Acadia National Park, Maine (Boulder Beach and Monument Cove)

May 22, 2017

Daybreak at Boulder Beach in Acadia National Park, captured with a slow shutter speed at first light as the waves ebbed and flowed over the polished granite cobbles and boulders.

Joyce and I just returned from an epic roadtrip (3288 miles) from Missouri to Bar Harbor, Maine, home of one of our country’s most popular national parks — Acadia. We took our time (three days travel each way) so we could savor the beauty of America, including the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania, the Adirondacks of New York, the Green Mountains of Vermont, the scenic byways of Connecticut, the snow-capped peaks of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, and the scenic shores of Lake Erie. The trip featured other highlights such as crossing the George Washington Bridge into New York City, driving along Central Park, getting lost in Yonkers, and later, on the way home, taking a ferry across Lake Champlain back into New York from Vermont, and taking a sunset walk that evening at Niagara Falls.

Although the roadtrip to Acadia and back will go down as one of our greatest memories, the destination itself was beyond expectation. If you don’t mind, I plan to share some of the highlights of our roadtrip in the next several editions of Nature Frames.

Although Acadia is known for its rugged shorelines of crashing waves and jagged granite, it features a few places where the surf has polished thousands of granite rocks to a smooth finish, some as smooth (and as large) as a bowling ball. After spending our first day at Acadia under overcast skies and intermittent heavy rain, I was excited to set out for Boulder Beach under clear conditions on our second morning. The sun rises early on the east coast so I set the alarm clock for 3:30 A.M., allowing just enough time for the three mile drive from our headquarters, a brand-new Hampton Motel that sits atop a mountain overlooking the ocean and the park. Joyce is not quite the morning person that I am but she was up-an-at-em right by my side as we made our way onto the beach in the dark.

By the time the beach was glowing, Joyce had found a nice perch from which to watch the sunrise, and I had situated my tripod low in the rocks along the water line. My objective was to photograph the shoreline rocks with the slowest shutter speed possible to capture several cycles of the waves as they submerged and exposed the rocks. It was a little tricky maintaining position for each 15 to 20 second exposure because the waves were also crashing in on me and my camera. Joyce enjoyed watching me scramble with my gear each time an especially feisty wave made an appearance.

The featured image is a good example of the result I was seeking with the polished rocks in the foreground and Otter Cliffs in the background. The sky was perfectly clear, with a pink hue along the horizon, so I had to depend on the terrain to make the shot. Although the image conveys my visual experience at the site, I wish you could have been there to hear the huge cobbles and boulders tumbling with each wave. Joyce could hear the rocks tumbling, as well, even from her perch high above my position. What an experience!

A view of the ocean from Boulder Beach.

Joyce and I had Boulder Beach all to ourselves for the rest of the morning. We had made the right decision to visit Acadia National Park several weeks before the tourist season had begun. Most of the motels were not even open yet and although the park’s beauty was on full display, we never had to deal with crowds during our stay.

The next morning, I visited a second site known for its polished granite beach: Monument Cove. Typically viewed only from a lookout, the beach at Monument Cove was much more difficult to access, especially in the dark minutes before sunrise. I even talked to a park ranger about my plan to scramble down to the beach during my scouting trip the previous afternoon. His words of advice can be summarized as, “Be Careful!” As I went to bed that evening, my plan turning over and over in my head, I couldn’t get to sleep thinking about the next morning at Monument Cove. Joyce decided to sleep in that morning because she knew the following morning would be an exceptionally early start as our destination would be sunrise on Cadillac Mountain.

Sunrise at Monument Cove

The polished boulders were much larger at Monument Cove and the sun washed the adjacent cliffs with a nice, red glow. As with Boulder Beach, the sky didn’t help much with the image, but I had a great morning exploring the cove, which I had all to myself as on the previous morning.

In the next edition, I’ll share some images from our final morning at Acadia National Park, which we spent atop Cadillac Mountain. See you soon.

Thanks for looking,


I would love to hear from you at:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery of Images and Print Information:






12 comments on “Acadia National Park, Maine (Boulder Beach and Monument Cove)”

  1. I loooooove Acadia. Can’t wait to see your pics from atop Cadillac Mtn.!

  2. Ah. Looking forward to the next post already!

  3. Great pictures. Glad you had a fun trip.

  4. Thanks for taking us along on your fabulous trip! 

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab®4

  5. Great Pictures. Nature at its best like always. As an photographer i can understan how much efforts are required to capture pictures like these. Really Appreciate your hard work and efforts.

  6. Loving your trip. Keep us informed and post lots of photos. What a wonderful trip and I am glad you are sharing it.

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