Tourists in Acadia make a lot of mistakes. Here are some of the biggest.

It’s August, high time for tourists in Acadia National Park.

For those of us who live on Mount Desert Island, the month can sometimes feel a bit like AAARRRRGGH-gust. By the time we’ve been yelled at over a lobster roll or explained for the fifth time that no, they don’t park the boats facing all one direction on purpose, we can feel a bit over it.

But we are professionals, us residents, and we keep answering questions and helping out, even when the tourists are making some pretty serious mistakes.

Here are some of the worst I see on a regular basis:

Not being prepared

I’ve seen people hiking ladder trails with toddlers, kayaking without life jackets, and cycling in front of traffic. There are out-of-shape folks huffing up trails and kids in flip-flops careening down mountains. It’s a nightmare for seasoned outdoorsfolk.

Look, vacationing with kids is hard. I know that. It’s challenging to be out of your comfort zone and trying to figure out what you need, where to do, and how to do it with “ARE WE THERE YET?”-s ringing in your ears.

Regardless, it is still your responsibility to prepare appropriately for the physical task you are undertaking. If you never hike or work out, don’t plan a ten-mile hike. If you haven’t been on a bike in years, find a safe place to practice. If you don’t want to wear a life jacket, don’t go in a boat.

Always buy the map. Always read the guidebooks. Always ask for advice.

There’s plenty to do in Acadia and if your plans don’t match your reality, your hotel staff or park rangers will be happy to help you find a better fit. We much prefer you take the time to prepare in advance than meet our search and rescue squad after it all goes south.

Not following the rules

Sure, the rules posted prominently on multiple signs throughout Acadia require dogs to be leashed, but they don’t mean your dog, right?

And the sign telling you not to go out on the rocks, they don’t mean someone as sure-footed as you, right?

And surely when they tell you that alcoholic beverages are prohibited, they don’t mean that cocktail you poured into your water bottle, right?

Rules are there for a reason, folks. And Acadia’s rules are there to keep your family–and the plants, animals, and landscape around your family–safe. Please don’t flout them.

Respect leash laws, follow all signs, and watch your behavior. You may be on vacation, but your kids are still watching. Give them a good example to follow.

Not enjoying the moment

Put the phone down. Stop recording things. Don’t post that on Facebook. Let Instagram languish. Let them all wonder.

Work will wait. Friends will wait. It will all wait.

But your kids won’t.

Give them your attention, right now. This is a beautiful place. This is a special moment.

Maybe it’s your first time to Acadia. Maybe you’ve come here every year for decades. It doesn’t matter. You’ve saved up this time, spent this money, and left everything that you are familiar with to come to this little spot of Maine.

So enjoy it.

Take the time.

So prepare, ask, and enjoy. We locals promise to not look too annoyed at your questions.

After all, we love it here, too.

Even if it is AARRGH-gust.

Cherie Galyean

About Cherie Galyean

In a perfect world, Cherie Galyean would spend hours every day chasing her kids up hiking trails, pretending to garden, and baking things. Instead, she works full-time in the non-profit sector and fits those other things in-between loads of laundry in her free time. A Maine native with multiple hometowns, she currently lives on Mount Desert Island with her husband, seven-year-old daughter, five-year-old son, and the best shelter mutt in the world.