What To Do In Bar Harbor
There are tons of boutiques and beautiful spots in Bar Harbor to check out, more than we could possibly list! Instead, we’ve picked out a few favorites we don’t think you should miss and a few that our guests have brought to our attention, too. We hope that you get inspired to visit this iconic harbor town on your visit to the region with this locals’ guide to Bar Harbor.
Bar Harbor, Maine Beaches
There are quite a few beaches on Mt Desert Island, though they range a great deal around the island, and in terms of their qualities, here’s a shortlist of the best Bar Harbor, Maine beaches.
Town Beach in Bar Harbor – As the name suggests, this beach is in downtown Bar Harbor and is frequently packed in the summer.
Sand Beach in Bar Harbor– This great beach is a little less well known than Town Beach. However, it’s pretty accessible and great for swimming and relaxing.
Seal Harbor Beach on Mt Desert Island– This is a classic sandy beach located in Seal Harbor, just around the island from Bar Harbor. It’s a roomier beach than any of the others on this list, and being a little further afield isn’t always packed, even in the summer. Many consider this the best swimming beach on the island.
Barley Beach on Mt Desert island with Parking at Little Long Pond Trailhead– This is another rocky beach, beautiful to behold but not ideal for sunbathing or swimming. This is a nice spot to stop with a couple of camp chairs for a quick picnic on the water, though.
Fun On The Water
Don’t just look at the water; get out there and have fun on it! These are great businesses to visit, so you can get more out of your stay near Acadia.
Linda Greenlaw Charters – This is one of the best whale watching opportunities in Maine.
Sail Acadia– Tour the coastline of Acadia National Park from the ocean.
Acadian Boat Tours & Nature Cruises– Enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of Acadia and Frenchman Bay with tours on the water.
National Park Canoe & Kayak– Rent paddleboards, kayaks, or canoes to enjoy the water.
Where To Eat and Drink In Bar Harbor
Bar Harbor is known for having some great dining destinations. Here are a few of our favorites!
Fogtown Brewing– Great locally brewed beer and food located in Ellsworth and Bar Harbor.
Noreaster– A classic lobster pound in Northeast Harbor, ME, on Mt. Desert Island.
Blaze in Bar Harbor– This Maine chain has locations ranging from Bangor to Biddeford, but Bar Harbor’s cute and cozy location has a special charm. Make sure you have a reservation if you’re trying to visit for dinner in the busy season.
A Slice of Eden– A great coffee, food, and pastry shop with a cozy, quiet atmosphere.
The Thirsty Whale Tavern– A local favorite with enough unique charm to appeal to vacationing families and couples on a getaway.
Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium– A great place to pick up sweet souvenirs and some of the best local ice cream available!
Explore Bar Harbor’s Cultural Wealth
Bar Harbor is a small town, but it has a rich history and heritage. It’s home to four unique museums that offer insights into its past, culture, and natural wonders. Visiting these museums is a must during your stay near Bar Harbor!
Bar Harbor Historical Society Museum: Housed in La Rochelle, an opulent 41-room mansion built in 1902, the museum showcases the town’s early history and lifestyle. Experience the well-preserved architecture and fascinating exhibits that make it one of Bar Harbor’s best museums.
Abbe Museum: Located in the heart of Bar Harbor, the Abbe Museum focuses on the history and culture of Maine’s Native people, the Wabanaki. Explore significant artifacts from prehistoric and historic times, offering a glimpse into their rich heritage.
George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History: Situated in the original headquarters of Acadia National Park, this museum offers exhibits, programs, and activities about Maine’s natural world. A fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
Mount Desert Oceanarium: Opened in 2022, the Mount Desert Oceanarium is dedicated to place-based education and conservation. Immerse yourself in the world of marine life and learn about the importance of preserving our oceans.
After exploring Bar Harbor’s museums, venture outdoors and discover the stunning natural beauty of Acadia National Park and its scenic surroundings.
There are too many great boutiques to mention. We’ve combed through many of them over the years. We’d like to point you in the direction of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce’s Directory for your shopping needs because they have a great list of shops but also some other great businesses we weren’t able to fit on our list. Also, check out our blog for more local area guides!
We dedicated an entire page to this one, but no mention of Bar Harbor is complete without mentioning Acadia National Park! There are a ton of locations and businesses we could mention in relation to Acadia, but there is one opportunity in Bar Harbor to get the most out of Acadia without ever setting foot in the park itself, Sail Acadia. They offer the opportunity to tour the coastline of Acadia National Park from the ocean, making for a unique experience.