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Top 17 Things to do at Maine’s Schoodic Peninsula with Kids

The rugged coastline of Acadia National Park’s Schoodic Penisula. Credit: Catherine Parker

Acadia National Park offers a sublime landscape to explore along the rugged coastline of Maine. With the Atlantic’s deep azure waters crashing against the tumbled granite beaches edged with evergreens, it is a popular place to escape. The main portion of Acadia National Park at Mount Desert is busy from late Spring until the leaves call in the fall. However, Acadia’s uncovered gem offers all the scenery with far fewer crowds. Across Frenchman’s Bay, Acadia National Park’s Schoodic Peninsula is perfect for a Northeast getaway. Here are the top things to do on the Schoodic Peninsula.

Table of Contents

Top 17 Things to Do on Schoodic Peninsula 

  • Discover the Less Crowded Schoodic Peninsula
  • Stop by the Schoodic Woods Ranger Station
  • Visit Rockefeller Hall
  • High point on Schoodic Head Trail
  • See Birds on Alder Trail 
  • Watch the boats from the Lower Harbor Trail
  • Hike to Schoodic Point from Sundrew Trail 
  • Take a Scenic Drive
  • Bike Around the Schoodic Peninsula 
  • See Frazer Point
  • Gaze at the Atlantic at Schoodic Point
  • Stop at Blueberry Hill
  • Earn a Junior Ranger Badge or BARK Ranger Badge 
  • Find a Tidepool
  • See Some Wildlife
  • Picnic at Acadia’s Schoodic Peninsula 
  • Camp

Acadia National Park at a Glance 

Year Established: 1929
Location: Maine Coast
Size: 47,000 acres
Top Features: Cadillac Mountain, Jordan Pond and Rocky Beaches

Why Visit the Schoodic Peninsula

This location is across the bay from the more popular Mount Desert part of Acadia National Park. Most visitors come to this location since it is less crowded. After visiting Acadia National Park several times, I wanted to visit away from the well-trodden paths on Mount Desert.

The Schoodic Peninsula offers all the epic scenery that coastal Maine is known for, like its rock-tumbled shore, its deep blue Atlantic waters and the evergreens that touch both. It is some of the most stunning scenery around.

Ranger Stations  on Schoodic Peninsula

The Schoodic Peninsula doesn’t feature an official visitor center like the one on the mainland of Acadia National Park, though there are two locations where you can get maps and park brochures and talk to a park ranger or park volunteer.

Schoodic Woods Ranger Station

With an amphitheater, it’s one of the nicest ranger stations in the National Park system. It is also home to Acadia National Park’s newest campground. Since it is a campground, NPS staff are at this location later than at other sites. Consult the Acadia Calendar for amphitheater talks during the summer season. 

Located 1.5 miles southeast of Winter Harbor. Open from late May until mid-October. Buy your NPS pass at the Schoodic Woods Ranger Station. 

Rockefeller Hall 

Named after John D. Rockefeller, a major benefactor to the National Parks, Rockefeller Hall offers an interpretive area on the first floor. Originally built as a naval center, Rockefeller Hall as part of a complex that was strategic for communications with Europe. 

Completely renovated, it is used as a welcome center and base for the Schoodic Institute, an educational and research facility. Built in 1934, Rockefeller Hall is an example of the French Eclectic style with a mix of rock, brick and masonry. 

It’s well worth a visit. Here, you can learn about the naval history of the Schoodic Peninsula, including displays of the equipment used. In addition, there’s a seasonal bookstore with books covering the region. 

Located at Schoodic Point. Open seasonally from late May until mid-October. 

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Schoodic Head View
The view from the top of Schoodic Head View. credit: Catherine Parker

Hiking on Schoodic Peninsula

Enjoy the rugged beauty of Acadia’s Schoodic Peninsula with a hike. The trails are less busy than those in the Mount Desert portion of the park. From sea level to the high point of 448 feet on Schoodic Head, hiking is a top activity on Acadia’s Schoodic Peninsula.

Schoodic Head Trail is a .6-mile (1.0 km) trail that reaches the highpoint of Schoodic Peninsula. Alternatively, you can drive up the one-mile, unpaved one-way road to a small parking area and then walk to the top for amazing views.

Alder Trail is a .6-mile (1 km) trail that travels through some of the park’s best birding areas. It leaves from the Blueberry Hill area. 

Lower Harbor Trail is a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) trail that hugs the coastline, close to the Schoodic Woods Campground. 

Sundrew Trail is a .7-mile (1.1 km) trail on Schoodic Point near the Welcome Center with views of Mount Desert Island.

Scenic Drives on Schoodic Peninsula

Just off Route 186, the main road is one-way for most of its 6-mile scenic route. It passes all the must-dos on the Schoodic Peninsula as it hugs the coastline (and it’s easy to circle around if you miss your turn-off). With cyclists on the road, slow driving is encouraged. 

Biking on the Schoodic Peninsula

The Schoodic Peninsula portion offers 8.3 miles (13.4 km) of bike paths, and the Schoodic Loop Road is also open to cyclists.

Class 1 e-bikes are allowed in Acadia; other classes are prohibited. Bikes are available for rent in Winter Harbor, just outside of Acadia National Park’s Schoodic Peninsula boundaries. Grab a map at the Schoodic Woods Ranger Station, and Acadia National Park’s free shuttle, Island Explorer, features a bike rack.

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view from Schoodic Peninsula
The view of the Atlantic along the Schoodic Peninsula. credit: Catherine Parker

Top Places to See the Ocean on the Schoodic Peninsula

The views along the scenic road are magnificent as it circumvents the peninsula, hugging the coastline. Marrying evergreen trees with granite outcroppings along the deep blue of the Atlantic paints a landscape masterpiece. Visitors should pull off and enjoy the view at any (or all) of the many pullouts. 

Frazer Point 

The first turnout along the main road is Frazer Point. This is also where the Schoodic Scenic Road becomes one-way only. Located next to Mosquito Harbor (I didn’t see an abundance of mosquitos), Ned Island, Mark Island and its lighthouse, along with Grindstone Neck, are all offshore and in view on a clear day.

Visitors should look for the summertime ferry that sails between Winter Harbor and Bar Harbor. This area offers a parking area with picnic tables and a restroom. 

Schoodic Point 

Continuing down the peninsula,  the turnoff for Schoodic Loop Road to see the tip of Schoodic Point is a favorite. It offers views of Little Moose Island and Rockefeller Hall Welcome Center is located in the area.

The Sundew Trail, a .7-mile hike, offers views of Pond Island. Many people bring chairs and enjoy the view, as there are several restrooms in the area and a good place for a picnic, though no tables are located in the area. 

Blueberry Hill

As the Schoodic Scenic Road heads to the eastern side of the Schoodic Peninsula’s point, Blueberry Hill offers views of Little Moose Island and Schoodic Island. This is another area that is popular for sea-gazing as well as plein air artists. The Anvil hike is in the area as well. 

Schoodic Head

For hikers and high pointers, Schoodic Head is a rewarding hike with views in all directions at the high point elevation of 448 feet (143m). Visitors can hike up the entire trail (.6-mile )or drive up to a small parking area and hike the rest of the way to the top. I opted for the drive-and-walk method to get to the top of Schoodic Head. 

In contrast to Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island, Schoodic Head doesn’t require a special vehicle pass to drive up part of the way.

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Learn on a trip with the Junior Ranger program, like at Saint Croix International Historic Site in Maine. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Acadia National Park with Kids and Pets 

The Junior Ranger Program is the go-to program for families to learn more about a National Park Service site. It’s free and takes about two hours to complete. My kids love the badges the Rangers present them with after they complete their booklet.

BARK program

Acadia National Park welcomes pets as long as they practice the principles of the BARK program. For more information, visit the Acadia page for visiting with pets.

B–Bag waste and dispose of it in the trash

A–Always leash your dog for their safety and others

R–Respect wildlife

K–Know where you can go

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Tidepools in Acadia

With tides flowing in and out twice a day, visitors can explore a tidepool while on the Schoodic Peninsula. To plan your excursion, check the tides for the day and plan on tide-pooling an hour before or after low tide. 

Several areas on Schoodic Peninsula offer tidepools, like Frazer Point, Cobble Beach on Sundrew Trail and Blueberry Hill. To protect the small marine creatures, stay out of the tide pools and observe from the edge. 

Water shoes add extra traction when walking on the algae-covered rocks.

Seagull in Acadia National Park
The seagulls in Acadia like human treats and arrive without an invitation. credit: Catherine Parker

Acadia’s Wildlife 

Bears and moose are known to live in Acadia National Park, though they are rare, so spotting one is a treat. Schoodic Peninsula offers a better chance to see one than Mount Desert Island. Acadia is home to a variety of mammals and about 300 varieties of birds. 

  • Seals
  • Red Fox
  • Snowshoe Hare
  • Mink
  • Coyote
  • Otter 
  • Fishers 
  • Marten
  • Beaver
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Bald Eagle

Ferries and Boat Tours at Schoodic Peninsula 

From the end of May until mid-October, ferries move between Bar Harbor and Winter Harbor. With four departures (and five during the high summer season), visitors can skip the traffic and take the ferry to Bar Harbor instead. 

One-way rates start at $20 for adults, $16 for children (babies to 12), and a bike ride for $8.

For a scenic cruise, find several operators originating out of Winter Harbor. From whale-watching tours to lighthouse tours and specialized boat tours dedicated to puffins, getting out of the water is easy. Lobster tours, where you eat your catch, operate out of nearby harbors, as do guided kayak tours. 

Kayaks are available for rent in Winter Harbor as well. 

Picnicking and Camping on Schoodic

Frazer Point Picnic area 

Schoodic Woods Campground

  • Reservations Required
  • Seasonal from late May until mid-October
  • 89 sites with 41 RV sites
  • Dump station
  • Potable water. Flush toilets, no showers.
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Roosevelt Hall
Roosevelt Hall on the Schoodic Peninsula offers classes. Credit: Catherine Parker

Lodging and Dining Near Acadia’s Schoodic Peninsula 

Winter Harbor

Located on the eastern side of Schoodic Peninsula, Winter Harbor is a quaint seaside village protected by Winter Harbor. On the quieter side, Winter Harbor offers small inns, cabins along with camping and RV parks. For dining, the area specializes in seafood, especially lobster, so find fish markets to cook at your place and casual lobster pounds for a lobster roll. 

Winter Harbor also features galleries and antique stores. For those looking for a snack, look for a seasonal dairy bar. Most businesses catering to tourists operate from late Spring until the last leaves fall in Autumn.

Birch Harbor

On the western side of the Schoodic Peninsula, Birch Harbor is a smaller community with a few seasonal dining options. The Schoodic Loop Road Ride, a favorite with cyclists, runs between Winter Harbor and Birch Harbor and into Acadia National Park. 

Bar Harbor

For visitors who want to be in the center of it all, Bar Harbor has been a favorite for generations. It’s the closest gateway town to Acadia National Park’s Mount Desert, offers visitor services and is a destination on its own.


As a popular summer gateway, the Bar Harbor can be high for some travelers. To save money, some travelers stay in Bangor, Maine. It’s 45 miles to the Hulls Cove Visitors Center on Acadia’s Mount Desert Island. 

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A Brief History of Acadia

The Mi’kmaq people of the Wabanaki Confederation settled in this area and called it Acadie. The French explored the area in the 1600s, and the name was adopted.

In 1604, Samuel de Champlain sailed by the area and named it Isles des Monts Desert. The largest area of the park is still called Mount Desert Island.

The U.S. government named the area Sieur de Monts National Monument in 1916, then later renamed the monument Lafayette National Park in 1919. A final name change happened in 1929 when Acadia National Park was born. It’s the oldest national park east of the Mississippi River.

Where’s Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is located in the Downeast section of Maine, about 150 miles from Portland, Maine, and 270 miles from Boston, Massachusetts. Acadia National Park is open year-round, but there are seasonal road closures from November through March. Admission is $30 per car for a 7-day pass, or you can use an America the Beautiful pass.

Like the Desert Mount Island portion of Acadia National Park, Schoodic Peninsula offers a free shuttle bus, the Island Explorer, during the summer months. You can wave down the bus or wait for it at one of its stops, Schoodic Woods Campground or Schoodic Point. 

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Located across from Mount Desert portion of Acadia National Park, the Schoodic Peninsula offers hiking, camping, epic coastal views and more. What to do at the Schoodic Peninsula | Quieter Part of Acadia National Park #Maine

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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