town in Hancock County, Maine, United States

Bar Harbor is a village on Mount Desert Island in Hancock County in the Down East area of Maine. It is a useful base for those visiting Acadia National Park.

UnderstandEdit

Get inEdit

 
View of Bar Harbor from Cadilac Mountain.

By carEdit

  • 30 min from the city of Ellsworth via Route 3.
  • 45 min - 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.
  • 3½ 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 planeEdit

The 1 Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport (BHB IATA) is in Trenton on the outskirts of Ellsworth, on the mainland adjacent to Mount Desert Island. There is scheduled air service to Boston, and seasonal flights to Newark that go on to Vero Beach. During the summer there is free bus service between the airport and Bar Harbor, which takes about 45 minutes, depending on the traffic. Taxi service and rental cars are also available.

By ferryEdit

Bay Ferries will be returning The Cat high-speed ferry service to Bar Harbor, ferrying passengers between the area and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Originally expected to return in June 2019, delays in renovating the ferry terminal put off the return to either late in the 2019 season or, more likely, 2020.

Get aroundEdit

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., and the activities at the town pier.

Bicycles can be rented in town and may be put on the front of the buses.

SeeEdit

  • 1 Bar Harbor Historical Society, 33 Ledgelawn Ave, +1 207 288-0000. mid-June to Oct M-Sa 1-4PM, open by appointment in the winter. Closed holidays. Listed on the National Register of Historic places, the museum exhibits memorabilia, maps, antique clothing and pictures. free.
  • 2 Abbe Museum, 26 Mount Desert St, +1 207 288-3519. May-Oct 10AM-5PM, Nov-Apr Th-Sa 10-16. Devoted to the Native American tribes of Maine. The new Abbe museum is much larger and offers plenty of activities for both adults and children. A good rainy day activity. Open to school groups and programs by appointment in the winter. $8/adult, $7/senior, $4/youth, children under 10 free.    
  • The Abbe Museum:Original, +1 207 288-3519. Located at Sieur De Mont, this one-room museum is the original MDI Native American museum. A bit pricey, but lots of information.
  • 3 Village Green (intersection of Mt. Desert Street and Main Street). 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. On summer nights, there are often concerts on the bandstand. Street performers will often roam the sidewalks, and there's free Wifi! Just create an account name and sign on.
  • 4 Sieur de Monts Spring Nature Center. Home to the Wild Gardens of Acadia.
  • The Bar Harbor Whale Museum (West St facing the harbor). 10AM-8PM. The museum is devoted to whales and other sea creatures. There are many real skeletons (from stranded marine mammals) on display including a 28-foot long juvenile humpback whale. Other exhibits include climate change, bioacoustics, marine adaptations, and a brief history of whaling. Great for kids and adults. Great souvenirs and presents to be found in the gift shop. by donation.
  • 5 Dorr Museum of Natural History (on the College of the Atlantic campus), +1 207 288 5015. Dedicated to the natural history of the North East. Exhibits vary from year to year, and are designed by College of the Atlantic students. There is always a touch-tank filled with sea creatures, and plenty of taxidermied animals to examine. Child friendly.

DoEdit

 
Frenchman's Bay lighthouse.

In general, Bar Harbor is more interesting from 9PM-5AM during the summertime, when the crowds are thinner and the air cooler, although the Police Department never sleeps.

Boat toursEdit

  • Acadia Sailing Company, +1 207 669-5900. Offers a two- or three-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.
  • 1 The Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co., 1 West St. Cruise Frenchman's Bay and get up close and personal with whales, dolphins, porpoises, sea birds and more.
  • 2 Diver Ed's Dive-In Theater, 146 Gilbert Farm Rd, +1 207 288-DIVE (3483). Dive-In Theater is a family-friendly 2-hour interactive marine life boat cruise.
  • 3 Lulu Lobster Boat Ride, 55 West St, +1 207 963-2341, . 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.
  • 4 Schooner Margaret Todd, 27 Main St, +1 207 288-4585. A 151-foot, four-masted schooner. Sails at 10AM (morning sail), 2PM (afternoon sail), and 6:30PM (sunset sail). Adult: $37.50, seniors 65+: $35.00, children 6-11: $27.50, toddlers 2-5: $5.00, infants under 2: free.
  • Sea Princess Scenic Nature Cruises, +1 207 276-5352, . 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.

PaddlingEdit

HikingEdit

There are numerous trails around Bar Harbor, and even more in the surrounding areas of Mount Desert Island. When planning a hike, 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.

The following is a list of walks and hikes around the village of Bar Harbor.

  • North Ridge Trail. This trail ascends the 1530 foot Cadillac Mtn.
  • South Ridge Trail. This trail ascends the 1530 foot Cadillac Mtn.
  • Dorr Mtn.. 1,270 ft.
  • Bear Brook Trail. This trail ascends the 1058-foot Champlain Mtn.
  • The Precipice Trail. This trail ascends the 1058-foot Champlain Mtn. It is 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.
  • 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.

Other activitiesEdit

BuyEdit

GearEdit

ArtEdit

Other shopsEdit

EatEdit

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.

This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under $10
Mid-range $10 - $20
Splurge Over $20

BudgetEdit

Mid-rangeEdit

SplurgeEdit

DrinkEdit

BarsEdit

CoffeeEdit

  • 8 Morning Glory Bakery, 39 Rodick St, +1 207 288-3041. Open year round. Free wireless internet. Coffee, Pastries, Quiches, Sandwiches and Soups. Eat in or take out.
  • 9 Opera House Internet Cafe, 27 Cottage St, +1 207 288-3509. Open May–October. Offering fee based internet access (wired and wireless), coffee & pastry, come in and to online or simply hang out and play Scrabble, chess, checkers or many other games.
  • 10 Trailhead Cafe, 37 Cottage St, +1 207 288-9592.

SleepEdit

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

HotelsEdit

Bed & breakfasts and guest housesEdit

CampingEdit

Stay safeEdit

  • 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, or without having a compass and knowing how to use it, 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 nextEdit

Routes through Bar Harbor
EllsworthTrenton  W   E  END
END  N   S  Southwest HarborTremont
END  N   S  Northeast HarborEND



This city travel guide to Bar Harbor is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.