Just showing up during your travels to national parks is no longer an option due to overcrowding. Their popularity is commonplace now, with tourism growing substantially during the last ten years, according to the Earth Trekkers website. It has grown so popular that timed entrances and full reservations are now required for eight national parks in 2024.

This helps to combat overcrowding and makes things so much nicer for visitors.  According to Travel & Leisure Magazine, reservations are typically free. However, some may come with an online processing fee. You can make your reservations and time entrances at recreation.gov.

Acadia National Park in the Bar Harbor area of Maine is on this list of eight that require advanced reservations of some sort. Here's the full list for you.

  • Acadia National Park Maine
  • Arches National Park Utah
  • Glacier National Park Montana
  • Haleakala National Park Hawaii
  • Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado
  • Shenandoah National Park Virginia
  • Yosemite National Park California
  • Zion National Park Utah
  • Muir Woods National Monument California

According to Earth Trekkers, there are basically three types of reservations, depending on your travel goals and park.

Timed Entry gives you access to the park or a specific portion of the park in a specifically-timed window. Dare I compare it to the cable guy's arrival? But you get the point.

Vehicle Reservation gives you access to areas of the park that require advanced notice, while the rest of the park is open to anyone at any time.

Hiking Permit and Camping reservations mean you can visit the park anytime. However, if you want to hike or camp, then you need to make that advanced reservation.

Acadia National Park Advance Reservations

You must have a vehicle reservation to drive Cadillac Summit Road between May and October. This road takes visitors to the highest point in Acadia National Park, and it is an extremely popular sunrise location.

The two types for Acadia National Park include a sunrise reservation, which means arriving before the sunrise, and the daytime reservation, which has timed entries throughout the day. You must enter within 30 minutes or your reservation, according to Earth Trekkers.

The earlier you know your plans, the better for any of the parks listed above.

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