great head trail

Acadia National Park Day 1

In June we packed up our travel trailer and headed to Bar Harbor Ocean Side KOA in Maine. It was our first time camping in Maine and we only had five nights to fit in as much as we could. I did a lot of planning for this trip. I wanted to be able to get in all the best sight of Acadia National Park and not return home feeling like we missed a lot of the must see sights. I must say my planning was spot on and we not only had the most amazing time we left lots of things undone and we have many excuses to go back again in the future.

Although we might be glampers with our travel trailer we are always drawn to the mountains for our camping trips. We have a lack of them where we live at the Jersey Shore. So anytime we get to be in the mountains hiking and by water it is a win win.  Also being at a place where we could take our dogs just about everywhere including restaurants with us is an even bigger win! Taking the dogs with us means we don't have to rush back to the campground. Cheers to longer days of exploring!

We might have only been there for five nights.... but somehow I managed to take thousands of pictures! I am going to share a post for each day of our trip here on my blog. I hope to give enough information about the places we visited so you can get an idea if you would like to do some of the same hikes, excursions and all other fun camping experiences we had for our first time in Acadia National Park...... and a spoiler alert I'm sure it won't be the last time we visit Acadia!

Day 1- We woke up to a very overcast, zero visibility, gloomy morning. We had gotten in the night before and although we knew our site had a water view and we should be able to see mountains we couldn't see anything beyond 10 feet in front of us. But not to despair my itinerary for day one was as follows:

  • Get Park Loop Road Pass (pass is good for seven days)
  • Go to Sand Beach and hike the Great Head Trail
  • Visit Thunder Hole
  • Jordan Pond House for lunch
  • finish driving Park Loop
  • Low tide at campground 1:47 pm & sunset at 8:22 pm

We'll wouldn't you know we almost did all that, actually we did plus we walked around Jordan Pond!

After stopping at the visitor's center and getting our pass for the Park Loop Road our first stop was Sand Beach. I was hoping to go down to the beach and then get on the Great Head Trail, but dogs aren't allowed on the beach. But there was a back way to get there as indicated on one of the maps "If you have a dog you need to go here." So as I waited for my family to finish exploring the beach I read the signs about the beach. I love well marked trails and learning along the way!

Although it had been overcast the entire time since we left the campground the clouds parted and the view of the beach was amazing! We even got to see The Beehive and see the crazy people climbing it! But as soon as the clouds had parted they came rolling back in.

As of the marking on the trails we followed the blue marks on the rocks. The kids loved being the first to find the next marker.

I had done a lot of planning for this trip and my family didn't know about each place we were planning on visiting each day. So they didn't really have any preconceived ideas about what we would be doing and what we would be seeing.  As I was sad about the dense clouds and limited visibility my nine year old son stopped during our hike and turned to me and said "Mom I always wanted to know what it was like to walk in a cloud. Now I am walking in a cloud and it is amazing." To him and my other son they could see the tops of the mountains in the clouds and they couldn't believe they were actually in a cloud. I wasn't sad about the visibility after that comment!


Our next stop was Thunder Hole. This was one of my kids favorite spots. We parked the truck and left the dogs in the car and the walk down to Thunder Hole was right off the street. I was able to take a few extra pictures here since I wasn't holding onto the dogs or climbing over rocks! They say the best time to visit Thunder Hole is two hours before high tide. I did my best to plan the timing right, but it didn't work out for us on this trip. Hopefully next time. But we did get to experience some nice loud explosions coming from the crashing waves, just not the full blast that it can have.

We were starting to get hungry and I knew Jordan Pond House was on my list of possible stops for lunch and the timing was perfect. But I wasn't sure what to do with the dogs. So we walked up and tried to find a quick grab and go. They did have a little shop, but everyone wanted to try the popovers. Thankfully a person that worked at the Jordan Pond House asked me if I'd like to get a table. I mentioned the dogs and she told me dogs are welcome at the restaurant on the lawn. Well if I didn't think Acadia was amazing enough at this point that just blew my mind. So of course we got a table on the lawn. Lunch was amazing! Rocky & Rudee really enjoyed getting their own water dish at the table. It was like a slice of heaven. I don't know what we enjoyed the most: the views of the mountains, the views of the pond, the friendly staff, the popovers, the dogs enjoying a meal with us, the food! I can't pick.

After we finished eating we began to explore the trail around Jordan Pond. We hadn't planned on walking the entire way around..... but we did! I think it was a good choice especially on a cloudy day when the views from Ocean Drive weren't the best. The walk around the pond had beautiful views.

Side note: I wanted to climb up to Bubble Rock (which we could access off the Jordan Pond trail) but that would have added about a mile to our already long day of hiking and I didn't want to push the kids any further. We would have parked at the parking lot on another day to climb up to Bubble Rock and pretend we were pushing over the rock, but we never got a chance to park since the parking lot was full. That is on our list of things to do when we return.

After we finished our hike around Jordan Pond (which by the way is 3.3 miles) we get in the truck and planned on finishing up the park loop road. As we were driving the clouds started to clear out giving way to beautiful blue skies!!! We decided to head up to Cadillac Mountain to check out the view. It was amazing and the views were breathtaking! It was also extremely windy!!!!!

After taking in the views we drove back to our camp site. We finally got to see our water front views for the first time! They didn't disappoint!!! We grabbed some fresh lobster rolls that were made at our campground and headed back to our site for a campfire and some cocktails. Our first day in Acadia National Park was an amazing experience and we even got to end the day with a beautiful sunset.