The long way to Acadia National Park

With our Roadtrek campervan RV purchase completed, it was time to start planning our first big adventure. We had just moved from Michigan to Arizona and experiencing our first summer there was dreaded. That’s when a summer-long trip was brought up. Why not go big, but where to go? Acadia National Park in Maine became the destination simply because it was so far away from Arizona and after all, it should be cool there.

We would travel east. Reservations, if any, would be made on the fly as we went.

We left in late April on our great adventure with no set plans or reservations made. Along the way we were delighted by things like a New Mexico volcano, Garden of the Gods in Colorado, Bailey’s railroad Yard in Nebraska, an Illinois wedding, The Smokies, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Niagara Falls, a Roadtrek factory tour and so much more.

State and provincial parks became our favorite stops though we also stayed at KOA’s, private campgrounds, hotel (for a wedding) and a home (sister-in-laws). We like full-sized showers so boon-docking was an option, but not preferred.

We traveled interstates and two lane country roads. The Ohio river was crossed via a small ferry barge in Southern Illinois. Our hearts beat a bit faster when we drove the back country only to drive over old one-lane bridges and through low clearance one-lane tunnels. More than once Siri sent us on wild rides. Other times it saved us from traffic jams.

Along the way we attended a nephew’s wedding, saw our dentist, our optometrist, visited old neighbors and attended a reunion of Arizona friends in Cadillac, Michigan. 

Local dining was a favorite eating everything from steak and seafood to munching on burgers and chips. One of the more memorable places was Rosie’s diner at Cave in the Rock, Illinois. All I can say is that it’s genuine people and genuine food with a perfect atmosphere. If you are reading this, hi Rosie!

As we continued eastward, we discovered that the Ohio turnpike has overnight RV spots with electric at their rest stops. We mostly stopped at state parks because there always seem to be something cool to visit. My wife had read somewhere that the Pennsylvania state parks there didn’t allow dogs (which we later found to be untrue) so that was one of our longer driving days as we drove all the way into New York. I’m sorry Pennsylvania!

Eventually, we made our way to Maine with our first stop late on a rainy day at Camden Hill State Park. It is a bit more than an hour south of Acadia National Park so we could be there early the next day. The park attendant suggested we have our first Maine seafood in her hometown of Belfast, Maine. Tired and wet, off we went and had a delightful meal at the Nautilus Seafood and Grill right on the waterfront of Belfast Bay. Yummy! I chomped on lazy man’s lobster (removed for you from the shell) as Kris enjoyed seafood pie.

Dinner at Nautilus in Belfast, Maine

We read how other Roadtrek writers had visited Acadia so we decided to to try something different. Mike and Jennifer Wendland had traveled with family to the Down East Maine area of which Acadia is considered a part of. Patti and Tom Burkett had stayed at the Schoodic Woods Campground in a less known area of Acadia National Park found on the mainland.

We decided to try Lamoine State Park on the mainland known as the quiet way to visit Acadia National Park so we booked 3 nights there just three weeks before arrival. Once we realized that we would arrive two days early, we started searching for ocean view campsites. We found one due to a cancellation at KOA-Oceanside just two days before arriving.

The KOA is a whopping $120/night but it was well worth it. The sunsets were incredible. Finding live mussels and crabs on the beach as the tide went out was fun. The lobster served at the KOA was excellent. The best part though was the free bus that picked us up at the campground and drove us to Bar Harbor. From there we could shop, eat, pick up other free shuttles to see the park, take a guided bus tour and even go on a whale/puffin watching excursion.

Our KOA Oceanside Campsite

Exhausted after sixty-two days and 7,329 miles of driving it was decided to take the free bus into Bar Harbor instead of driving the RV. After filling our bellies with fresh haddock at Testa’s restaurant overlooking the bay, we climbed onto a guided tour bus and entered Acadia National Park.

Traffic was nuts. It would take 40 minutes to drive 4 miles and once you got there, the parking lots were full. Selecting the tour bus was the best decision we made. The bus simply pulled up into its designated spot, let us off to go explore, then it was off to the next location. R-e-l-a-x-i-n-g.

Cadillac Mountain View

The 360 degree view from Cadillac Mountain is incredible. RV’s are not allowed up there so again the bus decision was a good one. Scenic pictures don’t do justice to what we saw. Being able to see up to 175 miles away and the vast numbers of islands as mind numbing. We also visited the Wild Gardens of Acadia, Sand Beach and Thunder Hole. I think my favorite though was the Beaver Dam Pond even though Cadillac Mountain was incredible.

Beaver Dam Pond

Acadia National Park is now checked off the bucket list.

Mountain Laurel at the Wild Gardens

I’m writing this as from Lamoine State Park one day after visiting Acadia. Its a cold wet day with a pounding driving rain outside so it is a great time to sit here in our dry, warm RV pondering what to do next. Head north to Nova Scotia? Go whale watching? Head west toward home? Maybe go back into Acadia and explore a bit more? Maybe do all the above.

That’s the beauty of this kind of travel. It really is fun not knowing where you’re headed and deciding later in the evening on what to do and pointing a finger saying, “Let’s go that way.” Home really is where you park it. Your backyard is the great outdoors.

One last note. Several of you said to eat at Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound. So I tried it today for lunch. Yep, its easily the best place I’ve eaten in a long time and trust me, I’ve eaten well these past months. It’s well worth the trip just for a meal here.

Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound

I’ll be back for more lobster tomorrow.





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