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Acadia Escapes: Top Campsites for Tent & RV Enthusiasts

Whispering pines, ocean breezes, and a night sky that winks with stars—Acadia's best campgrounds await. Unzip adventure at these tent and RV havens where the wilds whisper your name.

Tobi Miles
June 23, 2022

In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson designated the area we now know as Acadia National Park as the first national monument East of the Mississippi River. Several name changes occurred in the next few years.

Acadia National Park sits in Maine, southwest of Var Harbor, and is a non-contiguous park. Acadia National Park encompasses 49,075 acres of pristine Atlantic coast habitats. The park is spread across a wide area.

Most of Mount Desert Island, part of Isle de Haut, the tip of Schoodic Peninsula and about 16 smaller islands lay within the boundaries of the park. A visit to Acadia National Park brings you close to the natural habitats that once covered the entire Atlantic coast of the Northeastern United States.

The tallest peak on the Atlantic coast is in the park boundaries as are the rocky headlands of the Atlantic coastline. Acadia National Park is a popular destination and offers visitors a diversity of opportunities.

Camping At Acadia National Park

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Anyone who has spent time in Acadia National Park will tell you it is a magical place. You can experience deep valleys and granite domes carved by glaciers to the rugged coastline.

Don’t expect to get the full Acadia National Park experience with a short-term one-day visit. Do a little pre-planning so you can spend several days in the park

Camping in Acadia National Park is a little different than most of the other national parks in the system. You should be aware of these differences before you start your trip to this unique biodiverse habitat.

Acadia National Park offers five different camping experiences for you to enjoy. Reservations are required. There is no same-day availability for camping in the park.

The camping in Acadia National Park is seasonal. Opening dates for each campground vary. You can begin making reservations 60 days prior to the opening date for each campground.

The easiest way to make your reservations is to click here to use the National Park online reservation system.

The Four Acadia National Park Campgrounds

The actual boundaries of Acadia National Park are non-contiguous. Each area of the park has some camping available. Five developed campsites offer a variety of amenities and opportunities to experience Acadia National Park from a different viewpoint. Make your reservations early to enjoy this diverse and awe-inspiring part of America.

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Acadia National Park

Blackwoods Campground

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This improved campground is on the East side of Mount Desert Island. Access to the campground is approximately five miles from Bar Harbor on Route 3.

Blackwoods campground is a beautiful place to stay for a multi-day visit to Acadia National Park. Its central location near most of the major park attractions makes it a convenient stop for visitors.

Blackwoods Campground offers camping opportunities for any style of camping. There are several different camping areas within this campground that accommodate anything from primitive tent camping to RVs and travel trailers.

Features and Facilities

Blackwoods Campground offers a variety of amenities for your comfort and convenience. However, there are some things to consider when you make your reservations at Blackwoods Campground in Acadia National Park.

  • There is no cell phone or internet service available at Blackwoods campground.
  • The campground is served by a volunteer camp host and is visited regularly by National Park Service staff.
  • There is no visitors center or camp store.
  • Potable water is available during camping season.
  • An RV dump station can be found in the campground.
  • Flush toilets are open during the operating season but there are no showers or laundry facilities.

There is no walkup availability for campsites in the Blackwoods Campground. You must make reservations before your visit to Acadia National Park.

To check the availability of camping at Blackwoods Campground click here for the National Park Reservation System.

Camping in the Campground

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The Blackwoods Campground has two paved loops that offer a variety of camping adventures. Loop A and B offer both tent and RV campsites with some restrictions.

There are a total of 281 campsites in Blackwoods campground. None of the campsites have electricity or other hookups.

If you plan on bringing your RV or travel trailer to the park, it must be less than thirty-five feet in length. The park staff strictly enforces this limitation. There may be overhead or side-to-side obstructions that can affect larger RVs and trailers trying to access some of the campsites.

Generators are allowed on Loop A campsites between 8 AM and 10 AM and again between 4 PM and 7 PM. No generators can be used in any campsite on Loop B. There are restrooms with flush toilets but no shower facilities in this campground.

Things to See and Do

Blackwoods Campground puts you in the middle of the action in Acadia National Park. This is the most centrally located campground and connects to the other areas easily by car.

Attractions such as Jordan Pond, Cadillac Mountain, and the many hiking and nature trails of the park are close at hand.

If driving is not your thing, you can catch the Island Explorer Shuttle and ride to the most popular destinates around Mount Desert Island. The shuttle makes regular stops at the campground for your convenience.

You can make Blackwoods Campground the launching point for exciting activities such as hiking, bicycling, swimming, and exploring the tidepools along the Atlantic Coastline.

Bring your kayak or canoe for some of the best paddling to be found. You can drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain to enjoy the magnificent views or some of the best night sky stargazing in the country.

Related Read: Best Time To Visit Maine

What You Don’t Want to Miss

Among the activities and opportunities at Acadia National Park are some attractions that you must put on your plan. No trip to the park would be complete unless you take the time to enjoy these unique opportunities.

Acadia National Park includes some of the most historic places on the East Coast of the US. A visit to the Carriage Road brings you to an era of elegance and opulence.

John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his family gifted forty-five miles of carriage roads to the area remain one of the premier historic sites in the park. Click here to learn more about this historic gift.

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Take a tour of the three historic lighthouses that reside within Acadia National Park. You can visit Baker Island Light Station, Bass Harbor Head Light Station, and Bear Island Light Station to get an understanding of how important these navigation aids were during their operating times.

Set aside an afternoon to spend at Jordan Pond. This pristine lake offers astounding views of the mountains. A large lawn is a perfect place for a picnic.

You can also wander into Jordan Pond House where the only restaurant in Acadia National Park can be found. No reservations are required.

Seawall Campground

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Moving to the West side of Mount Desert Island, you can access Seawall Campground. Seawall Campground is a more secluded location that keeps you near the center of the action in Arcadia National Park.

You can access this campground from Southwest Harbor via Maine Route 120A Seawall Campground puts you within a 10-minute walk to the ocean through the wooded areas that nestle the campsites.

Camping at Seawall Campground is seasonal usually opening about May 25 and closing around October 9. You can tent camp or bring your RV for a relaxing stay near the Atlantic Ocean beach.

Features and Facilities

Seawall Campground features improved campsites and access. During the open season, a small park office is in the campground and park staff are onsite during business hours. Don’t expect to use your cell phone or access the internet while you are on the island.

You will find a diverse collection of campsites for your stay. Seawall Campground has everything from a primitive walk-in campsites to group tent sites. Your RV or travel trailer is welcome. Potable water and a dump station are available in the camping area.

Many of the campsites have fire rings but no firewood is available on site. You may not pick up wood in the park to use for campfires. The National Park Service also requests that you not bring firewood from further away than 50 miles to prevent bringing tree diseases and insects onto the island.

Camping in the Campgrounds

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There is a multitude of camping options when visiting Seawall Campground. The campground has five paved loops that are easily accessible.

The A-Loop is a mixed tent and RV area. B-Loop is primarily a tent campground. The loop road is very windy with tight turns and low overhead clearance which can be a problem for RVs and travel trailers.

Visiting C-Loop with your RV or travel trailer is easier and offers many options for RVs and travel trailers. You should still be wary of low-hanging branches if your RV or travel trailer is tall.

D-Loop takes you to the parking area for the walk-in/hike-in cap sites. G-Loop is the location of the group campsites.

The only RV area that allows the use of generators is the C-Loop campsites. Generator use is restricted to 8 AM to 10 AM and from 4 PM to 7 PM. Generator use is not allowed in any of the other campground loops in Seawall Campground.

Seawall Campground requires pre-registration for campsites. Visit the National Park Service reservation system at this link.

Things to See and Do

Seawall Campground keeps you near the center of all activities and attractions in Arcadia National Park. You are only minutes away from the ocean and many trailheads that wind through the pristine forests start at the campground.

Along with visiting all the attractions in Arcadia National Park, you must plan time to spend on the beach exploring the tide pools for life. These tidepools are havens for many creatures and are a fascinating way to spend an afternoon with your family.

Many people have discovered the fun and adventure of geocaching or earthcaching. Using a GPS, you can spend hours searching for treasures and caches left by previous visitors. For more information about geocaching, click this link.

What You Don’t Want to Miss

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Spend an afternoon driving the Park Loop Road. The Park Loop Road winds through Arcadia National Park for 27 miles and takes you to areas such as Deur de Monts, Sand Beach, Otter Point, Jordan Pond, and Cadillac Mountain. If you prefer not to drive so you can enjoy the scenery, take the Island Explorer Shuttle bus.

If history is your forte’, take a trip and tour to the Historic Carroll Homestead. You can visit an example of the homes built by the early European settlers on Mount Desert Island.

During the summer season, a variety of events, presentations, and hands-on opportunities await visitors at the farm. For more information about activities and events visit the farm calendar by clicking here.

If saltwater bathing doesn’t appeal to you. Visit Echol Lake Beach for a refreshing freshwater swim. The swimming beach is on the west side of Mount Desert Island on the southern end of Echo Lake.

Be prepared though, the water temperature in the summer averages a chilly 64 to 73 degrees during the summer months.

Schoodic Woods Campground

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The Schoodic Peninsula area of Arcadia National Forest offers a completely different environment and ecology from what is found on Mount Desert Island.

These differences often appeal to park visitors who return for a more relaxed and private camping experience. Located just three miles from Winter Harbor, the campground is the only one on the mainland part of the park.

Like all the campgrounds in Acadia National Park, there are certain restrictions on some camping activities in the park campground.

However, the Schoodic Woods campground can be a mecca for tent campers and RV campers. This is the newest campground in the park and the facilities are wonderful.

Related Read: 20 Cabin & Treehouse Rentals in Maine

Features and Facilities

As the newest campground in Acadia National Park, the facilities here offer a much wider diversity of services. The campground has two paved loops that serve a variety of group campsites, tent campsites and walk-in sites.

A-Loop hosts a mixture of tent and RV sites. RVs in this portion of the campground are limited to 25 feet in length.

RVs and travel trailers up to 60 feet long can be accommodated in some of the spaces. B-Loop is designed specifically for RV use and can accommodate the largest RVs and travel trailers.

All campsites in Schoodic Campground have 20-amp electrical service. Some feature a 50-amp service with water hookups.

There are no sewer hookups at the campsites, but a dump station can be found at the campground. There are flush toilets in the campground, but no shower facilities.

Camping in the Campground

Credit: National Park Service

Camping in Schoodic Campground is seasonal. Typically, the campground opens on May 25th and remains open through October 9. These dates may vary depending on weather and seasonal changes.

Fire rings and picnic tables are provided at the improved campsites in the campground. If you choose to use one of the many walk-in campsites, you may not have any open fire at your campsite. This includes the use of charcoal for cooking or heating. Petroleum-fueled camp stoves are acceptable in the walk-in areas.

The use of generators is not allowed in Schoodic Campgrounds. The popularity of this campground makes reservations a requirement. There are no walk-up campsites available. Make your reservations for your Schoodic Campground adventure by clicking here.

Things to See and Do

A stay at Schoodic Campground on the Schoodic Peninsula portion of Acadia National Park offers some interesting and unique possibilities. You can bike or hike the many trails through the woods to enjoy the scenery and geology of the park.

A visit to the coastline along the Atlantic seaboard reveals pounding surf. Hiking through the woods can lead to you some of the most extraordinary cliffs and rock outcroppings to explore.

The Atlantic Coastline that surrounds this park offers some of the best wildlife and bird viewing in the Northeastern US.

For a real treat, schedule your visit at the proper time of year and pick wild blueberries for an unexpected treat. Don’t bring your blueberry rake. Rakes are forbidden but visitors are encouraged to pick and eat as many blueberries as they can hold.

What You Don’t Want to Miss

The tide pools on the Schoodic Peninsular are not to be missed. Often the coastline of the Schoodic Peninsula is dominated by cliffs and rocky shorelines. In places, the cliffs give way to tidepools that offer a fascinating glimpse into the life that exists in these transitional areas between water and land.

Credit: Steph Uhde / Flickr

Take advantage of the 7.5 miles of trails on the Schoodic Peninsula in the park. Some of the hikes are easy and short. The Buck Cove Mountain Trail is the longest at over three miles and will take you to the Schoodic Head summit. The views from the peak are well worth the effort to get to the top.

For something different, buy a ticker in Bar Harbor or Winter Harbor and ride the Schoodic Ferry. The trip across the bay is always enjoyable and the dolphins may even join in the fun as they accompany the ferry.

Related Read: 20 Romantic Getaways in Maine

Duck Harbor Campground

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If you want to visit Duck Harbor Campground, plan on leaving your car or RV behind for a few days. Duck Harbor Campground is on the Isle au Haut and requires a ride on the ferry from the mainland.

The ferry will land you at the park where you can begin your adventure. The Isle Au Haut portion of Acadia National Park is primarily undeveloped and unimproved.

However, overnight access to the camping sites on the island is strictly controlled to keep the impact on the island’s habitats and ecology as minimal as possible.

Features and Facilities

Don’t expect to find an improved campground when you visit Duck Harbor Campground. The facilities consist of lean-to shelters and a fire ring.

The main reason for visiting Duck Harbor Campground is the unspoiled nature of this part of the Acadia National Park. There are a few amenities provided during the summer season, but primitive camping is the name of the game.

Since cars cannot make the trip to Isle Au Haut, there are no roads or parking lots. The only way to get around is on foot. You will find plenty of opportunities to hike and explore this wilderness.

Be prepared to bring everything you need for your stay as there are no camp stores, offices, or improved facilities on the island.

A small village near the Isle au Haut Town Landing offers a small general store, seasonal gift shop, a food shack, and a post office. The villagers are friendly, and this traditional island community harkens back to another era

Camping In the Campground

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Suck Harbor Campground is the smallest campground in Acadia National Park. There are five campsites with lean-to shelters, fire rings, and picnic tables.

Reservations are required. Camping is limited to six persons per campsite and is strictly enforced.

Camping is limited to three nights/ four days. You may only access the campsites once per year. There is a composting toilet near the campsites and a handpump water station.

No pets are allowed on the island. Camping is only allowed in one of the five designated campsites. No backcountry camping is allowed.

The small size of this campground requires reservations made well in advance of your visit. To reserve a campsite at Duck Harbor Campground, click this link to the National Park Service Reservation System.

Things to See and Do

The main attraction at Duck Harbor Campground is the solitude and peace. The limited number of campsites and restricted use of the area ensure a quiet and relaxing stay on the island.

Isle au Haut is not a mecca for tourism or sightseeing. However, for a true wilderness experience, Duck Harbor Campground can’t be beaten.

One activity that is encouraged at Duck Harbor Campground is paddling. Bring or rent a canoe or kayak and explore the coastline and the many inlets and small protected anchorages of the island. In season, fishing can be excellent and wildlife viewing often happens unexpectedly.

Miles of trails crisscross the island. Set out on the Median Ridge trail and then take the Duck Harbor Trail to visit Long Pond.

Be prepared for a quick change in the weather. Seasonal rainstorms can happen quickly and leave you drenched and cold.

What You Don’t Want to Miss

The trip alone to the island is one of the highlights of a visit to Duck Harbor Campground. This body of water has been a source of food for generations.

The clear chilly water of the Atlantic is home to innumerable species of fish and mammals. Watch closely for dolphins playing in the wake of the ferry as your cross.

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Be sure to visit the Isle Au Haut Lighthouse. The light station was built in 1907 to assist boats to safely navigate around Robinson Point. Unfortunately, the structures are not currently open to the public unless a special event is scheduled.

The lighthouse and the rest of the station are undergoing a renovation project. You can still visit the area and the impressive wooden catwalk to the lighthouse.

A visit to the small village of Town Landing is a terrific way to spend an afternoon. You can visit the general store for provisions or get a snack or lunch at one of the local food providers. If you want a memento of your visit, The Shore Gift Shop is the place to go.

The Northeastern Atlantic Coast Experience

Acadia National Park offers a bit of everything that the Northeastern Atlantic coast of the United States has to offer. The camping at Acadia National Park is some of the best of any national park.

Be advised that this park is extremely popular. Don’t try to chance to get a campsite without a reservation. Plan your trip early.

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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