With its picturesque coastline of rocky cliffs, verdant forests and mountains that rise up from the sea, Bar Harbor, Maine is a breathtakingly beautiful place to visit. That legendary beauty combined with its downtown of diverse, interesting shops and high-quality restaurants make Bar Harbor one of the most captivating and enjoyable destinations in New England.
Bar Harbor is located 38 nautical miles southeast of Bangor and roughly 100 nautical miles northeast of Portland. Navigating there is rather straightforward, but use caution when navigating toward the Bar Harbor Breakwater entrance as the breakwater is submerged at high tide. Also, watch out for a 140-foot, high-speed catamaran used by the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co.
As a popular boating destination, Bar Harbor has lots of options for dockage and moorings. Boaters can contact the Harbormaster’s Office (207-288-5571; VHF 9, 16 or 68) for dockage at the Bar Harbor Municipal Pier or for one of the town’s 3 guest moorings. The Harborside Hotel and Marina (www.theharborsidehotel.com; 800-328-5033) has slips next to the downtown area. Bar Harbor Regency (www.barharborregency.com; 207-288-9723) has two marinas and dock space capable of handling boats up to 185 feet. Harbor Place, which is managed by the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. (207-288-2386; VHF channel 16), has dockage and moorings available on a first-come, first-served basis. Anchorages can also be found in Bar Harbor and on the northern and western sides of nearby Bar Island.
The area’s top attraction is undoubtedly Acadia National Park (www.nps.gov/acad; 207-288-3338), with its miles of gorgeous coastline, lakes, forests and mountains that are perfect for anyone who loves the outdoors. Among the park’s attractions is 1,522-foot Cadillac Mountain, which offers visitors the first glimpse of the rising sun in the U.S.
While visiting Bar Harbor, it’s fun to explore the area’s gorgeous coastline by kayak. You can rent kayaks at Coastal Kayaking Tours (www.acadiafun.com; 800-526-8615), which also offers guided half- and full-day harbor and sunset tours. Visitors can enjoy whale watching with the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company (www.barharborwhales.com; 207-288-2386). A great place to visit with kids is the Mount Desert Oceanarium (www.theoceanarium.com; 207-288-5005), which explores the wonders of Maine’s waters, marshes and forests through live-animal exhibits and trail walks.
When you get hungry, Bar Harbor is home to a diverse collection of great restaurants. Among them is the Thirsty Whale (www.thirstywhaletavern.com; 207-288-9335), known for their lobster rolls, famous fish sandwiches, homemade chowders, seafood, burgers and more. McKay’s Public House (www.mckayspublichouse.com; 207-288-2002) features high-quality pub fare in a friendly atmosphere. The Chartroom Restaurant (www.chartroombarharbor.com; 207-288-9740) has delicious seafood, prime rib, lobster and gorgeous views of Frenchman Bay.