travel

Day 12: Acadia National Park

Day 12= our last full day in Acadia!! We arrived Saturday and had some afternoon/evening time, then Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. So about 4 1/2 days. This was, I think, just about the right amount of time to do the park justice.

Of course, with 100+ miles of hiking trails, we barely scratched the surface in that regard. There’s always more to see, more to do. But we saw a LOT (most) of the major highlights, and then some.

I certainly do not think I would have wanted any less time here. (Just mentioning this in case anyone reading plans a trip to Acadia! Allow plenty of time.)

Day 12 Highlights!!

* Woke up to overcast skies for the first time in Acadia! 😦

Still beautiful with clouds

* I sat out at the hotel’s pergola deck and had my tea, but then it started drizzling. So I returned to our covered deck at our room.

* We had to planned to do a very difficult hike that morning, just the 4 of us, but it would be dangerous and slippery in the rain! So we took a slower morning and waited it out a bit. Luckily the light rain moved out quickly and things dried up fast.

The Beehvive

* By about 10:15 or so we headed out to do our hike. My parents went into Bar Harbor to have a nice solo breakfast and do a little shopping. 🙂

* “The Beehive” is known as one of Acadia’s most difficult and dangerous hikes. It’s pretty short- really only 0.4 miles to the summit, not counting additional trail in and out.

But much of it is up steep cliffs, on exposed rock, and requires climbing boulders and using iron grab bars in the stone to get up.

I actually wasn’t sure if I wanted us to do this!

I was nervous about the boys tripping or slipping or something and…. falling to serious injury and/or their death in front of my eyes. 😬😬

But after a bunch of Google searching and reading trip reports from other people (including kids younger than E & A) who have climbed it successfully, I decided that I thought (hoped!!) it would be okay. The boys are quite agile and capable now at their ages. Usually. 😜

Clearly marked warning signs = “let’s do it!!” 😁
Base of trail started out easy enough. Just some big boulder steps.

First viewpoint from a little bit up the trail- beautiful views of the ocean and Sand Beach below:

Stopped a lot of take in the views and savor the hike.

Kept going and the trail got much narrower in spots.

Once we were up a ways, we had to start some the more serious climbing sections.

Not really difficult, but doing this up at some elevation I think is what makes many people uncomfortable!

Made it up that section… then on to a flat portion of the trail.

Walking over the little iron bar walkway on the edge of the cliff was the only spot that made me squeal just a little! Tried to hug the cliff on my way over.

Stopped for more pics as we got higher:

Views were so amazing!!!

Next up – the “climbing iron rungs” part. I knew the boys would love this part.

We kept the boys in between us, just in case.. and of course I brought up the rear so I could take pictures. 🙂

A little more climbing… almost to the top…

This is such a cool shot!! 😍

Final push to the very top!

Made it!

I even brought my travel bag up the cliff so I could have an easy access place to slip my phone when I needed my hands. Had to balance hiking safety with my obvious need for photos. 😆

The verdict:

Amazing! Worth it! Not actually that bad difficulty-wise. Could be dangerous though, yes. But overall- HIGHLY RECOMMEND!! (Though not if you’re afraid of heights! Or if you are particularly clumsy. 🙂 )

It’s a one way route up the cliff, so we headed back down the other side (less steep).

Took the short offshoot trail to see “The Bowl” down the other/back side of the Beehive.

The Bowl
Very rocky trail down and out

* We then met my parents in Bar Harbor and after Ivan spent literally 30 minutes searching for a parking spot, we grabbed pizza slices.

* We were on a bit of a schedule because next up was crossing the sand bar to Bar Island.

Bar Island

* This is a small island off the coast of Bar Harbor that is only accessible during low tide. During high tide, the whole sand bar area is completely covered with water.

The tide chart said low tide would be at 1:30 pm, so we knew we had a window of up to about 2 hours after that to get over there, explore and make it back before the tide came in.

(The next low tide would be like 2:26 a.m the next day!! I had no interest in spontaneously “camping” on the island with no gear….)

Everyone else that wanted to go over also had to go in the same time window, obviously, so there were a lot of other people crossing too.

On the sand bar. You can’t drive on it, except for this kayak tour guy picking people up.

There were really unique views from here of the water and then the island on one side and a cool perspective of Bar Harbor on the other.

Lots of people here, which I expected. Only a few hour window of time to visit this spot.

The boys saw this as a prime rock skipping spot, so they stayed behind and skipped rocks to their heart’s content while a few of us hiked the short trail to the peak of the island.

Highest point on the island. Views of Bar Harbor.

The boys didn’t want to leave, but we could see the tide just starting to work its way back in… so eventually we headed back to mainland.

Another boy their age joined them for some rock skipping for a while
Pretty harbor!
Back across the sand bar

Walked back to the car, saying goodbye to Bar Harbor as we would be leaving the next morning…

* It was HOT by this point and the boys wanted to swim. We went back to the hotel and just chilled out for a while.

(Actually, we stopped at a place on the way back near the hotel for some extremely overpriced scoops of ice cream first.)

I liked our little routine of heading back for some downtime in the late afternoons. It worked out well. All the activity and hiking does tire you out!

* Eventually we got cleaned up for dinner/our last evening.

Out of sweaty hiking clothes

There were just a couple spots on my list we hadn’t seen yet, though – Sand Beach and Otter Cliffs.

It was still fairly early for us, maybe 6:00, so we had a little time to squeeze them in before dinner.

Some clouds moved in and the temperature dropped rather suddenly, so by the time we got to the beach (usually one of the absolute busiest places in the park- which is why we hadn’t even really bothered going before…), it was nearly empty.

I mostly just wanted to see it! “Sand Beach”. It was breezy and cool and we were not in beach wear, so we just went down to take a look quickly. We had seen it from the cliffs on our Beehive hike from afar!
Very beautiful!! Too bad the water is like 55 degrees. I’ve read that basically no one actually swims at the beach because the water is terribly cold and unpleasant. Beautiful to look at, though.

Swung back by nearby Thunder Hole hoping the 3rd time would be the charm to see the big waves crashing in the rocky hole…

Nope. Calm sea yet again!! Oh well. We watched a video on YouTube of them crashing in there during a storm. 🤷‍♀️
A little action on the one side, but overall just too calm.

A family shot minus Ethan because he ran back to the van…🙄

Stopped by Otter Cliffs! Some people were rappelling down one of them. Cool. 🙂

All 4 of us.

Finally saw some wildlife, too!!! We found it interesting that this area seems to not be big on wild animals! Not even many birds! A few squirrels, but otherwise very quiet. I guess it is an island…

* Nighttime was upon us, so we went to a seafood restaurant just up the street from our hotel that was on the water and looked nice for our last dinner in Acadia!

The boys were both “finishing a good part” in their books and brought them in to the nice restaurant….

I made a return to clam chowder, one last time… I think it brought my total to 5 for the week.

Asher stole some.

My mom and I got wine, the guys got local IPAs, as usual… and we all toasted a wonderful vacation.

The food here was GREAT!!!

I got a seafood platter with scallops, shrimp and fish in vodka cream sauce with asparagus and wild rice.

The boys got a salmon platter from the adult menu (to share…I guess we thought for the price it would be bigger…) and they promptly devoured it. And loved it. We had to order them another one!

Seafood junkies.

Ended the night with the most incredibly delicious blueberry pie. Omg. It was amazing.

Even had fresh homemade blueberry ice cream on top, along with vanilla.

This was a fantastic last day!! Full of iconic Acadia sights and fun. 🥰

Daily gratitude: I am grateful the Beehive hike worked out so well!! The boys loved it.

2 thoughts on “Day 12: Acadia National Park”

  1. That hike looked really intense but fun. Your sandals must be really grippy/good for hiking since I think you’ve had on for all the hikes! The Beehive hike kind of reminds me of the Angel’s landing hike at Zion National Park. I’ve been reading another blogger’s trip recap for their UT/AZ hiking trip w/ their kids. It’s nice to have detailed posts to refer to in the future when we plan a trip to these places. I really want to see Acadia/Maine. Phil is less enthused about that as he feels like some of the views are very similar to the north shore of Superior. But I will try to convince him it’s worth the trip! 😉

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    1. Yes, these sandals are Tevas and they have way better grip on the bottom than any of my tennis shoes! I don’t really own any official “hiking” shoes, so I tend to wear these hiking sandals instead whenever I can.

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