Your Guide To The Perfect Trip To Acadia’s Schoodic Peninsula in 2024

Winter Harbor Light sitting on a rocky island surrounded by the deep blue water of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Maine

The Schoodic Peninsula of Acadia National Park, hidden away on Maine’s mainland, is a peaceful section of rocky coast bordered by dense trees.

After traveling to National Parks all over the U.S. and Canada, Acadia National Park and the Schoodic Peninsula time and time again rank as some of our favorite places to explore!

This in-depth guide provides all the resources you need to see the best Schoodic Peninsula things to do and have a fulfilling day trip in this unique section of Acadia National Park.

About Acadia National Park

Female hiker and her dog looking out over Acadia National Park and the Atlantic Ocean after hiking up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain
View from Cadillac Mountain looking out towards Schoodic Peninsula

New England is a place of great charm, epic historical significance, and great natural beauty (okay, as New England natives we might be a bit biased).

Either way, Acadia National Park in Down East Maine is no exception.

It offers a dramatic rocky coast that is the highest along the Atlantic coastline, lush and diverse habitats ranging from pine forests to mountains and ocean coastline, historical sites, scenic hiking, and the amazing food that is synonymous with this state’s seaside towns.

Quick Acadia National Park Facts:

  • The main portion of the park is located on Mount Desert Island near Bar Harbor Maine
  • Attracts 4 million visitors a year, top 10 of the most visited park in the U.S.
  • Peak season June-September, Offseason November-April
  • 158 miles of hiking trails, 45 miles of historic carriage roads (great for biking)
  • 27-mile scenic drive along Park Loop Road
  • The park spreads across Mount Desert Island, Isle Au Haut, and part of the Schoodic Peninsula
  • Contains the tallest mountain on the Atlantic Coast. Secure a permit for Cadillac Mountain to be the first to see the sunrise in the U.S. (from October to March) and be one of the first, other times of the year.
  • About 49,000 acres of land or 76 square miles
  • The only National Park in the Northeastern U.S and was the first National Park designated east of Mississippi

About Acadia’s Schoodic Peninsula

View of the seaweed-covered rocky shoreline along Schoodic Peninsula looking out at the Winter Harbor Light
The shoreline of Schoodic Peninsula

Just a hop, skip, and jump across the Frenchman Bay from Bar Harbor and the most visited part of Acadia, the Schoodic Peninsula is a worthwhile destination for those looking to get away from the crowds and see this park from another vantage point.

Accessible by boat or land, getting here also allows you to create the adventure of your choosing!

Navigating the roughly 1-hour drive from Bar Harbor over to Acadia’s Schoodic Peninsula will take you through beautiful foliage in fall, through quintessential New England coastal towns, and drop you at the tip of a rocky peninsula where you can enjoy panoramic ocean views, granite shorelines, lighthouses, and see evidence of previous volcanic activity that shaped this area’s landscape.

With so much beauty and so few people, it can start to feel like the Schoodic Peninsula is Acadia National Park’s best-kept secret!

This lesser-visited section of New England’s only National Park boasts amazing views and plenty of opportunities for solitude and quiet moments to soak in the beauty of this unique landscape.

On a quiet path forged through the pines, you are welcomed by the sights, sounds, and smells of the Atlantic Ocean as it crashes rhythmically to shore. Forest green and shades of gray meet with the deep blue of the ocean, extending past islands and coves to the horizon where it meets the sky.

Simply magical.

Quick Facts About Schoodic Peninsula:

  • Location: Winter Harbor, Maine
  • Driving Time: About 1 hour; 45.4 miles from Bar Harbor Maine
  • Schoodic Peninsula Entrance Fee: $30/vehicle, good for 7 days in all sections of Acadia National Park; National Parks Passes accepted
  • Minimally developed, lower visitation versus Mount Desert Island section of Acadia
  • Located 4 miles East of Bar Harbor (where the largest section of Acadia National Park resides) across Frenchman Bay if you go by boat. Roughly a 45-mile drive via the mainland
  • This is the only part of the park located on the mainland of Maine
  • Includes about 5% of Acadia National Park

How To Get to Schoodic Peninsula

Schoodic Point is one of the best Schoodic Peninsula things to do and offers amazing views out over the deep blue Atlantic Ocean

Driving Directions

Head off Mount Desert Island and connect with Maine 3 West (Bar Harbor Road). Drive about 17 miles and turn right onto Jordan River Road and then Pinkham’s Flats Road to hook on to Maine 204 East. Continue for 4 miles and turn left onto Mud Creek Road to US-1 North. Drive for 20 miles through Winter Harbor and connect to Schoodic Loop Road to enter the park. You will encounter a Visitor Center and the entrance to the Schoodic Woods Campground first.

We opted to drive to get to explore a bit more of the local surroundings and found it to be a very scenic drive, especially in autumn. The weather was perfect, the leaves were stunning and the roads were quiet.

Map of Driving Directions To Schoodic Peninsula

Taking the Ferry to Schoodic Peninsula 

If you want to go by boat across Frenchman Bay to Schoodic Peninsula, you can opt to travel by ferry from Bar Harbor to Winter Harbor on the Downeast Wind Jammer (Bay Harbor Ferry).

Tickets are sold as one-way tickets. The Ferry runs during Peak Season and can be booked online.

Cost:

  • $18 dollars for an adult (one way)
  • $14 for a child (one way)

There used to be another option, the Schoodic Ferry, but at this time this ferry is no longer providing service.

Taking the Island Explorer Bus to Schoodic Peninsula 

This free bus is a great way to ditch your car and get around in an eco-friendly way!

Both Acadia National Park and the Schoodic Peninsula are classic New England. Roads are narrow, parking is limited, and things fill up fast.

Schoodic Peninsula Island Explorer Bus Service Dates:

  • June 23 – October 14, 2024
  • Fall schedules begin the last week of August (reduced service)

You can see more about the routes and times of the shuttle from Mount Desert Island to Schoodic Peninsula here.

Schoodic Peninsula Know Before You Go

Before we dive into what you should do once you arrive at Schoodic Peninsula, here are a few things to help you plan ahead for the perfect trip:

  • Drinking water and toilets can be found at Frazer Point
  • Wet rocks can be very slick, be mindful of where you walk and how close to the water you get
  • Some hiking trails can be muddy or have lots of roots, expect uneven terrain
  • You might be sharing the road or trails with bikes and animals, keep an eye out
  • There are only a couple of designated parking areas which will require some walking if you want to explore more of the peninsula or trails by foot
  • This section of the park is small and includes fewer trails than you will find on Mount Desert Island
  • Parking: Schoodic Loop Road is a 6-mile one-way loop around Schoodic Peninsula that has ample vehicle turnouts to stop and enjoy the scenery. You can also find parking at various parking areas including the Frazer Point Picnic Area, Schoodic Point, and Blueberry Hill.

Best Things To Do on Acadia’s Schoodic Peninsula

Dogs playing in the tide pools among slick rocks that make up Schoodic Peninsula's shoreline

Acadia’s Schoodic Peninsula is popular for biking due to its wide gravel trails. This makes it a great place to explore by bike with the salty breeze brushing against your face.

It also contains Acadia National Park’s newest campground and a handful of hiking trails, making it a great place for a quiet getaway in nature where you can expect to run into smaller crowds than on Mount Desert Island.

When you arrive, first stop into the Visitor Center (shared with entrance to Schoodic Woods Campground) before venturing out for a picnic, catching the sprawling ocean views from Schoodic Point, or taking a hike to see things from a higher vantage point.

There is no shortage of things to do at the Schoodic Peninsula and we found the stops listed below worthwhile additions to our Acadia National Park itinerary!

Schoodic Peninsula Acadia Points of Interest

The stone lined street of Schoodic Loop road winding through green trees and past an ocean inlet

The following stops are the best sights and overlooks on the scenic Schoodic Loop Drive, a 6-mile one-way loop with scenic turnouts:

Frazer Point Park and Picnic Area

The first stop you will encounter along Schoodic Loop Road where you can have a picnic in the grass and enjoy views of Winter Harbor. There are also bathrooms, fire rings, and drinking water located here as well.

Winter Harbor Light

Viewable from along Schoodic Loop Road along the west side about 1.7 miles past the Visitor Center and Schoodic Woods Campground

Winter Harbor Light sitting on a rocky island surrounded by the deep blue water of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Maine

Schoodic Point

One of the main attractions of a trip to the Schoodic Peninsula!

Turn right off Schoodic Loop Road onto Arey Cove Road to head to the parking area.

You will find a large rock area to explore with vast views of Maine’s coastline and might even catch a peek at Mount Desert Island across the Bay!

This is also a great opportunity to check out the unique rocks found here, formed by volcanic activity.

Checking out the smooth, rock strewn beaches of the Schoodic Peninsula is one of the best things to do when visiting this section of Acadia National Park

Schoodic Institute

Former home to a U.S. Navy Base, now Acadia National Park’s partner in science and education. Serves as a National Park Service Research Learning Center.

Arey Cove

Located between “Big Moose Island” and “Little Moose Island” of the Schoodic Peninsula (part of the mainland). Viewable from along Schoodic Loop Road as well as from the stop at Schoodic Point.

Raven’s Nest

An iconic notch in the sea cliffs that can be viewed from along the scenic Schoodic Loop Road

Wonsqueak Harbor

The final harbor in the boundaries of the park!

Petit Manan lighthouse seen out in the distance from the shore of the Schoodic Peninsula in Acadia National Park
Far off in the distance from Schoodic Peninsula, you can see Petit Manan Lighthouse

Schoodic Peninsula Points Of Interest Map

Schoodic Peninsula Trails & Hiking

View of Cadillac Mountain from the top of Schoodic Head on the Schoodic Peninsula

Many of these Schoodic Peninsula trails can be combined, depending on your mileage goals and the types of views you hope to see! These hikes can all be found on AllTrails.

Alder Trail: a 1.3-mile out and back trail that is relatively flat. A peaceful walk in the woods easily accessible from the Blueberry Hill parking area. Dog friendly.

Anvil Trail: 2-mile moderate out and back trail. Rocky with steep sections and 515 feet of elevation gain. Views from the “Anvil” (a rocky knob) and Schoodic Head, sitting at 440 feet of elevation. Accessible from the Blueberry Hill parking area. Dog friendly.

Schoodic Head Trail: 1.1-mile out and back rocky trail with some elevation gain. Trailhead is located on Schoodic Loop Road. Can be combined with Anvil and Alder trails to form a loop. Can be muddy or slippery. Beautiful sweeping views from above and a lovely walk through the woods. Accessible from the Blueberry Hill parking area. Dog friendly.

Buck Cove Mountain Trail: 6-mile out and back trail that can be started at the Schoodic Woods Campground. Mostly wooded trail with some partial views of surroundings along the route, ending at the summit of Buck Cove Mountain and Schoodic Head with views of coastal islands. The longest established trail on Schoodic Peninsula in Acadia National Park. Dog friendly.

Lower Harbor Trail: 2.4-mile out and back trail. Rocky coastal views and some island views. Also begins near the Schoodic Woods Campground. Dog friendly.

Sundew Trail: 1.8-mile easy out and back trail. Mostly wooded with some views of the coast. Located on the grounds of the Schoodic Peninsula, parking is available in a rear parking lot. Dog friendly.

Looking out at waves crashing to shore after hiking the Schoodic Head Trail on Schoodic Peninsula in Acadia National Park

READ MORE: GUIDE TO ACADIA’S BEST HIKING TRAILS

Schoodic Peninsula Biking

Bike the Schoodic Loop Road! While shared by vehicles, it would be a beautiful ride and we found drivers were very respectful of those biking nearby.

There are also 8.3 miles of gravel paths around the peninsula to enjoy (shared with hikers). These trails can be accessed at the entrance to this section of the park, at the Schoodic Woods Visitor Center, across from Frazer Point, and through multiple points on the Eastern Section of the park near the exit.

Schoodic Peninsula is a popular destination for biking. You can find hard copies of trail maps at the Schoodic Woods Visitor Center. You can also bring your bike on the Island Explorer Bus.

View of Winter Harbor Light while driving the Schoodic Loop Road on the Schoodic Peninsula in Acadia National Park

Schoodic Peninsula Camping

Camping is one of the best ways to experience Acadia’s Schoodic Peninsula!

We loved being nestled in the trees only steps from the water in this laid-back, peaceful, section of the park. Far from the hustle and bustle of tourists in Bar Harbor, we were able to enjoy a quiet sunset on a rocky beach all to ourselves, and a star-filled sky with nothing but the sounds of nature.

Bright green tent sitting on a stone tent pad surrounded by green foliage in the Schoodic Woods Campground
Even though we had our RV over in Bar Harbor, we tried out our new backpacking gear at the Schoodic Woods Campground!

Schoodic Woods Campground

The newest campground addition for Acadia National Park and the only campground located on the mainland section of the park.

Schoodic Woods Campground has a mix of larger RV sites, smaller sites, and even walk-in tent sites (which were so fun!), all with plenty of privacy with sites surrounded by brush and trees.

Schoodic Woods Campground Amenities & Facts:

  • Located 3 miles southeast of Winter Harbor
  • Typically open end of May through early October
  • Primitive walk in/hike in tent sites (no hook-ups)
  • 20 amp drive in tent sites/small RV sites
  • RV electric only sites (20/30/50 amp)
  • RV with electric and water (20/30/50 amp)
  • Group tent sites
  • 14-night max stay length
  • Some sites can accommodate rigs up to 60 ft long
  • Flush toilets, potable water, and dump station available. No showers or laundry.
  • Easy access to bike trails
  • Check-in time after 12pm; check-out time before 10am

Reservation can be made on recreation.gov up to 2 months in advance. No first come first serve sites available.

READ MORE: Guide To The Best Camping Sites in Acadia National Park

Schoodic Peninsula Restaurants

If you are going to visit or camp in this more remote section of Acadia National Park, it helps to know there is some food nearby!

Our favorite stop for a bite to eat on the Schoodic Peninsula was the Pickled Wrinkle!

After leaving the park you will pass a restaurant with a unique name, The Pickled Wrinkle. If you have not already enjoy a picnic at Frazer Point or Schoodic Point, this is a wonderful spot for a bite to eat before the drive back to Mount Desert Island, or the campground if you are staying on the peninsula. We found it to be a busy spot on a Saturday afternoon and enjoyed delicious food and great service while sitting outside on the patio!

Burgers with locally raised beef, pizzas, salads, wings, and gluten-free options!

There are also additional restaurants in Winter Harbor if you plan to make a stop there as well!

What You’ll Love About Schoodic Peninsula

A couple and their dog sitting on the rocks of Schoodic Peninsula with the Winter Harbor Lighthouse out in the distance

As natives of Massachusetts, Acadia National Park holds a special place in our hearts.

Dense green forests, salty air, quintessential New England coastal towns, and seafood. Acadia itself is one of our favorite National Parks and taking the trip over to Schoodic Peninsula is always the perfect addition to every trip we take here.

We are always looking for places a bit off the beaten path where it is easier to slow down and be fully present. Schoodic Peninsula is the ideal spot for this.

On Mount Desert Island it is common to struggle with parking, run into traffic, and be surrounded by crowds. Hiking at sunrise was a great way to curtail crowds in many parks, but on Schoodic Peninsula the experience is different.

Mid-morning on a weekend under a clear blue sunny sky, we drove on to Schoodic Peninsula and felt as if we had stumbled upon a hidden gem.

Schoodic Peninsula is officially part of Acadia National Park, but is minimally developed and attracts far fewer visitors.

Only about 10% of Acadia National Park’s visitors make the trip to this more secluded section of the park. This preserves this area as a peaceful destination with similar stunning views you would expect from the other parts of this park.

We loved the smaller crowds we found on Schoodic Peninsula and how easy it was to find quiet moments with no one around to soak in the views and simply listen to the waves crashing against the jagged rocks of the shoreline.

You can hike, bike, picnic, bring your adventure pup and enjoy a scenic drive without the added stress of competing for space or hunting for quiet. Take a leisurely drive and enjoy unspoiled views that will leave you refreshed and recharged.

Pro Tip: Take the scenic drive over to Schoodic Peninsula from Bar Harbor in the fall to enjoy trees blooming with amber, red, and gold fall foliage colors!

There are so many amazing ways to enjoy the Schoodic Peninsula! If you are up for some additional exploring away from the crowds on Mount Desert Island, a trip to the Schoodic Peninsula is the perfect addition to your Acadia National Park Itinerary.

PLAN YOUR TRIP TO ACADIA NATIONAL PARK & THE SCHOODIC PENINSULA

Places to stay near Acadia National Park:

Acadia National Park Campgrounds:

Other Bar Harbor Area Accommodations:

Private Campground:

If you are looking for the perfect one-stop shop for comparing RV parks and glamping options and prices with instant booking, we highly recommend Campspot.

Our other favorite resources for finding great campgrounds and campsites and reading reviews include CampendiumRV Life, and iOverlander.

You can also check out HipCamp and TheDyrt for more unique camping experiences and accommodations.

RV Rentals: If you are looking to get closer to nature but don’t have an RV, consider renting one through RV Share. We used this service when renting out our Casita and found them to be high quality and easy to use!

Another great option is glamping or nature-centric stays. Here are some great options near Acadia National Park:

You can explore all Bar Harbor area accommodations and compare prices on Booking.com, which is a great resource for unique stays at the best rates.

Looking for other Acadia National Park Resources as you plan your trip? Check out our other guides!

Or get some inspiration to visit these other amazing East Coast National Parks!

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