Acadia National Park is not nearly as acclaimed as some of the other big players on the National Park stage such as Yosemite, Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, and Zion, but it is still a beautiful park nonetheless. We went on this tour as our shore excursion when our Canada and New England Cruise stopped in the port of Bar Harbor, Maine. You can read about our day in Bar Harbor, Maine in more detail here.
I found the tour through a simple google search for Acadia National Park tours. We chose this tour company because Oli’s Trolley unlike Acadia National Park Tours had a 4 hour tour option. The Acadia National Park Tours only had a 2.5 hour option which Oli’s Trolley’s also had. The 2.5 hour option for Oli’s Trolley’s stopped at Thunder Hole, Jordan Pond House, and Cadillac Mountain (the highest point on the eastern seaboard).
The 2.5 hour option for Acadia National Park Tour stopped at the same places, except, they may swap out Jordan Pond House with Sieur De Monts Spring instead. Each stop would be only 15 minutes long, which is basically enough time to grab a quick snapshot at best. On the 4 hour tour, Oli’s Trolley’s would add in the stop of Sieur De Monts Spring, and all stops would be 30 minutes long, allowing for a little more exploring. We ultimately chose the 4 hour tour so we would have an extra stop and have more time to explore each stop rather than just get off the bus and take a quick photo.
There are MANY options regarding times for the 2.5 hour Oli’s Trolley tour, leaving almost every hour, but for the 4 hour tour, you are limited to a 9:30AM start time. This was a little inconvenient, especially because we had to take a tender to get into the port, so you had to get up especially early to make the tour.
The price of the tour was very reasonable. At $60 for adults and $45 for children ages 11 and under, for our family of 4, it was only $215. The 2.5 hour tour was also very reasonable with adults $40 and $25 for children. The Acadia National Park Tour company was even cheaper with a price of $32.50 for adults and $20 for children for their 2.5 hour tour. However, they did not offer a 4 hour tour.
Oli’s Trolley’s was conveniently located right next to where the tenders for our ship docked. It is literally a 1 minute walk from the dock to their check in office. The check in process is relatively painless, and they give you a ticket that you are to hand to the attendant at the boarding area. The boarding area is only 1 block down the road. There is also a small kiosk there in the event you would rather check in there rather than their office in the gift shop on the dock. They give you a ticket after you check in which you give to the attendant when you board the trolley at their pick up area.
We got in line to board the trolley, as our tour time was 9:30AM and it was only 9:00AM. The trolley pulled in at about 9:05 and we started boarding shortly thereafter. The trolley is well maintained and very clean. They looked relatively new with minimal wear. Our tour time was 9:30AM, but we left at 9:15AM once everyone was on board. Overall it was a pretty efficient system and well organized and there staff seemed pretty knowledgeable.
It was only a short 20 minute drive to our first 30 minute stop, and our guide talked about the history of the park and the area. The first stop was Sieur De Monts Spring. To be honest, this stop was pretty underwhelming. There was a small nature center here, which provided some exhibits that our kids enjoyed.
There was also a wigwam that our kids enjoyed exploring.
And lastly, there was a garden with a stream. There was a frog in the stream that my kids were intrigued with at least.
As our first stop, I was a little underwhelmed. Given the limited amount of time we had in the park, I was not sure that the 30 minutes we spent with the wigwam, nature center, and a small garden and stream were really worth our time, but to each his own. We boarded back onto the trolley and made our way to our next stop, Thunder Hole.
There was some pretty scenery on the way to the next stop.
Thunder Hole definitely lived up to it’s reputation. Thunder Hole gets it’s name as when water crashes into the hole, due to the shape of the whole, it makes a thundering sound, and I would definitely have to agree.
Thunder Hold was also on the coast, so we got to see some very pretty views.
The rocks were very easily accessible as well for those that are physically able to climb and jump around on them. My kids definitely enjoyed their time exploring this stop.
The second stop was a vast improvement from the first, and I was starting to feel like this tour would definitely be worthwhile now. We left this stop and proceed to Jordan Pond. There was a small restaurant at this stop that I would have loved to have eaten at if we had enough time.it
It was a short 5 minute walk to actual pond, and it was worth it.
The views are beautiful, and the kids of course loved hopping around on the rocks as always.
I definitely wish we could have spent more time here. There were several hiking trails around the pond that would have been fun to go on.
We left here for our fourth and final stop, Cadillac Mountain. This mountain is the tallest point on the eastern seaboard, so it had been hyped all day. We were a little nervous as it was VERY foggy today, but miraculously as we made our way up the mountain, the skies began to clear. The view here was spectacular.
And of course, what do kids want to do when there are rocks? Climb them.
We could have easily spent significantly more time here admiring the view.
But unfortunately, our tour time was up. So we hopped on board our trolley and headed back to where we boarded our trolley. We finished at 1:30PM, which was exactly the time we were anticipated to finish.
In short, I found this tour very enjoyable. It was very efficient for 4 hours, and if anything I wish they offered a 6 hour version with more time at the stops, or added stops. I definitely question the purpose of the stop at Sieur du Mont simply because the reason most people are going to Acadia National Park is for the views. On such an abbreviated visit, using 30 minutes of time to see a nature center and garden, while educational, could be better spent either extending time at the other 3 stops, stopping at more scenic locations. For the price, it was very reasonable in my opinion at just $215 for 4 hours. I definitely do not recommend the 2.5 hour tour, unless you just want to stay on the trolley the entire time. 15 minutes at each of these stops is almost impossible to do anything but snap a quick photo at best.
From a family perspective, this is a great family tour. While it is 4 hours long, which can seem like a long time to have kids on a trolley, you were never on the trolley for longer than 20 minutes at a time at the longest. Every time we stopped there were bathrooms easily accessible for those bathroom emergencies. The last two stops, Jordan Pond and Cadillac Mountain also had snacks and food available for purchase in the event your kiddos got an urge to eat.
All of the locations were very kid friendly. There really isn’t much to break at any of the locations, and aside from Thunder Hole, there aren’t really any cliffs or areas for the kiddos fall off of. Overall, our kids seemed to enjoy their time exploring each stop.
I would definitely recommend this tour, and give it 5/5 stars. It was efficient and well run. The tour guide was very knowledgeable, and the sites, aside from the Sieur du Mont were absolutely beautiful.