Getting around Acadia National Park is easy when you ride the free Island Explorer shuttle bus system. Ten bus routes link hotels, inns, and campgrounds on Mount Desert Island and the mainland at Ellsworth and Trenton to destinations throughout the park and neighboring towns and villages, including Bar Harbor, Northwest Harbor, and Southwest Harbor.
These environmentally-friendly and accessible buses go nearly everywhere you want to go on the island, when you want to go. So, if you choose, you can leave your car parked, leave the driving to someone else, and avoid parking the parking hassles of busy summer days in the park. Hop the bus and ride stress-free to get to the beach, hiking trails, the carriage roads, museums, shops, restaurants, and other park attractions.
Island Explorer buses are fare free, but riders must still purchase an Acadia National Park entrance pass. Visitors can buy park passes at the information center and bus hub at the Bar Harbor Village Green, the Hulls Cove Visitor Center, the Thompson Island Information Center, Blackwoods Campground, Seawall Campground, the Sand Beach Entrance Station, and Park Headquarters. Park passes are required for the period May 1 through October 31.
Island Explorer buses operate from late June through early October. Bus schedules are available as part of the Beaver Log, the park’s paper newspaper, at the above-listed park locations, and online at the Island Explorer website. Check the schedule for service times and pick-up/drop-off locations. Look for bus shelters and kiosks at popular park locations, where electronic signboards will indicate actual bus arrival times.
- Route 1 -- Campgrounds route, connects Trenton Airport with Bar Harbor.
- Route 2 -- Eden Street, connects the Bar Harbor Village Green to hotels just north of town.
- Route 3 -- Sand Beach, connects Bar Harbor to Sand Beach and Blackwoods Campground.
- Route 4 -- Loop Road, travels the Park Loop Road from Hulls Cove Visitor Center and back.
- Route 5 -- Jordan Pond, connects Bar Harbor with Northeast Harbor by way of the Jordan Pond House and the Park Loop Road.
- Route 6 -- Brown Mountain, connects Bar Harbor with Southwest Harbor and Tremont.
The Bicycle Express provides bicyclists and their bicycles with quick service between Bar Harbor and Eagle Lake, where the carriage roads can be accessed.
The Jordan Pond House Express makes regular express runs between the Hulls Cove Visitor Center and Jordan Pond House in the heart of the park, where visitors can enjoy tea and popovers, and access a wealth of hiking trails and carriage roads. And the Ellsworth Express connects the Hulls Cove Visitor Center with lodging in Ellsworth.
The free Island Explorer is made possible by contributions from L.L. Bean, the Freeport, Maine outdoor retailer. Since 2002, the company has donated more than $3.25 million to Friends of Acadia for use in operating the Island Explorer and other park protection efforts.