Top 10 things to do in Mount Desert Island, Maine

G and I just got back from a trip to Mount Desert Island, Maine, and it was the best vacation ever. Maine is insanely, breathtakingly gorgeous. We’re already talking about a trip back. I made a non-scientific, incredibly biased list of the best things to see, eat, and do if you ever make it to this beautiful island.


  1. Hike the Precipice Trail.
    IMG_3849This trail, which summits Champlain Mountain in Acadia National Park, is not for the faint of heart or the weak of limb. Parts of the hike are so steep that there are iron ladders and handles in the side of the mountain to make the climb possible.IMG_3886But, like many Hard Things, it was so, so worth the work. Sitting at any summit with Grant is my favorite.


  2. Eat a lobster roll or three.
    P1000196Right after hiking, we jetted for Side Street Cafe in Bar Harbor, where I had the best lobster roll of my life. Lobster rolls are the perfect food, and this one had the perfect amounts of lobster (lots), mayo (only a smidge), and a toasty, buttery (but not TOO buttery) bun.


  3. Eat a whole lobster.
    IMG_4202
    Excuse the grainy iPhone photo, but my hands were way too lobster-y to even think about touching my camera.

    G had never eaten a whole lobster before, so that was high on our list. The wait at Thurston’s Lobster Pound was long, but the food was WORTH IT. We intended to order two medium-sized lobsters and ended up with two super-sized ones. #VACATION


  4. Read a Stephen King book.
    Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, and he lives in Bangor, Maine, so I had to read one of his novels while I was in the state. I picked The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, which is about a 9-year-old girl who gets lost in the Maine woods. Seemed appropriate.


  5. Lounge on the Sand Beach.
    IMG_4248 The Sand Beach at Acadia is so beautiful and weird. It’s like a regular east coast beach, but in the middle of the woods. I read half of my novel, Grant took a nap, and we did not get in the cold, cold water.


  6. Go to the Abbe Museum.
    The Abbe Museum is dedicated to sharing the history and culture of the Wabanaki Nation, a group of Native American tribes that are indigenous to the land that’s now Maine. What made this museum so special and so interesting is that it was curated by members of the Wabanaki tribe, instead of by historians or anthropologists that are removed from the culture by several layers of experience.

    Bearing witness to the terrible losses and injustices that Native peoples suffered on the land where we were vacationing felt important to both of us. The exhibits are a mixture of art, history, and personal storytelling, and everything was gorgeous and well-written. Worth the time and money 100 times over.


  7. Eat at CJ’s at least twice.P1000281Since Grant has dairy allergies, we almost never get dessert on vacation. We walked past CJ’s on the first day of our trip and saw the words “dairy-free” in the window. The manager explained their whole process for lowering cross-contamination risk the second he heard we had allergy concerns 👍. They had three dairy-free sorbets and two dairy-free ice creams, different flavors each day. G had four flavors in all: chocolate coconut, graham cracker, raspberry-vanilla swirl, and mocha cappuccino.P1000283Other awesome eats: Project Social for tapas like lobster-stuffed piquillo peppers, Jeannie’s Great Maine Breakfast for their strawberry rhubarb jam and homemade bread, and Galyn’s Restaurant, where we had the most delicious Dijon-white wine mussels.

  8. Walk to Bar Island
    P1000220At low tide, you can walk across a normally submerged sand bar to Bar Island. We did this while exhausted from our Precipice hike, so I didn’t appreciate it as much as I could have, but it was beautiful. G played in some tide pools, and I sat on a log.


  9. Go on a sunset cruise.
    P1000332We sailed around the harbor on the Margaret Todd, a four-masted schooner. G loves sailing, so this was super fun for him. We shared pink wine and pistachios, and met some fun people to chat with.P1000357


  10. GET ENGAGED.
    P1000313
    While I guess this activity isn’t available to everyone, watching the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain —  the first place in the U.S. where you can see the sun each day — is. Which is what we were doing when Grant said a bunch of nice things to me, got down on one knee, and asked me to be his wife.P1000338I am over-the-moon happy.And the nice people we were chatting with on the cruise above? They got engaged on Cadillac Mountain, too, except in 1989. To meet them on the day we got engaged felt very auspicious.


    So, go to Maine. I can’t promise you’ll come home with a new fiance, but you’ll have a hell of a time regardless. Eat a lobster roll for me!

Caitlin

Caitlin

Hi, I’m Caitlin! Thanks for reading. If you're new, here's a little about me: I'm a writer, editor, eater, and reader living in the Kansas City area. When I'm not working my 9-to-5, I'm cooking without a recipe, exploring the city, and probably procrastinating. I start from scratch each morning: progress is way more important to me than perfection.

Connect with me on Instagram and Pinterest, and subscribe to The Fruitful Blog for tips on intentional living, meal planning, and more.
Caitlin

Latest posts by Caitlin (see all)

Author: Caitlin

Hi, I’m Caitlin! Thanks for reading. If you’re new, here’s a little about me: I’m a writer, editor, eater, and reader living in the Kansas City area. When I’m not working my 9-to-5, I’m cooking without a recipe, exploring the city, and probably procrastinating. I start from scratch each morning: progress is way more important to me than perfection.

Connect with me on Instagram and Pinterest, and subscribe to The Fruitful Blog for tips on intentional living, meal planning, and more.

10 thoughts on “Top 10 things to do in Mount Desert Island, Maine”

  1. Eep congratulations on getting engaged!! How exciting 🙂 Also, Maine has been on my to-visit list for way too long, like I’m talking since I was in elementary school. The hubs and I are heading to Boston next month and couldn’t swing in a trip up to Maine as well, but after seeing your pictures I’m definitely going to be pushing for it to be one of our next trips.

    Keep up the great work!

    Amanda | amandabixler.com

  2. Oh wow, congratulations on the engagement! What a stunning place for a proposal. I really want to get back to Maine – I’ve been to the far south of the state (Portland area) but have so much more to see!

  3. CAITLIN!!! Umm…AMAZING!!! Congratulations!!! I’m from NH myself so Maine is one of my fav places, naturally, but I’ve actually never been to Acadia! It’s on my list for sure.

    Gorgeous ring, gorgeous story, gorgeous memory!!! <3

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