Described as “vehicular chaos,” Mount Desert Island’s Acadia Park loop road was not where you wanted to be on Memorial Day weekend — or any other summer weekend. Some now describe it as a parking experience, not a park experience.

And don’t rely on Maine’s 2017 official travel planner, a partnership between the park and our tourism people. It recommends “if you are stretched for time, at least drive the Park Loop Road.” No, no, no.

In an effort to help you avoid that parking experience, let me tell you about uncrowded Down East experiences that you will treasure. I often suggest to people that in Ellsworth, instead of going straight toward Bar Harbor and Acadia, they turn left and head to Lubec.

But before we get there, let’s start with Acadia’s Schoodic Point, about 20 minutes east of Ellsworth. It’s a stunning place, uncrowded, with a nice new campground. We enjoy birding and picnicking there. And there’s a new restaurant in Winter Harbor that we hope to tell you about soon.

Since we started writing travel columns, my wife Linda and I have discovered many wonderful — and uncrowded — coastal communities and places. One favorite is also near Acadia: Swan’s Island. It’s a short boat ride from Southwest Harbor to paradise. And don’t miss the church supper and community breakfast. Lots of fun, great food, and very friendly folks.

Last year we boated from Swan’s to Frenchboro on nearby Long Island for their annual lobster festival, a great event that included a nice hike through the woods and along the ocean.


Before you get to Ellsworth, take a right to Deer Isle and Stonington, with great places to hike, remote beaches, good restaurants, and nice inns. Be sure to hike to Goose Cove and Barred Island. We enjoyed an amazing meal in Stonington, and a nice stay at an inn in Deer Isle.

When you get to Washington County, you will enjoy exploring a number of peninsulas: Jonesport, Roque Bluffs (be sure to visit the state park’s beach and then check out Jasper Beach), and Cutler. One of the state’s “Scenic Byways” will take you in this direction.

Perhaps you read our July 9 Travelin’ Maine(rs) column about our very favorite places, Lubec and Campobello. We get down there in June and August every year. From the West Quoddy Lighthouse to the Roosevelt International Park, you’ll find lots of uncrowded beaches, ocean-side cliffs, and hikes, great places to stay, good restaurants, awesome whale watching, and much more. What you won’t find are crowds.

In late June, Linda and I were the only ones on two of the International Park’s beaches. Bet that didn’t happen in Acadia that weekend.

And if you are campers, you must camp at Cobbscook State Park, which is actually on federal land, and where most campsites are perched above the ocean. Linda’s parents started camping there the year the park opened and we camped there for many years with them. Without question, it’s our best state park and campground. You can even dig your own clams there.

You can read our columns about these places by selecting “Best of Maine” on my website, Click on the town and you’ll get our columns about inns, restaurants, and events there.

I haven’t even told you about two other favorite islands, Monhegan and North Haven. And of course, there are other wonderful places Downeast. Thankfully, in our seventh year of travel writing, we still have lots of places to explore. Perhaps you will join us on this fantastic exploration.

George Smith is a writer and TV talk show host. He can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or Read more of Smith’s writings at

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