For those of us that live with Acadia National Park in our backyard, or within an hour or two, know that it is a treasure.  Sure there are some issues with it being so popular, such as the reservation system and locals still and will always object to having to pay to enter.

But, it seems everyone is a critic, and services such as Yelp allow everyone to weigh in, even though their expectations may be totally unreasonable. Check out some of these actual YELP reviews.

And thanks to Tony Palumbo the moderator of the I Love Bar Harbor Maine Facebook Page for the inspiration for this story and photos.

Photo Tony Palumbo
Photo Tony Palumbo
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From Yulia G in August of 2021 who gave Acadia National Park a 1 star. She's definitely not a fan of the reservation system

Cadillac Mountain ticket reservation is a joke. We came across the country for this and when selecting tickets for the date we needed, website made us register first. It doesn't say that anywhere ahead of time. Usually you choose your tickets and then can register at checkout. By the time that was done, all the tickets were sold out. So one bucket list item we came here for we are not able to do.

From Denver Becca who in June of 2014 awarded Acadia National Park a 1-star. She said that the forest in Acadia National Park was unhealthy, so unhealthy that the only wildlife she saw in 3 days were 3 squirrels.

Baxter State Park is far, far better than Acadia National Park.
Hammonasset State Park in CT is far, far better than Acadia National Park.

If you are giving Acadia 5 stars, you are not going to the right places. There are better places in Maine for nature and wildlife.   There are better coastal parks on the East Coast.

The root problem with Acadia is a very unhealthy forest and actual NPS services.

1.  The forest is so overgrown that I actually wish that people would bring in wood, with all the associated pests, from other areas.  I know National Parks cannot manage their forests for forest health but it actually detracts from recreation in this case.

2. In Acadia, forest health is so poor that there is almost no wildlife.  In three days of being there, I saw three ground squirrels.  That's what you see in a city park, not in a healthy forest.

3.  There is no ranger station at the campgrounds. If I'm living at your park and paying considerably more than a day passer, why don't you deepen my appreciation for your natural resource?   It's fine if you want to have additional ranger stations, but each campground should be staffed with a ranger.

4.  The campgrounds don't really offer anything.  They aren't developed for views.  They don't include information about local species in the bathrooms or around the grounds.  They aren't even particularly well arranged.  When I talk to locals, they tell me that people in the know don't camp in the park.  In my experience, the exact opposite is true for most other National Parks.

5.  Driving the loop is nuts.  Trying to actually access trails and other resources from the loop is silly.  If you miss your turn, you have to go all the way around again or at least to the nearest two way road.  It's one thing if part of your park is a one way loop, but when the majority is?  It's time to reconsider.

Positives:
1.  I hiked Beech Mtn and the trail was actually not too crowded.  It was also shady on a hot afternoon.  The view from the fire tower is nice enough; I'm not sure why everyone is so blown away by the views.  Perhaps looking out from 14ers onto miles of other mountain peaks skews my opinion?

2.  Cadillac Mountain is a unique opportunity.

Insider tip, if you go to the top of the mountain (where technically you see the first sunrise), instead of the east side of the parking lot, you will get to enjoy the sunrise more or less alone.

Cadillac Mountain is actually a fascinating example of how people don't understand geometry + a chance to watch America's first sunrise.

3.  Sand Beach...is a beach.  It had nice waves but watch out for the quick sand.

Going to Maine?  Go to Baxter.  Apparently, if you really want to go and you are camping, skip the National Park campgrounds and camp at Mount Desert Campground.

Photo Tony Palumbo
Photo Tony Palumbo
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John C must want valet parking. Check out his 2-star review from September 2021. John I'm giving you a 2-star review because you can't spell Atlantic!

No on this national park. Parking your car is a serious problem. If you do find a place to stop, expect to board a human train walking to your destination. There are several other places on the coast of Maine if you want to explore the outdoors and enjoy seeing the Atlatic crashing up against rocks.

L.W in October 2020 gave the Park just 2 stars! He bemoaned the lack of cell service.

Beware- the Acadia NP you are expecting has changed. You will need advance reservations to drive to Cadillac Mtn. You will need advanced reservations to access the eastern portion of Park Loop Road. Your car will not be allowed. Even if you try to pull a "Karen". We did not secure these reservations despite many tries online. It's hard because the cell phone and data service on MDI is often unavailable, so your plans will be thwarted. Prepare to circle like hungry sharks for limited parking at Jordan Pond. The rangers are unforgiving and are enforcing all these rules. This is on a weekday in October. If you can be super flexible and go to the SW side of MDI you will have a much more pleasant visit. If you can visit in the middle of the night, you will have a much more pleasant trip. Maybe you'll spot and owl? Whoo knows?

Dan B, a tourist complained about the number of tourists in giving Acadia National Park 2 stars on July 5, 2019

Overall, a massive disappointment.

Scenery: 5/5

Staff: 5/5

Experience 0/5:

This place is worse than Disneyland. Maybe I made the mistake of coming on a holiday weekend, but this place is crowded to the point of ridiculousness (see my various traffic jam photos). They let in so many people, it's become a massive sh*t show. Doing the loop you find yourself bumper to bumper for large sections at a time. Every point of interest can't be accessed because parking lots are completely full and there's nowhere to leave your car (did see numerous cars parked in no parking areas or just made a makeshift spot).  The backdrop is gorgeous, but experience is seriously sullied by the hordes of tourists they cram into this place. Per a previous review, much better places around Maine. I couldn't wait to get out of this hellhole.

Photo Tony Palumbo
Photo Tony Palumbo
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John C was no fan of the "Thundering blowhole" in November of 2020

This was likely the most underwhelming of the 5 national parks we have visited in the past 2 months. There were areas which required advanced reservations to get in although they could be obtained as late as a day in advance. The trails were wooded and there was a basic botanical garden which did not require a reservation to visit. After we finally got into the attractions which included something like the Thundering blowhole and the sandy beach, we were truly disappointed. The Thundering blow hole only appears when there is a huge surge in the waves and the Sandy Beach stretches no further than a quarter mile. If you want to hike a trail and can get free access, you may give this park a try. Otherwise save your money for a bowl of lobster stew or lobster roll.

25 Stops Between Bangor and Bar Harbor

Between Bangor and Bar Harbor, there are plenty of spots to find a bite to eat, trails to hike, places to shop, and things to do. Here are ways to take in the touristy and not-so-touristy spots on Route 1A.