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Vacationing with Your Dog

Mount Desert Island Is probably one of the best places in the world to vacation with your dog.

In Acadia National Park alone There are 100 miles (161 km) of hiking trails and 45 miles (72 km) of carriage roads in the park where dogs are permitted. Pets are welcomed at the Blackwoods and Seawall Campgrounds and on Isle au Haut, pets are permitted for day hiking. Jordon Pond House is the perfect place to go after a hike, where dogs are given bowls of water and an occasional complementary popover.

Many businesses in and around the park cater to dogs and their owners. Offering places to stay, bowls of water to drink and specialty products, like puppy ice cream sundaes. Check out our pet friendly listing to plan your days outing.

Here are a few things you should know to insure that you and your pup have a safe and happy vacation in this beautiful place.

First and foremost here are the Acadia National Park Guidelines, more information can be found here.

  • Pets must be restrained on a leash no longer than 6 feet (2 m).
  • Pets should not be left unattended. Summer sunshine poses a threat to pets in vehicles.
  • Pet owners are responsible for removing pet waste from campground, picnic areas, parking lots, roads, and other developed areas.

Restricted Areas

  • Most lakes in the park are public water supplies. Pets and people may not swim in them.
  • Sand Beach and Echo Lake are off-limits to pets (May 15 - September 15).
  • Public buildings
  • Ranger-led programs
  • Wild Gardens of Acadia (Sieur de Monts)
  • Duck Harbor Campground

Service Animals

Service animals are an exception to these rules and may accompany
their owner to all park locations.

Pet Friendly Transportation

Island Explorer-Since 1999, propane-powered Island Explorer buses have carried more than two million passengers in Acadia National Park, eliminating more than 685,000 automobile trips and preventing 6,444 tons of greenhouse gases. The fare-free buses are supported by your entrance fees.  Best of all, they welcome your well behaved dog. You can get more information here.

Carriage paths

Between 1913 and 1940, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., financed and directed the construction of 45miles of Carriage Roads for the use of hikers, bikers, horse riders, and horse-drawn carriages on the island. These idyllic paths wind through lakes filled with beaver lodges and over beautiful stone bridges. They are a must for anyone who loves a doggie walk or jog.

Here are a few tips:

  • It is customary to walk on the right side of the path and pass on the left.
  • Unplug one ear. I love walking and running with my dogs on the carriage paths to music. There are no cars to worry about, but the paths abound with exuberant vacationers on bicycles who don’t always look where they are going and though it is unusual, I have occasionally encountered Acadia park maintenance vehicles. You can also encounter horse riders and carriages especially around Seal Harbor, where Wild Wood Stables reside.
  • There are parts of the carriage roads where horses are not permitted, so if your dog is not horse friendly you can check the Acadia National Park map for a horse free destination.

Hiking the Trails

I go for a hike with my dogs at least once a week, for most of the year. Acadia has hiking trails with beautiful vistas for every level of hiker and dog.

  • Always keep your dog on a leash. Aside from being a rule, it is a great safety measure. At the veterinary hospital we see more than a few unfortunate dogs injured by chasing a squirrel off a cliff or getting in to a scuffle with a porcupine.
  • Go early, The temperature is cooler and you will meet less people.
  • Bring ample water (and bowl if needed) For both you and your dog.
  • Check a good trail map to make sure the trail is appropriate for dogs. Many trails make use of ladders and rungs or have narrow bridges with steep drops. The trail guide we always use is " A Walk in thePark", by Bar Harbor native and dog lover Tom St Germain.
  • Gage both your ability and your dogs accurately. It’s not so easy carrying an 80lbs Labrador down Cadillac.

Below is the official Acadia National Park listing for trails closed to dogs and trails where dogs are discouraged.

Acadia National Park lists these trails as closed to pets

  • Precipice
  • Beehive
  • Ladder Trail to Dorr Mountain
  • Beech Cliffs Trail
  • Perpendicular Trail (Mansell Mountain)
  • Jordan Cliffs Trail between Penobscot East Trail and the carriage road

Acadia National Park lists these trails as not recommended for pets

  • Acadia Mountain
  • Flying Mountain
  • Giant Slide
  • Cadillac Mountain- west face
  • Pond Trail - east side
  • Norembega Goat Trail
  • Bubbles-Pemetic Trail
  • Penobscot Mountain (Spring) Trail
  • Upper Beachcroft Trail
  • Upper Gorge Trail


Acadia National Park boasts miles of ocean and an unbelievable amount of beautiful lakes and streams. When it’s hot and you and your dog are on an island your dog is going to want to swim. It’s a great way to stay cool, but here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Sand beach and Echo Lake are off limits to dogs (May 15 - September 15), even on leash. Many of the lakes in ANP are reservoirs for the surrounding communities and therefore off limits to not only pets, but people too. So check the signs or the Acadia National Park website.
  • Dogs who have never seen sea water may not know that they shouldn’t  drink it. Drinking sea water causes vomiting , diarrhea and dehydration and is one of the veterinary hospitals most common emergencies in July And August.
  • Be extra attentive, small dogs may not be able to navigate the rough surf and can easily drown. Schoodic point has been especially dangerous over the years. There have been several cases of dogs being swept away and owners drowning trying to save them.

In the event of an Emergency:

  • Cell phone coverage is spotty in the park and on some parts of the island, so plan accordingly.
  • If your in Acadia National Park and have an emergency the rangers are your best friends, even if you haven’t followed the park rules. You may receive a small fine, but they will help you out! To reach them dial 911 and the police will transfer you to park dispatch.
  • Call Acadia Veterinary Hospital at (207) 288-5733. If it is after hours we can direct you to the nearest emergency facility. It’s a good idea to call ahead to make sure someone is at the hospital and prepared to handle your pets emergency when you arrive. 
  • Lost Dogs– On Mount Desert Island the police departments and park rangers are the ones who pick up lost dogs. Call 911 and the dispatcher will direct you to the appropriate police station or park headquarters, they will even contact the coast guard if needed. Injured pets are taken to Acadia Veterinary Hospital, but if they are not injured and do not have identification they could be taken to the SPCA of Hancock County off island in Trenton. A great island resource that has gotten many dogs and cats back home swiftly is the MDI Lost/Found Pet Alert on Facebook.

Accommodations and Restaurants that allow dogs.

Many hotels , rental cottage and restaurants are happy to accommodate your dog. You can find a list on this website.  We are all grateful to Acadia National Park for being dog friendly. We are also extremely grateful to the many shop owners, Hotel and cottage owners, coffee shop owners and restaurant owners who embrace our 4 legged furry members of our family.

Please be a good guest and have fun out there.

Our thanks to Acadia National Park for providing information

If you have something to add we would love to hear it. If you find that something is not correct we would like to hear about that too.