Exploring Acadia National Park With Dogs
When in Maine, Acadia National Park should be at the top of everyone’s list of adventures. Whether it’s a spring visit, a summer tour, or an autumn trip to peep some leaves during the fall foliage, Acadia is a must see.
My boyfriend and I decided to plan a long weekend in Acadia with Jax and Kai. The dogs have not been before, and it seemed like the perfect time of year to make the trip, given the brilliant colors of the changing leaves.
After doing plenty of research ahead of time, we mapped out dog friendly lodging, safe trails for the dogs in the park, and dog friendly restaurants nearby.
Acadia: The Pet Friendly National Park
On their website, the National Park Service outlines which trails and areas are restricted to dogs in Acadia, mostly for their safety. Some of these trails are too steep, too narrow, and overall unsafe for pets. Although there are many trails dogs have to bypass, there are so many more that are safe and open to dogs.
We had no problem finding trails fitting for our pups. In fact, there was one area in particular that the dogs had a blast at: Long Pond.
During our research, we discovered that Long Pond is an area where dogs are permitted to visit off leash. We made a point to hike through the trails to find Long Pond to give Jax and Kai time off of their leashes for them to run freely and even swim. Long Pond is one of the few areas where people and dogs can swim. Most of the water bodies in Acadia National Park are restricted areas where visitors cannot swim because these water bodies are reserved for public drinking water.
Fortunately, Long Pond is open for swimming and enjoyment. Jax and Kai had the best time chasing each other through the vast meadow. Jax is not a fan of water, but Kai sure is and he jumped right into the pond to cool off. It was fun to enjoy the view while the dogs ran around, especially because this part of the area was so quiet. This was probably the highlight of the trip for the dogs, and definitely a great memory for us.
Another area of Acadia we spent a lot of time with the dogs in was Jordan Pond. Jordan Pond has a trail wrapped around the body of water that covers 3.4 miles of a hiking area. At first, this seemed like a great plan since we wanted to exercise the dogs while exploring and sightseeing. However, I think it is important to note that most of this trail has boards raised above the trail to protect the park’s fragile ecosystem. These boards are two wide planks of wood side-by-side that we had to walk on for a good portion of the trail. Some areas widened into four planks in a row as well.
While this was bearable, the path was not conducive to two-way traffic. It made it hard for us to easily pass by other hikers, especially with two dogs on leashes. Additionally, some of the boards were a bit loose, which made it a bit wobbly. I almost rolled my ankle a few times!
After the boards, there is a length of the trail that contains large rocks and small boulders that you have to pass over. Dogs can handle it, especially healthy and fit pups, but I imagine this hike would not be fitting for elderly dogs or dogs with physical limitations. I would consider this trail to be of the moderate caliber. If you get the chance to hike Jordan Pond with your dog(s), just keep this in mind.
After the rocky area, the path ended up turning into a normal, easy trail. The rest of the journey was a breeze and we enjoyed the sun setting on our return back to the parking lot. We saw a beaver wading in the pond on our trek, which was super neat to see. By the end of the hike, the dogs were thoroughly tired and slept until we made it to our cabin.
Gallagher’s Travels: The Dog Friendly Cabin
We ended up making a reservation at one of the few dog friendly lodging areas in the region. We did not want to camp on this trip, so we lucked out when we happened upon Gallagher’s Travels. This company offers motels and dog friendly cabins. We had our own cabin with a king size bed, a kitchenette, and bathroom. We had a little porch out front and plenty of greenery for the dogs to do their business.
The best part of our cabin (other than it being a quick five minutes from Acadia) was that we only had to pay a mere $15 per dog, per night. The staff actually ended up charging us $25 total to give us a bit of a deal, which was amazing. Many other pet friendly hotels in the area charged $75+ per dog, per night. We were so happy to see that Gallagher’s Travels was more accommodating than nearby establishments. The owner of the company himself made a point to tell us that he does not believe in price gouging pet owners. It was a relief to find lodging with a company that shared our values.
59 Cottage: A Dog Friendly Restaurant
We totally lucked out when it came to finding dog friendly restaurants in Bar Harbor, Maine. After a full day hiking through Acadia, we wanted a quick pick when it came to grabbing dinner before bed. We discovered 59 Cottage, a dog friendly restaurant, only a short drive from our cabin.
59 Cottage boasts themselves on being dog friendly. They have a big sign out front of their building proclaiming dogs are part of the family. Their outdoor patio made the ideal setting to have dogs. When we called ahead to confirm our reservation, apparently the staff got ready for us and our two dogs. By the time we arrived, a table was ready for us with a little water bowl ready for Jax and Kai. It was such a nice touch having the restaurant staff so welcoming to not only us, but also our pets.
We enjoyed the food and the dog friendly service so much that we ended up eating at 59 Cottage again the following morning for breakfast!
Overall, our trip to Acadia was a blast. The dogs had the best time and we really enjoyed leaf peeping during peak season in Bar Harbor. It was great exercise for us and the dogs to get outside to hike and enjoy the fresh air. I definitely see us visiting Acadia with Jax and Kai again!
If you ever make it to Maine, be sure to visit Acadia during your trip!