Formed by glaciers some 18,000 years ago, Mount Desert Island (MDI) is the jewel of the Down East region. It offers vast geographical variety, from freshwater lakes to dense forests, and from stark granite cliffs to voluptuous river valleys. There are many ways to experience the 108-sq-mile island's natural beauty, whether hiking the forested mountains, swimming in the secluded lakes or kayaking the rocky coast. About two-thirds of Mount Desert Island belongs to Acadia National Park, one of New England's biggest draws.
While the coastal vistas and spruce forests are impressive, Acadia draws enormous crowds, particularly in July and August. Be prepared for long lines and heavily congested roads, or plan your visit for the off-season. You could also opt to stay on the 'Quietside,' an affectionate and apt nickname given to the area west of the Somes Sound.