Bar Harbor Your Way

Whatever your interests, there’s plenty to discover in this seaside destination.


By Kathleen Fleury and Virginia M. Wright

Photograph by ©

Active Traveler
Natural beauty abounds in Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, with activities aplenty for adventurers.

Where to Stay 
Blackwoods Campground
Convenient to trails and carriage roads, Blackwoods is one of two campgrounds in the park. It is cheap, pleasant, and clean, but rustic (no hookups; private showers nearby). Rte. 3. 877-444-6777.

Rock Climbing

Acadia Mountain Guides climbing school tailors its half-day outings to students’ abilities and comfort level. Most popular climbs: Otter Cliff, the Bubbles, and the Precipice. 228 Main St. 888-232-9559.

Cadillac Mountain Sports

Water bottles: check. Kayaks: check. Hiking shoes: check. You’ll find everything you could possibly need to explore the wilds of Acadia at this outdoor-lover’s mecca. 26 Cottage St. 207-288-4532.

Bar Harbor Brewing Company

Stop in for a tasting of this twenty-year-old microbrewery’s four brews — don’t miss True Blue, the blueberry wheat ale — and buy some bottles to bring back to the tent. 8 Mount Desert St. 207-288-4592.

Early Evening
Sea Kayaking

Aquaterra Adventures offers guided trips any time of day, but sunset, when the wind dies down, makes for especially nice paddling and superb wildlife watching. 1 West St. 207-288-0007.

History & Culture Buff
Beautiful architecture, historic sites, and a rich cultural past and present combine to ensure an interesting and educational itinerary.

Where to Stay
Coach Stop Inn

Since 1804, this quaint countryside inn, the oldest in Bar Harbor, a few miles out of town, has housed island visitors. Request the Tavern Suite complete with a fireplace — and don’t miss the delicious breakfast. 715 Acadia Highway. 207-288-9886.

Acadia Carriage Tour

Explore Acadia National Park’s elegant carriage roads, stone bridges, and gatehouses as John D. Rockefeller, Jr., intended — from the seat of a horse-drawn carriage. Tours are narrated. Wildwood Stables, Park Loop Rd. 877-276-3622.

Abbe Museum

Dedicated to Maine’s Wabanaki tribes, the Abbe has two locations: Sieur de Monts Spring in the national park and downtown. The shop’s handcrafted baskets alone are worth the stop. 26 Mount Desert St. 207-288-3519.

Early Evening
Self-guided Walking Tour

From St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church, notable for its stained glass, stroll to Main Street. Head north, passing nineteenth-century storefronts, to West Street and its fabulous mansions. Return via Holland Avenue. Begins at 41 Mount Desert St. 207-288-4215.

The Criterion Theatre

Enjoy independent films, screenings of opera and ballet performances, and live concerts in this 1932 movie palace with art deco furnishings and a rare free-hanging balcony. 35 Cottage St. 207-288-3441.

Family Vacationer
The park, the ocean, the wildlife, the kid-friendly town — Bar Harbor is the ideal place to bring the whole family for some R&R.

Where to Stay
Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina

Perched on Frenchman Bay, this sprawling hotel has full-resort amenities, including clay tennis courts, a pool, and organized activities for children. 55 West St.

Ranger Program

Park rangers lead a variety of programs for children who want to learn more about Acadia’s furry, slithery, and feathered animals. Acadia National Park. 207-288-3338.

Eagle Lake Bike Ride

The most popular carriage road loop in Acadia is, not surprisingly, also the most child-friendly. At just under six miles, it is smooth and relatively flat. Enter off Rte. 233. Acadia National Park. 207-288-3338.

Stone Soup
Pick up some beach toys and a cute sun hat (or stock up on rainy day activities) at this downtown shop full of high-quality kids’ toys and clothing. 113 Main St.

Early Evening
Whale Watch

Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company’s catamaran voyages typically last three to three-and-a-half hours. Humpback, finback, and minke whales are commonly sighted. 1 West St. 207-288-2386.

More than just great seafood, the culinary offerings of this summer destination make for a truly gourmet getaway.

Where to Stay
Acacia House

This inn, owned by the founders of Morning Glory Bakery, serves a full-course breakfast, beginning with locally roasted coffee and flaky turnovers, followed by a choice of omelets or pancakes. 6 High St. 207-288-8122.


Taste and buy artisan olive oils and vinegars — from blood orange olive oil to strawberry balsamic vinegar — at this beautiful gourmet shop. 8 Rodick Place.

Finback Alehouse

Great pub food right downtown. Start with the baby lobster chimis (chimichangas), and don’t miss the enormous, and perfect, fish and chips. 30 Cottage St. 207-288-0233.

Early Evening
Terrace Grill at the Bar Harbor Inn

Whet your appetite with a cocktail and Maine appetizer at this scenic inn’s outdoor terrace located smack on the Shore Path overlooking Frenchman Bay. Newport Dr.

Mache Bistro

Settle in for a cozy dinner at this intimate French bistro where chef Kyle Yarborough has been transforming fresh, local ingredients into creative and delicious dishes for three years. 135 Cottage St. 207-288-0447.

Late Night
Mount Desert Island Ice Cream

President Obama had a scoop here. Food & Wine named it one of the top twenty-five ice cream shops in the country. Try the wild flavors from blueberry crumble to Thai chili. 7 Firefly Ln. 207-801-4007. And 325 Main St. 207-801-4006.

First Timer
The Bar Harbor area boasts some must-see destinations that will make any first-time visitor fall in love at first sight.

Where to Stay
Balance Rock Inn

Secluded, yet right downtown, this luxurious former “cottage” is named for the boulder that rests nearby on the shore of Frenchman Bay. The poolside terrace with fire pit is spectacular. 21 Albert Meadow. 800-753-0494.

Shore Path

Romantic and easy to navigate, this century-old path hugs the mansion-dotted shore of Frenchman Bay, yielding views of the Porcupine Islands, Schoodic Peninsula, and Egg Rock Lighthouse. Town Pier to Wyman Lane.

Late Morning
Park Loop Road

From Sand Beach to Thunder Hole to Otter Cliff to dozens of walking trails leading to bald peaks, this twenty-seven-mile road could easily keep you occupied for days. Acadia National Park. 207-288-3338.

Jordan Pond House

The only restaurant in the national park, the Jordan Pond House is renowned for its tea and popovers. The expansive lawn and gardens overlook Jordan Pond and the distinctive Bubbles. Park Loop Rd. 207-276-3610.

Spruce & Gussy

This new, colorful store highlights local artisans’ goods, from unique leather purses to one-of-a-kind jewelry. A real gem of a store for authentic Maine gifts for the self or home. 12 Mount Desert St. 207-288-2454.

Early Evening
Sunset Cruise

The four-masted schooner Margaret Todd is a graceful beauty with distinctive red sails. Folk musicians serenade you as you watch the sun set on Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor Inn Pier. 207-288-4585.