You have to stay close to home this summer. For East Coasters, that often translates to vacation destinations like the Vineyard, Cape, or Hamptons.
Or, you could let I-95 carry you a little farther north for an exploration of Maine’s Mount Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park. Here’s what awaits:
1. World-class scenery
Acadia has preserved two-thirds of Mount Desert Island, regularly ranked among the ten most beautiful islands in the world because of its rocky coastline, glacial lakes, boreal forests, and the only fjord on America’s Atlantic coast.
Add in lighthouses and fishing villages, and you’ll understand its unique appeal to travelers who love both the mountains and the sea.
2. Maine’s adventure triathlon
Hiking, biking, and kayaking are the trio of Acadia sports that take advantage of the park’s 130 miles of trails and 57 miles of car-free carriage roads.
Rock climbing sites are first-class, including the 110-foot Otter Cliff, where you rappel down over the crashing Atlantic surf and then climb back up.
3. Budget campgrounds
The national park service offers two campgrounds for $10-$20/night. Or, for those not into roughing it, there are other options ranging from 50s-style motels in Bar Harbor to romantic B&Bs all over the island.
If your stay is a week or longer, try negotiating rates on a rental. (Even before the meltdown, an oversupply yielded some flexibility from owners.)
4. Car-free transport
L.L. Bean offers a free, ecofriendly bus service around the island that’ll save you money and make you feel even better for foregoing that cross-hemisphere plane trip this summer. Additionally, an Acadia website lists several options for getting to Bar Harbor without a car.
5. Tasty microbreweries
6. Maine lobster
The island abounds in lobster pounds featuring mussels, steamers, New England clam chowder, and lobster pulled straight from Maine’s icy waters, which makes it the sweetest, most delicious catch anywhere.
7. Your sister-in-law lies
Nothing’s free. She’ll guilt you into picking up the tab at one of the Vineyard’s $40-entrée restaurants that make you feel just like you’d stayed home anyway.