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“A great time on the water!”

Acadia Park Kayak Tours
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The lowest prices, smallest groups, and most eco-friendly business practices on Mount Desert Island. Open group size is limited to either six or twelve people. Private groups can be any size. We offer sunrise, morning, day, sunset, night-time star gazing/bioluminescence, and private tours. We meet in Bar Harbor and give tours on both the east and west sides of Mount Desert Island. A portion of every tour's fee goes towards ocean conservation. All trips are led by a Registered Maine guide. No former kayaking experience is necessary and all required equipment is provided. We also provide upon request fleece jackets, rain jackets, wetsuit mittens, and fleece hats.. We are also the only outfitter that provides an option to crate your dog at our location while kayaking with us.
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Clifton Park, New York
Level Contributor
19 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“A great time on the water!”
Reviewed 8 August 2011

As part of our trip to Acadia, I had prearranged a kayak trip. I had reviewed the website and spend quite a bit of time outdoors and on the water, so I knew what to bring: food, snacks, water, cameras in waterproof pouches, rain gear and layers of clothing came all in pretty handy. We had a great time. Chris, our guide was knowledgeable and friendly. Other people in the group were equally friendly. The only thing I will do differently next time is that I will go for a much longer trip; I wasn't ready to get off the water. Thanks for a great experience, you guys!!!

Visited August 2011
2 Thank Cordula D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
acadiaparkkayaktours, Owner at Acadia Park Kayak Tours, responded to this review, 16 May 2012
Thank you for your kind review.
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172 reviews from our community

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English first
Bountiful, Utah
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Highlight of our trip”
Reviewed 2 August 2011

While spending time on the Maine coast, my wife and three children (sons aged 15 & 12 and a daughter age 10) arrived in Bar Harbor on a Friday morning. We only had one day to spend at Acadia/Bar Harbor, and due to our flexible travel schedule, I had not pre-arranged a Kayak tour since were were not sure which day we would be able to devote to Acadia. I called Brescian, and was lucky enough to schedule a 4:00pm tour. This gave us some time to drive the loop road, and have lunch before the tour. Brescian gave me very detailed instructions on what to bring, how to dress, and what to expect. We arrived at the meeting point about 15 minutes early, and Brescian, and our guide Chris were waiting for us. Based on the weather conditions of the day, the tide, and other factors, it was determined that the best place to tour was on the west side of the island. After a short van ride to Seal Harbor, we started our tour. The weather was perfect, the scenery was beautiful, and other than the five of us and out guide, we did not see another kayak, boat or human. We saw porpoise, eagles, osprey, loons, and other sea birds. It was fabulous. Chris, our guide, was very knowledgeable about the area and the wildlife, and an excellent guide. After a tour that I am sure will forever be a highlight for my family, we arrived at Bartletts Landing in Pretty Marsh Harbor. Brescian met us there, and quickly transported us back to Bar Harbor. Some of the prior reviews have commented about how Brescian is quiet and not very outgoing. From my perspective, that is exactly what I want in a Kayak guide. On our ride from Bar Harbor, and back again, Brescian was very knowledgeable about the area. He gave us tips about restaurants, and even gave us ideas of where to go while staying in the Rockland/Camden area. No uncomfortable silence, but also no meaningless chatter. I really think that Brescian and Chris are both willing to let Mt. Desert Island and the incredible kayaking experience be the star of the tour. I strongly recommend Acadia Park Kayak Tours. Every member of my family said that it was the highlight of our fantastic trip to the Maine coast.

Visited July 2011
4 Thank mbchild
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Belleair, Florida
Level Contributor
104 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 158 helpful votes
“maybe just a bad day”
Reviewed 2 January 2011

This is another negative review, and I fear a retort from Brescian, but I want to be honest. When we arrived, he was not there, but showed up about 5 miuntes late. No big deal, except that he never introduced himself and really ignored the whole group until he started handing out gear. It was only then that I realized he was our guide. I knew from the reviews that he was the quiet type, but this bordered on rude. Anyway, my husband and I felt uncomfortable. He was, however, very thorough in the safety instruction.

Once on the water, we followed his instructions. He did not talk much except to answer direct questions or tell us where to go. Frankly, we often were too far aprt hear what he said. We are good paddlers so we occasionally got ahead of him and then had to pull back. I would have liked a bit more information on what we were looking at. I don't need a ton of chatter but a little chat is not bad. We arrived on the beach for a rest and one woman in our group was clearly seasick. Brescian didn't tell us much at all about the island, just told us we could walk about if we wanted to and not to go too far. Again, I would have enjoyed a bit more from him. I know he is full of knowledge and I hated having to dig it out of him. He seemed to be acquainted with one gentleman in our group and he talked quite a bit to him, but not to the rest of us. It was late in the day, quite cold on the island, and the poor seasick lady just wanted to get back to the mainland, so after about 15 minutes we headed back to our kayaks and told Brescian we were ready to move out. Well, he was not ready and continued his conversation with his friend for 10 more minutes. Really not a problem for us, but the rest of the group was obviously ready to get going. He was clearly not reading the group, and we all just stood there next to out kayaks looking at each other, shivering, and feeling bad for the sick lady.

As we pulled back onto the mainland beach, a member of the group handed off his paddle and when his seasick partner abruptly exited the kayak, the weight shifted and he started drifting back out. He hollered, but with no paddle, he struggled and eventually tipped the kayak and fell into the water. Yes, it was kind of funny, but I was surprised that our guide did nothing to assist him, seeing as he was standing right there. He appeared so safety conscious and I would have expected a faster response. Maybe he was just irritated. All in all, I felt like he did enjoy leading us around Frenchman's Bay. It was like he was going through the motions and could not have cared less whether we we along or not.

Anyway, I can appreciate all the other fine reviews and you can chalk this up to one bad day if you like. For me, I need a little more interaction, intuition, and friendliness. I think if I got to share a beer with Brescian, I would discover a really neat guy. I am sure he's in there somewhere.

8 Thank Louise K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
acadiaparkkayaktours, Owner at Acadia Park Kayak Tours, responded to this review, 7 January 2011
As I remember it this day started out cold with the likely chance of rain and as I often do I gave everyone on the trip the option to cancel and was honest with them about what to expect.

The gentleman on the trip who I was a aquatinted with was my friend Paul who is a local therapist in the area.

As far as being on the island I do my best to stay or leave as it seems to best serve the group. Besides the consideration of how long the people seem to want to stay there I am also considering how tired my clients might be and want to give them a chance to be rested, having exhausted paddlers is less safe than well rested paddlers.
I may have also been waiting for the woman's sea sickness to pass, I probably gave her some herbal sea sickness drops and was waiting to give them a chance to take effect.
I definitely would not keep a group on the island solely to continue a conversation.

As far as my not being talkative enough on the way out there I probably was giving a lot of my attention to Paul who has been saying for years previous to this trip that he was going to come out on a paddle with me but had never followed through. I apologize for not giving the entire group an equal amount of attention on the way out to the island and once we got there.

On the way back I believe it began to rain, and became colder and windier. At that point I was focused on giving paddling instruction and making sure that everyone in the group was able to handle the conditions so I could not have been expected to make much conversation on the way back.

As far as the man falling in the water it happened in just a few feet of water and it happened very quickly. Everyone on the beach was reasonably close to him but I nor anyone esle was standing right next to him. I, along with several other people moved to help but he had fallen in and quickly gotten up on his own before anyone, including myself, could give him a hand. I am sorry that it happened but there was nothing I could have done about and it was in no way a dangerous situation.

Once again I apologize for giving the majority of attention to my friend in the first half of the trip. Anyone is welcome to ask questions at anytime but I can see how someone might be reluctant to break in on a conversation that seemed to be between two friends and I should have been more aware of that.
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Southeast Alaska
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Not what I expected”
Reviewed 15 October 2010

* This is a negative review, but I just want to go on the record to say that this obviously was not the right kayak outfit for us - Brescian is a great guy and I'm positive that he has a lot of happy customers. Despite this review, which I'm only posting because I think it may be helpful to know what we experienced, I'd still recommend Acadia Park Kayak Tours to the right person.*

My husband and I were in Maine last year for a belated honeymoon. I had done lots of research online about the best place to go kayaking, and looked into all sorts of kayak outfits. This one stuck out at me because I liked the idea of a small group, and in all my correspondence with Brescian he was very informative, polite, and helped me determine what sort of trip would be good for us.
We showed up on the beach and there was one other couple there. We were a little bit early and then another couple showed up, and finally Brescian. We figured he'd been there since there were some kayaks on the beach, and we knew that he didn't have a "store front" so it takes time to get all the kayaks to the beach with only one person, still, he was a tad bit late - NOT a problem though, we really didn't mind, the weather was great and the sun on our faces made for a great start to the morning.
Once everyone had gathered around the kayaks he informed my husband that he had to remove his sweatshirt because if he went in the water he'd sink straight to the bottom. Honestly, I think if he'd been nicer about it my husband would have been more then willing to remove his sweatshirt, but the way he called him out in front of everyone and his tone and demeanor were very insulting. We were very surprised, from looking at Brescian's website I knew what my husband was wearing was not "compatible" with kayaking, or Brescian's preferred dress (as stated on his website), but despite my attempts and recommendations to wear something else that is what my husband wanted to wear. So-just know that you should show up wearing what is recommended on the website.
One thing that I would like to suggest to anyone going on this tour - make sure you know what is accessible to you during the trip. You'll want to keep water, chapstick (just a suggestion), and any snacks close by since it is quite awhile before you take a break on the island. Also-be clear on whether Brescian is providing water, or if you're going to bring your own.
Another thing to ask is how long the tour will last - we thought it would only be a couple hours - 3 at the most, but it lasted almost 4 hours and we really wished we'd brought more food - we were drained of energy and absolutely starving. Kayaking is a lot of work and you'll want to sustain your energy with good snacks.
Once Brescian gave the safety briefing we were out on the water. At first it was going great - we paddled around one of the islands, but then when we were going between islands the water began to get very choppy - I began to get very seasick and there was no relief except to keep paddling to get around to the next island where it was more protected. This happened every time we went between islands - the water is quite choppy - now I don't know if this is an everyday occurrence, or if it was just the day we were out - but be aware that you might run into this problem! And really, there's nothing that can be done - so it's not like it was Brescian's fault, but still, it's really good to know that this could happen to you!!
One thing we encountered while out on the water was that the rest of the group seemed to move faster then us (even though, by our observation we were the youngest ones there! And by no means are either us out of shape - we consider ourselves very healthy and fit) so Brescian stayed up with the rest of the group while my husband and I struggled to keep up (mostly because I had to stop paddling when the nausea hit me). There was never any effort on Brescian's part to hang back and ask us if we were doing okay.
By the time we hit the beach I could have kissed the sand. I was SOOO happy to be on land and seriously considered staying and asking that a private boat be hired to pick me up!!!! I kid you not - I was so exhausted and completely sick feeling. We ate the little snacks that we had brought (thinking it would be a shorter trip). It was probably a good two hours before we took a break on the island, so we'd been paddling for quite some time without any water, snacks, etc. Again - I don't consider this Brescian's fault - just be clear when you pack your kayak where your stuff is - keep it within reach if you think you'll want access to it!!!
At this point my husband and I were ready to be done - we were both tired, hungry, and getting frustrated by our fellow group members. They were all so nice and we enjoyed visiting with them and chatting with them - but we were absolutely befuddled as to why they seemed to be enjoying the trip and we were not.
I should mention now that we are both born and raised Alaskans. We live in the islands of SE Alaska, and grew up on the water. Both of us are extremely aware of the dangers, but also beauty of the water. So-while only my husband had gone kayaking before (on a river) we've both been in everything from huge ferries, to pleasure crafts, to small canoes. We didn't think we would have such a difficult time in the kayaks as we did.
After a nice break on the beach I was beginning to feel better and felt that the trip back would be fine.
That wasn't quite the case - since my husband had done a majority of the paddling (we were in a double together) on the first part of the trip (since I was seasick) now he was exhausted and having a hard time contributing, so I did a majority of the paddling and it wasn't long before I was tired. What happened the entire trip back was that Brescian and the group was staying in front of us and every now and then they'd stop for us to catch up, but as soon as we caught up (and therefore, we needed a break from the effort) they'd continue kayaking. Again, I don't know if Brescian was unaware that we were struggling so much, or if he knew and was just ignoring us, but after everything I gleaned from his website, I was really surprised he was letting us hang back as much as we were. Really, we didn't mean to, and we were giving it our all, but we were absolutely exhausted from the effort of keeping up with the group.
We were very thankful to reach the beach and be done with the entire experience. Again, my husband and I are in our mid-20's, fit, and exercise regularly. We're experienced with all things water (except kayaks!!) so it was really frustrating that we couldn't keep up with the group and therefore missed a lot of Brescian's informative dialogue about the islands.
This isn't so much a bad review of Acadia Park Kayak Tours as it is an effort to help others. Maybe try kayaking prior to this tour so that you are well aware of how you will like it. While the beauty of Maine was all around us, and I absolutely enjoyed being out on the water - it was unfortunately clouded by the fact that Brescian had offended my husband at the start of the trip (believe me, my husband is well aware of the fact that wearing cotton out on the water isn't the smartest of choices, but he also knew we would be wearing life jackets and paddling around islands - so we were rarely out of swimming distance of land), I ended up getting seasick, we couldn't keep up with the group, and Brescian never inquired about us lagging behind. I guess part of me may be jealous that he seemed to talk to the other groups, but never pulled up aside us to chat with us. Yes, he is a quiet guide (I appreciated this because I'd rather listen to the water and wildlife around us then a chatty guide) but he seemed friendlier with the other couples.
Good luck to you in your travels, and really, I would recommend Brescian to people, but I'd make sure they knew all this ahead of time.

10 Thank PsgVikings
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
acadiaparkkayaktours, Owner at Acadia Park Kayak Tours, responded to this review, 7 January 2011
I am sorry that the trip was difficult for this couple. I remember our interaction at the beginning of the trip but not much about the trip itself.

As far the very heavy cotton sweatshirt goes it is unsafe and there is no way around that.

I did ask politely that the gentleman in question remove it but he was insistent that it would be ok for him to wear it and unfortunately I had to be insistent in return that he could not.
I don't enjoy having to contradict another adult in front of a group of people and felt embarrassed for him myself but the he created the situation. I was as polite as I could be while still insisting that he remove the sweatshirt. By making me ask him to remove it several times he created a situation where my repeated asking, no matter how polite, was awkward and embarrassing.

I am sorry that the water was choppier than this couple would have liked or that they didn't bring as much food as they wanted or that the woman became sea sick (this is actually not very common) but all of those things are out of my control.

The trip is supposed to be around three and a half hours long so that fact that it went to four suggest that we were paddling at a slower pace to help accommodate this couple. With two people paddling, three and a half hours is plenty of time to make this trip for people of even modest physical condition but paddling a tandem kayak by yourself is much harder. I can always tow a boat but for whatever reason that did not happen on this trip. I may have offered to tow and been refused but I honestly can't remember.

The reviewer states that on the one hand that she was sea sick and tired and wanted to get back as soon as possible but on the other hand that she was unhappy with the pace of the group and had wished it was slower. I imagine that I was aware of her sea sickness and fatigue as well as her desire to get back to land and was doing my best to compromise between these two priorities.

Does she wish we had gone slower, or that we had gone faster and made it back sooner? I can't tell from this review so I am unsure of what she would have wanted me to do differently.

If one person in a kayak is sea sick and not paddling there is no mystery as to why they are moving slowly.
I apologize if I didn't make enough conversation with this couple, I am sure that I inquired about her sea sickness and probably offered to tow them.
I try to interact with people as it seems they would prefer and if I wasn't making much conversation with them but with everyone else on the trip it might have been that I was not perceiving a desire on their part to speak with me.
I am sure that I was aware at all times of where they were and how they were doing but after reading this review I regret that I did not paddle along side this couple more and make conversation with them about the how they were doing.
For whatever reason at the time I judged them to want their space but it seems my judgement was wrong and I apologize if they felt neglected.
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Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“I am so glad I tried ocean kayaking for the first time with Brescian!”
Reviewed 3 September 2010

This was my third trip to Maine but only my first time to go kayaking out on the ocean. I had wanted to do it the other times but always been a bit afraid b/c the ocean is extremely cold up there and, having grown up with boy cousins who defined fun by how often we wound up in the water, I had never been out in a kayak or canoe before without tipping over. However, after reading Acadia Park Kayak Tours extremely detailed web site, I started to feel more comfortable and decided to give it a try.

I woke up that morning, very excited but still nervous, and headed down to the beach with my husband. As soon as Brescian gathered us round and started providing instruction, I knew I had made the right choice for a first trip. His calmness and knowledge immediately allayed my fears and left me convinced that, should the worse happen, he knew what to do.

My husband and I took about an hour to get the hang of it and I was very frustrated. However, he was patient and did nothing to make either of us feel bad in any way. Instead, he just continued to offer encouragement and instruction. Once we figured it out, though -- WOW!! It was wonderful!

Besides the needed instruction he provided, Brescian was a quiet guide who happily answered questions but otherwise respected our silence. I enjoyed the quietness of nature and was glad he didn't feel he had to fill that space with idle chatter.

I also thought the stop on the island was a lovely interlude. There were some wonderful tidal pools all around to explore which was fun.

I can't wait to go back to Maine and will definitely sign up for a trip with Acadia Park Kayak Tours again. I have spent a total of 25 days in Maine over the last year and the 4+ hours I spent on the water with this trip were the highlight of them all!!

3 Thank WW-Texas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
acadiaparkkayaktours, Owner at Acadia Park Kayak Tours, responded to this review, 22 July 2013
Thank you so much for your kind review. Hearing that someone's trip with my company was the highlight of their vacation is about the best compliment there is. I feel privileged to be able to share my love of paddling and Maine with so many people who sincerely appreciate both.
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