16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN BAR HARBOR MAINE

Bar Harbor, Maine is a beautiful New England coastal town that just screams summer. It is a popular destination for locals and tourists every year, especially around the Fourth of July. What most people don’t know though, is it’s actually a great place to visit during the fall, winter, and spring as well. Thanks to Acadia National Park, there is year-round found to be had in this amazing city.

Whether you are looking for a romantic weekend getaway or the ultimate family vacation, Bar Harbor has something for all. Here are 16 things to do in Bar Harbor Maine that you’re not going to want to miss.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN BAR HARBOR MAINE

Acadia National Park protects more than 47,000 acres of park land, including Mount Desert Island. Here you’ll enjoy beautiful views from mountain tops, such as Cadillac Mountain, along with water views at places such as Sand Beach. Check out Schoodic Peninsula, which actually sits on the mainland.

Start your trip with a stop at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. Here you can find maps and ranger-led activities, such as the history behind the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. Understandably, not everyone likes to go with a ranger while hiking, which is why you’ll find plenty of people just following Park Loop Road in their cars while enjoying the 27 miles of scenery. 

Make sure to take your car to Jordan Pond restaurant for some famous Jordan Pond Popovers. This amazing dining experience has a view you won’t forget, and supplies guests with popovers and tea! 

Read More: 17 FUN THINGS TO DO IN ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

Planning a National Parks road trip? The America the Beautiful Pass covers entrance for an entire year to all the US National Parks and over 2,000 federal recreation fee sites. Fees are covered for everyone in the car for per-vehicle sites and for up to 4 adults for per-person sites. This is a no-brainer, friends. While fees vary, you’ll likely break-even after two visits. Plus, REI will donate 10% of pass sale proceeds to the NPS Foundation.

FRENCHMAN BAY

16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN BAR HARBOR MAINE

Frenchman Bay is actually a part of Acadia National Park that offers a range of water activities like sailing and boating. It’s also the connector between the Schoodic Peninsula and Mount Desert Island.

Being 7 miles long and 14 miles wide, there are 38 different islands within its waters. If you aren’t into getting out on the open water, then you can certainly take in the views from the Bar Harbor Pier. 

SHORE PATH

16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN BAR HARBOR MAINE

One of the most popular walking paths you can take is the Shore Path around Bar Harbor. It starts around the Town Pier, which is right next to Agamont Park. You can follow this path past the Bar Harbor Inn and around the point. It will wrap you around the Eastern shore of Mount Desert Island, giving you great views of the Porcupine Islands. These are some of the more known islands inside Frenchman’s Bay. 

This path has become one of the most popular attractions for those who visit Acadia National Park. In fact, it was created in 1880, when people would gather to watch the brilliant sun rising in the morning, lighting the way. 

Details: Bar Harbor, ME 04609 | Website

DOWNTOWN BAR HARBOR

16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN BAR HARBOR MAINE
Courtesy of Coachwood

Just because the small New England town attracts those who love nature, doesn’t mean that its visitors don’t appreciate its beautiful downtown. If you visit in the summer, you can take in the local mom-and-pop shops selling seaside souvenirs. In fact, the town’s Fourth of July celebrations and parade attract the most visitors each year. 

Don’t rule out going in the winter, though. This town gets cozy, with decorated streets filled with Christmas lights and celebrations. Instead of serving ice cream, you’ll be getting a hot cup of cocoa. You’ll find an array of galleries, restaurants, shops, and more.

Details: Website

GEORGE B. DORR MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN BAR HARBOR MAINE
Courtesy of George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History

Of course, this wouldn’t be a complete list if we didn’t find something for those who love history, and The George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History will certainly hit the spot. This museum takes a historical look into Maine’s natural landscape and habitat. Interestingly enough, this was the original headquarters for Acadia National Park. 

Now, it hosts tons of exhibits, programs, and activities — from exploring marine life history to animals that have grazed the lands of Maine and still do. There is also an extensive section on Frenchman’s Bay history and the sea creatures that occupy it. 

Details: 105 Eden St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 | Website

LAMOINE STATE PARK

16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN BAR HARBOR MAINE
Courtesy of Kai D.

Another beautiful area that should be visited is Lamoine State Park, which occupies 55 acres of shoreline on Frenchman’s Bay. This state park is located in Lemoine, next door to Bar Harbor. For just a quick drive down the road, you can get unparalleled views of the mountains on the eastern side of Mount Desert Island. 

 You can enjoy camping, boating, fishing, and beautiful scenery here.

During its main season, May through September, the park is open from 9 a.m. to sunset. Visitors can also visit during the off season, by parking outside the gate and walking in.

Details: 23 State Park Rd, Lamoine, ME 04605 | Website

CADILLAC MOUNTAIN

16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN BAR HARBOR MAINE

Cadillac Mountain is one of the very first things we mentioned, because it affords visitors an amazing view of Acadia National Park. It is the tallest point on the East Coast, and it offers incredible views of the islands and natural landscapes surrounding it.  The summit is accessible by car, but becomes incredibly busy during summer months.

Because researchers and scientists are trying to restore the vegetation and soil at the top of the summit, keep in mind that certain trails or parts of the mountain may be closed at different points. Check their website for updates.

Details: Acadia National Park, Maine | Website

LAND BRIDGE TO BAR ISLAND

16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN BAR HARBOR MAINE

This has got to be one of the coolest things to do in Bar Harbor Maine! Hike the Bar Island Trail for a truly unique Bar Harbor experience.

What makes it so unique? Well, it can only be accessed at certain times — specifically, 1.5 hours before and after low tide. For those hours, a gravel land bridge from Bar Harbor to Bar Island is exposed, leading hikers to explore this amazing area via this disappearing (and re-appearing) trail.

Follow the 1.9-mile, round-trip trail to Bar Island, where you’ll explore the forest, while taking in amazing views of Frenchman’s Bay.

Explore the marine life in the many tide pools that are created by the tides. Just make sure you’re keeping up with the time while on the island! Once the bar is covered with water, it takes 9 hours for it to appear again.

Details: Bar Harbor, Maine | Website

ABBE MUSEUM

16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN BAR HARBOR MAINE
Courtesy of Abbe Museum

The Abbe Museum, a contemporary art museum, has two locations. The first is located in downtown Bar Harbor, and is operated by Acadia National Park. Interestingly enough, it is the only Smithsonian Affiliate in the state of Maine. Even though this is a contemporary museum, it is dedicated to Native American history featuring the Wabanki people. 

The other museum sits at Sieur De Monts Spring, with a historical look back to the early 20th century, offering insight into Native American Archeology in Maine. Great for all ages, this museum has tons of activities and hands-on learning opportunities. 

Details: 26 Mt Desert St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 | Website

AGAMONT PARK

16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN BAR HARBOR MAINE
Courtesy of Randy Ross

Located right near Main Street, Agamont Park is a beautiful green space that sits alongside the Shore Path Trail, which we mentioned earlier. This public park overlooks the Town Pier, as well as Frenchman’s Bay. This is a great place to kick your feet up and let kids run around and play. 

It’s also great to have a picnic date while watching the boats against the beautiful backdrop. Something that may surprise you is that the park also has free WiFi, in case you’d like to work outside as well.

Details: Bar Harbor, ME 04609 | Website

VILLAGE GREEN

16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN BAR HARBOR MAINE
Courtesy of Little Joe

Another fantastic urban park is Village Green. As opposed to being right on the water, this park is central to everything in town, making it easy to access. While it may be a small space to hangout, the Pergola offers beautiful shade, while there are a number of flower gardens to enjoy and take in. 

With tons of little shops surrounding the park, it is the perfect place to pop on a podcast or read a book with a local cup of coffee while enjoying the coastal breeze. 

Details: Bar Harbor, ME 04609 | Website

EGG ROCK LIGHT

16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN BAR HARBOR MAINE

Egg Rock Light is a lighthouse that was built on Frenchman’s Bay to help navigate recreational and commercial ships in and out of the bay. It was built in 1875, and is said to be one of the more unique lighthouses because of its architectural design. It was built on 12.5 acres of rock, and is still active today. 

Technically speaking, it is located in Winter’s Harbor, despite being close to Mount Desert Island and Bar Harbor. Regardless, you can see this from either side of the bay, and it’s best seen by boat.

Details: Egg Rock Lighthouse, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 | Website

THUNDER HOLE

16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN BAR HARBOR MAINE

If you want to really take in the power of the sea, then there is no better place to do this than from Thunder Hole, located inside Acadia National Park. If the waves are calm, then you are probably going to leave bewildered, but on a day with a bit of wind you are sure to be thrilled. Here at Thunder Hole you can see waves crash into the natural carved out inlet. 

At the end of the inlet, there is a cavern where waves crash into it, and the air pressure and force makes a hunger-like clap and shoots the water up and out like a spout. Imagine seeing a 40-foot water spout while hearing the sound of thunder. What a thrill! 

Details: Bar Harbor, ME 04609 | Website

BAR HARBOR WHALE WATCHING

16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN BAR HARBOR MAINE
Courtesy of Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co.

Whale watching is something that is nearly on everyone’s bucket list. Taking a boat tour and going whale watching in Bar Harbor certainly meets that standard. Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. is certainly one of the leading companies to take you out on that journey. Not only will they take out to see the whales, but you will also have the option to get a great tour of Acadia National Park, the lighthouse, and even some cute puffins. 

Specifically, when you go on their whale watching tour, you will get to learn a lot of Maine’s natural marine life. Looking out for large humpback whales are the only species you are set to run into. There is also a great chance for dolphins, seals, and sharks! 

This activity usually runs for about 4.5 to 5.5 hours long during the main season of late May to mid October.

Details:  West St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 | Website

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC GARDENS

16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN BAR HARBOR MAINE
Courtesy of College of the Atlantic Gardens

The College of the Atlantic Gardens is commonly referred to as the COA Gardens. They offers stunning views of their own gardens, but also have some interesting and unique activities, such as planting your own carrots. The Community Gardens sits at the North End of the campus and this is where you can plant those carrots. It is also used as an organic supply of vegetables for the kitchen to promote community and sustainability. 

The Newlin Gardens are just outside the Community Garden, and was established in 1992. These beautiful gardens are dedicated to the Newlin family, who have several ties to the college and Mount Desert Island. Here you can find beautiful flora as you walk down the pathway. 

Turrets Seaside Gardens has to be the most popular out of all of them (there are quite a few of them). From here you can take in Frenchman’s Bay and the string of islands, while being engulfed in greenery and blooming flowers, depending on the time of year. 

Details: 105 Eden St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 | Website

DIVER ED’S DIVE-IN THEATER

16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN BAR HARBOR MAINE
Courtesy of Diver’s Ed Dive-In Theater

If you’re looking for something fun to do, then look no further than Diver Ed’s Dive-In Theater. Interestingly enough, it sits at the George B. Dorr Museum, and will offer you a very theatrical and unusual theater production. 

This is fun for all ages as you join Diver Ed and his crew to the bottom of the sea. Well, you don’t go — but they do. This interactive performance lets you explore sea life through a fun story line in real time. If you want tickets to the show, know that you can only get them by calling in!

Details: George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History, 105 Eden St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 | Website

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