Many Maine residents skip Acadia National Park during the summer to avoid the crowds. There are places in the park that few know about that can be enjoyed year-round. Places like Ship Harbor.
Located just east of the Bass Harbor Lighthouse, a 1.3-mile nature trail leads to the rocky shore where you can enjoy a quiet lunch or read a book without a lot of company.
Shortly after the trailhead, bear right to follow the path along the protected harbor, where an Irish schooner, the Grand Design, ran aground in the 1600s, according to “A Walk in the Park” by Tom St. Germain. Follow the path through the woods out to the ocean where you’ll have views of Great Cranberry Island and the Duck Islands. This is a great spot to relax and watch eider ducks and the occasional seal.
You can follow the nature trail through the woods back to the parking lot. Or, for a longer, more scenic – and rocky – walk, continue along the shoreline to Wonderland, a peninsula with a small cobble beach.
Follow the trail through the woods to the Wonderland parking area and walk about a quarter mile along Route 102-A back to the Ship Harbor parking lot.
The Ship Harbor trail and a small parking area are on Route 102-A between the Seawall Campground and the Bass Harbor Lighthouse.