Welcome to Mount Desert Island
Home of the Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island is a
breathtaking place off the south east coast of Maine. The island is
one of America's biggest, with a population of about 10,000. This
population is swelled annually by roughly four million visitors who
come to marvel at the rugged coastline, beautiful scenery and slow
pace that have captivated people since the 1800s.
Evidence of Native American settlement on Mount Desert Island
dating back roughly 5,000 years can be found in large shell heaps,
though not much is known about the island's early history. Like the
rest of Maine and surrounds, the island's European settlement was
originally French, which was then later dominated by the
In the early 1800s, a group of writers and artists known as the
'rusticators' (due to their braving of the very basic accommodation
and simple fare) began to put Mount Desert Island on the map,
immortalising its lush forest, tall peaks (in particular Mount
Cadillac) and its ocean scenery. Soon the island began to lure
America's wealthiest families and the Rockefellers, Astors,
Vanderbilts and the like soon set up ostentatious summer homes and
a period of extravagance followed, tempered only by World War II.
Fortunately, relaxation combined with conservation and many of
these families enabled the protection of the island's flora and
fauna by the creation of parks.
Today, Mount Desert Island is still a popular place to visit and
offers plenty of activities such as hiking, fishing, watersports,
horseriding and cycling; succulent Maine Lobster, and plenty of
relaxation. Bar Harbor is a picturesque town, close to the Acadia
National Park and worth a visit in its own right, though some may
find be turned off by the tacky tourist shops and bumber-to-bumper
traffic. Bar Island is accessible on foot from the pier at Bar
Harbor, and the Shore Path showcases the island's spectacular
scenery. When visiting Maine, an excursion to this island gem is an
Information & Facts
Mount Desert Island experiences a similar climate to the Maine
mainland, though temperature ranges can be more extreme. Summer
temperatures can vary from 45ºF to 85ºF (7ºC to 29ºC), while spring
and fall temperatures from 30ºF to 70ºF (-1ºC to 21ºC). Winters
experience heavy snowfall.
The Island Explorer fare-free shuttle operates late June to
Columbus Day, stopping between various lodges and campgrounds on
the island and in Acadia National Park. Visitors are required to
purchase an entrance pass to the park.
English is the most common language but Spanish is often
spoken in south-western states.
The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into
100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are
widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely
accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid
hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.