Bar Harbor

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Bar Harbor is a village on Mount Desert Island in Hancock County in the Down East area of Maine, a state of the United States of America.

Get in[edit]

View of Bar Harbor from Cadilac Mountain.

By car[edit]

  • 30 mins from the city of Ellsworth via Route 3.
  • 45 mins - 1 hour from Bangor, Maine, depending on traffic. Take I-395 and Route 1A to Ellsworth. From Ellsworth continue on Route 3 to Bar Harbor.
  • 3.5 hours from Portland, Maine. Take I-95 to exit 182, I-395 and follow the directions from Bangor. Alternatively, take I-95 to Route 3, exit 113, just north of Augusta, and follow Route 3 east to Belfast, and then to Ellsworth and Bar Harbor.
  • 5 hours from Boston, Massachusetts
  • 7 hours from Burlington, Vermont. Take I-89 South to Montpelier, get on Route 2 West and follow until Newport, Maine. Get on I-95 North and take exit 185 to the "Acadia Region". Follow the signs along Route 1 to Bar Harbor.
  • 7 hours from Quebec, Canada

By plane[edit]

The Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport is somewhat of a misnomer, actually located in Trenton on the outskirts of Ellsworth, on the mainland adjacent to Mount Desert Island. There is scheduled air service to Boston. During the summer there is free bus service between the airport and Bar Harbor, which takes about 45 minutes,depending on the amount of traffic. Taxi service and rental cars are also available.

Get around[edit]

Depending on the time of year you find yourself in town, and your intended goals, your visit may necessitate different modes of transportation. With many of the nearly 3 million annual visitors arriving in the summer months, getting around town by motor vehicle is a bad idea. Bar Harbor is much, much quieter between October and April.

  • Use the Island Explorer buses to get around the island. They are sponsored by L.L. Bean and an eco-friendly option.
  • Driving a large truck or SUV is ill-advised, as parking in Bar Harbor is not suited to such vehicles. On the bright side, bringing less stuff requires befriending of locals, improvisation, and overall a more fun Maine experience.
  • The central area of Bar Harbor is quite small and easily explored by foot. This includes the shopping and eating establishments on Main St. and Cottage St., as well as the activities at the town pier.
  • Bicycles can be rented in town and may be put on the front of the buses.

See[edit]

Frenchman's Bay lighthouse.
  • Bar Harbor Historical Society33 Ledgelawn Ave +1 207 288-3807, +1 207 288-0000. Open M-Sa 1-4PM, June-October, open by appointment in the winter. Closed Sundays and holidays. Free admission.
  • Abbe Museum26 Mount Desert St +1 207 288-3519. Open to school groups and programs by appointment in the winter, shop and galleries open for the public May 25.
  • Village Green. Right in the heart of town, the well-groomed park is a great place to take a break from walking, shopping, etc. Toss a frisbee, enjoy your ice cream, read a book, or just take a nap. The gazebo hosts the town band every Monday and Thursday night.
  • The Wild Gardens of Acadia
  • Sieur de Monts Spring Nature Center
  • Current Cruise Ship Schedule.
  • Asticou Azalea GardensNortheast Harbor, Maine. It provides visitors with a stunning backdrop of trees and flowering plants that reflect its designer’s love of Japanese gardens and local plant life. Though only open part of the year, it is a peaceful and tranquil place where local wildlife add to the ambiance that make this garden a must see local on the Maine coastline.

Do[edit]

On foot[edit]

Those seeking real adventure on a budget in Bar Harbor may find the bar and restaurant prices cost-prohibitive, but the Hannaford Supermarket on Cottage Street offers no end of inexpensive food and drink including liquor. In general, Bar Harbor is more interesting from 9PM-5AM during the summertime, when the crowds are thinner and the air cooler, although be advised that the Police Department never sleeps.

Golfing[edit]

  • Kebo Valley Golf CourseState Highway 233 ("Eagle Lake Road"), e-mail: . Pro Shop: +1 207 288-3000, Club House: Phone: +1 207 288-5000, email:, Superintendent: +1 207 288-5000. Challenge yourself at the 8th oldest golf course in America. 6,131 yards, par 70.
  • Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf +1 207 288-2133. Route 3, Open mid-April through October, 11AM-9PM every day. Two 18-hole courses, Original and Blackbeard's Challenge. Both courses $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for children. 36-hole adventure: $12/adults, $11/children. Ice cream window right across the street to celebrate.

Cinemas[edit]

Whale watching[edit]

Sailing[edit]

  • Schooner Margaret Todd, Office located at 27 Main St., Tickets: Phone: +1 207 288-4585 or +1 207 288-2373 [2] Sail through Frenchman's Bay on this beautiful, 151-foot, four-masted schooner and see the sun set over the harbor. Follow the shore path to the right of the town pier to the dock directly in front of the Bar Harbor Inn. (You'll see the boat before you get that close). Sails at 10AM (morning sail), 2PM (afternoon sail), and 6:30PM (sunset sail). Tickets are Adult: $37.50, Seniors 65+: $35.00, Children 6-11: $27.50, Todders 2-5: $5.00, Infants under 2: free Tickets also available on-line.
  • Acadia Sailing Company +1 207 669-5900. Reservations & Rates: Enjoy an intimate 2 or 3 hour sail with a native captain on a 25-foot Crosby Catboat built in 1915. 6 passenger maximum & nice dogs sail free. Trips depart from the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Conference Center dock (119 Eden St) daily.

Hiking[edit]

The following is a list of walks and hikes around the village of Bar Harbor. For a complete list of mountains on the island, please see the list on the Mount Desert Island page.

  • Cadillac Mtn. 1,530 ft.
    • North Ridge Trail
    • South Ridge Trail
  • Dorr Mtn. 1,270 ft.
  • Champlain Mtn. 1,058 ft.
    • Bear Brook Trail
    • The Precipice Trail - One of the most difficult hikes on the island, iron rungs and ladders help you make the steep ascent. This trail is closed at times due to nesting peregrine falcons, which can be viewed from the parking area.
  • The Beehive 540 ft. - A short but steep hike up this mountain rewards you with some great views of Sand Beach, Great Head, Frenchman's Bay, and Champlain Mtn.
    • Iron rungs and ladders
  • Gorham Mtn. 525 ft.
  • The Shorepath - A relaxing stroll along the oceanfront, beginning at the town pier.
  • Ocean Trail - An easy walk along the dramatic, rocky coastline Maine is known for. See Sand Beach, Thunder Hole and Otter Cliffs.
  • Bar Island - This trail is accessible only at low tide.
  • Carraige Roads - Accessible by Eagle Lake
  • Great Head Trail

Tips for hiking in Bar Harbor

  • Avoid driving and use the free Island Explorer buses. These stop at most trail heads, and afford an ideal means of taking hikes from one point to another without spotting cars.
  • Bring and drink at least one liter of water per person and use sun protection. The nearby mountains and shoreline afford little protection from the sun.
  • Dress in layers. Even on the hottest summer days the mountains and shoreline can be windy and cool.
  • Stay on the 160 km/100 miles of trails and 80km/50 miles of carriage roads.

Paddling[edit]

Here's how to explore Bar Harbor by canoe or kayak. For a complete list of ponds and lakes on the island, please see the list on the Mount Desert Island page.

Tours

  • Coastal Kayaking Tours, toll-free: +1-800-526-8614, e-mail: .
  • National Park Sea Kayak Tours39 Cottage St, toll-free: +1-800-347-0950, e-mail: . Reservations are suggested for these ecological tours, which cruise the quieter western side of Mount Desert Island.
  • Ardea EcoExpeditions Tours34 Hackmatack Rd +1 207 460-9731, e-mail: . Gouldsboro, ME 04607. World class learning adventures and outdoor instruction led by Master Maine Guides who are trained naturalists with extensive experience as environmental educators. We use curriculum based instruction so participants connect more fully with the natural world and develop lifelong outdoor skills.
  • Aquaterra Adventures1 West Street +1 207 288-0007. Bar Harbor, ME 04609. They offer several types of tours and instruction led by the best licensed Maine guides. They provide you with all of the equipment that you will need on the trip and have their own dock located right behind the shop so there is no need to shuttle anywhere or lug equipment.
  • Acadia Park Kayak Tours +1 207 266-1689. Bar Harbor, ME 04609. Offering sunrise, day, sunset, night, and private tours. They offer ecological tours of the coastal islands of Frenchman's bay the body of water off the shores of Bar Harbor. They limit their group sizes to the maximum of six people per group which is half or less than half the maximum group size set by any other outfitters on Mount Desert Island and most other outfitters in the state. They place a special emphasis on using eco-friendly business practices.

Boat tours[edit]

  • Lulu Lobster Boat Ride55 West Street +1 207 963-2341, e-mail: . Bar Harbor, ME. The only lobster boat and seal watch tour in Bar Harbor hosted on a traditional Downeast-style lobster boat. After fourteen successful seasons delighting passengers in the Hancock area and Bar Harbor, Lulu sails out of downtown Bar Harbor. The Harborside Hotel & Marina is Lulu’s base of operations. Lulu takes you on a two hour tour offering the most exclusive, personal and unique cruise in Bar Harbor.
  • Sea Princess Scenic Nature Cruises +1 207 276-5352, e-mail: . A Maine Coast tradition since 1968. Take a scenic nature cruise from Northeast Harbor (20 minute drive from Bar Harbor). View Bear Island Lighthouse, Osprey, Eagles, Harbor Porpoise, Harbor Seals, visit the Cranberry Islands and the Islesford Historical Museum, and cruise into majestic Somes Sound Fjord.

Flying[edit]

  • Acadia Air Tours. Offers scenic flights with both gliders and old-fashioned biplanes that allow you to see Acadia National Park from a unique perspective.

Buy[edit]

Gear[edit]

Art[edit]

Clothing and apparel[edit]

  • Celtic Rainbow Gifts56 West Street (down by the waterfront, near the Harborside Hotel),  +1 207 288-3860. Offers jewelry, clothing, music, and other gifts from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales.

Eat[edit]

French[edit]

  • Mache Bistro135 Cottage Street, Bar Harbor +1 207 288-0447. French food with a local flair from acclaimed chef Kyle Yarborough, formerly of Havana. An intimate setting and perfect portions make this a must-do on any Bar Harbor trip. Open year round.

American[edit]

Italian[edit]

Mexican[edit]

Deli sandwiches[edit]

Ice cream[edit]

Coffee[edit]

  • Trailhead Cafe37 Cottage St +1 207 288-9592. Not only the best coffee but the best place to enjoy a coffee in Bar Harbor.
  • Opera House Internet Cafe27 Cottage St +1 207 288-3509. Open May-October. Offering Fee based Internet Access (wired and wireless), Coffee & Pastry, Come in and Go Online or simply hang out and play Scrabble, Chess, Checkers or many other games.

Drink[edit]

Microbreweries[edit]

There are three breweries within Bar Harbor town limits, and a year-round population of only about 3,000. This is perhaps the most breweries per capita in the US.

Sleep[edit]

Room rates in Bar Harbor vary drastically with time of year and also with category of accommodation.

Hotels[edit]

  • Edgewater Motel and CottagesBox 566 Bar Harbor, Maine 04609 (200 yards off of route 3), toll-free: +1-888-310-9920. Nestled on the shore of Salisbury Cove, The Edgewater offers cozy cottages, suites and motel rooms all overlooking the ocean. Located just 2.5 miles from the entrance to Acadia National Park, and 5 miles from downtown Bar Harbor, these quiet, private accommodations are the perfect spot for your Maine vacation.


Bed & breakfasts/Guest houses[edit]

  • Acacia House Inn6 High Street +1 207 288-8122, toll-free: +1-800-551-5399, e-mail: . Check-out: 11AM. Charming home with nine guestrooms run by the former owners of the Morning Glory Bakery. Breakfast is included in the price and is made from locally sourced ingredients and prepared to order. Open year round.
  • Balance Rock Inn Bed and Breakfast21 Albert Meadow +1 207 288-2610.
  • Inn at Bay Ledge Bed & Breakfast50 Sand Point Road (turn left on Sand Point Road (you will see the Bay Ledge sign) and continue 3 miles),  +1 207 288-4204. Atop an 80 foot cliff, amidst towering pines and overlooking Frenchman Bay, sits the Inn at Bay Ledge. The Inn at Bay Ledge has twelve units: eight rooms in the main lodge; three hillside cottages; and a private summer cottage on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The Inn at Bay Ledge is locally referred to as the Eden of New England. $165-$475.

Camping[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

  • While Maine has relatively low crime rates compared to the rest of the United States, Bar Harbor is rather different during tourist season. Locking of one's car is advised, although car theft is almost unheard of.
  • It is unsafe to venture out onto Maine's coastal waters without having the necessary equipment and experience. This is true of kayaking, canoeing, sailing or any other kind of boating. The water is cold and hypothermia can set in in a short amount of time. Dense fog often rolls in very quickly as well as the occasional storm. If you are determined to go out on your own to do so without every single passenger wearing a PFD and/or without having a compass and knowing how to use it and/or without understanding how to navigate safely around other boats and water hazards is not only foolish but could result in serious fines from the Coast Guard or a Marine Patrol officer. There are numerous companies on Mount Desert Island and else where that offer guided sea kayak, sailing, and power boat tours.

Go next[edit]


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