Explore Postcard-Worthy Scenery At This Unique National Park

If you're looking for a truly breathtaking experience in nature, there's no better place to start than in Maine's Acadia National Park. This gorgeous destination is known for its sprawling forests, rugged cliffs, and rocky coasts. Whether you're interested in hiking up mountains, camping in the forest, spotting beavers swimming in the wetlands, or just staying up late looking at the stars, you can find your perfect adventure somewhere in Acadia's 47,000 acres.

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Many of the park's approximately 4 million visitors per year are there to take in the sights from the top of the gorgeous Cadillac Mountain (pictured) or watch the waves crash against the cliffside with a shocking boom at the cavern aptly named Thunder Hole. Before you can join them, you'll need to book an entrance pass — and probably review the safety tips to know before your solo hike if you're going to attempt it alone. You can do this for as low as $20 per person (or $35 per vehicle). To get even closer to nature, you can reserve a campground and spend the night out under the stars for only $30 more.

Hiking Acadia National Park

Many U.S. National Parks are home to trails that are only for experienced hikers, and Acadia is no exception. If you're looking for a challenge, you can certainly find one. However, this huge park is home to 120 miles of hiking trails, so you won't run out of incredible paths to traverse through the wilderness, no matter what your skill level. If you're looking for a quick and easy route to get you started or finish up a long day in the wild, try the Wonderland Trail. It should only take you around half an hour to complete, unless you get distracted spotting critters in the woods or looking at the sea. For a longer walk along the ocean, you can try out the popular Ocean Path, which takes you along the coast and lets you stop at popular sights like Thunder Hole and Otter Cliff.

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If you feel up to a 2.5-hour trek to the highest peak in the park, Cadillac Mountain, don't miss the Cadillac North Ridge Trail which provides a stellar view of the entire park below, as well as views of the water. For more of a challenge, you can try the short but tricky Beehive Loop Trail, which requires you to go up some ladders and stone stairs but rewards you with breathtaking views.

In the sky and under the waves at Arcadia National Park

There's certainly more than enough to see in the woods of Acadia National Park to keep you busy for a lifetime, but if you don't look up at the sky or into the water, you'll be missing out. While somewhere like Florida's Biscayne Bay National Park might be one of the best snorkeling spots thanks to its vibrant coral reefs, Acadia's chilly waters offer an entirely different — but just as unforgettable — kind of experience. For those able to brave the frigid waves, diving from spots like Otter Point can offer you incredible glimpses into the world beneath the Atlantic waves. There, you'll see lobsters, sea peaches, sea urchins, sea stars, sea anemones, seals, and yes, actual otters. For those curious about the marine life of Maine who aren't willing to take a plunge into the sea, there's still a lot to be seen by walking the rocky beaches around low tide and peeking into tide pools.

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Keep your eyes on the skies, too. From waterbirds in the wetlands to bald eagles soaring over water, this park is a favorite of birders. If searching for the park's many birds sounds like a dream to you, consider visiting during the Acadia Birding Festival. While many come to Acadia to appreciate the sunrise from the top of Cadilac Mountain, don't miss the night sky, either. Spots like the Seawall, Jordan Pond, Ocean Path, and Sand Beach are ideal for stargazing.

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