Let’s face it, a good old fashioned guidebook beats a phone app, especially when your phone charge is running low and your reception is a bit spotty.

Here are a few guide books I think are great. Some are more maps, some are more like mini encyclopedias, and some are specialized. You could own all these books and not feel like you were overly duplicating information.

Note: The links below are affiliate links, which means we get a small commission if you purchase them. By buying them, you are supporting this blog, so thanks!

A Walk In The Park

This is kind of the “bible” of Acadia National Park with all the trails described, detailed elevation/topography details, and even how to access the parking areas for each (it’s not always as obvious as you would think). Author Tom St. Germain issues new editions regularly and sells accompanying materials like waterproof trail maps and the “Trails Of History” book, which was out of print for awhile and regularly stolen from the Jesup Libary.
Buy A Walk In The Park

Lakes And Ponds Of Mount Desert

I accidentally ended up with a copy of this book but it’s turned out to be really handy. If you like swimming, kayaking, or any other water sport, this comprehensive guide is helpful for navigating your options. (I don’t necessarily hope you get on the ocean without a little help as we do have some powerful tides and other issues to know about but I feel ok thinking about you going out on a pond with your only guide being a book.) Put out by our local college, I also like to think buying it supports this important local institution. Plus it explains how to get to my favorite swimming hole, Lake Wood, better than I ever could.
Buy Lakes And Ponds Of Mount Desert

Moon Acadia National Park

Written by Hilary Nangle of the popular Maine Travel Maven blog (I’ve been reading it for almost a decade), you know this is going to be good. She situates you in the geography of the different regions of coastal Maine and gives general information like pros and cons of visiting different times of year and suggested itineraries. A great book for someone coming to the area and needing as much info as possible without reading hundreds of websites.
Buy Moon Acadia National Park

Ten Days In Acadia: A Kid’s Hiking Guide To Mount Desert Island

Hope Rowan gives a hiking guide, history lesson, and story in one. Aimed at kids 7-12 but useful to adults too, the book details a ten day itinerary of hiking in Acadia that is doable by kids and fun for adults. Hope has a strong GIS mapping background and brings that to this book, making it a little more educational than your average kid’s book.
Buy Ten Days In Acadia

Historic Acadia National Park: The Stories Behind One of America’s Great Treasures

If you want a book that combines people and natural history, this is a great book telling you the story of the creation and settlements of MDI. It’s not the kind of book you are going to carry around in your backpack, but the kind of thing you’ll put on your nightstand to get excited about your trip (or while on your trip as you unwind at the end of the day). Learn about the stories, geology, and other more subtle parts of the area and see those popular tourist spots as that much more interesting because of what you’ll know.
Buy Historic Acadia National Park

Bonus Book:

Maine Gazetter

This isn’t really an Acadia book but just an overall driving/getting around Maine book. Every Mainer I know has this in their car. Divided into quads, each map includes detailed roads, park locations, attractions, and more. While GPSes make it easier to drive to a specific place, sometimes you just need to see where you are in relation to other towns, bodies of water, etc. Buy this if you are going to drive around and expand your trip beyond MDI… and you can frame portions of the map after your trip if you are someone like me who loves the look of maps.
Buy Maine Gazetter

Not sure which book you want or want them all and more? Get a gift certificate to Sherman’s, Bar Harbor’s bookstore which has a great selection of local books.

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