For more than 150 years, Bar Harbor has been a place where busy people from the East Coast can escape the urban density of cities like Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.
Although it was known as a quiet retreat for artists and the wealthy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there are plenty of ways for anyone to enjoy one of the most scenic parts of the United States.
Explore Acadia National Park. For most first-time visitors, exploring the 50-square-mile Acadia National Park will be the highlight of a stay in Bar Harbor. Park visitors can drive the 27-mile Park Loop Road and stop to take photos of amazing scenery. The park contains more than 40 miles of carriage trails used for hiking and biking. It is also home to Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the East Coast. If you spend dawn atop the mountain, you’ll be among the first in the United States to see the sun rise.
Eat lobster and other fresh seafood. No trip to coastal Maine is complete without at least one lobster dinner. If you’re intimidated by cracking the shell to get at the meat, most restaurants will be happy to give instructions. Or, you can have your lobster meat in a stew, with pasta, or in a lobster roll sandwich.
Go sailing. Board a cruise and explore the islands, look for whales and other marine life, or just relax and enjoy the view. Depending on the cruise, you’ll learn about the history of lobstering, explore lighthouses or watch seals. You can explore Frenchman Bay aboard a schooner or with a group of kayakers.
Visit the Cranberry Islands. Hop on one of the ferries to these small islands at the southeastern end of Mount Desert Island. You can explore museums, shops, galleries or just enjoy the views.
Shopping and dining. Downtown Bar Harbor is full of quaint shops and galleries, where you can find Maine-made goods, clothing, jewelry and other gifts for yourself and friends. Of course there are plenty of restaurants where you can enjoy any meal, dessert or just a snack.
Visit some museums. The area is home to the Abbe Museum, which features the culture and history of Maine’s Native Americans; the Bar Harbor Historical Society; the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History at the College of the Atlantic; and the Mount Desert Oceanarium & Lobster Hatchery.
Bar Harbor isn’t just a warm-weather destination. Acadia is open for hiking any time of the year, and cross-country skiers and snowmobilers will find trails to enjoy the snow.
You can find lots more information on things to do, places to visit, restaurants and lodging by visiting the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce website.