"If you don't like the weather in
New England now, just wait a few minutes. . . "
The weather on Mount Desert Island is largely a product of latitude and marine influences. On a daily and annual basis, Mount Desert Island temperatures are more moderate than those of inland Maine. The Maine coastal climate has been ranked second only to the Pacific Northwest in annual precipitation. This moisture occurs in every form in Acadia. Ice and snow are regular in winter and early spring, and rain can be frequent every month. Fog is common during June, July, and August.
The best time to visit the island and Acadia National Park depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for summer temperatures and lots of things to do, then July and August would be the timeframe to choose.
Are you looking to avoid summer crowds? September offers lovely temperatures with far fewer visitors in Bar Harbor and other Mount Desert Island towns (although it is also the height of cruise ship season). Are you on the hunt for beautiful fall foliage? Plan a trip to the island in early October when the leaves are nearing their peak. And although winter and spring are often overlooked, both offer wonderful things to do if you know where to look.
"Time & Tide Wait for No One"
Nowhere is this adage more true than along the Acadian coastline. The nation’s most extreme tidal ranges occur in this area, and they become even more dramatic as you head “Down East,” toward the Canadian Maritime provinces. Every six hours or so, the tide begins either ebbing or flowing, so you’ll have countless opportunities for observing tidal phenomena.
Tides govern coastal life, and everyone is a slave to the tide chart. In tidal regions, boats tie up with extra-long lines, clammers and worm-diggers schedule their days by the tides, hikers have to plan ahead for shoreline exploring, and kayakers need to plan their routes to avoid getting stuck.
Average tidal ranges (between low tide and high tide) in the Mount Desert Island area are 10-11 feet, and extremes are 12-13 feet.
Tides, as we all learned in elementary school, are a lunar phenomena, created by the gravitational pull of the moon; the tidal range depends on the lunar phase. Tides are most extreme at new and full moons—when the sun, moon, and earth are all aligned.
Caution is also essential in tidal areas. Unless you’ve carefully plotted tide times and heights, don’t park a car, bike, or boat trailer on a beach; make sure your sea kayak is lashed securely; don’t take a long nap on shoreline granite; and don’t cross a low tide land spit without an eye on your watch.