Acadia National Park Camping fi

Best Acadia National Park Camping - Explore the Outdoors

By Tom Harrison on April 22, 2024
10 min read

Acadia National Park is a corner of Maine that attracts more than four million visitors annually. It’s one of the most visited national parks in the US and shares the top spots with the Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, and Zion National Parks. 

If you want a full experience of the East Coast’s oldest national park, we strongly recommend staying right in its middle. Acadia is renowned for its large expanse of naturally dark skies that put up a wonderful show of millions of stars and other celestial features. 

What’s more, there are plenty of options for Acadia camping. This guide has all you need to know about camping at Acadia National Park. We’ll dive into the four campgrounds within the park and the possibilities of camping near Acadia National Park. 

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Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park. Photo by: Jake.

Key Takeaways

  • There are four front-country campgrounds in Acadia National Park: Blackwoods and Seawall Campgrounds on Mount Desert Island, Schoodic Woods Campground on the Schoodic Peninsula, and Duck Harbor Campground on Isle Au Haut. 
  • There’s no backcountry camping in Acadia. But there are campgrounds around Acadia National Park that offer this experience, including Acadia East Campground. 
  • None of the four campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Camping sites must be reserved up to 60 days in advance. 
  • Schoodic Woods is the only campground in Acadia National Park with electricity connectivity at the sites. 

What to Know Before Your Camping Trip to Acadia National Park

Best Time for Camping in Acadia National Park

Camping at Acadia National Park is idyllic in any season. That said, some months may be better than others, depending on your weather preferences, target attractions, and budget. For more info, make sure to check out our guide on the best things to do in Acadia National Park.

For starters, June through September is the high season in Acadia. Camping during these months is magical thanks to the glorious temperatures averaging 78°F during the day and 66°F in the evening. 

If you want to avoid the crowds, plan your Acadia National Park camping trip in the shoulder seasons of April through May and October through November. 

Can you camp in Acadia National Park in winter? Winter camping in Acadia is limited to Blackwoods Campground only. This is the only campground that remains open throughout the year. However, please note that the road that leads to this campground is closed to vehicle traffic when the snow starts flying. You’ll need to hike about a mile to get to it. 

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Rocky rugged coastline of Acadia National Park, Maine. Photo by: Elena Zarubina.

Acadia Campground Reservations and Permits

You don’t need reservations to enter Acadia National Park. However, making reservations in advance is necessary to camp at all Acadia campground sites. Reservations can be made up to sixty days in advance at

Keep in mind that there are no same-day campground and campsite reservations within the park. 

You’ll also need a $6 vehicle reservation for Cadillac Summit Road on top of the entrance fee. You can buy Cadillac Road Vehicle reservations 2-90 days before your reservation date. 

What to Pack

Acadia National Park weather can have crazy fluctuations at any time. That said, you’ll be wise to stay prepared for anything from hot temperatures to chilly weather, even in summer. 

Here’s a basic camping checklist for the things to pack for a summer camping trip at Acadia National Park:

  • Shorts/yoga leggings
  • Moisture-wicking t-shirts
  • Lightweight/zip-off hiking pants
  • Rain jacket/poncho
  • Swimsuit and water shoes
  • Comfortable hiking boots (ideally a half-size up)
  • Sun hat
  • Warm socks and slippers for use around the tent
  • Binoculars
  • Eco sunscreen 
  • Tick remover 
  • Sunglasses 

Also, here’s a first aid checklist of items you’ll be glad you brought should you need them:  

  • Insect repellent 
  • Anti-itch ointment 
  • Sterile wipes
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Gauze roll
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Sunburn relief spray
  • Antihistamine for allergic reactions
  • Safety pins
Acadia National Park Camping 2

Best Acadia National Park Campgrounds

Blackwoods Campground

In your search for the best Acadia campgrounds, you may have realized that Blackwoods tops most lists. There are several reasons for that, the biggest one being its prime location. 

Blackwoods Campground is in the southeast corner of Mount Desert Island, about five miles (or a 10-minute drive) south of Bar Harbor. The campground is located very close to Route 3, which connects the village towns of Salisbury Cove, Hulls Cove, Bar Harbor, and Seal Harbor. Plus, Park Loop Road- one of the best scenic drives in the park- passes nearby. Visitors also appreciate that the beach is a mere 10-minute walk from the campground. 

There are 281 sites at Blackwoods Campground, including 221 tent-only sites, 60 RV-only sites, and 4 group sites. All sites are wooded and have picnic tables, fire pits, and grates. The campground has flushing toilets, a dump station, potable water, and an amphitheater. There are no showers, but Otter Creek does and is only a mile away. 

  • Open: seasonally from early May to mid-October
  • Camping fees: tent, camper, and motorhome sites $30; Group sites $60

Seawall Campground

If Blackwoods is full, Seawall Campground would be our next best recommendation. This is a stunningly beautiful, quiet, clean, and well-maintained Acadia National Park campground located on the west side of Mount Desert Island. The campground is around four miles south of Southwest Harbor and a 10-minute walk to the coastline.

Seawall Campground has 202 sites divided into five loops. Loop A has 21 RV-only sites and 15 tent-only sites; Loop B has 23 tent-only sites; Loop C has 40 RV/tent sites, while Loop D offers 99 walk-in tent-only sites. The campground also has five group campsites, one of which is ADA-accessible. 

Seawall campground tent sites accommodate up to six people and one vehicle. The group site is large enough for up to 15 people and three vehicles. Each site has a picnic table, a fire ring, and a grate.

Campground amenities include a dump station, trash collection, potable water, flush toilets, and an amphitheater. There’s no electricity and water connectivity in any of the sites. 

  • Open: seasonally typically from the Wednesday before Memorial Day through mid-October
  • Camping fees: tent and RV sites $30; Group sites $60
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Blackwoods Campground in Acadia National Park. Photo by: Sceninc Media.

Schoodic Woods Campground

Schoodic Woods is a good choice if you’re interested in the best campgrounds in Acadia National Park with water and electricity connectivity. Opened in 2015, this is a fairly new campground, so it’s really a treat for the modern camper. All the campsites are roomy and quiet and offer a good level of privacy compared to other campgrounds near Acadia National Park. 

Schoodic Woods Campground is located on the Schoodic Peninsula, about 1.5 miles southeast of Winter Harbor. This campground has 89 sites, including 35 for tents and small RVs, 12 for tents only, and 31 for larger RVs only. The sites also include nine walk-in sites and two group sites. 

Tent-only sites accommodate up to six people and two tents, while group sites allow up to 20 people and three vehicles. All sites have picnic tables and fire rings but no fire grates. All tent sites have a 20-amp outlet, while RV camping sites have 20/30/50-amp outlets and water hookups. 

The campground has Wi-Fi, vault and flush toilets, trash collection, potable water, an amphitheater, and a dump station for RVers. There are no showers at Schoodic Woods Campground, which is really baffling for such a thoughtfully designed campground. 

  • Open: seasonally from late May through early October
  • Camping fees: walk-in sites $22; RV sites with water and electricity $40; RV with electricity connectivity but no water $36; tent-only sites with electricity $30; standard electric sites $30

Duck Harbor Campground

Duck Harbor Campground is the closest you can get to primitive camping in Acadia National Park. There is a lot to love about this campground, right from how you get to it. 

Duck Harbor Campground is located on Isle Au Haut Island, west of Mount Desert Island. The only way to get there is by a small mailboat from Stonington. The boat ride takes around 45 minutes and costs $20-$30 per trip. 

The island's remoteness makes this one of the quietest campgrounds Acadia National Park offers. The campground has five shelters with lean-tos, each allowing up to six people.

Each site is equipped with a picnic table, a fire ring, and a food storage box. Campground amenities include two shared compostable toilets, firewood, and drinkable water from an old water pump. There’s no electricity. A small village town on the island has a store and gift shop. 

  • Open: seasonally from mid-May to mid-October
  • Camping fees: $20/shelter/night (each shelter allows up to six people)
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Seawall Campground in Acadia National Park. Photo by: Sceninc Media.

Best Campgrounds Near Acadia National Park

Oceanside KOA Campground

Oceanside KOA Campground is often voted as one of the best private campgrounds near Acadia National Park, Maine - and for a reason. One of the best things to love about this KOA is its amazing location right by the Atlantic shoreline.

If you can snag a front-row spot, Oceanside KOA Campground is the perfect base for beach camping with great ocean views and sunsets. 

Oceanside KOA is a big campground with pretty much all types of accommodation options. There are pull-thru and back-in RV sites, most of which have full hookups or water and electricity. The campground also has some of the best Acadia National Park cabins, with a choice between traditional and deluxe cabins. Of course, there are tent sites, too, for those who want to sleep under the stars. Individual tents allow up to six people. 

Fun activities at Oceanside KOA campground include swimming, catching sunsets, exploring Acadia National Park and its trails, and taking boat rides to go whale watching. 

  • Open: seasonally from May through October
  • Camping fees: Tent sites $55-$95/night; Cabins up to $200 average/night; RV sites $95-$125/night

Mount Desert Campground 

Mount Desert Campground is another excellent pick if you want to base yourself just a few minutes from the coastal excitement of Bar Harbor and the trails of Acadia. This campground was created in 1958 to offer a clean and quiet place for families to relax. Six decades down the line, this campground offers some of the quietest Acadia National Park campsites. 

The campground sits in the captivating landscape of Mount Desert Island on Route 198. It has 148 RV and tent sites, most of which have electricity and water connections. All the sites are shaded, and some touch the salty water of Somes Sound. 

Each site has a picnic table, a fire ring, and a water spigot. There are clean bathrooms with showers spread around the campground, a “Gathering Place” that sells coffee and freshly baked bagels, scones, donuts, and kayak/canoe rentals. 

  • Open: seasonally from mid-June to late September 
  • Camping Fees: $38-$77/night
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Sunset over ocean cove on Mount Desert Narrows. Photo by: Katkami.

Tips for Camping in and Around Acadia National Park

Here are top tips to help make your Acadia National Park camping experience all the more enjoyable:

Reserve your camping spot early

Acadia National Park is among the most popular national parks in the US. The campsites in and around the park fill up fast, and it’s almost impossible to snag a spot if you don’t have a reservation. Reserve your spot as soon as you decide when to go to avoid disappointment. 

Bring only one car per site

While the park has large camping sites, most are not big enough for two vehicles. 

Take advantage of the fare-free Island Explorer bus

Instead of struggling to find a parking spot near trailheads, simply leave your car at the campsite and hop on the Island Explorer bus. The bus has ten routes linking the hotels, inns, and other key destinations in and around the park. Plus, you can hop on and off anywhere. 

Remember to buy a vehicle reservation for Cadillac Summit Road

All visitors hoping to experience the Cadillac Summit Road between May and October must buy a vehicle reservation ($6). You don’t need vehicle reservations for other parts of the park, though. 

Bring bug spray! 

Insect repellent is a great way to avoid pesky bugs that may steal the joy out of your camping vacation.

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Acadia National Park Coast at Sunrise. Photo by: Philippe.

Final Thoughts

Acadia National Park camping is a must. Think of starting your day with a peaceful morning coffee stroll, spending your afternoon swimming or boating in a pristine lake, and sleeping right under the Milky Way. 

Securing a reservation is typically a challenge. But the extra effort is worth it for the blend of rugged coastlines, lake views, hiking trails, and dense coniferous forests that Mainers enjoy. 

Happy Camping!

Featured image by: Brian.


How many days is enough for Acadia National Park?

Regarding how many days to spend in Acadia National Park, we recommend at least three days. This gives you enough time to do a few hikes, enjoy horseback riding, and drive the park loop road. 

Can you camp anywhere in Acadia National Park?

Camping in Acadia National Park is allowed only in the designated campgrounds and sites. Backcountry camping/dispersed camping and overnight parking are not permitted. 

Can I carry a gun in Acadia National Park?

Visitors are not permitted to possess or use a firearm within Acadia National Park unless the firearm “is used in connection with hunting when and where authorized by state or federal law.” 

What is the best month to visit Acadia National Park?

If you don’t mind the crowds, the best time for tent camping near Acadia National Park is June through September, thanks to the warm and sunny weather. 

How far in advance can you book an Acadia National Park visit?

All Acadia National Park campgrounds require reservations. You can make reservations up to 60 days ahead. You’ll also need a vehicle reservation for the scenic Cadillac Summit Road. About 30% of the vehicle reservations are available for sale three months before the reservation date. The remaining 70% of the reservations are available at 10 AM (ET) two days before each date.

Tom Harrison
Tom Harrison

Tom Harrison is an intrepid explorer and fervent nature lover. Through his clean writing style, he invites readers to join him on an exhilarating journey into the wilderness.


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