The Schoodic Peninsula of Acadia National Park, hidden away on Maine’s mainland, is a peaceful section of rocky coast bordered by dense trees. 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.
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.
Just a hop, skip, and a 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!
About Acadia National Park
New England is a place of great charm, epic historical significance, and great natural beauty. 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.
- 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
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 this is Acadia National Park’s best-kept secret!
- 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
- Only part of the park located on the mainland of Maine
- Includes about 5% of Acadia National Park
How To Get to Schoodic Peninsula
Head off of 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.
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! Bar Harbor to Winter Harbor on the Downeast Wind Jammer (Bay Harbor Ferry). Tickets are sold as one-way tickets. $18 dollars for an adult and $14 for a child, each way. The Ferry runs during Peak Season and can be booked online.
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! This area is classic New England. Roads are narrow, parking is limited, and things fill up fast.
On Schoodic Peninsula, spring service begins on May 25, summer service starts on June 23, and fall service operates from August 23 through October 10. 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:
- 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 at Schoodic Peninsula
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, 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 it to be a worthwhile addition to our Acadia National Park itinerary.
Schoodic Peninsula Acadia Points of Interest
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
Schoodic Point: One of the main attractions of a trip to 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 reflect on the unique rocks found here, formed by volcanic activity.
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 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!
Schoodic Loop Drive: 6-mile one-way loop with scenic turnouts that will bring you to the points of interest mentioned above (as seen in the interactive map below)!
Schoodic Peninsula Trails & Hiking
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.
READ MORE IN OUR COMPLETE 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.
Schoodic Peninsula Camping
Schoodic Woods Campground: The newest campground addition for Acadia National Park and the only campground located on the mainland section of the park. We drove through during our trip to Schoodic Peninsula and this campground looked very peaceful! Some large sites and plenty of privacy with sites surrounded by brush and trees.
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 are able to 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 on camping in the area in our Guide To The Best Camping Sites in Acadia National Park
Schoodic Peninsula Restaurants
The Pickled Wrinkle
After leaving the park you will pass a restaurant with a unique name, The Pickled Wrinkle. If you did 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!
Fulfilling Travel Tips
The Schoodic Peninsula in Acadia National Park is the ideal escape for an engaging experience in nature and the opportunity to bring mindful moments to your travels. This coastal oasis is full of unique sights, sounds, smells, and sensations.
Tap into the experience in one of the many picturesque spots waiting for you to soak it all in. Follow the ocean out to where it meets the sky at the horizon, or watch the splash of a wave as it crashes upon the rocky shore. Pick up a rock and investigate it, reflecting on its origin and the journey it took to land in this exact place.
Lean into your curiosity and be mindful of your experience of this place, wherever it may lead. Create an experience that honors your needs and feeds your desires.
The only way to fully appreciate the places you go and reap the benefits is by being fully present and engaged while you are there!
What we found fulfilling about visiting Schoodic Peninsula & Acadia National Park
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 was the perfect addition to the two weeks we spent here.
We are always looking for places a bit off the beaten path where it is easier to slow down, engage our senses, 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.
Acadia National Park’s Schoodic Peninsula Overall
Schoodic Peninsula in Acadia National Park waits in the shadows of its famous sister across the bay and offers a beautiful escape to those who make the trek over.
A well-preserved gem, this area is quiet, charming, and full of life. And, with several ways of exploring this peninsula to choose from, you have the opportunity to design the experience that speaks to you.
We loved our drive over from Bar Harbor through the ambers, reds, and golds of the fall foliage, the breeze in our faces along the scenic loop road, and the views from above after ascending the rocky hiking trails.
If you are up for some additional exploring away from the crowds on Mount Desert Island, a trip to 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:
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.
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!