Bar Harbor, Maine, is the most popular tourist destination on Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park. This city comes to life in the summer when visitors flock to its tourist traps, which include souvenir stands and ice cream stands.
In addition to the beautiful Frenchman Bay, you’ll discover historic residences, boutiques selling unique items, fine dining establishments, and other attractions. In Bar Harbor, you won’t have any trouble finding enjoyable activities to engage in.
Schedule your trip during the weeks following Labor Day if you’d like to avoid the crowds. Even though most of the day-trippers have left, the wonderful weather continues, and many businesses remain open. Bar Harbor, Maine, is at its most affordable at this prime period in the early fall.
There is no shortage of things to see and do in this fascinating location, from museums and lighthouses to the unparalleled natural beauty of Acadia. You should bring comfortable walking shoes because you will spend most of your time outdoors admiring the natural marvels that Mother Nature has to offer.
Top 12 attractions in Bar Harbor, ME
See our recommended places to go and activities to do in Bar Harbor for some inspiration on where to start your vacation.
- Acadia National Park
- Cadillac Mountain
- Bar Island Land Bridge
- Agamont Park
- Village Green
- Thunder Hole
- Egg Rock Light
- George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History
- Abbe Museum
- Bar Harbor Town Pier
- Frenchman Bay
- Schoodic Peninsula
Acadia National Park
Bar Harbor is the starting point for most visitors to Acadia National Park. This magnificent park is the top attraction for tourists in all of Maine. Acadia has some of the most stunning landscapes in all of the Northeastern United States, including dense woods, rocky shorelines, glistening ponds, and towering mountains. Certainly, it deserves its reputation as one of Bar Harbor’s top tourist attractions.
Biking, hiking, and driving along the historic carriage routes are some of the greatest activities to do here. Water sports such as swimming, fishing, and boating are also rather common. There is an abundance of wildlife in the park that needs to be seen and enjoyed. We can guess that you can’t help but document this experience with a camera in hand.
The rush you get from reaching the top of Cadillac Mountain is unparalleled. One of the most breathtaking sights and top attractions in all of Bar Harbor, this 1,530-foot architectural marvel overlooks Frenchman Bay and Acadia National Park. This is the first site in the country to see the dawn from early October to early March. You can see Mount Kathadin on a clear day.
A word to the wise: even at the crack of dawn, the peak of the mountain can grow crowded due to the popularity of the incredible views. In order to find parking, you should come there as early as possible. It may get rather chilly up here, so make sure you bring along plenty of warm clothing.
Bar Island Land Bridge
If you want to witness the land bridge to Bar Island, your visit must be ideally timed. This natural “bridge” of rocky landforms at low tide departs some three hours later, linking Bar Harbor (at Bridge Street) to the western side of Bar Island.
When completed, the bridge will allow pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists easy access to the area’s natural splendor. Hikers with a mile to spare will be rewarded with a breathtaking panorama of Bar Harbor and Frenchman Bay from the island’s highest peak. One of the coolest things to do and the top attraction in Bar Harbor is to cross the bridge at low tide.
The breathtaking panorama is the major attraction in Agamont Park, which is one of Bar Harbor’s top attractions itself. The endless reaches of Frenchman Bay practically beg you to get out your camera and start shooting. You can see the Porcupine Islands and Bar Island well on a clear day.
From this grassy knoll, you can survey the surrounding area with ease. Ahead of you lies the Town Pier, which is continually receiving and disgorging cruise ship passengers.
Want to take the edge off? Relax on the grass or one of the park’s benches with a cup of coffee from the café down the street. This is a great place to kick back and watch the sailboats and fishing boats go by.
- Address: Newport Dr, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, United States.
Another one of Bar Harbor’s top attractions is the green Village Green serves as Bar Harbor’s symbolic nerve center. The Green is where you want to go if you want to meet a diverse group of people from all across town since it is the site of the town clock and many of the town’s outdoor concerts and events (such as the Art Festival).
Longer trips can be enjoyed on one of the park’s benches, or the grass can be used for an unplanned picnic with supplies from a neighboring restaurant or café. Need to make up for lost time on the job? This picturesque location makes it easier to do so, thanks to the availability of a public Wi-Fi network.
You’ll probably hear Thunder Hole before you see it. The sound of the water crashing down the narrow passageway is indeed “thunderous.” Water can occasionally shoot up to a height of 40 feet. If you decide to go the trail to the cavern’s entrance, you should be prepared to get wet. The ground at this popular Bar Harbor attraction can get slick, so keep a firm grip on the railings if you decide to explore.
In addition to the unparalleled attractiveness of this singular “hole,” visitors are also treated to some of the most breathtaking panoramas in the area. On a clear day, you can see the beautiful Schoodic Peninsula across the water, and nearby attractions like Otter Cliff and Sand Beach are just as breathtaking.
The three-mile Ocean Path can be accessed from the upper Sand Beach parking lot and is the best way to take in the area’s stunning scenery. On the route to Otter Cliff, you’ll find Thunder Hole. Park Loop Road is another option for getting there.
Egg Rock Light
Egg Rock Light, a stunning landmark, may be seen about six miles south of Bar Harbor, close to Winter Harbor. Located near the southern entrance to Frenchman Bay on the 12.5-acre Egg Rock, this landmark is a must-see for any visitor to Bar Harbor as it is one of Bar Harbor’s top attractions. The finest vantage point is out on the ocean.
The Egg Rock Lighthouse, built in 1875, is on a hill slightly off the shoreline. The lighthouse keeper lived in a nearby wooden home constructed in the same period. There were subsequent additions of a boathouse, generator house, and oil house, as well as a fog signal building.
This beautiful building can only be accessed by water, and unfortunately, visitors are not allowed inside. You can get a great perspective of the city without having to get on a boat if you drive or trek up to Cadillac Mountain.
- Address: Egg Rock Lighthouse, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, United States.
George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History
One of the greatest attractions in Bar Harbor for families is the George B. Door Museum of Natural History. This charming museum, which is dedicated to the Maine environment, is just the right size. There’s a lot to see (and appreciate) here, from fascinating dioramas to a touchable tidal pool aquarium with real hermit crabs and sea stars.
Students from the College of the Atlantic administer the museum, constructing detailed dioramas and leading tourists on treasure hunts. Kids and grown-ups alike are welcome to reach out and touch the collection of whale skeletons, skins, and bones. It’s even possible that some of you will be required to put together a minke whale skeleton!
- Address: George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History, 105 Eden Street, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, United States.
- closed on Thursdays to Mondays.
- Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 AM to 5 PM.
The first Abbe Museum (then called Sieur de Monts Spring) opened in 1928 as a tribute to the Wabanki people. The museum, which is still positioned on the side of a path in Acadia National Park, is home to engaging displays and informative events that highlight the art, history, and culture of the region’s indigenous people.
A second, more modern museum building opened in the heart of downtown Bar Harbor in 2013. The first structure was considerably smaller, so the new one has plenty of room for seminars and other activities that celebrate the Wabakani people and their heritage. Classes in archaeology are available. From October through May, both stores are closed due to the off-season.
- Address: 26 Mt Desert Street, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, United States.
Bar Harbor Town Pier
The pier at Bar Harbor is the hub of activity in this picturesque town and one of Bar Harbor’s best attractions. It serves as the setting for countless pictures taken by visitors. Pictures of the stunning structures and bobbing boats will turn out great whether you’re capturing them from a rocking boat or on solid land.
From this pier, cruise ship passengers can take their pick of routes to the town’s main shopping district, Main Street, or the tranquil Agamont Park, both of which are within easy walking distance.
The area around this significant jetty is one of the greatest in all of Bar Harbor, with plenty of opportunities to buy tacky T-shirts, eat delicious food, and take in breathtaking views of the harbor.
- Address: Bar Harbor, ME 04609, United States.
It’s simple to fall in love with Frenchman Bay because of its beauty. Bar Harbor’s most popular attraction draws couples who stroll along its banks, take boats out on the water, and dine at restaurants with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Even the whole family enjoys it. Take a boat ride, go fishing, swim, or test out watersports like waterskiing and stand-up paddleboarding.
Bar Harbor Pier, the Shore Path, Agamont Park, and the summit of Cadillac Mountain all provide spectacular vistas. The scenic view from each vantage point at this premier Bar Harbor destination is well worth the trip.
The Schoodic Peninsula is one of Acadia National Park’s most gorgeous areas and Bar Harbor’s top attractions, with its stunning granite headlands, breathtaking lighthouses, and densely wooded regions that are home to a plethora of animals. To get the most out of this natural attraction, rent bicycles in town or put on your hiking boots.
Alder Trail (just over half a mile), East Trail (half a mile), and Schoodic Head Trail (0.6 miles) are just a few of the routes available. All of these provide breathtaking scenery and an atmosphere of peaceful tranquility.
For a free tour of the Schoodic Peninsula, locals recommend using the Island Explorer bus (which operates on Mount Desert Island from late May to mid-October and on the Schoodic Peninsula from late May to mid-October). These already include bike racks, making it simple to transport your bicycle on the trip to the park.