Providence to Acadia National Park Road Trip Guide


Providence is the capital city of the United State's smallest state. While the state may be small in area, it is big on history and cultural assets. In fact, the majority of Providence is a designated historical area. One of the historical gems in the city is the John Brown House. This home was constructed in 1786 and is considered one of the most beautiful homes in Providence, both for the home itself as well as for its location.

Today, you can tour the home to get a good feeling of what life was like during the late 1700s in Providence. The home is furnished with many original pieces that have been traced back to the Browns during that period. Running along the east side of the John Brown House Property is Benefit Street which is lined with several other large homes with gorgeous architecture. Known as “The Mile of History”, this area provides great views of the architecture that Providence is best known for.

The Downcity area is the main historical district in the city. This is a great place to go on a walking tour where you can admire the many original buildings which are meticulously maintained here. There is a variety of styles to be seen including late victorian, art deco, and beaux-arts.

One of the premier cultural experiences in the city is the Waterfire art display. This is a series of permanently installed bonfire pits on three of the river waterways in downtown Providence. Over 80 fires are lit nightly from May through September and they provide a warm ambiance to the area. Boats traveling along the river are also lit by torch and music from around the world can be heard in the area. The associated Waterfire Arts Center is a 15,000 square foot facility that acts as the production headquarters for the Waterfire display which also featuring many modern art displays and performances.

Holiday Acres RV Park is located east of the city and provides a great place to stay in the area. It is less than 30 minutes from the downtown attractions in the city and they have great amenities waiting for you when you return.

The trip to Acadia National Park couldn't be easier. Simply take I-95 north to Bangor, ME. From there, take US-1A east to Ellsworth. From Ellsworth, take RT-3 to Mount Desert Island where the park is located. The trip is generally flat over interstate highways. The area around Boston can get quite congested and the route from Bangor to Mount Desert Island is largely two-lane highway which can also be slow. Some of the Boston congestion can be avoided by bypassing the city on I-495. This outer loop highway will add a few miles to the trip but should cut the travel time with the decreased congestion.

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Max RV length
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 2-3 days
Recommend rig: any
audience: family

Point of Interest

The Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile walking tour that covers key sites to the start of the American Revolution. These sites include the site of the Boston Massacre, the Old North Church, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House, the USS Constitution, Boston Common, and more. While the area can be easily toured on your own, the Freedom Trail tours include a guided perspective that provides a lot of interesting historical details you would miss out on if you did it alone. Some of the sites along the tour do have their own admission fees which are not covered in the tour cost. This tour provides the best way to see the major sites on a day trip to Boston and it is a great way to spend a warm summer day in the area.

Normandy Farms Campground is a great place to stay in the area. It is located off of the I-495 bypass loop in Foxborough southwest of the city. The park is massive, highly rated, and features RV sites, primitive sites, lean-tos, yurts and tiny houses, and amazing resort amenities.

The Portland Head Light

The Portland Headlight is the oldest lighthouse on the coast of Maine. The lighthouse is located on a rocky point which is so picturesque it is the most photographed lighthouse in the US, and one of the most photographed locations in the region. While you cannot enter the lighthouse directly, there is a visitor center/museum open to the public located in the former Keeper's Quarters. There are several excellent exhibits here including examples of the several types of lighthouse lenses. Surrounding the lighthouse is the 90 acre Fort Williams Park which has several hiking trails giving majestic views of the lighthouse and the surrounding ocean.

Wassamki Springs Campground is the closest campground to downtown Portland. It is a beautiful property located on a small lake. It is family-owned, well maintained, highly rated, and conveniently located to all the attractions in Portland.

Peaks Island

The GPS coordinates provided are for the Casco Bay Ferry Terminal where you'll go to catch a ferry to Peaks Island. Peaks Island is a quaint island in Casco Bay that is only accessible by the ferry. This is a great place to go to experience the laid back New England coastal lifestyle. The island is fairly small and can be explored on foot or by golf cart rental.

There is a lot of great shopping available here with a large number of small boutique shops to explore. There are also quite a few excellent restaurants on the island for a great bite to eat. Sandy and Centennial beaches are good choices for swimming and the rocky shores of the island can be explored at Cairn Beach. All in all, this makes for a great day of casual exploring, shopping, and dining.

Maine Lobster Festival

If you enjoy seafood, you can't go to Maine without dining on their major seafood export, Homarus americanus or the American Lobster. This single food is one of the most important components of the economy of this state. The Maine Lobster Festival pays homage to this tasty crustacean and the people who harvest it from the surrounding seas. The festival is held in a seaside park in downtown Rockland, ME on the first weekend in August each year. Here you'll find all of the familiar festival activities as well as heavy volumes of lobster cooked in a broad variety of ways.

Lobster Buoy Campsites is a great place to stay nearby. It is located right on the coast with great views of the ocean as well as a very quiet peaceful environment. They have full hookup RV sites and tent sites.


Acadia National Park is a beautiful national park located on Mount Desert Island off the coast of Maine east Bangor. This area has great weather in the summer, low humidity and moderately warm temps provide nearly ideal conditions for outdoor activities. This, coupled with the surrounding beauty, made this area a playground for the rich and famous who would come up New York or Boston during the summer months.

One of those people was John D. Rockefeller who owned much of the property that now makes up the park. Today, the tradition of this area being an outdoor playground lives on as the park is largely a mecca for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and climbing. The park itself is quite large and takes up the majority of the island and is really made up of two regions. There are coastal areas that are largely solid granite walls and rock faces adjoining the ocean. Here you'll find hiking trails that explore the tide pools and rock and faces overlooking the ocean.

There are also some interesting features like the Thunder Hole, a large blowhole in the rocky coast along the park loop road. Also along the coast on the park loop road is the necessary stop of Sand Beach. This is the only place on the island where you'll find a sandy beach and it has an amazing story behind it. The beach is beautiful but make sure you come for the excellent ranger talk here. They'll explain the story behind the beach and the sand, it may well be the most interesting ranger talk you ever go to.

The inland areas are hilly and have some interesting features as well. In the early days of the area, Rockefeller built a series of carriage roads to get around more easily. These roads are wide and covered in fine gravel, making them excellent paths for hiking and cycling. There are several miles to enjoy and the roads cross several beautiful bridges as it crosses the many gullies and ravines along their routes. There are also several hiking trails throughout the park, many of which are pretty challenging as they climb the steeper faces of the mountains in the area.

The ocean is pretty cold for swimming. You can swim at Sand Beach, but tolerating 56-degree water for any length of time takes some pretty thick skin. The better swimming hole is at the beach at Echo Lake. This inland freshwater lake is fairly shallow and warms much faster than the surrounding oceans. The beach area here is pretty nice and you can also paddle the lake if you happen to have a canoe or kayak with you.

There are two other popular activities in the park. One is to watch the sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain. During most of the year, this is the first place in the United States where the sunrises so this is your opportunity to be one of the first people in the country to feel the morning warmth of the sun. The other is to walk the sand bar bridge from Bar Harbor to Bar Island. The sand bridge is only walkable for about a three hour period at low tide and it leads to Bar Island. It is also the feature that gives Bar Harbor its name. Bar Island is an uninhabited island owned by the park. On the island, there are several hiking trails and you can get some good photos of Bar Harbor while looking back across the bay.

The best place to stay is the KOA Bar Harbor Oceanside. It's located on the west coast of the island where the RT-3 mainland bridge connects. It's a beautiful park with a great location and has access to excellent ocean views.

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