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New York to Acadia National Park

New York to Acadia National Park

Home to 64 miles of rugged coastline, 26 mountains, and 47,000 acres of sprawling forests, Acadia National Park has no shortage of natural beauty. Located on the coast of Maine, the park occupies most of Mount Desert Island and covers portions of the Schoodic Peninsula, Isle au Haut, and 18 other coastal islands. Since it’s the only national park in New England, Acadia is a bucket list destination for many travelers. Keep reading to explore our New York to Acadia National Park itinerary. 

Driving to Acadia National Park from New York City, you’ll get to experience the best of the Northeast. From lighthouses, rocky beaches, and epic hikes through majestic forests to stops in charming cities, this New England road trip covers it all. After reading this comprehensive guide, you’ll be ready to pick up your camper van and embark on this unforgettable 6-day New York to Acadia National Park itinerary! 

Best Route from New York to Acadia National Park

This New England road trip begins and ends at the New York Escape Camper Vans location. From New York City, you will explore Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Portland, Maine, on the way to Acadia National Park. After a couple of days in the park, you will visit Boston, Massachusetts, before returning to New York. Continue reading to see all that our New York to Acadia National Park itinerary has to offer. 

Travel Time from New York to Acadia National Park

During this New York to Acadia National Park itinerary, you’ll begin driving from the New York Escape Camper Vans hub to Acadia National Park. From start to finish, this New England road trip covers approximately 1,100 miles. Without stops, it will take about 18 hours and 54 minutes. However, we recommend completing the New York to Acadia National Park itinerary over six days.   


Directions Tips:

You could also do this trip in reverse by visiting Boston and Acadia National Park first and then stopping in Portland and Cape Cod on the way back to New York. In this case, the driving time and distance would remain the same.

Best Time of Year for a New England Road Trip

Acadia National Park is open year-round, but some parts of the park close from late fall to early spring. Some roads and facilities also close occasionally because of extreme weather, so be sure to check operating hours and closures before your new England road trip. 

With that in mind, there are pros and cons to visiting Acadia National Park during each season. Here are some important seasonal differences to consider: 

Spring: Early spring tends to be rainy and foggy, but the weather starts to clear up and get warmer in late spring. Throughout this season, you’ll basically have the park to yourself. That means you can watch wildflowers bloom and the park come back to life while avoiding crowds.

Summer: Acadia’s peak tourist season is from June to September, and crowds flock to the park at this time. From August to October, it’s also the park’s dry season, and the warm, dry weather makes this a great time to visit the park. However, you’ll need to make reservations in advance as campgrounds book up quickly in the summer

Fall: Fall is arguably the best time to visit Acadia National Park because of its breathtaking foliage. During this season, you’ll get to see the leaves changing colors while also avoiding the huge summer crowds. 

Winter: December is the month with the highest amount of precipitation in Acadia National Park, and it remains cold all winter (about 27°F on average). During this season, the park is very quiet and you won’t have to worry about crowds. However, many campgrounds in the park and along this route are closed in the winter. 

Preparation for a New York to Acadia National Park Road Trip

The drive from New York to Acadia National Park is lined with historic cities, lovely seaside towns, and tons of natural beauty. With some preparation, you’ll be able to make the most of your journey and enjoy a fun-filled, stress-free adventure! 

Acadia National Park Entrance Passes

When visiting Acadia National Park, you’ll either need a standard entrance pass or an annual pass. The standard entrance pass for a camper van is $35 and is valid for seven consecutive days. The annual pass is $70 and is valid for one year from the date of purchase. You can buy these passes at park visitor centers and campgrounds or online

Additionally, America the Beautiful passes can be used to enter Acadia National Park. 

To complete the Cadillac Summit Road drive from mid-May to October, you’ll also need a separate vehicle reservation. This reservation can only be made online in advance. 

Campsites

Acadia National Park has four campgrounds throughout the park. Two are located on Mount Desert Island, one is in the Schoodic Woods, and one is on Isle Au Haut. All of these campgrounds must be reserved in advance on the Recreation.gov website. There are no same-day reservations or first-come, first-served campgrounds here. Therefore, we highly recommend that you make campsite reservations before beginning your trip.  

If you’re planning a more spontaneous trip or these campgrounds are fully booked, you can also try dispersed camping in your camper van. This means you can camp for free on federal and BLM land. Download these apps to find free camping spots in the area. 

Note: Dispersed camping is not allowed within Acadia National Park or in the nearby town of Bar Harbor. 

Gear

Rain Gear and Seasonal Clothing: Maine’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to come prepared for any condition. A rain jacket is a must. You’ll also want to pack hiking boots and seasonal gear such as snow pants or a swimsuit. 

Layers: Acadia National Park’s temperatures range by season but remain fairly mild year-round. That being said, even in July, the park’s hottest month, Acadia typically only reaches 75°F. The temperature dips at night, so make sure to bring layers to adjust to the changing temperatures. 

Sun Protection: It’s always important to stay protected from the sun when you’re out in nature or driving, so don’t forget your sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat!  

Insect Repellent: Ticks are a concern in Acadia National Park, so make sure to spray yourself and your clothes with insect repellent. Additionally, you should check your body for ticks each day.

Food & Water: Hit the grocery store for food and water before starting your New England road trip to make the most out of your camper van’s fully-equipped kitchen. The kitchen kit add-on is also very useful if you plan on cooking during your trip. 

Navigational Tools

Phones & Chargers: A charged phone is one of the most important road trip tools, so don’t forget a car charger and portable chargers. You’ll also want to bring an AUX cord to enjoy your favorite road trip playlists and podcasts while driving.

Map: Download the Google Maps route before hitting the road to view it offline. While cell phone coverage in Acadia National Park is typically decent, it’s always a good idea to pack a printed map just in case you lose service anywhere along the way. 

Escape Camper Vans Rental

Escape Camper Vans offers a range of rental options to match your travel needs, group size, and destination. From the New York pickup location, you can choose between the Mavericks and Mesa van models. 

Mavericks is perfect for couples and small groups while the Mesa provides extra space for a bigger crew. These models both sleep up to 5 people (with a rooftop sleeper) and come equipped with solar panels, a kitchenette, and a queen-size bed. 

Browse our selection of camper vans to find the perfect model for your New York to Acadia National Park itinerary!

Friends sitting around campfire on New England road trip. New York to Acadia National Park itinerary.

New York to Acadia National Park Road Stops

Following our 6-day New York to Acadia National Park itinerary, you’ll be able to experience some of the top New England road trip destinations and the region’s only national park. Buckle up and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!

Day 1: Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Pick up your adventure mobile from the New York Escape Camper Vans hub and head to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, for your first stop. Known for its charming seaside communities, Cape Cod is the perfect place to spend the first day of your New England road trip. 

The drive from New York to Cape Cod is approximately 270 miles and takes about 4 hours and 39 minutes. 

Sights and Activities on Cape Cod

Drive Along Route 6A: There’s no better way to explore Cape Cod than on this historical highway! During this drive, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to stop, enjoy picturesque views, and explore cozy shops and restaurants.

Visit the Cape Cod National Seashore: This serene park encompasses 40 miles of beaches, ponds, and marshes and is an excellent spot for swimming, walking, and biking. 

Go on a Whale Watching Tour: June to September is the peak migration period for whales. A boat tour from Provincetown or Barnstable is an excellent way to spot one of these incredible creatures.

Where to Eat on Cape Cod

The Lobster Pot: A quintessential Cape Cod eatery, the Lobster Pot is the place to be for its fresh seafood. Endorsed by Anthony Bourdain, you can trust that this restaurant is the real deal. Please note that this restaurant closes for the winter season.  

Sam’s Deli: For a high-quality lunch, you can’t go wrong with Sam’s Deli. There aren’t tables to eat at here, so we recommend that you order online, pick up your sandwiches, and head to the beach for a picnic.

Campgrounds on Cape Cod

Nickerson State Park: With 418 campsites located around pristine freshwater ponds, this state park is a convenient place to camp at and explore the area’s natural beauty. Reservations here can be made up to four months in advance, but the park closes for the winter season. 

Shady Knoll Campground: Conveniently located mid-Cape, this campground features comfortable amenities and sites with and without electric and water hookups. Reservations must be made at least one day in advance online.

North of Highland Camping Area: Just a short walk from the beach, the North of Highland Camping Area offers numerous peaceful campsites fit for camper vans. Reservations should be made in advance, and a deposit is required. This campground closes from late fall until early spring. 

Day 2: Portland, Maine

From Cape Cod, drive approximately 176 miles (about 2 hours and 56 minutes) to Portland, Maine. Here, you can enjoy the city’s historic Old Port district, iconic lighthouses, and the vibrant craft beer scene. With several state parks nearby and Casco Bay to the east, there are also plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities in Portland. 

Sights and Activities in Portland

Visit Portland Head Light: Situated within Fort Williams Park, Portland Head Light is one of America’s most picturesque lighthouses. While you’re here, you can also check out the lighthouse’s museum and hike, picnic, and explore rocky beaches at Fort Williams Park. 

Wander Around the Old Port district: This waterfront district features cobblestone streets lined with cozy boutiques, art galleries, and impressive seafood eateries. There’s plenty to see and do in this charming part of town. 

Where to Eat in Portland

Shipyard Brewing Company’s Tasting Room: This waterfront spot is one of Portland’s oldest and most well-known breweries. Serving up delicious pizza and unique beers, Shipyard will give you a taste of Portland’s craft beer scene.   

The Highroller Lobster Co.: For a casual restaurant with a classic diner vibe, you can’t beat the Highroller Lobster Co. Their entire menu is mouthwatering, but the buttery lobster rolls and fresh oysters are must-order items. 

Campgrounds in Portland

Winslow Park and Campground: Situated about 20 miles north of Portland, this campground offers 100 campsites with incredible ocean views. Winslow Park and Campground is open from late May until October, and reservations can be made online.

Bradbury Mountain State Park: Also 20 miles north of Portland, the Bradbury Mountain State Park is home to 35 campsites. This campground offers showers, restrooms, a dishwashing station, drinking water, and several other convenient amenities. Campsites are first-come, first-serve, and the campground is closed from late fall to spring. 

Countryside on a New England road trip from New York to Acadia National Park itinerary.

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Day 3-4: Acadia National Park

After a relaxing day exploring Portland, it’s time to head to the main stop along this route- Acadia National Park. Following our New York to Acadia National Park itinerary, you’ll spend two days in the park. However, you could easily explore Acadia National Park for a couple more days if time allows.

From Portland, drive approximately 170 miles (about 2 hours and 51 minutes) to the main part of Acadia National Park which is located on Mount Desert Island.

Sights and Activities in Acadia National Park

Drive Park Loop Road: An excellent introduction to the park, this 27-mile road passes through some of the park’s most iconic areas. We recommend starting at Hulls Cove Visitor Center and driving south along Paradise Hill Road to Park Loop Road for a full tour experience. 

Watch the Sunrise from Cadillac Mountain: There’s no better way to start the day at Acadia National Park than by watching the sunrise from the park’s highest peak. Driving to the top of Cadillac Mountain requires a reservation, but you can also hike to the summit. Either way, this is an extremely popular attraction, so make sure you arrive early. 

Hike the Beehive Loop: Ideal for thrill-seekers, the Beehive Loop is a beautiful yet challenging hike that features steep climbs up exposed rock surfaces with iron rungs and ladders. The loop combines the Beehive Trail and the Bowl Trail, and it’s about 1.4 miles roundtrip. 

Visit Sand Beach: No summer visit to Acadia National Park is complete without a stop at Sand Beach. This sandy cove is a wonderful place for swimming and sunbathing, and it also provides access to several trailheads. 

Explore Jordan Pond: Surrounded by mountains, this glacially-formed pond is an unbeatable place for kayaking, canoeing, and hiking. While you’re here, stop at the historical Jordan Pond House for a cup of tea and a popover with a view.

To discover more stops in Acadia National Park, check out this article

Where to Eat in Acadia National Park

The Travelin Lobster: Voted as one of the top hidden gems in America, this quaint spot offers some of the freshest seafood in the Northeast. Please note that the Travelin Lobster closes from late fall to early spring.

Sunrise Cafe: For a tasty brunch in the nearby town of Bar Harbor, head to Sunrise Cafe and feast upon breakfast sandwiches, baked goods, and any kind of crepe that your heart desires. 

The Colonel’s Restaurant and Bakery: A Mount Desert Island staple, this family-owned restaurant offers delicious options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. From pizza and seafood to homemade donuts and pies, the Colonel’s serves up a huge variety of tasty food and treats. 

Campgrounds in Acadia National Park

Blackwoods Campground: Conveniently located near Bar Harbor and many of the park’s top attractions, Blackwoods Campground is one of the best camping options in the area. This campground tends to book up quickly, so you’ll need to make reservations as early as possible to stay here. 

Seawall Campground: Situated near Southwest Harbor, Seawall Campground provides 195 campsites in a more secluded part of Mount Desert Island. This campground is just five minutes away from the popular Bass Head Harbor Lighthouse. 

Schoodic Woods Campground: This campground is on the Schoodic Peninsula and has 90 campsites. All sites have electric hookups, and B-loop sites also have water. 

Note: All of these campgrounds are located within Acadia National Park. They are open from May to October, and they all require reservations, which can be made two months in advance.

Friends walking on a New England road trip from New York to Acadia National Park itinerary.

Day 5: Boston, Massachusetts

Wake up early and enjoy one last breakfast in nature before packing up your camper van and heading to Boston. There, you’ll get to experience a city rich in history and culture. With world-class universities, museums, stadiums, and restaurants throughout the city, there’s something for everyone in Boston.

From Acadia National Park, you’ll drive about 276 miles (4 hours and 32 minutes) to Boston. 

Sights and Activities in Boston

Stroll Along the Freedom Trail: During this 2.5-mile walk, you’ll be able to experience 16 of Boston’s most historic sights. You can walk the trail at your own pace or purchase tickets for a guided tour. 

Relax in the Boston Common: You won’t want to miss a visit to the oldest public park in the United States. Have a picnic, read a book, or just walk around and admire the beauty of the park. You can also visit the nearby Public Garden to explore America’s first public botanical garden. 

Where to Eat in Boston

Faneuil Hall Marketplace and Quincy Market: Known as Boston’s foodie paradise, this market is lined with local eateries serving a variety of cuisines. Stroll around, shop from artisanal vendors, and enjoy some delicious food here. 

The North End: The North End isn’t a restaurant, but it’s the city’s Italian neighborhood. The streets of the North End are brimming with authentic Italian eateries, and any restaurant you pick in this area is sure to be delicious. 

Campgrounds in Boston

Wompatuck State Park: Located 30 minutes south of downtown Boston, this state park offers 260 campsites that are open from early May to October. The campground is also located near a network of trails that are great for hiking and mountain biking. Reservations can be made online up to four months in advance. 

The Loraine Park Campground in Harold Parker State Forest: About 30 miles north of Boston, this forested campground has 91 campsites. Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the area’s outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and canoeing. The campground is open from May until November, and reservations can be made online up to four months in advance. 

Normandy Farms Campground: For a well-equipped campground that offers tons of amenities, the Normandy Farms Campground is a great option. Located about 30 miles southwest of Boston, this luxury camping resort is nestled in the woods and is open from April until November. 

Day 6: New York Escape Camper Vans

On the final day of your New England road trip, you’ll load up your camper van one last time and head from Beantown to the Big Apple. The drive from Boston to the New York Escape Camper Vans location is approximately 219 miles and takes about 3 hours and 59 minutes. 

Why Rent a Camper Van for a New York to Acadia National Park Road Trip?

Renting a camper van from Escape Camper Vans offers several advantages compared to a traditional RV. From the convenience to the added mobility, here are a few reasons a camper van is the ultimate New England road trip vehicle: 

Compact and Convenient: You’ll be spending a lot of time behind the wheel driving from New York to Acadia National Park, so you’ll want to be as comfortable as possible. With our camper vans, you’ll have enough room to drive and camp comfortably without being overwhelmed by the size of the vehicle. 

More Mobile: Not only will a camper van provide you with the freedom to get off the beaten path and explore places RVs can’t, but it’ll also allow you to navigate the winding roads and mountain passes in Acadia with more ease. Since our vehicles are easier to maneuver than traditional RVs, they’re more user-friendly. 

No Hookups Required: Many of the campgrounds between New York and Acadia National Park do not provide electric or sewer hookups, which limits where RVs can stay. However, Escape’s camper vans are self-contained and do not require electricity or sewer hookups like RVs, so you can camp more freely in campgrounds and dispersed camping areas.

Adventure-Ready: Escape Camper Vans’ vehicles are thoughtfully designed for adventure seekers and equipped with all the essentials. With optional add-ons readily available, you’ll have everything you need to embark on an epic trip with our New York to Acadia National Park itinerary. 

Reserve with Escape Camper Vans for Your New England Road Trip

Now that you’ve read about all the incredible sights and destinations our New York to Acadia National Park itinerary offers, it’s time to see for yourself! Pick up your camper van from the New York Escape Camper Vans hub to start the most amazing road trip of your life. What are you waiting for?

Book My Acadia National Park Road Trip!

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