Bar Harbor shore front in Maine
Stuart Monk/

The Ultimate Road Trip From Boston to Acadia National Park And Bar Harbor

Updated by Sasha Yanshin on March 26 2024

Discover Bar Harbor and the adjacent Acadia National Park, where rugged mountains meet the ocean with some of the best scenery Maine has to offer.

The best road trip from Boston to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor will be a drive via Portsmouth, York, Ogunquit, Portland, Yarmouth, Bath, Augusta, Rockland, Rockport, Camden and Belfast. This 320-mile journey will take 6 hours 30 minutes.

Below, you will find all the details you need, including a map of the route, a step-by-step itinerary, our favorite places to stay on the coast in Maine and where you can visit.

Below you can find a summary and highlights of this road trip route.

Summary of the road trip route from Boston to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor
What to expect on this road trip

320 miles

Driving Time

6 hours 30 minutes

We suggest taking

4 days


Coastal, Foodie, Historic


⛵ Coastal views

🌇 Portland

🌳 State Parks

🦞 Seafood

Best time for this drive

Best for stunning foliage viewing at Acadia National Park

Itinerary of the road trip route

How far is Boston from Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor and how long will the road trip take?

The road trip from Boston to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor takes 6 hours and 30 minutes to drive and covers 320 miles. While this means you can make the drive in an afternoon, you should take things slow and do some exploring along the way.

Whether you're flying into Boston or you simply don't have your own transport in the city, renting a car for your road trip is something you'll want to take care of ASAP.

For an easy-to-compare view of rental options for your road trip from Boston to Acadia National Park, take a look at our partner site,

View of Acadia National Park during fall foliage season
With such stunning scenery, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Acadia National Park is one of the most-visited in the entire country.
Eric Urquhart/

Best road trip route from Boston to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor

The best road trip route from Boston to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor is the most straightforward one—despite the drive being so short, it's packed with countless things to see.

Featuring some of the loveliest attractions in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, this drive offers an ideal mix of urban and natural attractions you won't want to miss out on.

The first half of the drive will have you hugging the Atlantic Coast, giving you some beautiful scenery to look at as you make your way North. Much of the trip takes place on major interstates, so you can expect the drive to be rather smooth no matter the season.

One thing to be wary of is the traffic leading out of Boston - with such a busy city, you can expect massive congestion during the weekends and holiday seasons, so time your stops accordingly to avoid staring at tail lights.

If you are visiting Acadia National Park and plan to drive on Cadillac Summit Road, vehicle reservations might be required. Please check the national park's website to avoid any disappointment.

Itinerary: Road trip from Boston to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor

Itinerary for a road trip from Boston to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor , stopping in Portsmouth, Portland, Augusta, Camden, Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park
Your Boston to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor.
© LazyTrips

1. Drive from Boston to Portsmouth

60 miles (1 hour)

This road trip from Boston to Acadia National Park has many possibilities. By making detours, you can make it as short or as long as you want. We will describe the route with a few possible detours but encourage you to add more if you have more time!

Wave Boston goodbye and start your journey on I-93. You will soon switch to I-95 as you travel northeast. Make a stop at the Lynn Woods Reservation. Afterwards, you will have the option to detour to Salem, famous for its ghastly witch trials and visit the Salem Witch Museum to learn more.

From here, get back on the interstate and just before reaching Portsmouth, you will have the opportunity to detour to Hampton Beach State Park, which is particularly lovely in summer.

Once you arrive in Portsmouth, you will probably want to grab a meal first at the Portsmouth Market Square. Boston might be a great place to have seafood, but you are approaching Maine territory now! You will also find other options here if seafood's not your thing.

Once you have fueled up, pay a visit to Strawberry Banke Museum before you set off on the next leg of your trip.

2. Drive from Portsmouth to Portland

50 miles (50 minutes)

From Portsmouth, you will keep following the same interstate and cross into Maine to visit York. Make a short detour to see the scenic Nubble Lighthouse and snap a photo for your next phone screensaver, and continue on to Ogunquit Beach.

Funtown Splashtown USA is a great place to take a break before Portland, especially if you are traveling with family.

Once you arrive in Portland, we don't blame you if you want to head to one of its beautiful beaches before anything else! While exploring the coastline, you can also head to the Portland Head Light to snap a photo of the beautiful Atlantic Ocean stretching to the horizon.

The lighthouse is a bit of a drive away, but the views will be worth it! Another place to visit is the Portland Museum of Art, if you have some more time to spend in Portland before setting off on the next leg of your drive from Boston to Acadia National Park.

Portland Arts District Hay Building, Maine, USA
Don't forget to take a photo of the H. H. Hay "flat iron" building when you visit the Portland Arts District.
Wangkun Jia/

3. Drive from Portland to Augusta

80 miles (1 hour 50 minutes)

Follow I-295 out of Portland and follow it northeast. You will soon be able to take a short detour to visit Broad Cove Reserve, which is especially stunning at sunset. Driving on the interstate towards Brunswick, you will switch to US-1.

As you drive through Bath, you can take a break to grab a bite and visit the Maine Maritime Museum. Once you reach Damariscotta, you will dip inland for a short while on ME-194. Make sure to check out the Downtown Shopping District in Gardiner before reaching Augusta, driving north.

Once you arrive in Augusta, take a break from driving. After all, this is one of the longest legs of your itinerary from Boston to Acadia National Park and Bar Habor. one of the best places for a breather from the tarmac is the beautiful Viles Arboretum.

If you are keen to stretch your legs, you will enjoy some time by the riverside on the Kennebec River Rail Trail, which is an easy-paced, accessible trail by the Kennebec River.

4. Drive from Augusta to Camden

50 miles (1 hour 10 minutes)

After your short inland break, you will head back to the shoreline. After all, Maine is famous for its stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, and it wouldn't be the best road trip without giving you the opportunity to stop and explore its beaches.

Before you do, though, stop by the Sweetgrass Farm Winery and Distillery, just off ME-17. You won't be able to sample the local products here unless you are stopping, but you can always buy a bottle of wine to try later on when you stop for the evening.

You will meet the ocean in Rockland and then head to Rockport on US-1, where you can view the adorable Andre The Seal Statue before you reach Camden.

Once you arrive in Camden, we highly recommend visiting Camden Hills State Park as the first thing. The scenic views on top of Mt Battie over West Penobscot Bay and the surrounding islands will take your breath away. Another great place to visit is the Camden Harbor Park and Amphitheatre.

Ready to call it a day? Camden Maine Stay Inn is possibly the most charmingly homely place you can pick in Camden. This beautiful boutique bed and breakfast was built in 1802.

You will enjoy a delicious breakfast in the historic dining room or on the porch overlooking the garden each morning during your stay.

Beautiful New England autumn foliage, view of Camden harbor
You will fall in love with how beautiful the charming oceanside town of Camden is, especially if you travel during the fall!
Leena Robinson/

5. Drive from Camden to Bar Harbor

80 miles (1 hour 50 minutes)

Continue your drive on US-1 heading north, and you will soon reach Belfast. From here, follow the shore to take a break at the beautiful Moose Point State Park for stunning views of the Belfast Bay to your right.

Then, continue north, and you will soon reach Fort Knox and Penobscot Narrows Observatory. Keep in mind that these attractions are seasonal as quite a few places are in Maine, and check before you visit to avoid any disappointment.

The highway will continue east through Verona Island and then back to the mainland here. Past Ellsworth, head south past Treton to reach Mt Desert Island. ME-3 will take you directly into the heart of Bar Harbor.

Once you arrive in Bar Harbor, you might want to check the beautiful Bar Island out. This uninhabited island is actually part of Acadia National Park. You will find lovely pine and birchwood forests here and great walking trails.

A quirky sight across Graft Park is Balance Rock, which is the perfect spot for a sunrise photo op.

For the ultimate morning view of Frenchman Bay, we recommend booking a room at Bar Harbor Inn and Spa. From a luxurious outdoor swimming pool to a fabulous hot tub, the resort has everything you could possibly want from a high-end resort. It also helps that the stunning window views are unlike anything else in Maine!

6. Drive from Bar Harbor to Acadia National Park

1.5 miles (5 minutes)

Acadia National Park is adjacent to Bar Harbor so this won't be much of a drive. You can enter the park following a few roads from Bar Harbor, but if you want to drive the famous Park Loop Road, the easiest way will be to follow Ledgelawn Avenue to Meadow Drive, which will take you into the national park.

Also, don't miss out on the panoramic views from the top of Cadillac Mountain while you are in Acadia National Park!

Sunset in Acadia National Park, Cadillac Mountain
Cadillac Mountain isn't the highest mountain, but it has a beautiful view from all directions.

Best time to go on a road trip from Boston to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor

The road trip from Boston to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor is best enjoyed when the weather is pleasant. However, the park's mountainous terrain can make the temperature rather unpredictable, so check the forecast before taking off.

The good news about a summer visit is that temperatures will often reach a comfortable 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer also means you will find quite a few events to attend on the route. You can enjoy the Bar Harbor Music Festival between June and July.

How about the Maine Highland Games & Scottish Festival in August for an entirely different kind of experience? That said, the combination of good weather and many events means that you can expect flocks of tourists in Maine, especially in Acadia National Park.

Sand Beach Acadia National Park Winter 2021
Acadia National Park has a different kind of rugged scenery in the winter, but keep in mind that the park roads as well as some attractions en route might be closed if you travel during this season.
Scott Canning/

On the other extreme, most of the park's services and amenities are inaccessible in the winter, and the freezing temperatures don't help either. If you really want to see Acadia during the snow season, your best bet for accommodation would have to be Bar Harbor itself.

You will also find (like we did) that most of the attractions tend to close for the winter season, so if you travel during this time, you might not be able to visit where you initially planned to go.

Although spring should be a good time to visit in theory, you'll often find residual snow from the winter. In Acadia National Park, the temperatures in spring vary widely, ranging from the low 30s to the upper 60s Fahrenheit.

Still, if you've been keeping tabs on the weather and you think you're coming up on a warmer spring, you can expect a fairly empty park and low prices. If you visit in spring, you will also be able to enjoy great meals (and great prices!) during Maine Restaurant Week, which takes place across the state.

The best time to visit would have to be fall, though - beautiful sights, declining prices, and a relative lack of tourists make this a great time to go hiking and sightseeing in Acadia. During this season, temperatures can range from 30 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Usually, the fall foliage peaks around mid-October, but this might vary from one year to another. If you are going leaf peeping, keep an eye out for the announcements from the National Park Service.

Be sure to check out Cadillac Mountain for some of the most epic views along the East Coast!

Things to see on road trip from Boston to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor

The road trip from Boston to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor is one of those drives that manage to fit a lot of adventure into a small window of time. Here are some of the places you'll want to watch out for:

Things to see on a road trip from Boston to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor
Things to see on this road trip
  • Lynn Woods Reservation
  • Salem Witch Museum, Massachusetts (detour)
  • Hampton Beach State Park (detour)
  • Strawbery Banke
  • Portsmouth Market Square
  • York, Maine
  • Nubble Lighthouse
  • Ogunquit Beach
  • Funtown Splashtown USA
  • Portland Head Light
  • Portland Museum of Art
  • H. H. Hay Building
  • Broad Cove Reserve
  • Maine Maritime Museum, Bath
  • Downtown Shopping District, Gardiner
  • Viles Arboretum
  • Kennebec River Rail Trail
  • Sweetgrass Farm Winery and Distillery
  • Rockland, Maine
  • Andre The Seal Statue
  • Camden Hills State Park, Maine
  • Camden Harbor Park and Amphitheatre
  • Moose Point State Park
  • Fort Knox and Penobscot Narrows Observatory