Acadia to test its reservation system

BAR HARBOR — The National Park Service has developed a vehicle reservation system to reduce severe traffic and parking congestion at popular destinations within Acadia National Park. As a pilot to prepare for the 2021 season, reservations will be required for vehicles to enter the Sand Beach entrance and Cadillac Summit Road from Oct. 1 to 18. Vehicle reservations are available for purchase only online at

“The majority of the park is open just as it has always been, including access to all of the carriage roads and all but a few hiking trails,” said Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “If you want to visit the park’s most popular areas during peak times with your vehicle, you now have the opportunity to guarantee access with a reservation. If you walk or bike into a vehicle reservation area, reservations are not required.”

The Sand Beach entrance will require vehicle reservations from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Cadillac Summit Road will require vehicle reservations from 4:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. All reservations provide a timed entry, but do not require a departure time. Reservations do not guarantee a specific parking space. In addition to having a valid park entrance pass, reservations must be purchased for $2 each online.

Conducting a pilot of the vehicle reservation system in October will help the park prepare a full season of vehicle reservations in 2021.

“Providing a positive visitor experience is in the best interest of the business community here in Bar Harbor and around Acadia,” said Alf Anderson, executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce. “Knowing in advance when a family will have a convenient place to park while they watch the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, marvel at Thunder Hole, or play on Sand Beach will make their visit to Acadia National Park more relaxing and enjoyable.”

Future plans to improve visitor safety, reduce traffic and parking congestion, and protect park resources include enhancing the Island Explorer bus service and developing the Acadia Gateway Center transit hub in Trenton and a new visitor center and parking area in Hulls Cove.

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