Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park for First-Timers

Photo by Kim Grant

Biking, hiking and kayaking in the national park; shopping and eating in town

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You can kick back and take in all the wonder of the island, or get pumped up and go on adventures. We recommend both.

Around Town

Explore Bar Harbor‘s history and get to know the lay of the land with a walking tour, indicated by signs titled Museum in the Streets. Along the way, check out a museum or an art gallery. Bar Harbor’s museums are small and focused. You can learn about Bar Harbor’s “Gilded Age,” the island’s Native American heritage, the Gulf of Maine’s unique ecosystems and species, and the natural wonder of Acadia National Park. Galleries include contemporary artists, Maine artists, and historic works.

For the culturally inclined, Bar Harbor offers two celebrated music festivals offering everything from string orchestras, through chamber music, to jazz. As for Bar Harbor nightlife, bars and clubs host a range of bands and solo artists that complete the musical mix. Improvisational comedy theater is available, as well as art shows on the green, weekly band concerts, farmer’s markets, and other events.

By Land or Sea

Explore the area under your own steam, or let experienced islanders show you their environment. Acadia National Park has biking routes for both the novice and experienced cyclist along the 55 miles of carriage trails that lace through it, and road biking includes the Cadillac Mountain Challenge. Strap on a harness and let one of our guiding companies show you the best spots to learn or polish your rock climbing — you will see the island from a whole new angle! For hiking and walking, there is the Shore Path trail, a meadow walk, mountain climbs, and paths along streams and lakes. Paddle a kayak on your own or in the company of Registered Maine Guides and explore Mount Desert Island’s dramatic coastline in search of seals, seabirds and an intimate connection with the ocean.

For a different view, hop a bus or trolley tour and let someone else worry about driving for an hour or two. Local companies are experts in the wildlife and the history of the area. Or enjoy one of the many whale-watching trips leaving from Bar Harbor, a sunset cruise, a naturalist-led ride among the islands, an old-fashioned sail, or even a trip on a lobster boat.

This itinerary is compliments of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce.

At A Glance

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