Guide to Camping in Acadia National Park

Guide to Camping in Acadia National Park

Featuring fantastic access to rugged beaches and stunning sunsets, the area in and around Acadia National Park is an excellent place to camp if you’re looking for a bit of an adventure.

Despite its small size, Acadia offers a handful of excellent camping opportunities. Whether you’re looking to stay at one of the park’s 4 maintained campgrounds, free campsites or you’re looking for a place to spend the night in a local family-owned campground, here’s what you need to know about camping in this unique national park.

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Campgrounds in Acadia National Park

Blackwoods Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : May 1 to October 18 (approximately)
  • Cost : $30 to $60 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

Located in a stunning forested area in the southeastern portion of Acadia, Blackwoods Campground is the closest park-operated camping location to the town of Bar Harbor.

This campground is exceptionally popular in the summer months, so advanced reservations are essential. At Blackwoods, you can choose from 306 campsites, a handful of which are set aside for large groups, and nearly all of which are reservable up to 3 months in advance.

All campsites at the campground are within a 10-minute walk of the ocean so you can take in the sunset before heading to bed. Although the campground doesn’t have showers (don’t forget to bring your own camp shower!), it does have flush toilets, camp tables, fire rings, and great access to the free local shuttle bus.

Duck Harbor Campground

  • Type : Tent
  • Open : May 15 to October 15
  • Cost : $20 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

Perhaps Acadia’s most unique campground, Duck Harbor is located on Isle au Haut off the coast of the town of Stonington. The campground is accessible only by mailboat (check the schedule before booking) or a 4-mile one-way hike, so it’s one of the few places you can stay in the park that’s not near a road.

At Duck Harbor, there are just 5 campsites, all of which come with a lean-to shelter where you can place your tent. These campsites can accommodate a maximum of 6 people and they all have access to fire rings, picnic tables, composting toilets, and potable water.

This campground is exceptionally popular and campsites are limited. Reservations are required and you can stay for a maximum of 3 nights/4 days each year to ensure everyone gets a chance to stay in this unique campground.

Seawall Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : May 20 to October 10 (approximately)
  • Cost : $22 to $60 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

Situated on the southern shores of Mount Desert Island about 18 miles from Bar Harbor, Seawall Campground is a solid choice for campers that want a scenic place to reset after a long day of adventuring in Acadia National Park.

Featuring over 200 campsites, including 9 accessible sites, and a few group campsites, Seawall Campground is a fun place to stay if you want to enjoy a more secluded section of the park. The campground is very popular so reservations are highly recommended.

Although the campground is open to RVs up to 35’ long, it’s important to note that the roads in the area are very narrow and maneuvering can be difficult. At each site, you get a large pad for tents, a fire ring, and a picnic table, as well as access to running water and flush toilets.

Schoodic Woods Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : May 20 to October 10 (approximately)
  • Cost : $22 to $60 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

Acadia’s easternmost park-operated campground, Schoodic Woods is also the only in-park campsite that offers hookups for RVs. It is just over a 1-hour drive from Bar Harbor, so it’s a nice spot if you’re looking for some peace and quiet.

At Schoodic Woods, you can choose between drive up electric and non-electric sites or you can opt for a hike-in campsite. The campground’s hike-in campsites are particularly great if you want a more secluded experience, but be aware that campfires are not allowed in these sites.

Like all of the park’s campgrounds, Schoodic Woods is popular, so be sure to make a reservation before you leave home. Once you’re at the campground, you’re within a 15-minute walk of the ocean and you have access to a network of hiking trails that lead to lighthouses and remote, forested islands.

Campgrounds Near Acadia National Park

Bar Harbor Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : May 31 to October 15 (approximately)
  • Cost : $38 to $46 per night
  • Reservation : No

A family-owned campground right next to downtown Bar Harbor, the Bar Harbor Campground is a fun option if you’re looking for more of an in-town experience. Featuring over 50 sites, many with direct ocean views, the Bar Harbor Campground is a family-oriented place to stay for both RV and tent camping.

At the campground, you have your choice between a dry campsite or one with full hookups. The campground also has multiple bathhouses, laundry machines, dump stations, potable water, and fire pits.

Oh, and one of the features that make Bar Harbor Campground truly unique is that it is first-come, first-served only, so the hosts don’t take reservations. While you’ll need to pay in cash (no credit cards accepted), it’s one of the best options available if you’re planning a last-minute trip to Acadia.

Mainstay Cottages and RV Park

  • Type : RV / Cabin
  • Open : May 15 to October 15 (approximately)
  • Cost : $45 to $250 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

Located about an hour’s drive from Bar Harbor in the small town of Winter Harbor, Mainstay Cottages and RV Park is a cozy lodging option with a traditional Maine fishing village vibe.

This small RV park is open to self-contained RVs and each site comes with sewer, water, and electrical hookups, as well as WiFi. Meanwhile, this family-run business also offers lodging in their 5 cottages, which is a perfect option for a longer stay in the area.

The campground and cottages are located within walking distance of the pedestrian-friendly Winter Harbor. Plus, the campground offers good connections to the free Island Explorer shuttle service to the rest of the park.

Mount Desert Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : May 20 to October 15 (approximately)
  • Cost : $31 to $76 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

Situated in the heart of Mount Desert Island, Mount Desert Campground is a family-friendly tent and RV camping solution for Acadia adventures. Reservations are strongly recommended, particularly between June and September.

The campground has over 160 sites, approximately 30 of which are right on the water. Each site can accommodate RVs or trailers that are up to 20’ long or a tent that can be pitched directly onto a large platform.

Perfect for watersports enthusiasts, the Mount Desert Campground also offers kayak, canoe, and SUP rentals, as well as a boat launch, deepwater moorings, and plenty of fishing opportunities. There’s also a small market at the campground that offers coffee, baked goods, and other amenities each day.

Bass Harbor Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV / Cabin / Yurt
  • Open : May 15 to October 27 (approximately)
  • Cost : $26 to $99 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

Nestled on the southernmost tip of Mount Desert Island near the Bass Harbor Lighthouse, the Bass Harbor Campground is a family-owned option for people who want a quiet camping experience.

The campground has approximately 120 shaded tent and RV sites (some with full hookups) as well as 3 yurts and 8 cabins for you to choose from. At Bass Harbor, reservations are strongly recommended and you can book your spot over the phone.

In addition to their well-maintained camping areas, Bass Harbor has free Wi-Fi, a heated pool, a playground, and recreational room, a laundromat, hot showers, and even a camp store. The campground is also a stop along the Island Explorer bus so it’s relatively easy to get around the park during your stay.

Hadley’s Point Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV / Cabin
  • Open : May 15 to October 15
  • Cost : $29 to $90 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

Hadley’s Point Campground is located on the northern edge of Mount Desert Island, about a 10-minute drive from Acadia’s Hulls Cove Entrance Station. This family-owned campground is right on the water, providing you with quick access to a public beach, as well as the free Island Explorer local bus service.

At Hadley’s Point, you can choose from dozens of campsites, including everything from a basic tent site to a full-hookup RV spot and portable power generators. The campground also has 16 cabins if you’re looking for a more luxurious abode at the end of your hiking day.

Reservations are highly recommended for camping at Hadley’s Point, especially in the summer months. When you book a site at the campground, you also get access to a heated pool, WiFi internet, and hot showers, as well as a playground, basketball court, and shuffleboard court for entertainment.

Quietside Campground and Cabin

  • Type : Tent / Cabin
  • Open : June 15 to October 20 (approximately)
  • Cost : $21 to $75 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

One of the smallest campgrounds on Mount Desert Island, Quietside Campground is a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of Bar Harbor. The campground is located on the southern end of the island, just across the harbor from the Bass Harbor Lighthouse.

With just 35 tent sites and 9 cabins all located deep in the forest, the Quietside Campground is truly a quiet place to lay your head at night. Each tent site comes with a tent platform, as well as a picnic table and fire ring.

Although the campground is a bit far from town, it does have a small camp store, a coin-operated laundromat, as well as a nearby beach. All campers have access to 2 full-service bathhouses with free hot showers (what could be better?), as well as potable water.

Camping Tips for Acadia National Park

There are no 2 ways about it; Acadia National Park is a popular place to go camping. 

To ensure that you can make the most of your time in the park, here are some of our top tips to keep in mind before you leave home.

  1. Book early. Unless you plan to stay at the first-come, first-served Bar Harbor Campground, reservations are an absolute must when camping at Acadia National Park. The park is so popular that it’s more or less impossible to get a campsite during the summer or late fall months if you don’t have a reservation. As a general rule, park-operated campgrounds allow you to make reservations up to 3 months before your trip date. Therefore, we recommend making your reservation exactly 3 months before your trip date to avoid disappointment. The privately owned campgrounds all have their own reservation policies, but the sooner you can reserve, the better. For Bar Harbor Campground, you’ll want to arrive no later than 8 am to try and snag a spot, especially on a Friday in the summer.
  2. Plan to leave your car at camp. Most of Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island. This tiny island only has so many roads and parking spots, so finding a place to leave your car at the trailhead can be a nightmare on a busy summer weekend. Our advice? Plan to leave your car at camp and simply take the Island Explorer bus system around the park and to Bar Harbor. The buses are free, easy to use, and they help to reduce traffic jams and smog in beautiful Acadia National Park.
  3. Only bring 1 car and 1 tent per site. The vast majority of campgrounds in Acadia only allow enough parking space at each campsite for 1 vehicle. This is not a coincidence. Indeed, space is limited around the park so most campgrounds will charge you an extra fee to bring a second vehicle to your campsite. You’ll also often have to park it in a satellite parking area and not at your campsite. In general, it’s better to stick to just one vehicle when you’re camping in the park. The same is true of tents as most campgrounds will only allow you to pitch 1 tent per campsite. When in doubt, check with the campground host, but you’ll normally have to book a second site if you have a large group of campers.
  4. Buy local firewood. Invasive species are a big problem in Maine’s forests. So, if you want to have a fire at your campsite, be sure to buy local firewood. Most campgrounds will have a small store nearby where you can buy firewood directly. If you want to bring wood into the park without, be sure that it’s from no more than 50 miles away to prevent the introduction of diseases into Acadia National Park.
  5. Bring bug spray and headnets. Maine and mosquitos are synonymous in the early summer months, so it’s best to be prepared before your camping trip. A headnet is a great way to keep those pesky insects off of your face while bug spray can protect the rest of your body. Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof way to keep the bugs at bay, but a breezy seaside campsite is normally a good option.

Gaby Pilson

Gaby is a professional mountain guide with a master’s degree in outdoor education. She works primarily in the polar regions as an expedition guide, though she can be found hiking, climbing, skiing, sailing, or paddling in some of the world’s most amazing places when not at work.