View from North Bubble, in Acadia National Park, Maine.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Acadia National Park

Top choice in Mount Desert Island

New England's only national park turned 100 in 2016 – it's a fine-looking centenarian. Within its borders are impressive coastal landmarks and great visitor activities.

Drivers and hikers alike can thank John D Rockefeller and other wealthy landowners for the aesthetically pleasing bridges, overlooks and stone steps that give the park its artistic merit. Rockefeller in particular worked diligently with architects and masons to ensure that the infrastructure – for both carriage roads and motor roads – would complement the surrounding landscapes.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Mount Desert Island attractions

1. Wild Gardens of Acadia

0.32 MILES

Botany buffs will appreciate the detail of these acre-sized botanic gardens, which show 12 of Acadia's biospheres in miniature, from bog and coniferous…

2. Abbe Museum at Sieur de Monts Spring

0.35 MILES

This summertime offshoot of the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor is located at the Sieur de Monts Spring area inside Acadia National Park. This was the original…

3. Cadillac Mountain


Don't leave the park without driving – or hiking – to the 1530ft summit of Cadillac Mountain. For panoramic views of Frenchman Bay, walk the paved 0.5…

4. Abbe Museum

1.48 MILES

This downtown museum contains a fascinating collection of cultural artifacts related to Maine's Native American heritage – particularly the Wabanaki…

5. Sand Beach

2.94 MILES

One of Acadia's most surprising features is this beautiful stretch of sandy shoreline tucked between mountains on the east side of Mount Desert Island…

6. Jordan Pond

3.02 MILES

On clear days, the glassy waters of this 176-acre pond reflect the image of Penobscot Mountain like a mirror. A stroll around the pond and its surrounding…

7. Thunder Hole

3.36 MILES

Waves rush into a natural opening carved into the rocks to create a thunderous splash, reaching high into the air when conditions are right. Steps from…

8. Somes Sound

5.51 MILES

This fjord-like embayment is one of the most striking natural features in Acadia. It was formed by glaciers and makes for a picturesque backdrop to a…