Picture coastal Maine: Cruising along the coast while watching the waves hit the beach. The smell of salt in the air, sounds of seagulls, and a rainbow of colors paint the landscape — ranging from the deepest blue of the ocean to the reds, pinks, and purples of the flowers. You take it all in and relax. This is what you’ve been missing in your life!
— RECORD SCRATCH —
Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is not easy to find in Acadia National Park. If you stay on Mount Desert Island, where the major sites are located, you will miss out! BUT… if you’re willing to drive further than most of the crowds, take a day trip to Schoodic Peninsula. There you’ll find the most idyllic coastal drive in Acadia National Park.
Getting to Schoodic Peninsula
Now I know what you might be thinking: “It’s a 90-minute drive from Mount Desert Island to Schoodic Peninsula.”
Well don’t worry — the drive on US 1 North is extremely scenic as well! You’ll be practically hanging out the window to see the wonderful ocean view. For us, the drive flew by and was over before we knew it.
From US 1 North, hang a right onto Maine 186N. Continue on until you pass through Winter Harbor and find the Schoodic Peninsula Loop road. Here, you’ll hang another right.
Make sure you don’t venture too far. The Peninsula Loop is partially one way, and you won’t be able to explore it if you take the second turn onto the loop road. If you’ve reached Birch Harbor, you’ll need to retrace your footsteps!
Biking Versus Driving
While many people choose to drive the loop on the Schoodic Peninsula, consider the option of biking it. Since this part of Acadia National Park is not as busy, you can easily bike the main roads.
Biking will give you many more options to stop and take in the scenery at a slower pace. Be prepared to bike 8 miles if you want to do the whole loop which includes the 2 mile bike path back to the main Visitor Center. If you get tired, you can always wave the bus down and they can take you and your bike back to your vehicle.
If you don’t have a bike, there is one bike shop in Winter Harbor that rents them.
As you make your way around the peninsula, be on the lookout for the following highlights:
Frazier Point – A Primo Picnic Destination
If you decided to pack a lunch (and even if you don’t) consider stopping off at Frazier Point. The view is probably one of the nicest we’ve ever seen at a picnic area in a National Park so far!
The sound of the ocean hitting the rocks while you lunch overlooking Winter Harbor makes for an unforgettable afternoon. Also, make sure to take a stroll out on the pier to take in the scenery.
Winter Harbor Lighthouse
While at Frazier Point, you might notice a lighthouse to the left. Continuing on the coastal drive down Schoodic Peninsula, you’ll get even better views of the Winter Harbor Lighthouse with Mount Desert Island in the distance.
It will be hard to stop looking out the window at the scenery while driving, so try not to drive off the road as you look at the lighthouse! There are a few pull offs on the way where you can stop and enjoy the view and take a few pictures.
At the very end of the Peninsula is Schoodic Point. If you stop anywhere on your exploration of Schoodic Peninsula, this needs to be it!
On the particular day we biked to the point, Tropical Storm Jose was churning off of the Atlantic Coast. The winds from this storm were causing extremely high waves to hit the rocks on the point, creating quite the spectacle. We sat and watched the waves hit the coast for over an hour, and had to pull ourselves away from the view.
While I can’t promise the waves will be as large and beautiful as those we observed, I can promise the views of Mount Desert Island and the Maine Coast are a sight to behold.
The drive to Schoodic Point alone makes the trek out to the peninsula entirely worthwhile.
You’re Going To Love Schoodic Peninsula
If you’re craving jaw-dropping scenery on your trip out to Acadia National Park, be sure not to skip a trip out to Schoodic Peninsula! The peninsula has a bit of something for you, at any pace: biking, hiking, or just a scenic drive.
The scenery is so spectacular, that you may consider this one of your favorite parts of Acadia. It is definitely one of ours!
Have you been to Schoodic Peninsula? Is there another part of Acadia that you find just as amazing? Let us know in the comments.