View Full Version : kid-friendly bicycling at Acadia National Park

07-07-2015, 04:38 PM
Once again our summer holiday will be two-wheeled and car-free: five days of biking and hiking at Acadia National Park in Maine….thanks (again) to my Swedish brother for his frequent flyer miles. Has anyone bicycled at Acadia? We’ve booked a motel in Bar Harbor. My girls and I would be grateful for your input and suggestions… best places to rent bikes, favorite routes (for biking and hiking), kid-friendly things to do, etc. The girls are 10 and 13 years old. Please reply on this thread or PM me or find me at Friday Coffee Club.
Thanks!! w&w

07-07-2015, 05:27 PM
My wife and I and two friends rented bikes and rode on the carriage roads that run through the park. The roads are gravel, but should be doable with kids, plus cars aren't allowed on them. There is a free bicycle shuttle bus that you can catch in Bar Harbor up to Eagle Lake where you can access the carriage roads.

We rented our bikes from Acadia Bike Rentals. Depending on when you are going, you might want to reserve bikes before you get there.



Rod Smith
07-07-2015, 06:26 PM
Car(riage) free carriage roads! Sounds awesome. Enjoy your tip!

07-07-2015, 06:27 PM
I've biked and run around Acadia. As CaseyKane noted, the carriage trails are great for family biking. Here's a map of the network of trails:


For more challenging road rides, you can do various combinations of the park loop road and route 3, and then climb Cadillac Mountain for a good workout and a nice view.

Jordan Pond is a nice place to visit. I think it's about a four mile hike around the lake. Echo Lake has a small beach and was a good place to spend an afternoon. On one of my trips there, we took a small boat tour from Southwest Harbor to one of the Cranberry Islands (I forget which one), which was neat.

07-07-2015, 07:11 PM
+2 on the carriage roads. Decent views and safe for the kids. It's been long enough that my bike rental experiences are probably obsolete, but for kids I would recommend calling ahead to make sure that they'll have something available. (They will likely stock a lot fewer of those than average-size adult bikes.)

07-08-2015, 08:49 AM
They've all got it already. Carriage roads are perfect for the family. If you're interested though, MDI has amazing road riding even if you just stay on the park loop road. It's one of my favorite places I've ever ridden. I'm going back at the end of August and bringing my road bike. I only wish there was some singletrack...

07-08-2015, 09:25 AM
Yes, we liked riding the carriage roads. We did the loop around Eagle lake and it was great fun. The kids were in a trailer at the time. I would love to go back with the kids on bikes some day soon. Most of the bike shops in Bar Harbor will offer competitive rates for rentals. You will probably need to plan whether you want to ride into the park or drive into the park and ride from there. Some of the really cool spots in the park (Sommes sound, Bass Harbor Light, are not easily reached by bike as the park is kind of disjointed). If you can manage it I would recommend watching the sun rise from the Top of Cadillac Mountain, worth the early morning trek.

09-05-2015, 09:25 AM
Thx for the suggestions on Acadia National Park. We just got back from our car-free five-day holiday. We did some long rides on the carriage roads (open only to bicycle riders, horses, and pedestrians), and also relied on our bikes for daily transportation, though many of the automotive roads were not safe for child-cyclists so we had to exercise caution. The hiking was spectacular...my fearless young acrobats chose the most treacherous climbs on vertical rock walls (Precipice and Jordan Cliff trails), ignoring the height requirements and “danger” signs. For our 30 mile final ride we swapped out the 10-year-old’s rental bicycle for our first-ever experience on a tag-a-long, which forced me to actually SIT on the saddle to avoid fishtailing. Now I understand why many cyclists wear those padded briefs! Riding with the tag-a-long felt tippy at first but there’s a fun sense of teamwork once you master it. My 13-year-old was an ace at transporting the suitcases via bicycle.
Happy to share tips on bike-friendly/family-friendly motels, routes, etc., if anyone’s heading to Acadia.

09-05-2015, 10:29 PM
I had a fun time there last week myself although riding of a different kind :)


Do you happen to drive a white Mazda? I saw one with an Arlington parking sticker on Cadillac Mountain on August 28...

09-05-2015, 11:19 PM
Nope, we stuck to Trek and Specialized vehicles, no Mazda’s. :)
But we did meet a couple Washington, DC bicycle commuters … we told them all about the Forum and encouraged them to join.

09-08-2015, 01:18 PM
It turns out my coworker was there the week after me, so when you would have been there as well. There should really just be a direct flight...