Bar Harbor, Maine, is well-known for being the entrance to Acadia National Park and has a long-standing reputation as a picturesque retreat that encapsulates all the state’s greatest attributes. Its location along Frenchman Bay affords visitors a wealth of tranquil sea vistas to their left and right and rugged coasts that seem to have been plucked from a landscape painting. Additionally, it is the ideal starting place for some of Maine’s top whale-watching excursions. In addition, the community cultivates a unique charm that gives the impression that you have left reality and entered a fairytale. However, the amount of mouthwatering local lobster will bring you back to reality. This is where you go to refresh and rediscover the simple pleasures: taking a leisurely walk, admiring the water as the day wears off, and indulging in delectable local cuisine. All of it fits in well with Bar Harbor.
Best Travel Months
The months of June through August are ideal for visiting Bar Harbor. Maine has chilly temperatures all year round due to its location near the northernmost point of the United States. As a result, the hottest and sunniest days are the most significant times to explore the region around Bar Harbor. If you don’t mind cooler weather, fall and spring are good times to come; these times of year will undoubtedly see significantly fewer visitors to Acadia National Park. Another choice is winter, but only if you like the cold. During this time, not only will the temperature drop to the teens, but the area will also be covered with snow, making travel more challenging.
Bar Harbor Money Saving Tips
Travel during the off-seasons Summer is the busiest travel season in Bar Harbor due to its remote northern location. Temperatures drop quickly before and after that, so if you plan a trip during those months, you may be able to save money on airfare.
Use Island Explorer. This free shuttle bus transports guests not just around Bar Harbor but also to other Acadia National Park attractions, such as Jordan Pond and Schoodic Point.
Ignore the tours. Tickets for boat tours may add up quickly. Consider renting your kayaks or paddleboards to save money, or wait until low tide crosses the accessible natural bridge to Bar Island.
Reasons Bar Harbor, Maine, Should Be Your Family’s Next Vacation
The Inn at Bar Harbor
This building stands alone as a destination. It features a breathtaking waterfront site with views of the Porcupine Islands and the rugged Frenchman Bay shoreline. It is a classic New England getaway—beautiful, endearing, and wholly unwinding. Additionally, the personnel is really friendly (both welcoming and accommodating). The hotel features two restaurants on-site, a posh spa, a large pool with two Jacuzzis, and is in a prime location—it is close to all the stores and eateries that make up Bar Harbor. The distance to Acadia National Park is not that far.
The primary structure on the site, which dates to 1887, is historic. However, there are always updates being made, so the inside seems modern and clean. The villa has a peaceful, serene atmosphere thanks to the exquisitely maintained grounds. 153 rooms are available. The nine loft suites with two bedrooms are great for families since one has a king bed and the other two queen beds. There are also two bathrooms, one of which has a large Jacuzzi, and a large living area with a fireplace. The suite’s upstairs boasts a sizable balcony with views of the sea. Beware—you may not want to go.
Why is this trait so unique, then? General Manager Jeremy Dougherty adds, “I don’t know of a lot of hotels so blessed in location as we are. The views from our rooms and the grounds are genuinely unique, even though there are many coastal hotels across the globe. Travelers may check off a number of boxes with this accommodation since it has access to the historic Shore Path just outside the door, leads to Bar Harbor, and is close to Acadia National Park. People often visit us because of our position and breathtaking ocean views, but they return the following time because we go out of our way to make the initial visit memorable. Over 50% of visitors from July to September were return customers. In fact, Dougherty points out that some families have been visiting for 20 to 30 years every summer.
Lobster boat tour in Lulu
For good reason, this boat excursion is routinely rated as one of the best things to do in Bar Harbor. The two-hour trips take place on a classic Downeast-style lobster boat and are interesting and informative. Families will discover all there is to know about lobsters and what it takes to be a true Maine lobsterman or lobsterwoman. The best part is when the lobster traps are brought onto the boat and everyone gets a chance to handle a lobster while learning about its anatomy and life cycle (they can grow claws in their eye sockets). The boat also makes its way up to the charming Egg Rock Lighthouse, which is surrounded by seals. You could also witness other animals like porpoises and bald eagles.
The Bar Harbor and Beyond Food Scene
Make sure to reward yourself with some freshly produced ice cream at Udder Heaven Ice Cream Retreat after a day of hiking in Acadia. Since 2008, the business’s owners Bob and Cathy Wisecarver have been in charge of management. According to Bob, the ice cream tastes like it is from paradise because of the Maine cows. The servings are a respectable quantity at a fair price, and there are more than three dozen varieties to select from, including customer favorites like blueberry cheesecake and moose tracks. Sundaes, milkshakes, floats, and more are also available. The line indicates how well-liked the establishment is, but don’t worry, it passes swiftly.
Pier at Beal’s Lobster
Beal’s Lobster Pier is a great place to have supper close to Acadia and not far from the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. This famous location has been there since 1932, when it was a family-owned, continuously operational fish and lobster dock. The third generation of Beals founded the eatery at the end of the pier in 1969, and the concept—serving up fresh fish from a bustling waterfront—remains the same today. Stuart Snyder and Russell Bernard, the business’s proprietors, are still actively involved in servicing clients and communicating with them. The lengthy lines—regardless of the weather—are a clear indication of how well-liked the location is. The lobster at Beal’s is very fresh, which is what sets it apart. It originates from the on-site, operational lobster dock. There is nothing more recent than this. Get the traditional lobster feast, please (with corn on the cob, cornbread, and coleslaw). The lobster rolls at Beal’s are renowned as well (there are four different kinds). Get the lobster bites, which are fried lobster with two dipping sauces, as an appetizer. If you’re not a fan of shellfish, the veggies and cattle are farmed by regional farmers. Make sure to save space for the whoopie pie and blueberry pie ala mode, two crowd favorites. Even if the cuisine is excellent, dining here is a genuine experience because of the surroundings and views. Beautiful views of the Southwest Harbor and a pleasant, inviting ambiance make this a great family-friendly option.
The eatery is situated in the center of Bar Harbor.
Geddy’s restaurant, which serves families and offers a relaxed, welcoming ambiance with Downeast friendliness, is a great choice if you’re having supper in the city. Since 1986, Arthur and Heather Davis have been the business’s owners. The couple turned a portion of the room into a retail store in 1996, which Heather currently manages. Geddy’s Down-Under, as it is known, is situated just under the restaurant. Don’t forget to sample the blueberry beer, a favorite local libation, at the eatery. Pizzas are one of the foods that fans like. The authentic Neapolitan Italian pizza that Arthur makes has unusual toppings like lobster, shrimp scampi, and Brussel sprouts. He learned how to make it at school. Other well-liked menu items include the clam chowder, lobster rolls (served with either fresh corn or jalapenos, a small variation on the typical New England lobster roll), and tuna tacos (prepared with apples, which gives it a sweet, crisp flavor).
Cafe on West Street
The eatery is really airy and spacious.
CAFE WEST STREET
Jessica and Kevin DesVeaux are the proprietors and operators of the West Street Cafe, another well-liked spot in Bar Harbor. The restaurant was planned and completely remodeled in 2017, and it is light-filled and contemporary with high ceilings, plenty of windows that let in light, and plants and other vegetation all throughout. The property has a lot of foot traffic due to its central location, which is close to lodgings and businesses. The Cafe Delight (pasta with lobster meat, North Atlantic shrimp, mushrooms, and handmade cheese sauce on top) and the crab cakes are popular dishes. The views of the lake are just breathtaking if you’re fortunate enough to get a table near the window.
The restaurant’s pizzas are well-known.
If you want to sit outdoors, go to Sweet Pea’s Cafe, which is run by Nicole and Christian Cuff, a married couple, as well as Christian’s brother Jacob, the restaurant’s chef (Nicole is a sommelier). Additionally, Nicole runs a coffee business there (alongside the roaster Dirk Erlandsen). The cafe debuted in 2019, whereas the restaurant did so in 2017. The roasted chicken leg and fish, which are paired with citrus tomatoes and fresh wood-fired veggies, are two of the restaurant’s most well-liked meals (served with kale and potatoes). Families like the wood-fired pizzas in particular. Another element of attraction is the environment. In addition to the vineyard next to the restaurant, tables are also placed up there. Additionally, diners are kept warm and snug on chilly evenings by a blazing outside fire.