To get a good spot in the summer, you have to rise an hour before the sun and drive the winding road leading to the top of Cadillac Mountain. The 1,530-foot-peak is the highest on Mount Desert Island and the first place to see the sunrise in the U.S. from early October to early March. That claim falls to Mars Hill in northeastern Maine in the summer, but that doesn't hinder the visitors taking up a predawn spot on Cadillac Mountain's rocky summit. At first, there's just a peaceful pink glow along the horizon, which slowly builds until the first sliver of sun peeks into view and begins its rapid ascent into the sky. The moment is fleeting. It's also the perfect opener to exploring Maine's century-old Acadia National Park.
Buzz Worthy: Metal rungs and rails hammered into the rock face make Beehive Trail intimidating. So do the teeny ledges one must navigate on the way to the top. But spectacular views await those who finish the 520-foot climb. nps.gov/acad
Brew Crew: Bar Harbor is the most happening spot on Mount Desert Island once night falls. For $5, sample a handful of beers at Bar Harbor Brewing Co. and get a souvenir tasting glass to remember the night. Open May-October, 8 Mount Desert St., Bar Harbor, 207-288-4592, atlanticbrewing.com
Rock Star: The enormous boulder known as Bubble Rock rests atop the very edge of South Bubble Mountain. It's a popular spot for travelers who want to pose with Maine's most famous rock (or pretend they're pushing it off the edge). nps.gov/acad
App We Love: Packing Pro
The right gear is essential for the trail so use PackingPro's sample themed lists such as camping for a male or female, or create custom lists with quantities of each item. To help manage extraneous tasks, you can add custom reminders such as "water the plants" or "still need to buy."
Flying direct can be pricey, so fly into Boston and take a scenic five-hour drive to Bar Harbor. "It usually comes out to be more cost effective," says Becky Donaldson, a consultant at the Travel Connection in Aurora. She recommends booking a flight with an airline such as JetBlue 14-21 days out. Plan on a few stops; Donaldson's favorite is the seaside town Kennebunkport.
Not only is the National Park System blowing out 100 candles, but Acadia also has a centennial featuring these events to commemorate the milestone anniversary.