Bar Harbor, Maine
Travel Tips

Bar Harbor Travel Tips

Bar Harbor, is mainly well known for its lobster boats, coastal beauty, heritage culture, view of islands and oceans. Here some of important tips while you traveling Bar Harbor and the rest of the island.

Bar Harbor, Maine

When To Go

The island practically hibernates during winter months because of the extreme cold. Shops board up as locals will head down to Florida during winter months. But a few hotel and restaurant owners stay open during the icy weather, and offer very affordable deals for winter guests. Acadia National Park is also deserted during the winter and parking is a breeze.

If you can brave the cold, pack your cross country skis, and head to Bar Harbor in the winter. If you’re like me and prefer some sunshine and a little more activity, visit Bar Harbor in the spring (late April – mid May). You’ll get the benefits that warmer weather brings without all the summer crowds. Just be sure to check the operating months of businesses like kayak and whale watching tours to make sure they’re open when you visit.

Though parking was easy in early May, I heard that parallel parking spaces in town and in Acadia fill up fast during the summer. Luckily there is availability of free bus shuttle for tourist season that makes routine stops at many locations all day.

How Long

I recommend spending at least 4 days in and around Bar Harbor. Acadia National Park is far too much to see in just one day, especially if you want to hike up Cadillac Mountain. I stayed on Mount Desert Island for 5 days and I would like to stayed over there for a week.

Eat At

  • 2 Cats Cafe – Breakfast and coffee.
  • Geddy’s Pub – Quirky tourist attraction, good for lunch or dinner. I tried their lobster pizza and it wasn’t too bad.
  • Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium – So many flavors of ice cream including the infamous lobster ice cream.
  • The Reading Room at Bar Harbor Inn – Upscale dining with a sweeping view of Frenchman’s Bay.
  • The Thirsty Whale Tavern – Drinks and pub food. One of the few restaurants in town where the tourists don’t outnumber the locals

Do

  • Explore Acadia National Park – This goes without saying. You simply cannot visit the island and NOT spend at least a day in the park.
  • Kayak – There are quite a few sea and freshwater kayak tour companies. To remain eco-friendly, most specialize in small group outings only.
  • Go on a Whale Tour – Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. is one of several companies that take passengers aboard small boats to spot puffin and whales in the waters off the coast.
  • Climb Cadillac Mountain – My biggest regret is that I didn’t save enough time to climb the summit for a sunrise. The view is said to be one of the most magnificent in the country.
  • Eat as much lobster as you can – Remember “When in Rome…” and enjoy the delicious crustacean in just about every way you can imagine.
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