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Watching Wildlife in Acadia National Park

Uniquely located in the very Northeast of the United States in the state of Maine, Acadia National Park is famous for its sunrises, sweeping coastal vistas, pink granite mountains, and forests that are home to a variety of animals. From tide pools filled with microorganisms to moose and humpback whales, there’s something for everyone at Acadia National Park.

The park is home to 40 species of mammals, including bats, black bears, and squirrels, as well as 330 species of birds, 30 species of fish, 7 reptiles, and 11 amphibians. You can see everything from bustling marine life to bald eagles soaring in the sky. Although it’s not always easy to find these mammals in Acadia National Park, we’re going to provide you with some expert insight to help with your search!

Acadia National Park’s Top Animals

  • Birds
  • Otters
  • Bald Eagles
  • White-Tailed Deer
  • Bears
  • Moose
  • Bobcats
  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
    • This cute, nocturnal species is one to tread carefully with if you face them head on. They can spray you and cause an unpleasant odor on your skin and clothes that will last for days. Be sure to use a flashlight if you are checking on something at night, causing you to accidentally scare them.
  • Seals
    • Seals are the most commonly seen marine mammal off of the shores of Maine. They are often in the harbor in the spring during New England’s seal pupping season. Here you’ll find harbor, gray, harp, and hooded seals.
  • Dolphins
    • The Atlantic white-sided dolphin can be spotted in Maine year round. These dolphins travel along the coast of the Atlantic, as far south as Long Island, jumping and chasing one another in the ocean tides.
  • Whales
    • You can see the Finback, Humpback, and Minke whales in the water from Acadia National Park.
  • Sharks
    • It’s possible to see different species of shark swimming around the waters in search of their next snack, especially when there are seal pups around.

Viewing Locations

Sieur de Monts Spring: Songbirds
Wonderland Trail: Songbirds
Ocean Drive: Shorebirds
Seawall: Shorebirds
The Precipice: Bald eagles, peregrine falcons,
The Tarn: Otters, mink
Great Meadow: White-tailed deer
Schoodic Peninsula: Bears, moose
Mount Desert Island: Bears, moose
Bar Harbor: Whales, seals, dolphins, sharks

When Should You Go?

The best time for Maine whale and dolphin watching begins in mid-April when hungry whales arrive to feast in local waters. They will feed on the sand eels, copepods, plankton, and fish in the water. Come October, they will migrate south towards warmer waters. Acadia National Park is regarded as one of the best whale-watching locations in the country.

The winter is actually the best time of year to see the larger land mammals, like moose and dear, which will descend as close to sea level as possible for some warmth. You can witness a crossover of habitats while these animals explore the sea for a possible food source.

However, Maine can be incredibly cold in the winter time, so you’ll want to pack accordingly. The most popular times to visit the park are between April and October. The fall presents a foliage backdrop that is second to none.