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9+ BEST Things to Do & Know About Hulls Cove Visitor Center

Acadia National Park has several visitor centers, but the most popular is the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. It is the gateway to the park, and although it is small, it holds a wealth of information and is staffed by friendly park rangers.

This insider’s guide will provide everything that you need to know when visiting the Hulls Cove Visitor Center.

Hulls Cover Visitor Center-Acadia Natiomal Park
Hulls Cover Visitor Center | photo via chaytun

About the Hulls Cove Visitor Center

The Hulls Cove Visitor Center is located on the northeast side of Paradise Hill in Bar Harbor Maine. Getting to the visitor center is a hike in itself because it’s located up 52 stone steps.

Park rangers are available to talk to you about Acadia National Park. And, you have an opportunity to purchase entrance passes, maps, a shop, and artwork.

Visitor Center History

The Hulls Cove Visitor Center was under construction for quite some time — from 1967 to 1986. The project was funded by the Mission-66 Program, an initiative to improve the infrastructure of national parks.

The program boasted contemporary architectural styles for the project’s buildings. It allowed the parks to employ more staff and accommodate more visitors. The Hulls Cove Visitor Center was built to act as both the administrative headquarters for the park and the visitor center.

Things to Know Before Visiting

  • There is an accessible entrance with an elevator at the rear of the building for those who cannot climb the 52 steps from the parking lot to the visitor center.
  • The Island Explorer shuttle bus stops in the parking lot for those wishing to utilize public transportation for free. The bus operates seasonally and makes multiple stops in the Acadia/Bar Harbor area.
Hulls Cove Visitors Center-Acadia National Park
Hulls Cove Visitors Center | photo via nicdangelo

Best Things to Do at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center

A trip to the Hulls Cove Visitor Center is the start of your Acadia National Park adventure. Start your day with one or all of these popular activities.

Chat With a Park Ranger

The Hulls Cove Visitor Center has many maps and pamphlets for visitors to purchase or browse. However, the best way to learn about Acadia National Park is to talk with one of the park rangers.

They can answer any questions you have about the park, local area, and history of Acadia. Also, they can provide a map of the park to help you start exploring.

Check Out the Carriage Roads & Bridges

Located right outside of the Hulls Cove Visitor Center are the carriage roads and bridges. Throughout Acadia National Park are 45 miles of carriage roads that were financed by John D. Rockefeller. The carriage roads and bridges were built between 1913 and 1940.

One of the closest bridges to the visitor center is Duck Brook Bridge, which was built in 1929. It’s located on the Witch Hole Pond loop and is the tallest bridge in Acadia National Park, featuring three arches and four viewing platforms. The walk to the bridge from the Visitor Center is about 2 miles.

Get Stamped!

Avid national park visitors love to carry their National Parks Passport Books with them and gather stamps. Much like a passport that you would use to visit another country, you can collect stamps at each park or visitor center that you visit.

Ask a park ranger or anyone staffed at the visitor center for a stamp. The stamp will include the name of the Hulls Cove Visitor Center with the date that you visited. If you don’t have an official National Parks Passport Book, you can collect stamps on any type of paper or in your own notepad or book.

Jack Russell’s Prime Steak House | photo via howaboutlunch
Jack Russell’s Prime Steak House | photo via howaboutlunch

Restaurants Near the Hulls Cove Visitor Center

The Hulls Cove Visitor Center is located near numerous dining options. Whether you’re looking for something quick and casual or a fine dining experience, you’re sure to find something to please the palate at these restaurants in Bar Harbor.

Bar Harbor Lobster Bakes

Maine is known for its lobster, so visitors are sure to find many options along the coast. Bar Harbor Lobster Bakes is a popular local spot that has been serving lobster for over 30 years.

Everything on the menu is made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and you will enjoy relaxing ocean views of Hulls Cove beach and Frenchman’s Bay.

Lobster menu highlights include lobster mac and cheese, Downeast lobster bake, creamy lobster stew, a fresh lobster dinner, lobster rolls, and a lobster melt panini. Non-lobster options include mussels, nachos, grilled steak, pulled pork, grilled cheese, burgers, and more.

Round out a trip to Bar Harbor Lobster Bakes with a famous Maine blueberry dessert, such as blueberry cake, blueberry pie, or blueberry ala mode.

Jack Russell’s Prime Steak House

After building up an appetite from hiking around Acadia National Park, stop by Jack Russell’s Prime Steak House for a hearty meal. The steakhouse is family owned and offers free parking in the middle of Bar Harbor’s hotel district.

The menu features seafood options like lobster, crab cakes, haddock, and scallops, as well as USDA prime beef dishes like filet mignon, New York strip, and rib-eye.

For non-meat and seafood eaters, pasta dishes and salads are on the menu. Also, the restaurant has a full bar with featured cocktails like blueberry margaritas and locally grown mint mojitos.

Everyday Joe’s

For those looking for a casual breakfast or lunch, Everyday Joe’s is the perfect stop. It is one of the few places in Bar Harbor that is open all year, so it’s popular with locals and visitors to Acadia National Park.

The restaurant is no-frills with a menu featuring omelets, pancakes, egg sandwiches, breakfast burritos, and quesadillas. For lunch, salads, BLTs, wraps, sandwiches, and burgers round out the menu. Everyday Joe’s has a small convenience store and gas station for those needing to refuel.

Atlantic Oceanside Hotel-Bar Harbor
Atlantic Oceanside Hotel | photo via wheels.of.wander

Lodging Options Near the Hulls Cove Visitor Center

Bar Harbor Maine has plenty of lodging options very close to the Hulls Cove Visitor Center and Acadia National Park. Check out these options to fit any budget when planning your next visit.

Atlantic Oceanside Hotel

The Atlantic Oceanside Hotel is an affordable option for those looking to be on the water. The hotel offers ocean views, a private beach, and indoor and outdoor pools in an ideal location that is close to historic downtown Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.

Complimentary continental breakfast and a seasonal free shuttle to downtown and the park are major bonuses to staying at this hotel. The rooms are spread across six buildings and offer rooms at various prices, from basic rooms to rooms with private balconies to suites.

Hanscom’s Motel & Cottages

Located outside downtown Bar Harbor, Hanscom’s Motel & Cottages offers 12 one-bedroom cottages and motel rooms on beautiful, scenic grounds. The motel is open year-round and is pet friendly.

Rooms and cottages have modern amenities, such as microwaves, air conditioning, refrigerators, coffee makers, Wi-Fi, and cable TV. Full housekeeping is done daily, and there is a picnic area with grills for guests to use.

Salt Cottages

Just minutes from the Hulls Cove Visitor Center are the Salt Cottages. The cottages offer privacy and views of Frenchman Bay. They come in studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units. A new hotel on site offers king and double queen rooms.

Lawn games keep families entertained, and there is a heated on-site pool, hot tubs, a clubhouse, a fire pit, and a picnic area for families. Also, you can take a short walk to pizza places and restaurants.

Hulls Cove-Acadia National Park
Hulls Cove | photo via megrn1111

FAQs About the Hulls Cove Visitor Center

Is there parking at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center?

Yes, there is parking at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center.

How much does it cost to visit the Hulls Cove Visitor Center?

Visiting the Hulls Cove Visitor Center is free. National Park passes are available for purchase in the visitor center for those wishing to explore Acadia National Park.

What is the style of the building for the Hulls Cove Visitor Center?

The Hulls Cove Visitor Center has a contemporary and unique architectural style. It is a trapezoid-shaped building with a flat roof. The building is 65 feet long and 22 feet wide.

Are there restrooms at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center?

Yes, restrooms are available on site at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center.

Is the Hulls Cove Visitor Center open year-round?

No, the Hulls Cove Visitor Center is open seasonally from May through October. Check the national park’s website for up-to-date hours and official opening and closing dates for the season.

Plan a Trip to the Hulls Cove Visitor Center in Acadia National Park

A trip to Acadia National Park begins with a stop at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. Whether you’re visiting for a few hours, the whole day, or a week, you’re sure to find helpful maps and park rangers at the visitor center to guide your trip.

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