As the Crown Jewel of the Atlantic Coast, native Mainers and out-of-town visitors alike know that Acadia National Park is one of the most beloved places in Maine to visit any time of year, even in the winter!
It’s no surprise then that Travel + Leisure recently ranked the only national park in the Pine Tree State as one of the nation’s best parks to visit during winter. As one of the most popular US national parks, Acadia captivates and captures the hearts and minds of the millions of people who visit each year.
As popular as it is, Acadia can still be considered by some to be a sort of hidden gem when the snow starts falling and temperatures turn frigid. The park gets around five feet of snow each winter, transforming it into a majestic winter wonderland for snowshoers, cross-country skiers, or even those who want to leave the house and take a scenic winter drive.
Acadia is also a perfect spot to catch the sunrise and from October to March, Cadillac Mountain is the first spot in the nation to see the sun.
For more than 100 years, a trip to Acadia has been a special one for anybody who visits. Its natural beauty goes without saying and its variety of scenery, including its scenic shoreline and its lush forests, and activities appeal to visitors of any age.
Winter offers anyone who visits Acadia is treated to natural beauty, a strong degree of tranquility, and the chance to be one with nature, regardless of whether they want to experience winter camping at Blackwoods Campground, go trekking on snow-covered trails, or try their hand catching fresh Maine fish.
Acadia: A Thrilling Winter Wonderland
For those who love the outdoors (and we know Mainers do!), Acadia is a land of possibilities in the winter. Those willing to bundle up and embrace winter’s chill are treated to one-of-a-kind experiences not found anywhere else.
Acadia’s carriage roads, all 45 miles of them, were designed specifically for wintertime activities like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. This is the perfect way to experience the majesty of Maine in wintertime.
Hikers wanting to see the awe-inspiring sunrise on Cadillac Mountain can do so but are advised to travel carefully and keep an eye out for ice.
A walk along Acadia’s coastline not only reveals scenic views but also shells and shell fragments dotted against the sand after being swept ashore by winter storms.
Anglers who love ice fishing can fish in the park (with the proper license of course) for trout, bass, and panfish.
Snowmobiling enthusiasts can traverse Park Loop Road in the park during the wintertime. The Park Loop Road is a lot less crowded in the wintertime and invites riders to catch a glimpse of Thunder Hole on their travels.
More National Parks to Explore During the Winter
The country’s national parks stretch from coast to coast, and, in wintertime, they might even be considered some of the nation’s best-kept secrets. Some of Travel + Leisure’s other picks for the best national parks to visit during the winter include:
Everglades National Park | Florida
It’s always warm in Florida, but wintertime is the perfect time to visit the Everglades because the weather is nice, the sun is shining, and visitors don’t have to worry about bugs.
Under perfect skies, visitors can keep their eyes peeled for roseate spoonbills, alligators, and many more magnificent animals.
Big Bend National Park | Texas
Visitors to Big Bend National Park, especially those who love gazing up at the stars, will delight in a trip here.
Big Bend is one of dozens of international dark sky parks in the country and a clear night here means a chance to see a countless number of stars and other celestial phenomena.
Yellowstone National Park | Wyoming
The nation’s first national park is also one of the most popular with more than three million visitors a year.
Yellowstone’s beauty is especially striking in the winter and its famed hot springs and Old Faithful geyser are especially impressive with hot water meeting the winter’s frigid air. It doesn’t hurt that the crowds are usually smaller too.
Joshua Tree National Park | California
For those who enjoy outdoor activities like rock climbing, Joshua Tree National Park can be a wintertime mecca.
Those who can brave the desert cold are treated to magnificent displays for stargazing. Rock climbers have an easier time traversing cooler rocks without the blistering heat of the warm months.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks | California
The massive sequoia groves at these national parks in California are perfect for winter adventures!
Snowshoers and cross-country skiers can move at their own pace through the parks, going on ranger-free journeys to see these tree giants, including the General Sherman tree, up close.
Bryce Canyon National Park | Utah
The park’s signature hoodoos, tall spires of limestone that are also called earth pyramids, are especially majestic in winter when snow has fallen and created colorful mixes of white and reddish orange.
The park is also known for its wonderful nighttime sky views and the park also offers guided full-moon hikes.
Death Valley National Park | California
Death Valley is traditionally one of the hottest places on Earth. But in the winter temperatures cool down to a moderate level, making it the perfect time to visit the salt flats, see the dunes, and maybe even go for a hike.
Make Plans to Visit Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park continues to smash visitor records year after year for good reason: It has so much to offer anyone who visits no matter what time of year they visit.
Whether one is staying for a long weekend or is planning a long trip in or around Acadia, there are plenty of lodging options in Downeast Maine that appeal to visitors of all kinds. Some of these options like campgrounds are seasonal, but there are plenty of places for visitors to find comfortable accommodations.
So whether a visitor wants to stare adventure in the face and embrace the cold weather and tranquility of Acadia in the winter, or they want to visit in the summer months, the park is always waiting with open arms to showcase its wonders to all who visit.