We could go on and on about the breathtaking views, the magnificent colors, the dynamic shapes, and more. But why listen to us when you can see it all for yourself through our articles? Our jaw-dropping photos are proof enough of the beauty this park holds. It’s no secret that Acadia National Park is one of the most incredible destinations in the USA. If you want to take stunning photographs from sunrise to sunset for days on end, add this park to your bucket list. And if you want to make it a luxurious experience, consider taking a private jet! Join Extra Eyes Photo Tours and explore this park’s hidden gems with our expert guides. Learn more at  VIEW ALL OF THE ACADIA ARTICLE— LINKS AT THE BOTTOM.

If you want to head to another northern area, read about our journey from Acadia National Park, Maine, to Fundy Trail, Canada—an incredible journey.


We don’t recommend going during winter, as roads may be closed. Our preferred seasons are Spring and Fall when there are fewer crowds. We also suggest visiting mid-week to avoid larger crowds.



You can set aside a minimum of two full days to explore every nook and cranny of this expansive park and its surrounding areas. From the sprawling forests to the winding paths that lead to hidden beauty, there is much to discover in this nature haven.


We suggest you bring a robust and versatile camera setup to fully capture the park’s diverse landscapes and wildlife. Essential items include a DSLR or mirrorless camera, wide-angle and telephoto lenses, a sturdy tripod for long exposures, and multiple memory cards.

A wide-angle lens is essential for snapping sweeping vistas of the park’s forests and coastline and is our primary tool in this park. In contrast, a telephoto lens will enable you to capture close-ups of wildlife, but that is a rare occasion. If you go on a boat tour, you are more likely to see wildlife, and your zoom lens is a must.  We’ve seen a visitor here and there fascinated by the sight of deer grazing in the early dawn or the flight of eagles soaring majestically overhead, but not very often.

So, the most important things are your tripod, N.D. filters for long exposure milky water effects, and all of your gear for Milky Way photography, including a red headlamp, flashlight, two-second timer, and zoom lens for your boat tour.


Hiking boots, bug spray, hats in summer, gloves and a scarf during colder months are essential for a comfortable experience. Remember, this is Maine. It gets pretty chilly at night. A good-quality backpack that can handle your gear and personal necessities will help in your long treks.

Remember to bring water and some high-energy snacks to keep yourself fueled while exploring the vast park. There is a restaurant at Jordon Pond that you can plan to shoot around lunch or dinner time. 

A field guide or map of the park could also help navigate between the popular spots and hidden gems Acadia offers. Lastly, bring binoculars for bird watching or observing far-off wildlife. 


Acadia National Park is renowned for sunrise and sunset views, making it an idyllic spot for landscape photography. The breathtaking beauty of Cadillac Mountain, being the tallest along the North Atlantic seaboard, is a highlight, especially at dawn when it is the first place in the U.S. to greet the morning sun. Still, it’s just a tourist overlook without the dramatic colors of sunrise and sunset. A slow, gradual climb to the summit rewards an unparalleled view where the sun’s first rays paint vibrant colors across the sky and sea. Later in the day, capture the dappled sunlight as it filters down, bathing the forest floor in an ethereal glow, but plan on going when the sky fills with colors. 

As dawn breaks into daylight, focus on the pristine lakes that dot the park. The reflections of the sky and surrounding wilderness in their calm surfaces create an enchanting mirror image begging to be photographed. Remember Jordan Pond; its sparkling waters often ripple with the movement of beavers and otters that call it home.

Rock Beach is a favorite spot for Milky Way photography, and remember the Bass Harbor Lighthouse for sunset photography and Milky Way.



A lot of Acadian National Park is easily accessible. Rock Beach has a set of stairs that make it difficult to get down to the beach.  The Bass Harbor Lighthouse is challenging to shoot. There are slipper rocks and off-trail rocks to climb down to get to a spot to create a good shot.  You can view it from standing near it without climbing down, but you will not get a good shot or be able to see the icon view.


Acadia National Park may bring encounters with creatures such as foxes, white-tailed deer, and an occasional eagle. Don’t look for moose here. They are on the other side of the state. There are massive opportunities for dynamic photography here, especially long exposure and Milky Way photography. It can get very crowded, so book your hotel/motel/cabin in advance.


As one of the top ten most visited national parks, Acadia sees its fair share of visitors, particularly during the summer when the weather is at its finest.  We like Spring and Fall to avoid the crowds, and there are more ways to avoid the crush of people. Opt for early mornings or late afternoons, when most visitors are tucking into their breakfasts or dinners. That’s when the park is quiet. Also, consider exploring some of the less-trodden paths. Even though they might not lead you to the most popular attractions, they can offer you a peaceful vacation away from the hustle and bustle, letting you bask in the serene beauty of Acadia’s less frequented corners. 


This is one of the best places to photograph the Milky Way. The sky here is incredibly dark, and the Milky Way shines brilliantly overhead at certain times during certain months. Be sure to see our Milky Way Photography Page to learn when the Milky Way is visible.


If this wasn’t enough photography, you can take advantage of the nearby rare opportunity to photograph puffins up close near Cutler, Maine.  The largest puffin colony on the east coast is not far north of Acadia National Park. Book your summer tours as early as March. They fill up fast!


BY CAR: To reach Mount Desert Island from the south, follow I-95 north to Augusta, Maine and then take Route 3 east to Ellsworth. Another option is to continue on I-95 north towards Bangor, then take Route 1A east to Ellsworth. From there, continue on Route 3 until reaching Mount Desert Island.

BY AIR: Travelers can take direct flights to Mount Desert Island from Boston’s Logan Airport, which is only 10 miles away from the Hancock County Airport. National airlines are available for those flying into Bangor International Airport, just an hour from the island. Car rental services are offered at both airports for convenience.


There are numerous options throughout the park. We will be featuring Hotels, Motels and Cabins here. Please email us to advertise for only $129.00 for the entire year!! You can scroll down for information on where to stay. 


If you are still looking for somewhere to stay directly next to Acadia, try looking for cabins beyond Acadia, near Ellsworth, Northeast Harbor, or Winter Harbor. Acadia is open year-round, though many facilities inside and near the park are closed from October to the end of May.


Lens: Wide Angle but you may find a bird or two. Not much wildlife here.

Gear List at a Glance: Circular polarizing filter, neutral density filter, tripod, shutter release, wide-angle lens.

When to Go:  The only time not to go is when they close the road down due to winter conditions. Check with the park before you go. Fall is ideal.


If you have moving subjects, you will want to shoot in shutter priority to ensure your shutter speed is high enough to have your subject in sharp focus. Approximately 1/250th of a second is appropriate for people walking by, and adjust your ISO accordingly. If they run fast, increase your shutter speed to about 1/500th of a second. A fast bird flying by would be shot at about 1/1000th of a second. If it’s a bright sunny day, go as high as  1/1200th of a second. Remember, the higher your shutter speed, the less light comes into the camera. It should not be an issue outside during daytime hours.


You have moving waters here. You can do your long-exposure running and milky water shots. You will have to use a tripod for this effect. Your settings will vary depending on the lighting and your neutral density filter. You will shoot in manual mode for the milky waters. ISO is always 100 or as low as your camera will allow. The aperture is f22. Your shutter speed will be the only variable depending on the light. Roll your shutter speed until your meter reads zero. (In the center)  Use your shutter release or 2-second timer to prevent camera movement when exposed. You will want at least a 2-second exposure for milky water. If you don’t have a neutral density filter, you may not get more than 1/15th of a second in the sun. 

You can buy a neutral-density filter in our Photography Store if you don’t have one. We highly suggest you do not go anywhere without one. It makes all the difference between lifeless images and outstanding, dynamic images.


Aperture Priority is often used to blur the background of your images and control your depth of field (how much from the subject to the background is in focus).

The higher you set it, the more light comes in when exposing an image. The higher the number, the more digital noise, so if possible, stay below 800. If you need to go higher to get the shot, you can use Topaz Denoise to filter out the digital noise later.


The higher you set it, the more light is when exposing an image. The higher the number, the more digital noise, so stay below 800. If you need to go higher to get the shot, you can use Topaz Denoise to filter out the digital noise later. See the ISO page here.


Be sure to set your white balance each time the lighting changes.  Auto mode is not always accurate on many cameras, and we prefer to set it manually. It’s one of the easier basics of photography to master. If you need more help, you can get some more details here. See the white balance page here.

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Light pollution map


You will need a camera to control your ISO, shutter speed, and aperture manually.


A fast, wide-angle lens of 1.4 – 2.8 is ideal. If you use a 3.5 or higher (slower lens), you must increase the ISO. The higher the ISO, the more grain or digital noise or grain will appear in your photos.


A good, sturdy tripod is essential for night photography. If it gets windy, you will need a sturdy one. Remember that when you buy one, it should be sturdy enough to withstand the wind but small enough to fit in your suitcase.


Sky Guide is available through the iTunes Store for $1.99. It has a 5 out of 5-star rating on both the current (3.2) version (1200+ ratings) and all previous versions (8600+ ratings).


Our choice is Coast brand for flashlights. The ideal flashlight will have high lumens, and you can zoom in and out on the light emitting from the flashlight. Get the HP7, PX45, or the G50. Ideally, go with the  HP7.


The best time to go is during a new moon; you want to be in the darkest area possible. The week before the new moon, when the moon has not risen, is a perfect time to go, so be sure to check the moonrise chart to see when the moon will be up.


When painting with light and over a 30-second exposure, you must have a shutter release to use your bulb mode. When exposing your pictures in general, you can use the remote release or your camera’s built-in two-second timer.



Start with ISO 1600 – 3200. This is a common starting point, and you will adjust from here.

Shutter Speed – Remember, the earth is rotating. If you leave the shutter open for too long, you will see star trails that will not make for a crisp image. We want crisp, non-star trail images. Here is the formula to avoid star trails—the 500 rule – Divide 500 by the focal length of your lens. So, if you have a 24mm lens on a full-frame camera, you will set your shutter speed to 20 sec. (500/24 = 20.83). If you are using a crop sensor camera, first do the math of the crop sensor to find the focal length. Cannon is 1.6, Nikon is 1.5. Convert to full-frame focal length, then use the formula. Nikon 18mm x 1.5= 27mm – 500/27 = 18.51 seconds.


Depth of field isn’t critical on these shots, but letting light into the camera is; therefore, you should shoot wide open if. If the depth of field is essential to you, try not to go too high. (Wide open =the lowest aperture your camera will allow.) You will have to increase the ISO a little, which will give you digital noise.


Now that the ISO and aperture are set in manual mode roll your shutter speed until your meter reads (0) zero. Take a test shot and adjust from there. Remember, the earth is rotating. If you leave the shutter open for too long, you will see star trails that will not make for a crisp image. You can create star trails specifically, but that’s not what we are going for here since we started with Milky Way photography. We want crisp, non-star trail images when doing this.

Here is the formula to avoid star trails—the 500 rule – Divide 500 by the focal length of your lens. So, if you have a 24mm lens on a full-frame camera, you will set your shutter speed to 20 sec. (500/24 = 20.83). If you are using a crop sensor camera, first do the math of the crop sensor to find the focal length. Cannon is 1.6, Nikon is 1.5. Convert to full-frame focal length, then use the formula. Nikon 18mm x 1.5= 27mm – 500/27 = 18.51 seconds.


In live view mode, you can change your white balance settings and see what they look like. You can also shoot in shade or cloud mode as a standard setting and adjust things later when editing.


To focus in the dark, use your camera’s live view, hit the zoom button, and focus on a bright star. You can also use the infinity setting on your lens, but do several test shots to determine accuracy. It can be off a little on some lenses. You can also light it up with a flashlight, focus, then gently, without touching the focus ring, put the camera in manual focus so it will not search for the focus. You must do this each time you move your camera to take your next angel.


The best images are usually of the dense part of the Milky Way. We can see this part of the milk way in the southern sky. During March, April, and May, the Milky Way rises above the horizon in the pre-dawn hours. In June, at about 10:00 p.m., you will see the Milky Way. From July until October, you can see the Milky Way as soon as it sunsets, and it becomes dark enough to see about an hour after sunset. In November, the Milky Way no longer comes above the horizon. You will have to wait until March if you want to stay away really late or get up early to see her again.

See our Milky Way Hot Spot Locator and our Night Photography Information. 

area information - photography

Acadia National Park & Area Information

Entrance Fees: All park visitors are required to pay an entrance fee upon entry May–October. Passes are non-transferable. Credit cards are accepted at all fee collection areas.

Private Vehicle: $25 valid for 7 days
Admits private, non-commercial vehicle (15 passenger capacity or less) and all occupants.

Motorcycle: $20 valid for 7 days
Admits one or two passengers on a private, non-commercial motorcycle.

Per Person: $12 valid for 7 days
Admits one individual with no car.

Hulls Cove Visitor Center:
April 15 – October 31, open daily
April, May, June, September, and October: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
July & August: 8 am – 6 pm

Seasonal Closings:

Park Loop Road:
Closed annually December 1 – April 14. Road opening may be delayed on years of heavy snow and ice. Two short sections remain open year-round.

Unpaved Roads:
Closed November 15 – May 15.


Where to Camp

Schoodic Woods Campground

Located on the Schoodic Peninsula, this campground is 3 miles (5 km) southeast of Winter Harbor. It will open in 2015 from September until Columbus Day. After this season, it will be open from late May until Columbus Day. The entire campground will be first come, first served this year. Reservations for the following years are highly recommended.

Fee (per site, per night): $22 walk-in tent sites, $30 drive-up tent/small RV, $36 RV with electric-only sites, $40 RV with electric and water. Discounts are available for Senior and Access (Permanent Disability) pass holders.

Reservations for Blackwoods and Seawall Campgrounds
Reservations for individual sites are handled by the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS), not the park.By Phone
877-833-6777 (TTY)
518-885-3639 (International)
888-448-1474 (Customer Service)


Add your campground here! Do you want us to send our photography and ghost-hunting friends to your campground to stay during their ghost-hunting trip? Put your campground information here. We will put a picture of your establishment, the website link, the phone number and your information on your campground to make it easy for our photographers and ghost hunters to find you. They are good at getting there in the dark.

Would you like to be featured in an article as a place to stay while doing photography or ghost hunting? If so, please send us an email. You will be surprised at how affordable our prices can be.


The Jordan Pond House Restaurant:

Located inside the park. This is where we stop to eat.

Address: Park Loop Rd, Seal Harbor, ME 04675

Phone:(207) 276-3316

Perry’s Lobster Shack:
1076 Newbury Neck Road
Surry, ME
207-667-1955 – This is where you go to do sunset photography and enjoy your incredibly fresh lobster diner. We got up during dinner, did some sunset photography, and returned on the deck.

Perry’s is run by Perry and his wife, Beverly. The lobster shack is on the side of Newbury Neck Road, with stairs leading to the town beach. Perry’s menu is simple, with fresh lobster, mussels, and corn on the cob.

The best hotels while doing photography

Add Your Hotel

Do you want us to send our photography and ghost hunting friends to your hotel for their photography or ghost hunting trip? Put your hotel information here. We will put pictures of your hotel, the website link, the phone number and your information on your hotel.


 Don’t forget that you can use a rain sleeve on your camera if it is raining. If it is bright and sunny, you want to use a low ISO such as 50 or 100.

If you photograph cloudy days, you can do running water or waterfall photography to help avoid the glaring sun. You can also use an ND filter to get long exposure for dramatic effects, even in the sunshine. If you ghost hunt indoors in abandoned places, be careful!


Acadia National Park is located off the Maine coast and covers 47,000 acres on Mount Desert Island. However, portions of the Park are located on the Schoodic Peninsula and Isle au Haut.

Six visitor information centers are located within or near Acadia National Park, including the main visitor center in Hulls Cove (northwest of Bar Harbor), a nature center at Sieur des Monts (south of Bar Harbor), a visitor center on Thompson Island (along the road leading into Mount Desert Island), another visitor information center in Village Green in Bar Harbor, the historic Museum at Islesford on Little Cranberry Island, and the Rockefeller Welcome Center on Schoodic Peninsula. Many significant features of Acadia are easily accessible from Bar Harbor, including Hulls Cove visitor center, the beginning of the Parks Scenic Park Loop Road, and the winding, 27-mile-long loop road, which includes the dramatic ascent to Mount Cadillac. It is also possible to hike up to its 1,530-foot peak from Bar Harbor (via multiple trails) to get views encompassing most of Acadia and the surrounding islands.

After looping around Cadillac Mountain, the Acadia Scenic Park Loop Road leads down to the Maine coastline at Sand Beach. Acadia’s Park Loop Road is a classic scenic drive featuring views of the ocean, lakeside beauty, and dramatic rock formations. Acadia has miles of historic highways, with the best-known being the 27-mile scenic Park Loop Road, which links the region’s lakes, mountains, and coastlines. There are over 130 miles of hiking trails to explore on foot and 45 miles of carriage roads to ride your bike.

For Milky Way photography, unique attractions include sandy beaches, rock beaches, thunderholes, and dark skies. Magnificent rocks can be found at Otter Cliff; these features make the Park a top ten photography location worldwide.

The Precipice Trail is another appropriately named steep hike with many ascents leading up to Champlain Hill, another of Acadia’s highest peaks. Two simple, marked hiking trails along Maine’s southern shores of Mount Desert Island—Ship Harbor and Wonderland—head down into the peninsula, which has its west coast and offers an unobstructed vista to the horizon.

Much less traveled than Acadia core, the region just west of Somes Sound has trails running down Long Pond’s edge (1 mi) and up Bernard Mountain (3.2 mi). Located south of Bar Harbor, the Park Sieur de Monts neighborhood features the Wild Garden of Acadia, the Park’s nature center, and the oldest branch of the Smithsonian-affiliated Abbe Museum. Acadia National Park features diverse landscapes, including granite-domed mountains, woods, lakes, and part of the mainland in the Schoodic Peninsula, comprised of islands along Maines’s rugged coastline ponds and ocean coastlines.

Acadia National Park preserves the natural beauty of rocky headlands, including the highest mountains along the Maine coastline. Acadia National Park is, as the National Park Service puts it, the crown jewel of the North Atlantic Coast, and for a good reason; it holds the highest peak along the entire Eastern Seaboard, the viewpoint that offers the first glimpse of sunshine when it rises above the horizon to illuminate the U.S. mainland. Acadia is unlike anywhere else, with miles of shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean.

Acadia preserves a sliver of coastal Maine, one of the nation’s most-loved parks, where northern forests drop steeply down into the wild Atlantic. Acadia, Maine, is a great place to get outdoors, with granite-strewn cliffs and miles of woodland trails on the shoreline. Acadia National Park, the only National Park in Maine, is known for its fall foliage. Acadia National Park sunrises (one of the first places in America to see sunrises) and the rugged, pink granite coast.

The park has some of the best natural areas to photograph and towns and villages throughout the Acadia region, from Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island to Winter Harbor on the Schoodic Peninsula.

If you are still looking for somewhere to stay directly next to Acadia, try looking for cabins beyond Acadia, near Ellsworth, Northeast Harbor, or Winter Harbor. Acadia is open year-round, though many facilities inside and near the Park are closed from October to May.

Another notable benefactor is John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who purchased and donated 11,000 acres of forests, shorelines, and scenic areas to the Park. Subsequent projects and partnerships have included Acadia Trails Forever, the first-ever dedicated trail system at a U.S. National Park, which raised $13 million from 1999 to 2001, and the Island Explorer. This free propane-powered bus system has served Acadia National Park and the surrounding communities since 1999.

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