From the eastern US’s highest peak to its classic seashore, New England’s parks are perfect for hikers, beach lovers and adventurers, as well as being steeped in American history
Acadia was decreed the first national park in the eastern US, in 1919, and retains its elemental charm, with rugged granite cliffs, teeming tide pools and wild islands dotting the north Atlantic. Sections of the park are off-limits to cars and a network of horse-drawn carriage trails are still in use. It covers about half of Mount Desert Island, a rocky prominence of land divided into two lobes by the Somes Sound, and nearby smaller islands. Parts of the park appear untouched by people, while others have been developed for centuries: the island was first settled in 1609 by the French and during the Gilded Age, the country’s wealthiest families built vacation mansions in and around Bar Harbor, a pretty town that is the heartbeat of Acadia. To see one of the park’s more primitive places, take a ferry from Stonington to Isle au Haut. With a lighthouse, a campground and over 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, this rocky island is the perfect Maine coast getaway.