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Guide to Bar Harbor Maine | Best Things to Do in Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor Maine is the largest town on the idyllic Mount Desert Island. Bar Harbor derives its name from the famous sandbar that connects Bar Island to mainland at low tide. See to the left what happens when one scores a great, free parking space and leaves their car on the sand bar too long. 

Bar Harbor is  home to Acadia National Park, reached by car, and also served by the Bangor International Airport and the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport in nearby Trenton. From the mainland, travelers can drive to Bar Harbor or sail in on their own boat to the harbor.

Things to do in Bar Harbor

Many are drawn to Bar Harbor’s bustling atmosphere for scenic boat tours around the island and whale watching tours to name a few. Bar harbor village is fun to explore on foot, from the shops and galleries to the beautiful waterfront. The Abbe Museum is also a worthy visit, which exhibits Native American artifacts featuring insight on the region’s history.

The Abbe Museum1-bar harbor

Guests should also immerse themselves in the cultural aspect of Bar Harbor. Hosting two celebrated Bar Harbor music festivals, visitors will be humming to string orchestras, chamber music, jazz, blues and more. Local bars and clubs host a range of bands and solo artists that complete the musical mix.

bar harbor local bars

When vacationing in Bar Harbor, a trip to Acadia National Park is a must. Acadia National Park has everything in an outdoor enthusiasts’ dream as the park offers scenic biking trails on the authentic Carriage Roads, 14 mountains for the hiker’s choice all with astounding views of Mount Desert Island meeting the ocean. It’s little wonder why Acadia is the 2nd most visited State Park in the country!

Acadia Bikers

There are miles of walking and biking paths on Carriages Roads throughout the park, in addition to scenic drives. While there are many things to do in Downeast Acadia, if you only spare one vacation in Bar Harbor, visitors ought to venture out to Sand Beach, Otter Cliff and Thunder Hole. Keep your camera handy.

For new travelers of the Bar Harbor area, hiring a registered Maine Guide is a good idea as they are experts in the wildlife and the history of the area. In the company of a Maine Guide. Visitors should also take to the water and tour the scenic bays and harbors on a kayak or canoe.


There are also walking tours of Bar Harbor. On the ocean and land, visitors and guests can tour the island on their own, or let experienced Maine guides show them the way. Or set sail with one of the professional crews in search of whales, seals, seabirds, and stories of the grand cottage era. Or simply relax under billowing sails of a Maine Tall Schooner on a day sailing trip.

If you are planning to visit Bar Harbor in the winter, the carriage trails make for excellent cross-country skiing, the Park Loop Road is a haven for snowmobilers, the 27-miles of snowmobile trails under their coating of white take on a fresh new look.

Acadia’s peaks and cliffs also offer new workouts for the experienced winter hiker in this most challenging of seasons. Ice climbing routes abound and trails show a true wild side to a vacation to Bar Harbor.


Lodgings in Bar Harbor offers the perfect vacation getaway with its honeymoon allurewaterfront innsand luxurious hotel locations. Bar Harbor’s neighboring towns on Mount Desert Island including Northeast HarborSouthwest Harbor, or Bass Harborare slower paced and perhaps better suited for vacationers interested in a more subdued atmosphere. 


Bar Harbor offers a vast array of excellent dining, attractions and lodging and hotels. Use our Bar Harbor Lodging Directoryto find your vacation stay.

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