diving into the natural splendors of the park, indulge in some of the finest seafood, relish a scoop of Maine’s best ice cream, and peruse the local gift shops for mementos. If you want to set sail and explore the coastal sights, you’ve come to the right place. Here, you’ll find nature cruises, fishing trips, and lighthouse tours where you can take in the sights and watch for Maine’s rich wildlife, including gentle giants like humpback whales. Check out our Guide to Whale Watching in Maine for more on this.
Acadia National Park, Maine
As the grand finale of your road trip, Acadia National Park stands ready to enchant you with its pristine beauty and countless adventures. This national gem, nestled along Maine’s rugged coastline, is a breathtaking mosaic of dense woodlands, rocky beaches, and glacier-carved granite peaks. Cadillac Mountain calls out to those eager to witness the first sunrise in the U.S., while the park boasts over 120 miles of hiking trails, each offering its own scenic vistas. Meander the serene Jordan Pond Path, challenge yourself on the Precipice Trail, or simply soak in the awe-inspiring vistas along Park Loop Road. Kayaking amidst the shimmering waves is a rejuvenating delight for those drawn to the water.
We recommend spending at least 72 hours in Acadia to truly experience all it has to offer. And before you embark on this final leg of your journey, check out our guide on what to pack for Acadia to ensure you’re fully prepared. As your road trip reaches its peak in Acadia, ensure you immerse yourself in all its natural wonders and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Where to Stay Near Acadia National Park
Looking for an unforgettable place to rest after your day’s adventures? Under Canvas Acadia is the perfect base camp for a New England getaway. Enjoy glamping on 100 acres of waterfront land, with over 1,200 feet of coastline, just 35 minutes from the acclaimed Cadillac Mountain Trail and Acadia National Park. Open for stays from early May to early October, Under Canvas Acadia allows visitors to explore unparalleled beauty—think coastline hikes and unmatched fall foliage—by day and the comforts of home by night in your luxury tent.
The journey from Boston to Acadia National Park is more than just a drive—it’s an exploration of New England’s soul. From historical landmarks to delectable cuisine and stunning landscapes, this road trip promises memories that will last a lifetime. So, buckle up, set your sights on the open road, and let the adventure begin!