Bar Harbor, Maine, is arguably one of the most beautiful places to visit in Maine, if not all of New England. It’s most well known for being home to Acadia National Park, which covers almost all of Mount Desert Island. Luckily, if national parks aren’t your favorite, there are many other things to do in Bar Harbor.
This is a popular destination for not only families but also those looking for a romantic getaway. It’s located right on the ocean, so the views are incredibly almost everywhere. Plus, the seafood is truly delicious!
Below you’ll find all of the best things to do in Bar Harbor Maine.
Psst! Want a more detailed itinerary? Check out our 3-Day Acadia/Bar Harbor itinerary, which includes most of the activities below!
Adventure through Acadia National Park.
Acadia National Park is easily one of the top things to do in Bar Harbor. It’s one of the most beautiful national parks in all of the United States! This park covers 47,000 acres and is on Mount Desert Island.
The entire park is filled with walking trails, wildlife, lakes, and more. Bar Harbor is arguably the best place to stay while visiting Acadia National Park, and you could easily explore the park over multiple days because of how big it is. One of the best places in the park is Cadillac Mountain, which is also listed later in this article. Stay tuned!
See the view at Thunder Hole.
Thunder Hole is one of the most scenic parts of Acadia National Park. It got its name because the waves’ sound against the rocks sounds almost like thunder. There’s a distinct walking area here so that visitors can easily experience it.
Thunder Hole is one of the more popular parts of Acadia National Park to visit, so you’ll want to try to get there earlier in the day to avoid the crowds. You might also want to visit while wearing a rain jacket or bring an umbrella because you may get hit by one of the waves as it crashes up against the rock!
Take a boat tour on Frenchman Bay.
Frenchman Bay is named after the historic explorer Samuel de Champlain. It covers more than 15 miles of land and is best toured by hopping on a boat. Luckily, there are quite a few different boat tours that will bring you around the bay so that you can take in the views!
When booking a tour, make sure you book well in advance. You never know how quickly spots will get reserved, and it would be disappointing for you to wait too long only to find out that everything is fully booked.
Catch the sunrise at Cadillac Mountain.
Cadillac Mountain is considered the best part of Acadia National Park to catch the sunrise. Plus, you don’t even have to hike to get to the top! This is lifesaving because the hike to the top of the summit is 1,529 feet!
Most people will get to the top by driving up Cadillac Summit Road. It can be pretty chilly, especially in the morning, because it’s so high up. Dress appropriately, and bring a blanket even if you are visiting in the summer. This can get pretty overcrowded during peak seasons, so try to wake up extra early to get a good spot.
Prefer to hike? Check out our list of the best hikes in Acadia National Park for Cadillac and many other trails.
Get acquainted with Bar Harbor at Hulls Cove Visitor Center.
If you’ve never been to Bar Harbor before, then make your way to Hulls Cove Visitor Center. It’s the educational visitor center for Acadia National Park and will introduce you to all of the information you could ever want to know about the state park.
You’ll also be able to learn more about events and activities that are run by park rangers here, which can be great if you’re traveling with younger kids. While here, be sure to grab a map too. Acadia National Park is enormous, and it can be easy to get lost if you’re not careful!
Ride and tour Oli’s Trolley.
Oli’s Trolley is a fun tour organization in Bar Harbor! Essentially, you get brought on a tour with a local guide while in a trolley. This sort of tour is fun for all ages, but make sure you book your tickets well in advance. This is one of the top-rated tour agencies in Bar Harbor!
The tours are narrated, and they offer a few different ones. Options include tours of Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, or downtown Bar Harbor! Of course, the downtown Bar Harbor tour is the cheapest, with adult tickets only costing $18 a person and child tickets costing $13 per person.
See Egg Rock Lighthouse.
The Egg Rock Lighthouse is one of the most picturesque attractions in the area. That’s why it deserves a spot on this list of fun things to do in Bar Harbor! It overlooks Frenchman Bay, which was mentioned earlier in this list.
This lighthouse was built in the nineteenth century and is considered one of the most interesting lighthouses in the whole state. It has a square tower, which is incredibly unique and unlike any other lighthouses in the area! It was named because of all of the eggs that were commonly found in the area.
Learn at the Abbe Museum.
One of the best educational things to do in Bar Harbor is to visit Abbe Museum. This museum opened in the early twentieth century and is all about the state’s heritage and culture of the natives of the state, who are called the Wabanaki.
The museum itself is located in Acadia National Park, so you can imagine how beautiful it is. Exhibits rotate throughout the year and often include art. Sometimes they even feature student art shows which are incredibly unique.
Watch the boats from Agamont Park.
Next up is Agamont Park! This is truly one of the most breathtaking parts of Bar Harbor. This park is located right along the water and is near the downtown area, so you couldn’t miss it if you tried. It’s right next to the town’s Main Street.
Because it overlooks the water, one of the best activities here is to pack a picnic (or grab lunch from a local restaurant) and then sit at one of the benches. From there, you can watch all of the great boats on the water. This is also an incredibly epic spot to watch the sunrise or the sunset, especially in the summer!
Go whale watching.
Because Bar Harbor is right on the water, one of the best things to do here is to go whale watching! A few tour operators offer this, but Bar Harbor Whale Watching is the top-rated and most popular option to choose.
You’ll want to book your ticket well in advance. Around one million people have toured with this company, and that number is only growing. Tickets often sell out! The best time to try to go on one of these tours is between May and September if you want to make sure you see a whale during your tour.
Walk along Shore Path.
Shore Path is one of the best walking trails in Bar Harbor. It’s located right along the coast and offers some of the best views everywhere that you walk. The path is pretty easy, so you could easily walk it with a family. It ends near Main Street too!
The Shore Path is only about one and a half miles long, but it is often used. Because of that, it may be pretty busy if you happen to walk it during peak times to visit Maine, which is usually in the summer. However, the stroll is so pleasant that it’s genuinely one of the top things to do in Bar Harbor.
Eat at Jordan Pond House.
Jordan Pond House is arguably one of the best restaurants in all of the Bar Harbor area. It’s in Acadia National Park and offers some of the best views from the nearby pond to the surrounding mountains that will genuinely take your breath away.
They offer a wide variety of entrees, so even the pickiest eater will be able to find something to satisfy their hunger on this menu. Most of the meals are mid-range to expensive. For salads or sandwiches, expect to spend around $13. Entrees range from $20 to $30, depending on what you get. For a treat, try the boiled lobster!
Editor’s Note: Don’t miss the popovers; they’re incredible! –Amy
Have fun at Diver Ed’s Dive-In Theater.
Diver Ed’s Dive-In Theater is one of the more fun things to do in Bar Harbor! This is essentially a fun boat tour where you watch Diver Ed go underwater after all the kids onboard get to push him off the boat.
Inside the boat, there are screens so you can watch Diver Ed explore the bottom of the bay. One of the other captains narrates the whole experience. In the end, Diver Ed comes back up and shows off some of his findings, most of which are sea creatures. Tickets cost $32 for children and $42 for adults, and you’ll want to book in advance.
Do some shopping.
You’ll definitely want to spend some time strolling downtown Bar Harbor and patronizing some of the adorable and unique shops!
There are so many fun things to do in Bar Harbor. This post covered a wide range of different activities, so hopefully, you’ve found some great attractions to fill up your Bar Harbor itinerary.
You might also like:
- 15 Best Airbnbs in Acadia and Bar Harbor, Maine
- Where to Stay in Acadia National Park + Bar Harbor
- Camping in Acadia National Park: A Guide
- 10 Coastal Towns in Maine That are Hidden Gems
- 10 Things To Do in Camden Maine That’ll Make You Say “WOW!”
- 50 Things to Do in Maine: Your Essential ME Travel Guide
Krystianna is a recent college grad who is the founder of Volumes & Voyages, a blog devoted to books and travel. After studying abroad in Dublin for a semester, she got bit by the travel bug and has been chasing her wanderlust ever since.