We’ve just entered daylight saving time and perhaps I’m getting spring fever but I’ve been nostalgic and reminiscing my last vacation to Bar Harbor, Maine. I’ve travelled to many places and this little island on the east coast is my favorite location and luckily only a few hours from home. It has that Maine charm you expect and is situated right at the heart of Acadia Park with vast forests and beautiful seacoast. Home to Cadillac mountain, Sand beach, Bar Harbor, The Bowl, Eagle Lake and Jordan Pond only to name a few of the popular spots you’re sure to find your own favorites.
Perfect for hiking, whale watching, canoeing, biking, spending the day at Sand Beach… even star gazing (are you tired yet?). Once you’re ready to simply relax, you can enter the small and quaint town of Bar Harbor, stroll through its main streets and walk in the local artisan shops and enjoy the homemade specialties. Don’t forget to have lobster for supper and a glass of wine (because hey, you’re on vacation!).
I suggest getting a detailed map of trails offered on the island beforehand to plan ahead trails that interest you. Don’t forget to drive through scenic routes and if you are planning on only doing one (easy) hiking trail, I strongly suggest (and will be disappointed if you don’t) walk along Park Loop Drive starting from Sand beach towards Otter Cliff. Along the walk you may notice that some people stray from the path to walk closer towards the sea and through the bushes to discover breathtaking views. There are no official signs that will guide you here so be on the lookout for a great view! Always be careful when walking near the edges as there are no barriers and cliffs are very high and abrupt in this area. Safety first.
My favorite local bites :
♩ Sea salt taffy (try the blueberry flavored ones!)
♫ Blueberry tea
♮ Lobster rolls
Where to stay?
Camping : There are quite a few accessible campgrounds on the island. I’ve personally stayed at “Bar Harbor Campground” and recommend the site. The campground is family oriented, lots are spacious and it’s only a few minutes away from Bar Harbor. If you are looking to stay in a “wilder” area of the park and closer to the main beach, I would suggest looking at Blackwoods campground.
Renting a cottage: Whenever someone asks me about Bar Harbor, the first thing I ask is how long they are planning to stay and the next thing I do is make sure they stay at least a week!! A few days or a weekend is NOT enough to explore the island and you will miss many of the beautiful spots. Since I recommend spending a week on the island (and considering hotels/motels are NOT cheap) your best option is to hunt for a cottage. Surprisingly, if you do a little research and book in advance you can rent your own little private place for about 120-150$ a night.
The further you move from Bar harbor (yet are still on the island, close to Acadia park and only a short drive from Bar Harbor) the cheaper the stay. I suggest looking at areas near Echo lake, Southwest Harbor or Northwest Harbor for other options. Unfortunately, tourists with little time on their hands focus solely on Bar Harbor area and forget to visit the adjacent towns, which are just as beautiful.
Bed and Breakfasts: If you are set on a bed and breakfast there is a long list of options that will cater to your every need.
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to visit this little paradise in Maine. I’ve only been there a few times and I’m no expert but I’d love to try and answer any of your questions based on my experience.
So get that road trip music going, pack your bags and GO!