7 Hidden Small Towns Near Acadia National Park


  • Acadia National Park is Maine's crown jewel, surrounded by hidden small towns like Blue Hill and Trenton that offer a quiet escape.

  • Ellsworth offers historic charm and plenty of activities, while Southwest Harbor offers tasteful delights and breathtaking water views.

  • A gateway to Acadia, Bar Harbor offers off-the-beaten-path attractions and a charming atmosphere perfect for all types of travelers.


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Maine's rugged coastline, rich maritime history and untamed natural beauty, including the granite and spruce islands of Acadia National Park, are a beacon of natural splendor. Known as “Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast,” Acadia is indeed Maine's crown jewel and one of the most popular national parks in the United States, attracting millions of visitors each year.

The grandiosity of Acadia only means one thing: the surrounding cities are also great – full of natural charms for a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis' streets. Travelers looking to explore Acadia National Park will be impressed by these hidden gems near the park.

Plus, since they're located in Maine, known for its rugged Atlantic coastline, the atmosphere is full of fishing village vibes, lobster shacks, famous lighthouses, pristine beaches, historic cottages and all things Maine!

Indeed, Maine boasts world-class destinations, many of which are worth visiting near Acadia and get all the attention. However, the famous places in Maine near Acadia National Park include many unique places in the form of underrated, lesser-known towns. Here are some of the hidden small towns near Acadia National Park that you can visit and settle in.

Acadia National Park has entrance fees ranging from $20.00 to $35.00. In terms of temperature, summer is the best time to visit the park, but be prepared for the crowds as it will be a busy season. The distance from each city to Acadia is also approximate and depends on traffic conditions.


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7 Blue Hill

Distance from Acadia: 29.6 miles (43-minute drive)

One of Maine's small and underrated towns, Blue Hill is a coastal paradise near Acadia National Park and the drive to the park only takes about 40 minutes. Overlooking the beautiful Blue Hill Bay (hence the name), this hidden gem has a thriving art scene with amazing masterpieces by artists and artisans that can be viewed in the city's art galleries.

For travelers visiting Acadia between May and October, Blue Hill offers a lively farmers market with live music and a wide selection of fresh produce, as well as arts and crafts, homemade items and more.

Enjoy Blue Hill, where forests are ideal for communing with nature and the peninsula offers great opportunities for water play. Blue Hill is also one of the best tourist cities in the USA to visit in the off-season.

Population: 2,792

Best time to travel: October to April (when the crowds have died down)

6 Ellsworth

Distance from Acadia: 15.4 miles (25-minute drive)

Ellsworth is one of the most beautiful towns in Maine worth visiting. It exudes small-town charm with historic buildings and an idyllic coastline in the heart of Downeast Maine. Named after former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth, one of the founding fathers of the United States, this picturesque town on the way to Acadia National Park is rich in history and cultural heritage.

Downtown's High Street is dotted with shops, galleries and restaurants, making it the largest shopping district in Hancock County. As a thriving city in eastern Maine, travelers here have a wide variety of things to do. whatever they like. Whether wildlife watching, hiking, fishing or kayaking, Ellsworth is a paradise for travelers passing through Acadia, just 15 miles away.

Population: 8,399

Best time to travel: June to September (in warm weather)

5 Trenton

Distance from Acadia: 7.2 miles (12-minute drive)

Trenton is a beautiful starting point for many scenic Maine road trips that offer breathtaking views, with all the magnificent views of the Cadillac Mountains in Acadia and the rugged beauty of the coast. Trenton, one of the many hidden small towns near Acadia National Park, makes it easier for travelers visiting the city and those on their way to the park, which is only about a 12-minute drive away.

It is the gateway to Mount Desert Island and Acadia with a thriving agriculture, lumber processing and lobster industry. Those who stop by before heading to Acadia can enjoy Downeast Maine's best lobster bisque and other New England seafood dishes at one of the town's quaint restaurants, like Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound.

Population: 1,584

Best time to travel: December to January (when hotel prices are cheaper)

4 Tremont

Distance from Acadia: 4.3 miles (9-minute drive)

Tremont is bordered by the towns of Southwest Harbor to the east and Mount Desert to the north and is part of Mount Desert Island “quiet side” because of its more secluded location on the western side of the island. Part of Acadia National Park is located in Tremont, making it the park's porch.

Travelers looking to explore more of the park's untamed beauty without large crowds can head to Tremont, just a nine-minute drive from Acadia. On this side of the island, visitors can enjoy wildlife, magnificent mountain vistas, beautiful lakes and ponds, and well-maintained nature trails.

Population: 1,544

Best time to travel: July to September (when temperatures are mild)


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3 Southwest Harbor

Distance from Acadia: 1.6 miles (3 minute drive)

Tucked away on Mount Desert Island, Southwest Harbor is one of the charming hidden gem towns near Acadia National Park, peppered with quaint restaurants, shops and galleries for travelers to explore and discover.

For a tasteful visit, travelers may want to treat their taste buds to Beal's Lobster Pier's signature lobster rolls, bike around or take leisurely strolls along Southwest Harbor's scenic Main Street, or take a lobster cruise aboard an old wooden lobster boat.

From the gorgeous water views to the laid-back vibe that Southwest Harbor exudes, travelers will be awestruck by the unparalleled beauty of the town, just a stone's throw from the attractions at Acadia National Park.

Population: 1,756

Best time to travel: June to August (in warm weather)

2 Bar Harbor

Distance from Acadia: 1.3 miles (4 minute drive)

Located on Frenchman Bay on Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor offers unforgettable sights and stops with lots of fun activities. One of the hidden small towns just outside Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor is only about a mile from the park, making it a gateway to Acadia's towering mountains and rugged cliffs.

With just 5,000 residents, Bar Harbor's scenic location and off-the-beaten-path attractions are remarkable. It is the largest city on the island, with most attractions within walking distance. From cozy B&Bs to forest campgrounds, mom-and-pop restaurants, waterfront pubs, and charming locally owned shops, Bar Harbor is undoubtedly a beautiful spot for all types of travelers en route to Acadia National Park.

Population: 5,089

Best time to travel: June to August (in warm weather)


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1 Mount desert

Distance from Acadia: 1.1 miles (2 minute drive)

Mount Desert, a charming town located directly on Mount Desert Island, New England's largest island, is a beautiful mix of spectacular mountains and rugged coastlines. This side of the island is one of the most scenic and a place that should be on your bucket list, with beautiful views of the mountains, forests, meadows and the historic Park Loop Road.

Whether you want to spot wildlife, hike the manicured trails, stargaze at Cadillac Mountain, or explore historical and cultural areas, the town of Mount Desert offers travelers the best that Acadia National Park has to offer.

Population: 2,146

Best time to travel: July and August (if the weather is pleasant)

Anna Harden

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