Things to Do in Bar Harbor
The Bar Harbor Motel is the perfect affordable location for your Maine vacation, whether you are looking for accommodations for your family while you tour the Village and do some shopping, or for direct access to explore MDI and Acadia National Park. No matter your adventure level, there are plenty of things to do in Bar Harbor, and they’re all within a short distance from the Bar Harbor Motel.
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park occupies more than 40% of Mount Desert Island’s 108 square miles on which Bar Harbor is located. Depending on the weather during any particular summer, it ranks between the second and fifth most visited national park in the United States.
The shoreline of Acadia is like no other: a combination of sheer rock faces, crushed shell beaches and everything in between. In three or four days you can explore the most popular sites in Acadia National Park, but most folks who visit here feel they’ve just scratched the surface in that time. Acadia National Park really does have something for everyone.
By car or tour bus – You can explore much of Acadia National Park in a vehicle. Well-maintained, paved roads permit you to travel throughout Acadia with turnouts or parking lots at the major attractions, including the summit of Cadillac Mountain, Jordan Pond House, Thunder Hole, Otter Cliffs and Sand Beach.
By bicycle or sneakers – If you’re willing to leave your car behind, you may explore over 45 miles of carefully groomed carriage roads.
By hiking boots – Over 125 miles of Park maintained hiking trails offer everything from flat, level terrain to trails that ascend over 1000 feet in only .4 (4/10) miles. Naturally, most of Acadia’s trails are somewhere in between. Still too tame? Technical rock climbers often use the sheer granite cliff faces of Acadia, many of which are directly over water*.
You can use this Acadia National Park map to reference hiking trails, carriage roads or the general area.
* Technical rock climbing can be extremely dangerous and should not be attempted by anyone without the knowledge, skills and equipment to safely engage in this activity. If you intend to climb or hike “off the trail,” you should directly contact Acadia National Park for more information.
Things to Do on Water
About 20 miles off the coast of Bar Harbor, out in the Gulf of Maine, there is a place where the bottom topography causes strong tidal currents to churn up water from the sea bed floor, all the way to the surface. All the tasty little critters in the food chain love this place, right up until the moment something larger makes a meal of them. Swimming leisurely through this great caldron of nutrients are the Great Whales. The waters off Bar Harbor offer some of the best whale watching in the world. The most commonly seen are Finback, Minke and Humpback whales, although other species are often sighted.
We recommend the “Ecological” Sea Kayak Trips of the remote “West Side” of Mount Desert Island. This off-the-beaten-path philosophy results in less boat traffic, no motels, and no cruise ships—only great wildlife viewing (harbor seals, harbor porpoise, bald eagle, osprey, cormorant and other sea birds). Half-day, full day and sunset paddles are available from May to early October. Professional sea kayak guides provide all equipment, instruction and van transportation to Western Bay, Blue Hill Bay or Somes Sound, factoring tide, wind direction and visibility. To explore the quiet side of Acadia contact Coastal Kayak Tours or Maine State Sea Kayak for more information.
While none of the overnight windjammers operate out of Bar Harbor, you can take a 2 hour cruise any day of the week aboard the Margaret Todd—Maine’s only four-masted schooner. Contact Downeast Windjammer Cruises for more information.
Diver Ed’s Dive-in Theater is a unique way to see the ocean floor. Cruise Frenchman Bay as Diver Ed combs the sea floor, narrating and transmitting live video to a giant LCD video projector for the folks topside. Contact the Dive-In Theater Boat Cruise for more information.
One of our guests’ favorite things to do in Bar Harbor is experience the vast wildlife and magnificent views aboard a Nature Cruise. Nature Cruises depart from Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor. Possible trips include visiting Baker Island and seeing a lighthouse up close, visiting an island where puffins are breeding and birthing young, or cruising through the Northeast’s only natural fjord as you look for eagles, ospreys and seals. Some of these trips are narrated by the National Park Service. Acadia Nature Cruises is the most convenient cast off point to us as they leave directly across the street and offer our guests discounts.
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Things to Do on Land
The 8th hole at Kebo Valley Golf Club will take your breath away. It is so beautiful it’s difficult to keep your head down and concentrate on the ball. Kebo is the 8th oldest golf club in the country and has challenged the skills of some of the country’s finest players. A spectacular 6,131-yard, classic link and parkland golf course, Kebo is open to the public and features a fully stocked pro shop and great clubhouse food.
Contact Kebo Valley Golf Club for more information.
If you prefer your golf on a smaller scale, try Pirates Cove Adventure Golf. Enter the world of 18th century pirates with carousing buccaneers, an authentic, full-scale pirate ship, cascading waterfalls and lavish landscaping. Putt your way through mountain caves, over footbridges and under magical waterfalls! Specifically designed for maximum enjoyment for adults and kids alike, these courses are the perfect setting for family gatherings and group activities.
The Mount Desert Oceanarium is great for young and old and is a terrific way to spend part of an afternoon. There are hands on exhibits, touch tanks and live demonstrations—making it both an enjoyable thing to do in Bar Harbor and a great learning experience. Contact the Mount Desert Oceanarium for more information.
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Things to Do on a Rainy Day
The leading genetics research facility in the U.S.
This museum depicts Maine’s Native American Heritage.
View whale skeletons and much more. This museum is part of College of the Atlantic.
This 800 seat, Art Deco theater from the 1930s shows movies at night and rainy day matinees.
This is a small, 2-screen movie theater where you can eat pizza, salad, beer/wine while you watch the movie.
Over 100 years old, the Jesup Library offers a quiet place to read, a nice children’s room, and an extensive periodicals room. The library often offers nightly speakers, author readings, and music.
Dining and Shopping
Almost all of Bar Harbor’s gift shops, clothing stores, art galleries, bakeries, jewelers and other retail businesses are located on, or just off, Cottage Street or Main Street in the downtown area. The area is well lit and paved sidewalks provide a safe, convenient way to window shop and get around. Two, full service commercial banks are located here as well.
Finding a place to stop and grab a bite to eat isn’t difficult in Bar Harbor—although its restaurants are a little more spread out than its shops. Many are located downtown, but several excellent restaurants are located just outside of town. Whether you have a taste for Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Irish, Pizza, or Downeast Seafood, you’ll find a place in Bar Harbor that won’t disappoint you. Most places post a menu outside so you can see what is offered and what it costs before you enter.
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Enjoy the many things to do in Bar Harbor, and when you’ve had your fill for the day, you can rest comfortably at the Bar Harbor Motel. Book your room online, or call 800-388-3453 and a guest representative would be pleased to assist you with your reservation.