From Acadia to Monhegan Island

Exploring Coastal Maine:

  • Acadia National Park
  • Camden
  • Rockland
  • Monhegan Island


July 17 - 23, 2023


  • Maine's timeless personality: seaside villages, farm stands, local arts and museums, and lighthouses
  • Three delightful boutique inns, with multiple nights spent at each (all the better to enjoy the hospitality and gourmet breakfasts)
  • Stunning natural beauty, delightful local fare (yes, fresh lobstah!), the joy of small-group "slow travel," and classic Americana

Trip Description

America’s Vacationland . . . During the Lilac and Rhododendron Bloom.

Summertime in the South means we migrate North – to Maine!  We’ll fly directly from Charlotte to Bangor; then fly back directly from Portland, after we work our way down the coast.  We’ll enjoy multi-night stays along the way:  on Mt. Desert Island (think Acadia National Park); in Camden; and on the historic artist colony of Monhegan Island – reachable by ferry.  Join us for this fabulous small group adventure!


Day 1

Fly into Bangor, and begin our adventure!

We’ll transfer to our vehicles, and enjoy soaking in our first views of Maine as we drive from Bangor to Mount Desert Island’s Northeast Harbor and our lodging, the Asticou Inn.

Relax, unwind, and settle in.  Our lodging boasts sea views, beautiful grounds and a rich history, as the inn was originally established by a retired sea captain in 1883. The Northeast Harbor will be the perfect jumping off point for our exploration of Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island. We’ll enjoy a welcome dinner at our inn’s restaurant this evening, where the kitchen is supplied by farmers, foragers, and fishermen to provide a true taste of Maine. Ready for some fresh lobstah?

Overnight, Mount Desert Island.

Day 2

Enjoy a delicious breakfast this morning – possibly featuring fresh blueberry popovers!

Today, we’ll explore highlights of Acadia National Park, including the view from Cadillac Mountain, “the Bubbles,” and Bar Harbor.  Enjoy lunch and free time to browse the charming streets and shops (and ice cream shops) of Bar Harbor.

This afternoon, we’ll have free time to relax and enjoy our inn.

Overnight, Mount Desert Island.

Day 3

We’ll depart the hotel to enjoy exploration of the small lanes and quiet places of the western half of Mount Desert island, including the Bass Harbor Head Light, and the village of Pretty Marsh.

This afternoon, we’ll make the scenic drive around Penobscot Bay to the seaside town of Camden, where we’ll spend the next two nights.  We’ll check into the Captain Swift Inn – perfectly situated to explore the scenic waterfront and village.

Overnight, Camden.

Day 4

This morning, discover vibrant Camden Harbor and Penobscot Bay from the water, as we set sail aboard a traditional 1927 schooner. We’ll spot fisherman hauling in their lobsters and daily catch, enjoy views of Maine’s beautiful rocky coastline, and watch for lighthouses and marine wildlife, including seabirds, seals, and the possibility of a whale. Back on shore, we’ll refresh with lunch at a local restaurant (included). Then, enjoy free time this afternoon in Camden – considered to be one of Maine’s most beautiful seaside towns. Browse the boutiques, antique shops, and general stores, enjoy a cup of coffee and a fresh-baked scone at a café, and watch the colorful sailboats and schooners go by in the harbor. Those who wish can take a scenic afternoon drive inland for continued exploration of this beautiful area.

Overnight, Camden.

Day 5

This morning, we’ll drive south to see Camden’s sister town of Rockland. We’ll visit the Farnsworth Art Museum; which celebrates Maine’s role in American art, explore the Owls Head Scenic Area, and enjoy lunch in Rockland.

This afternoon, we’ll then make our way to the end-of-the-earth village of Port Clyde, where we’ll leave our vehicle and board our boat for the hour-long scenic cruise to Monhegan Island. On Monhegan, we’ll check into the beautiful Island Inn, where we’ll spend our last two nights.

Overnight, Monhegan Island.

Day 6

Today, we’ll enjoy leisurely exploration of the island, full of natural beauty: evergreen trees lining the shore, flowers in early summer bloom, some of the highest cliffs along Maine’s coast, and birds and harbor seals. Enjoy lunch together (included). Monhegan Island also has a long history as a thriving artist colony, which we’ll discover as we visit its charming boutiques and galleries. Or, sit back and enjoy ocean views from our inn, which has been hosting summertime visitors since the 19th century.

Overnight, Monhegan Island.

Day 7

After one last breakfast at the Island Inn, we’ll board our boat and sail back to Port Clyde, watching for wildlife along the way.

We’ll then transfer back to our van, and drive to Bangor for our afternoon departure.  Enjoy lunch in the Bangor area, before we head to the airport.  Cheers!

Featured Experiences

The Asticou Inn

Overlooking the picturesque blue waters of Northeast Harbor, Maine, our historical Inn is ideal for guests seeking a quiet location with convenient access to many of Mount Desert Island’s most treasured attractions. Acadia National Park, Thuya Garden, and the Asticou Azalea Garden are each just a short walk away. Your stay with us will evoke the charm of a bygone era with warm, impeccable service, and a superb dining experience that has been an Asticou tradition for more than a century.

The Captain Swift Inn

Welcome to The Captain Swift Inn - located only two blocks from Camden’s charming seaside village featuring shops, restaurants, and a picture-perfect harbor!

The folks at the Captain Swift Inn say it quite well themselves: "We are proud to be a Select Registry Distinguished Inn of America property; the number one rated Inn in Camden and the #10 rated Inn in the United States by TripAdvisor, and the only Camden inn with fewer than 10 rooms to receive the prestigious 4 Diamond rating from AAA, their highest quality award for Bed and Breakfasts.

Although a Maine bed and breakfast for many years, the Inn completed a major 12-month renovation in 2019. Our Inn features nine soothing guest rooms and suites, all handsomely appointed. You'll enjoy spending time on the patio, warming by the fire pit, or lounging in our sitting rooms. Let us spoil you with our signature three-course candlelight breakfasts which is a unique and memorable experience. The first Course is a European-inspired starter, where you choose from over a dozen items, followed by a prepared fruit course and then the entrée of the day."

The Island Inn

The Island Inn sits atop a bluff looking west over Monhegan Harbor toward the ocean and in the evening it provides a perfect location to view the dramatic sunsets and the magnificent colors that accompany them. Monhegan is located 10 miles off the coast of Maine, and you'll arrive by car-less ferry!

The main building dates from 1816, and was extended in 1907 to satisfy the need of the increasing number of visitors to Monhegan. It was last enlarged in 1910 to form The Island Inn as it is seen today. Its architecture represents a classic turn-of-the-century style of summer hotel, much reproduced in the early part of the 20th century but rarely found today.

An extensive program of renovation has taken place over the last number of years to upgrade all the interior spaces, adding private bathrooms, refurnishing all the rooms and suites but at the same time maintaining a period style. The rooms have painted floors, original antique oak furniture and comfortable new beds with down duvets and crisp white linens. The Inn respects a more simple way of life, and no telephones or televisions are provided in the accommodations. Enjoy soaking in the sea views with a book in hand, fabulous dining at the on-site restaurant, wandering the charming lanes and walking paths, and exploring artist studios and our island brewery!

What's Included

  • Comfortable ground transportation
  • High-standard accommodation
  • Group meals (breakfast each morning; 4 lunches; 4 dinners)
  • Activities and admissions per the itinerary
  • Guide and concierge services

Trip Price

$4,975 / person (based on double occupancy; single supplement: $1,175)

What's Not Included

Airfare, alcohol, other meals, trip insurance (optional, but recommended)

My wife and I have taken two trips with Explore Up Close - Yellowstone and Glacier (National Park) - and each trip was well planned, from interesting and fun excursions planned each day to comfortable lodging and transportation. Our trip leaders, Chumley and Khal, were impressive with their knowledge of each area we explored and gracious in their planning of every aspect of our respective trips. We look forward to participating in future Explore Up Close adventures.
I recently returned from an amazing tour of Yellowstone and environs with Explore Up Close.  This was my fourth small-group excursion with EUC and they never disappoint.  They often team up with local guides to expand the experience (in Yellowstone, it was a naturalist who gathered us at 5 a.m. to view the activities of wolves, elk, pronghorn and other wildlife in the early morning hours).  Our guides took great care of us and provided a wonderful experience.
If you like small group adventures that are expertly researched and well guided, consider Explore Up Close. This includes domestic and international travel. Often, the leader will hire a docent to explain some interesting facts like a naturalist for wildlife spotting in Yellowstone NP. You can select from easy to strenuous encounters. It is hard to name a favorite, but next to Yellowstone would be the Basque Country of Spain.
Couldn't have asked for more in terms of weather, accommodations and scenery. Can't wait to go on another adventure with Explore Up Close!

Trip insurance safeguards your travel investment, your belongings, and most importantly, you. Though trip insurance is optional, we strongly encourage travelers to purchase trip insurance in the event you have to cancel or leave a trip for any reason. Please note, all trip participants should wait for confirmation from Explore Up Close that the trip has the minimum sign-up required to be a “go” before purchasing travel insurance or airline tickets. Please confirm with Explore Up Close before making any additional travel arrangements.

Once you have received confirmation from Explore Up Close, we recommend contacting a travel insurance provider directly to request a quote and compare pricing and features. You can find other providers that may fit your needs at, or we can gladly connect you with our travel agent.

Please note, all trip participants should wait for confirmation from Explore Up Close that the trip has the minimum sign-up required to be a “go” before purchasing airline tickets.

Explore Up Close will provide a recommended flight itinerary for your consideration, which is intended as a helpful suggestion. We encourage travelers to choose airfare depending on their personal preferences, as some travelers may prefer to travel independently and meet at our destination, or may wish to extend their travels at the beginning or end of the trip. Our travel agent is available to assist you with booking flights and trip insurance.

Again, please confirm with Explore Up Close before purchasing your airline tickets or making additional travel arrangements!

Book Trip