Acadia National Park Safety: Best Practices to Stay Safe While Exploring the National Park

by Jon D. B.
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With everything from steep cliffs and dense forests to freezing Atlantic waters, safety is paramount when visiting Acadia National Park.

Ready to take the North Atlantic’s crown jewel for all it’s worth? Few parks offer the coastal beauty of Acadia, which is why millions of visitors flock in from around the world every single year. As with any national park, however, Acadia is never to be tackled blindly.

Safety should always be #1 priority while exploring anytime, anywhere. And with the sheer ecological diversity of Acadia National Park, a bit of safety prep goes a long, long way. For example, Acadia park staff recommend:

  • Never rely on cell connectivity for trail navigation
  • Buy a trail map with detailed topography at park stores
  • Always have more than one back-up plan to make the most of your visit during Acadia’s busiest months from June into October
  • Find ideas and resources on the Plan Your Visit pages of the official Acadia National Park website

Below, you’ll find more in-depth park recommended safety tips for year-round visitation to Acadia. But safety measures should always adjust with seasonal changes (think Maine’s winter snow and ice or the odd summer heat wave), which is why you should always check the park’s official NPS website before visiting, as well.

Acadia National Park Hiking Safety

As the park states, “Hiking in Acadia can be as easy or challenging as you want it to be. Just take care to study the difficulty of each trail before you set out, and be honest about your abilities and limitations. All natural areas pose risk.”

  • In any scenario, your safety depends on your own good judgement. And in Acadia, this means being able to traverse rocky, jutting coastlines, deadly cliffs, dense forests, and more with a responsible attitude
  • If hiking or journeying alone, always give someone a detailed breakdown of your destination; where you plan to enter, stay, and exit, with estimated times of arrival, departure, etc.
  • Never attempt free-climbing or bouldering in Acadia without proper equipment, supervision, or a guide. There are a number of climbing classes and excursions offered by the park
  • And as with any national park, always stay on designated trails within Acadia. Failure to do so greatly increases the risk of injury, becoming lost, or death

Unique to Acadia: Safety Precautions on the Beach

As one of the national parks that offers ocean beaches and coastlines, Acadia comes with unique safety precautions. Yet as the park notes:

  • There are no lifeguards on duty at park beaches, including Sand Beach and Echo Lake
  • Ocean water here is wicked cold, as low as 55°F/13°C in August
  • Watch for symptoms of hypothermia during or after your swim. In an emergency, dial 911
  • Watch for rogue waves, and never turn your back to the ocean
  • If caught in a rip tide, remain calm and swim parallel to the beach.

Travel and Camping Safety Tips

In Acadia National Park, camping requires advance planning and reservations. As the park notes, “There is no same-day availability for any park campsite. An online reservation at Recreation.gov is required to enter park campgrounds.”

Once you have your reservations set, be sure to abide by park safety and travel rules:

  • If camping or traveling alone, always give someone a detailed breakdown of your destination; where you plan to enter, stay, and exit, with estimated times of arrival, departure, etc.
  • No camping, campfires, or overnight parking are permitted outside of designated campgrounds
  • Cyclists must yield to all other users, including horses and pedestrians
  • Carriage Roads have multiple uses
  • Class-1 e-Bikes – which provide assistance only while the rider is pedaling, and at speeds less than 20 mph – are allowed on Carriage Roads. Class 2 & 3 e-Bikes are prohibited

Download the National Park App and Save Acadia for Offline Use

Once you’re in the park, use the NPS app to track your current location on the map, discover new places, hikes, and trip ideas, and learn more about the park while visiting. But remember, never rely on your cellphone as a source of navigation in the wilderness.

As for Acadia lodging, we’ve got you covered with Acadia National Park Lodging: Campgrounds, Cabins, Securing Reservations in Blackwoods, Duck Harbor and More.

Also be sure to view Acadia National Park’s Rules and Regulations on their NPS website. Enjoy your Acadia adventures, Outsiders!

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