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11 Things to Do in Bar Harbor When it Rains
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So, your Bar Harbor vacation is approaching and you’ve been diligently (obsessively) checking the weather to make sure you pack appropriately, but the forecast calls for some rain. Even Vacationland can’t guarantee perfect weather, but don’t worry, there are plenty of things to do in Bar Harbor when it rains.

Our little island may be called Mount Desert but we welcome the rain to replenish the plants, animals, lakes and streams that make our island special. In fact, there’s something magical about a rainy day in Bar Harbor, when mist blankets the granite hills and makes everything appear to move in slow motion. Rain also means the only people you bump into downtown and in the park are the ones who, like you, don’t mind getting a little wet, giving the perfect opportunity to explore MDI’s nooks and crannies. From indoor activities in Bar Harbor to ways to explore Acadia in the rain while keeping (relatively) dry, we’ll help you make the most of your trip to MDI no matter the weather.

Rainy Day Activities in Bar Harbor

When it pours, play indoors! Here are six of our favorite indoor activities in Bar Harbor you might not have otherwise had on your itinerary.

Get Hands On At The Oceanarium

Photo of The Oceanarium’s huge 650-gallon touch pool features all sorts of marine inhabitants, all ready to meet you up close.The Mount Desert Oceanarium and Education Center is a favorite for all ages, creating a window into the lives of the uncountable and incredible creatures that inhabit our shores and waters, plus the people who have built communities around them. They have 9 different tanks featuring different snapshots of Maine ocean habitat, an authentic lobster boat you can explore indoors, and a touch pool brimming with sea stars, crabs, fin fish and more. You can even get a peek at rare cotton candy, blue, and orange lobsters—not for eating!

The Oceanarium is open from mid-May to late October and is located on the shore of Salt Pond just off route 3. Tickets $18 for ages 12 and up, with discounts for younger children, seniors, and veterans available.

Explore the Abbe Museum

Photo of the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor MaineContinue your journey of learning with a trip to the Abbe Museum, Maine’s one and only Smithsonian affiliate right in downtown. This ever-evolving museum showcases the history and cultures of Maine’s Native people, the Wabanaki through rotating exhibitions, special events and workshops. With thousands of artifacts that tell the story of the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Micmac, and Maliseet tribes who have made Maine home for over 12,000 years, the Abbe Museum is worth a visit no matter the weather.

The Abbe’s main museum is located in downtown Bar Harbor while its second, original location is within Acadia National Park in Sieur de Monts Spring. The Abbe opens for the season at the beginning of May and has special events throughout the summer so it’s always worth checking their calendar before your visit. Tickets are $10 for adults, with discounts for younger children and seniors available.

Visit the Dorr Museum of Natural History

Butterflies from COA’s natural history collections Part of the College of the Atlantic, the Dorr Museum of Natural History is housed in the original headquarters of Acadia National Park. Its exhibits are designed and produced by students of the college, so you’re bound to discover new ways to learn about Maine’s wildlife with each visit. It features dioramas of our coastal creatures, a tide pool tank, and of course the gift shop full of goodies inspired by the natural sciences.

The Dorr is free to enter and is open year-round with seasonal changes to their hours, which you can find on their website. Plus, the Island Explorer bus stops at the museum so you can catch a ride there directly from your room at the Bar Harbor Motel.

Sample Some Beer or Wine

What better way to spend a rainy day in Bar Harbor then sipping some local brews? Take a trip to the Bar Harbor Cellars tasting room on Sweet Pea Farm where you can stay cozy and dry while overlooking 100 acres of vineyard. They offer a wide range of wines to try from delicately sweet fruit wines to bold reds. Plus, with a wood fired pizza and a whole room dedicated to chocolate, it’s truly everything you need in one place.

If beer is more your style, pay a visit to Fogtown Brewing, which uses Maine-grown malt, hops, oats, spelt and other locally foraged ingredients to create a suite of delicious beers that are rooted in the land. They have a great food menu and often have live music, trivia, and other events to keep you entertained. Next head down to Atlantic Brewing Company, where they’ve been brewing specialty batches since 1991 with a taste for simple, yet stand-out beers. You can take a tour of their small-scale brewing facilities, experience a guided tasting, or just enjoy your picks independently in one of their two tasting rooms in Bar Harbor.

Catch a Movie

When hunting for things to do in bar harbor in the rain, us locals often turn to the theater. Built in 1932, the Criterion Theater is an art deco gem that shows movies seven nights a week. A beacon for all arts in Bar Harbor, the Criterion also hosts live dance, comedy, music, plays and more. If you want to combine dinner and a movie, Reel Pizza Cinerama is the place to go. This funky 2-screen dinner theater serves specialty pizzas inspired by film favorites like Godzilla, The Godfather, Casino Royale, and more. Sip a local beer and cozy up on one of their mismatched couches for a truly unique movie experience. Reservations are required so explore current showings online to snag your tickets.

Acadia Rainy Day Activities

Ask the locals and you’ll discover that Acadia in the rain is no deterrent for outdoor exploration. While steep trails like Precipice and Beehive should be avoided when slippery, there are still plenty of opportunities to experience the majesty of our National Park when the sky opens up. Grab your wellies and a rain jacket because we’ve got 3 awesome Acadia rainy day activities for you.

Cozy Tea Time at Jordan Pond House

Acadia’s only on-site restaurant, Jordan Pond House has been serving tea and their famous popovers to park guests since 1893. The historic building is perched on a gardened hill overlooking peaceful Jordan Pond. It’s floor to ceiling windows are the perfect way to enjoy stunning views of the water, the Bubbles, and Acadia’s surrounding pine forests while staying warm and dry. Enjoy the crackling fireplace and slather plenty of butter and strawberry jam on your popover, we promise you’ll spend the rest of the day smiling. Reservations can be made in advance on their website and they are open for lunch, teatime, and dinner.

Drive Up Cadillac Mountain

As the tallest peak in the park, Cadillac Mountain boasts 360-degree views of Mount Desert Island and the surrounding ocean. While most popular at sunrise and sunset, Acadia in the rain makes any time a spectacle for driving to Cadillac’s summit. There’s nothing quite like watching the rain sweep across the water and forests, making patterns on the surface and demonstrating the true magnitude of nature’s power. Even in the rain, you can still spot Bar Harbor’s fishing boats charting their course across Frenchman Bay. Driving Cadillac Mountain requires advance vehicle reservations as summit parking is limited. Reservations cost $6 in addition to your park entrance fee.

Stop at Thunder Hole

Photo of Thunder Hole in Acadia National ParkAfter you descend Cadillac, continue along the Park Loop Road to reach Thunder Hole. There is a convenient parking lot or nearby street parking, so you don’t have to go far from your car to see this popular destination. Carved by years of tides, this narrow channel is named for the thunderous reverberation created by waves rushing into it. Storms can increase the wave size and strength so visitors should be cautious of their potential to wash over surrounding ledges, outcrops, and walkways. While best viewed 1-2 hours before high tide, visiting Thunder Hole in the rain is a testament to the ocean’s majesty at any time of day. Careful not to get mesmerized by the bursting waters or you might soon find the rain has soaked you through.

Our advice: don’t let a little rain stop you from enjoying Acadia. If it isn’t raining heavily, many of Acadia trails and sights can still be enjoyed and the Park Loop Road makes it easy to catch a break from the wet as you travel between areas of the park. The carriage roads, for example, are a great walk on a rainy day, with relatively flat gravel paths, plenty of tree coverage, and unparalleled views of Acadia’s lakes and mountains. Stop at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center or Sieur de Monts Nature Center to get additional advice on Acadia rainy day activities from a park ranger.

Beyond Bar Harbor

If you want to travel farther afield in search of pastimes on a rainy day in Bar Harbor, Ellsworth makes a great outing. Just a 30-minute drive from downtown Bar Harbor, is a lovely historic town where you can get your shop on!

Shop the L.L. Bean Outlet

Forget your rain gear or hiking boots? No problem! There’s no better place to get outfitted for adventure than L.L. Bean, a staple of Maine since 1912. The Ellsworth outlet store offers some of the best discounts on outdoor gear and classic L.L. Bean items like boots, flannels, fleeces and more. If you plan on having a cozy night in, shop their super soft pajamas and shearling slippers. You can also find plenty of gadgets to enhance your visit to Acadia like binoculars, water bottles, daypacks and more.

Hunt for Antiques

In our opinion, Maine has some of the best antiques in the country, with heritage furniture built by hand with local maple and pine, rustic farm equipment, gorgeous glassware and so much more. Spend your rainy day weaving through 130 booths of antiques and collectibles at 1A Relics where you’re guaranteed to find something interesting. Then make your way over to the Old Creamery Antique Mall for round two. Oil paintings of Maine’s coast, Hudson Bay blankets, and hundreds of other antiques finds await your discerning eye.


When in doubt, take a load off! You’re on vacation after all, and a rainy day in Bar Harbor is a great excuse to kick off your shoes and stay in. Pick up a new book from Maine’s oldest bookstore, put on your comfiest clothes, settle in and just be. It might just provide the rejuvenation you didn’t know you needed.