Along the rugged coastline of Maine, Acadia National Park offers a sublime landscape to explore. With the deep blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the jagged rocks of its beaches topped by evergreen forests, it a popular place to escape. Though the main portion of Acadia National Park at Mount Desert is busy from late Spring until the leaves drop in the fall. Though across Frenchman’s Bay, a less popular portion of Acadia National Park offers lots of scenery with far fewer crowds. Acadia National Park’s Schoodic Peninsula is perfect for a Northeaster getaway. Here are the top things to do om Schoodic Peninsula with Kids.
Top Things to do on Schoodic Peninsula with Kids
- Stop by the Ranger Station
- Hike a Trail
- Take a Scenic Drive
- Stare at the Ocean
- Earn a Junior Ranger Badge
Acadia at a Glance
|Year Established: 1929
|Location: Maine Coast
|Size: 47,000 acres
|Top Features: Cadillac Mountain, Jordan Pond and Rocky Beaches
Ranger Stations on Schoodic Peninsula
The Schoodic Peninsula doesn’t feature an official visitor center like the one of the mainland of Acadia National Park. Though there are two locations to get maps and park brochures as well as 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 the newest campground at Acadia National Park. Since it is a campground, find NPS staff at this location later than 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.
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 French Eclectic style with a mix of rock, brick and masonry.
Well worth a visit, learn about the naval history of 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.
Top Things to do at Saint Croix International Historic Site
Hiking on Schoodic Peninsula
Enjoy the rugged beauty of Acadia’s Schoodic Peninsula with a hike. The hiking trails are less busy than the Mount Desert portion of the park. From sea level to the highpoint 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 to reach the highpoint of Schoodic Peninsula. Alternatively, you can drive up the one-mile, unpaved one-way road to a small parking area then walk to the top for amazing views.
Alder Trail is a .6-mile (1 km) trail that travels through some of the best birding areas in the park. It leaves from 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 the majority 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. Addtionally, the Schoodic Loop Road is 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.
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.
Along the main road, the first turnout is Frazer Point. This is also where the Schoodic Scenic Road becomes to 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 keep a lookout for the summertime ferry that sails between Winter Harbor and Bar Harbor. This area offers a parking area with picnic tables and a restroom.
Continuing down the peninsula, the tip of the Schoodic Point, the turnoff for Schoodic Loop Road 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.
As the Schoodic Scenic Road heads to the eastern side of 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.
For hikers and highpointers, Schoodic Head is a rewarding hike its views in all directions at the highpoint elevation of 448 feet (143m). Visitors can hike up the entire trail (.6-mile )or they can drive up to a small parking area and hike the rest of the way to the top. I opted to 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.
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 that the Rangers present them after completing their booklet.
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
K–Know where you can go
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 tidepooling an hour before-or-after low tide.
Several areas on Schoodic Peninsula offers tidepools, like Frazer Point, Cobble Beach on Sundrew Trail and Blueberry Hill. To protect the small marine creatures, stay out off the tide pools and observe from the edge.
Water shoes add extra traction when walking on the algae-covered rocks.
Animals of Acadia
Bears and moose are known to live in Acadia National Park though are rare so spotting one is a treat. Though 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.
- Red Fox
- Snowshoe Hare
- Peregine 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 $14 for adults, $10 for children (babies to 12) and bikes ride for $8.
For a scenic cruise, find several operators originating out of Winter Harbor. From whale watching tours, lighthouse tours along with specialized boat tours dedicated to the puffins, getting out of the water is easy. Lobster tours where you eat your catch operate out of nearby harbors as well as 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.
Lodging and Dining Near Acadia’s Schoodic Peninsula
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 out.
Winter Harbor also features galleries and antique stores. For those looking for a snack, keep a look out for a seasonal dairy bar. Most businesses catering to the tourists operate from late Spring until the last leaves fall in Autumn.
On the western side of Schoodic Peninsula, Birch Harbor is a smaller community with a few seasonal dining options. The Schoodic Loop Road Ride is a favorite with cyclists that runs in-between Winter Harbor and Birch Harbor and into Acadia National Park.
For those 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 and offers visitor services and it 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 a 45 miles to the Hulls Cove Visitors Center on Acadia’s Mount Desert Island.
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 Sameul 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 November through March. Admission is $30 per car for a 7-day pass or use an America the Beautiful pass.
Like the Desert Mount Island portion of Acadia National Park, Schoodic Peninsula offers a free shuttle bus during the summer months–the Island Explorer. You can wave down the bus or wait for it at one of its stops, Schoodic Woods Campground and Schoodic Point.