An hour’s drive from Bar Harbor, on the far side of Frenchman Bay, the already-scenic Schoodic Peninsula got even more inviting last summer with a new campground and trail system. Might sparsely visited Schoodic secretly be Acadia’s coolest corner?
Clambering on granite rocks at Schoodic Point is a great way to break up the 6-mile scenic drive encircling the peninsula — especially if you like dramatic ocean views, crashing waves, sea ducks, and the occasional pod of harbor seals. It’s not the only picturesque spot along the byway (see Raven’s Nest, right), but show up on a bright, cloudless day and you’ll understand why artists set up stools and easels here for hours at a time.
Schoodic Education and Research Center
A former naval base at the tip of the peninsula now welcomes researchers and casual visitors seeking to better understand the park’s natural/cultural history and resources. An interpretive exhibit in the stately, stone-and-brick Rockefeller Hall traces the center’s history and mission, but the real draw is the slate of workshops and excursions (on everything from birding to quilting), plus free lectures by fascinating (and approachable!) scientists and authors. 207-288-1310. schoodicinstitute.org
Schoodic Woods Campground
It’s the newest campground in the whole National Park system and it’s a beauty, with interpretive activities in a 100-seat amphitheater, a cozy fireplace nook in the visitor center, and a location at the heart of the newly expanded trail system. Of the 94 spacious sites, 33 accommodate RVs and nine are backcountry-style walk-in sites (pro tip: walk-in sites 2 and 9 have knockout views of MDI’s skyline).
A Mess of New Trails
Off-pavement recreation at Schoodic had been limited to 3 miles of hiking trail, but last year saw the addition of 8 miles of hilly, wooded bike paths — an aerobic ride showing off lovely coastal vistas — plus 6 more miles of hiking trails. New routes access a seal-frequented cove, bald-topped Buck Cove Mountain, and a northern approach to 440-foot Schoodic Head, with its bazillion-mile views in all directions. Everything intersects, so boot-and-bike loop options are endless.
Photographs: Cait Bourgault (bikes, camper); Tom Blagden Jr., from Acadia National Park: A Centennial Celebration (Raven’s Nest)