Visiting Bar Harbor and Acadia

Coastal Bar Harbor Maine

Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park offer an epic adventure into nature on the rugged coast of Maine. Nestled on Mount Desert Island, this charming town and its nearby National Park attract visitors from around the world. From the ambiance of the hotels and the town itself to the breathtaking beauty of Acadia National Park, there is something for everyone to enjoy. 

The town of Bar Harbor is an exciting and active hub with a life of its own. It is primarily the popularity of the town that makes the park, Acadia, such a popular destination. The town and park often blend into one another as you traverse from street to street, creating a unique experience for travelers who have never been to this part of the US. Visiting Bar Harbor and Acadia is one of the best National Parks experiences in the country due the accessibility of everything in town nearby; delicious restaurants, diverse shopping, and excellent hotels. But the jewel of the island is the historic Bar Harbor Inn, which sits right on the water. 

Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor Inn

When it comes to accommodations, the town of Bar Harbor offers a range of options to suit every taste and budget. One notable establishment is the Bar Harbor Inn, a renowned hotel that embodies elegance and captures the essence of coastal living. Situated on the waterfront, the Bar Harbor Inn offers breathtaking views of Frenchman Bay and the surrounding islands. Its luxurious rooms and suites are tastefully decorated, combining modern comforts with a classic New England charm. 

Staying at the Bar Harbor Inn provides a unique experience of indulgence and relaxation. Guests enjoy private balconies or patios overlooking the bay, where they can savor their morning coffee or watch the sun paint the sky with vibrant hues during sunset. The inn also features a heated outdoor pool, a fitness center, and a spa, allowing guests to unwind and rejuvenate after a day of exploration. 

The proximity of the Bar Harbor Inn to the town’s attractions adds to its allure. Within a short walk, guests can explore the quaint streets lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and restaurants serving delicious seafood dishes. The inn’s central location also makes it convenient for embarking on outdoor adventures, such as renting a kayak or booking a whale-watching tour. 

Bar Harbor Restaurants 

Bar Harbor Inn is located in the heart of Bar Harbor, but far away enough from the main streets not to feel crowded. Due to this ideal placement, guests of the hotel are footsteps from the best dining options in town.  

The restaurants in Bar Harbor are a delight, offering a range of dining experiences that cater to different tastes and preferences. From casual food trucks to fine dining establishments, there is something to please every palate. Seafood lovers will be in heaven with the abundance of fresh lobster, clams, and oysters available. You can indulge in classic New England lobster rolls, creamy clam chowder, or try the local delicacy, steamed mussels. Many restaurants also focus on farm-to-table cuisine, incorporating locally sourced ingredients to create flavorful and sustainable dishes. Whether you’re in the mood for seafood, international flavors, or comforting pub fare, Bar Harbor’s restaurants are sure to leave you satisfied. 

Bar Harbor is famous for one special desert – the whoopie pie. I found the best ones are available at The Stadium, right in the heart of town. These treats are the best cream filled pastries in the area, and exceptionally delicious after a long day in Acadia. There are many places in town to take your lobster roll meal and your whoopie pie as you watch the sun set and tide roll out. 

If you’re staying at the Bar Harbor Inn, make sure to try their lobster bake dinner special. It’s your opportunity to eat an entire lobster, with tools and plenty of napkins provided. Nothing beats fresh seafood like lobster, and the Inn is able to get lobster right off the boats from their own docks. The quality of the Inn’s lobster make is unbeatable. 

Nearby Hiking Trails from Bar Harbor 

After enjoying a meal, it’s time to explore the hiking trails near the Bar Harbor Inn. The inn’s location provides easy access to some of Acadia National Park’s best trails. One popular trail is the Ocean Path, which starts at the nearby Sand Beach and follows the rocky coastline, offering breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Another notable trail is the Precipice Trail, known for its thrilling climb up iron rungs and steep cliffs. For a more moderate hike, the Jordan Pond Path takes you around the picturesque Jordan Pond, with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, the hiking trails near the Bar Harbor Inn provide opportunities to immerse yourself in nature and witness the beauty of the region up close. 

Things to do in Bar Harbor 

If you’re seeking a different kind of adventure, the Bar Harbor Inn also offers boating excursions to explore Acadia National Park from the water. You can embark on a scenic cruise that takes you along the rugged coastline, showcasing the park’s striking cliffs, sea caves, and remote islands. These boat tours provide a unique perspective and allow you to appreciate the park’s natural splendor from a different vantage point. You might even spot some of the local wildlife, including seals, eagles, and seabirds. (Consider checking out The Mary Todder boat tours that depart from Bar Harbor Inn).  

For a more hands-on experience, you can rent a kayak from the inn and paddle through the tranquil waters, exploring hidden coves and secluded beaches. Boating excursions from the Bar Harbor Inn offer an unforgettable way to connect with the park’s coastal beauty and create lasting memories. 

In addition to the restaurant scene, hiking trails, and boating excursions, Bar Harbor and its surrounding areas offer a range of other activities and attractions. History buffs can visit the Abbe Museum, which showcases the rich Native American heritage of the region, or explore the historic sites and lighthouses scattered along the coast. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round of golf at the Kebo Valley Golf Club, one of the oldest golf courses in the country, with its stunning views of the park and surrounding mountains. Those seeking relaxation can unwind on the sandy beaches, take a leisurely bike ride along the carriage roads of Acadia National Park, or simply enjoy the peaceful serenity of the coastal scenery. 

Acadia National Park

Of course, one of the main highlights of a visit to Bar Harbor is its proximity to Acadia National Park. Just a short drive away, this gem of the East Coast showcases the magnificence of nature. The journey from Bar Harbor to the park by car varies, but some of the first stops in the park are minutes away. Alternatively, the Island Explorer shuttle bus, which operates during the summer months, offers convenient transportation between Bar Harbor and stops throughout the park. 

Acadia National Park itself is a true marvel, captivating visitors with its diverse landscapes, rugged coastline, and breathtaking vistas. Covering over 49,000 acres, the park offers an array of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts. Hiking trails wind through dense forests, leading to scenic overlooks and mountain peaks. The iconic Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the East Coast, provides a mesmerizing spot to watch the sunrise or sunset over the Atlantic Ocean. 

 For those who prefer a more leisurely experience, the Park Loop Road offers a scenic drive showcasing the park’s most iconic sights. From the picturesque Jordan Pond to the coastline of Thunder Hole, there are countless opportunities to immerse yourself in the park’s beauty. Exploring the park by bicycle is another popular option, with carriage roads winding through forests and around lakes. 

Plan Your Visit 

A visit to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park is an experience that combines the charm of a quaint coastal town with the beauty of an historic National Park. The Bar Harbor Inn, with its accommodations and waterfront views, offers a stay that perfectly complements the town’s welcoming streets. Guided trips in the area help you absorb all the region has to offer. Consider booking with Wildland Trekking and benefit from the ease of an all-inclusive trip – food, transportation, lodging and expert tour guide all provided. 

About Robert Hartsig

-Wildland Guide-

Robert was born in Phoenix, Arizona but grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. An ACL injury playing high school football led Robert into the outdoor recreation of Tennessee. He developed a love for backpacking trips and biking. Robert received his BA in Marketing from the University of Tennessee, where he worked with museums and national battlefields to help develop green and sustainable technology initiatives to help the Park Service save money. This eventually led him to a career as a Trip Leader, which he has worked since 2014. Robert is a musician, a huge fan of football, and enjoys helping small businesses throughout Arizona with their marketing and community services, especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic. He currently resides in Prescott Arizona.

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