Bar Harbor is known as the gateway to Acadia National Park, one of America’s favorite parks, and is situated on Mount Desert Island right on the gorgeous Frenchman’s Bay. Here you will find Cadillac Mountain*, the highest point on the eastern seaboard, where you can often see the country’s first sunrise. Bar Harbor is beloved by visitors for so many reasons – from the endless outdoor activities to award-winning dining and accommodations – and it is routinely on national “best of” lists, including as one of America’s Favorite Towns. From Portland, the three-hour drive is quite scenic, with one route that takes you along Penobscot Bay and over the stunning Penobscot Narrows Bridge.
The city has long been a popular summer vacation destination – ever since the 19th century when powerful American families built their summer “cottages” – some of which are now delightful B&Bs, like the Sand Bar Cottage which was built in 1887 or Highseas, which was converted into housing for the biomedical research facility, Jackson Laboratory. Today the town is just as vibrant as ever; Main Street is lined with shops, boutiques and dining of all sorts. With Acadia next door and the working waterfront encircling it, Bar Harbor captures something quintessentially Maine.
Things to Do in Bar Harbor
Summer is still the peak time for visitors, with breezy days and cool nights – ideal for family movies in the park or kayaking along the coast. Whale-watching in Bar Harbor is also best in the summer as the bay is a popular feeding ground. Yet, with all there is to do, Bar Harbor is worth a visit year-round. Luckily, the weather in Bar Harbor is just about always perfect for getting outside. Spring and fall have warm days and crisp nights, and winter is all about fluffy snowfall.
Where to Stay in Bar Harbor
There are a lot of hotels and inns in Bar Harbor. If a hotel isn’t your scene, try a local campground like the Bar Harbor Camping Resorts. While many full-service resorts close for the winter, like the popular Harborside Hotel, there are plenty of cozy B&Bs and hotels open year-round, like the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel. Bar Harbor is the perfect place to warm up after a day of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or snowmobiling in Acadia. For more lodging suggestions, scan the list of businesses below.
Restaurants in Bar Harbor
Bar Harbor has many dining options – from family-friendly joints to romantic cafes. Many popular restaurants are open all year, like Havana – a fine-dining staple in Bar Harbor, offering American cuisine with a Latin flair, but outdoor seaside favorites such as the Terrace Grille are seasonal. Scroll through the business list below for even more restaurant ideas.
Whatever the season, Bar Harbor is always a treat.
*From May 26 through Oct 19, vehicle reservations are required for Cadillac Summit Road between sunrise and sunset.