Schoodic Point – 8 Reasons You HAVE To Visit

When many people think of Maine, Acadia National Park is one of the first things that comes to mind.

And it’s understandable, given Acadia is consistently one of the top-five most visited national parks in the United States annually.

If you’ve ever visited, you likely know that along with its incredible beauty comes dealing with incredible crowds of people during the summer peak season.

But what if I told you there was a little visited section of Acadia National Park that you could visit during peak season without all the crowds?

And what if I told you that within this section of Acadia was a hidden gem of a location that might even be the most beautiful part of all of Acadia National Park?

You likely wouldn’t buy it, but it’s true.  

Let me tell you about Schoodic Point, and give you eight of the many reasons you’ve got to add it to your bucket list travel destinations.

About Schoodic Point, Maine

FEES: YES – need to have purchased a pass to enter this section of Acadia National Park.
PARKING: YES – designated Schoodic Point parking area and multiple others along loop road.
BATHROOMS: YES – clean facilities located onsite.
CROWDS: LOW – usually not crowded.
DOG FRIENDLY: YES – dogs are welcome on a leash.

The little visited section of Acadia National Park I mentioned above is called the Schoodic Peninsula.

It’s located on the coast just below the small town of Winter Harbor, Maine – about an hour’s drive northeast of the main section of Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island.

The Schoodic Peninsula features a campground, a number of hiking trails, and quite a few beautiful areas to stop off of the scenic Schoodic Loop Road that winds through it for some of the top coastal views in the state.

The best of these areas is Schoodic Point, which lies at the very southern tip of the peninsula.

Many that visit Schoodic Point swear that it is even more unique and beautiful than any section of the main park on Mount Desert Island.

More detail on why shortly, but that’s only part of what makes Schoodic Point so magical.

Here are eight reasons you need to make your way to Schoodic Point as soon as possible, while it still somehow flies under the radar as Acadia’s hidden gem.

1) Experience Acadia National Park Without The Crowds

Schoodic Point and the rest of the Schoodic Peninsula makes up only about 5% of the total area of Acadia National Park.

The Schoodic section also only sees about 10% of the tourists that the main portion of the park on Mount Desert Island sees each year, making it easily the quietest part of Acadia.

Even during peak season in the summertime, you’ll have Schoodic Point almost to yourself most days, especially if you’re an early riser.

Schoodic Point is still a little-known-about hidden gem, but its popularity slowly continues to grow each year as folks realize they can ditch the crowds on Mount Desert Island for an even better experience on the Schoodic Peninsula.

So if you’re looking to escape the crowds but still experience Acadia National Park, Schoodic Point is the place to go.

2) Scenery Even Better Than That On Mt. Desert Island?

The scenery is the main reason many folks flock to Maine’s Acadia National Park each year.

And while it’s in the eye of the beholder, many will swear that the scenery at Schoodic Point in this part of Acadia is more beautiful than what you’ll find in the main park area on Mount Desert Island.

At Schoodic Point, you’ll get breathtaking views of the ocean and the rocky shorelines that line the coast of most of this area of Maine.

Schoodic Point’s shorelines feature walls of granite that extend straight down into the ocean and bear the brunt of the waves.

And from the main parking area, there are some steps that take you down onto the rocks so you can explore much of this beautiful shoreline and some of the tidal pools that exist here up close.

The Schoodic Peninsula also offers beautiful wooded forests that offer a Northwoods fragrance mixed with the salty air from the sea for a truly unique experience.

There are a number of hiking trails that will wind you through these woods to a handful of overlooks with awesome views of the geological shorelines and ocean below.

Catching a sunrise or sunset at Schoodic Point is something that can only be described as magical.

3) See Crashing Waves Similar to Thunder Hole

One of the main attractions of Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island is Thunder Hole.

Thunder Hole is a carved out space in the rocky shoreline where incoming waves send sprays of water high into the air as they impact this space in the rocks.

It’s an awesome experience, but a very crowded one.  Schoodic Point makes an excellent alternative to Thunder Hole without the crowds.

Even during calm weather, the waves rolling into the rocky shoreline at Schoodic Point have much of the same effect and send sprays of water high into the air.

And this happens in multiple areas along Schoodic Point’s shoreline, so you can spread out and still witness the awesome sight and sound of the waves crashing into the rocks.

Since there are no barriers at Schoodic Point, you should exercise extreme caution on the rocks for this reason – especially when the seas are rough.

Not only do the incoming waves make the rocks slippery, but large waves have been known to wash those who get too close out to sea.

So keep an eye on the kiddos, and make sure you don’t get closer than is safe.

4) Experience The Schoodic National Scenic Byway & Loop

The Schoodic National Scenic Byway is a 29-mile route that begins in Hancock, Maine and takes you on a loop drive down through the southern tip of the Schoodic Peninsula and back up, ending in Prospect Harbor.

Along this route, you’ll get breathtaking views of the ocean, Frenchman Bay, lighthouses, wildflowers, and Cadillac Mountain in the distance.

But the real treat comes as you enter the Schoodic Peninsula, with the Schoodic National Scenic Byway turning into Schoodic Loop Road and leading you slowly through the park to its southernmost tip at Schoodic Point.

There’s a Schoodic Point parking area just off this road where you can park and make the short walk to Schoodic Point.

And are multiple places to pull off, park and explore other areas of this part of Acadia along Schoodic Loop Road.

You’ll find that this loop section of the Schoodic Scenic Byway is much less crowded than the loop road in the main Acadia park area, and is just as scenic with awesome views of Maine’s iconic rocky coastline.

And at about 6.5 miles total, Schoodic Loop Road is shorter than the loop section of Acadia on Mt. Desert Island.  

So it offers more ability to bike, walk, or run the loop road through the Schoodic Peninsula for those who may want to.

5) Stay In Nearby Winter Harbor For True Maine Experience

Winter Harbor is a sleepy little town on the mainland of Maine, about a 45-minute drive northeast from Bar Harbor and the main section of Acadia.

But many make the wise decision to use Winter Harbor as a quiet, more peaceful homebase to come back to and relax after dealing with the crowds in Bar Harbor and Acadia all day.

Whether planning to visit Bar Harbor or not, staying in Winter Harbor offers a number of advantages.

  • Schoodic Point and the rest of the Schoodic portion of Acadia National Park are just about a 10-15 minute drive south of Winter Harbor.
  • The Winter Harbor Ferry offers rides to Bar Harbor and back with a unique sea experience along the way.
  • The free Island Explorer Shuttle offers transportation from Winter Harbor to the Schoodic Peninsula.
  • Winter Harbor offers some of the more underrated restaurant options in the state of Maine.
  • Winter Harbor offers more of the true “day to day life in Maine” experience than the tourist trap of Bar Harbor does.

And while Winter Harbor offers plenty of places to stay, the charming and scenic towns of Prospect Harbor, Corea, and Gouldsboro are all nearby and make for great options as well.

6) Plenty Of Parking & Nice Facilities

If you’ve driven the loop road through the main park area on Mount Desert Island, you’ve seen the vast number of cars overflowing the parking lots and onto the road side.

This is not the case at Schoodic Point, as the parking area is usually not even full and you’ll likely see more walkers on Schoodic Loop Road than you will cars.

There’s a large parking lot at Schoodic Point, which is just a short walk to the overlook and stairs that will take you down to the rocks for a closer view.

There are also some very nice bathroom facilities here.

And there are multiple other parking areas to pull over and explore the different parts of the Schoodic section of Acadia along Schoodic Loop Road – most of which are never full.

7) Have A Picnic To Yourselves

Schoodic Point offers plenty of space to spread out among the granite rocks that line its shores and have a picnic all to yourself.

The many rocky areas provide plenty of places to spread out a blanket or unfold some lawn chairs and enjoy some food with the family while taking in the views.

Good luck doing this anywhere among the crowds you’ll find in the main area of Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island during peak season.

Local Tip – bring along some bread for the many gulls who call Schoodic Point home.

8) Schoodic Point Is Dog Friendly

Schoodic Point and the rest of the Schoodic Peninsula are dog friendly, so feel free to bring along your pups.

This unique section of Acadia offers all the smells, so they’ll have a great time exploring this less crowded area with you.

Stop by the Pickled Wrinkle just as you leave the park area to enjoy their patio with your pup, a local Maine beer and a meal.

Final Word

While Schoodic Point and the surrounding Schoodic Peninsula area of Acadia National Park should retain their natural beauty forever, the same likely can’t be said about their status as a hidden gem.

Eventually folks will catch on, and this little section of Acadia will start to feel more and more crowded.

So take advantage of this while you can, and take advantage of the fact that you’ve found this site full of hidden gems in the US.

For other hidden gems in Maine, look no further than just up the road from Schoodic Point to two more coastal spots in Sandy River Beach and Jasper Beach.