The best of Bar Harbor is just steps from The Harborside Hotel
Experience Bar Harbor strongly encourages using the following professionals for your upcoming event. Superior in their fields, these industry experts have been hand-selected to complement and enhance your occasion.
When it comes to the arts and performing arts, Bar Harbor offers something for all tastes. Since its early days when two Hudson River Valley artists, Thomas Cole and Frederic Church, set out one summer in the early 1800s in search of a scenic fishing village called Eden on the coast of Maine, Bar Harbor has been world-renown as an artist community. And so began America's love affair with one of the most beautiful places in the world—Bar Harbor, Maine. The town has several art galleries, art shows and two celebrated music festivals offering everything from string orchestras, through chamber music, to jazz. Bars and clubs host a range of bands and solo artists that complete the musical mix. Movies have never seemed more enjoyable than when seen in our Art Deco theater. The arts really shine in Bar Harbor, Maine.
History & Museums
The Abbe Museum celebrates the heritage, culture, history, and archaeology of Maine's Native Americans. Changing exhibitions and educational programs engage visitors of all ages. 26 Mount Desert Street, Downtown Bar Harbor. Open year round. 207-288-3519.
Founded in 1946, the society oversees collections and exhibits that include photographs, paintings, and clothing from the Gilded Age. Open June to October, 1–4 p.m., closed Sundays and holidays. Open in winter by appointment, call 207-288-0000 or 207-288-3807. Admission is free. 33 Ledgelawn Avenue.
Maine's only museum dedicated to studying and understanding whales. Educational and great for all ages! Museum gift shop profits go to support ongoing summer field research by Allied Whale, a marine mammal research group based at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor. Free admission, donations accepted. Open Jun–Oct. 52 West Street. 207-288-0288.
The Museum of Natural History investigates, interprets, and displays the natural world of Maine. All exhibits are designed and produced by students at the College of the Atlantic. The Museum is housed in the original headquarters of Acadia National Park, renovated and expanded to provide a unique site for exhibits, programs, and activities. College of the Atlantic, 105 Eden Street. 207-288-5395.
Enjoy an up-close experience with marine life. Take a guided tour of a salt marsh and the Maine Lobster Museum. At the working lobster hatchery, see mother lobsters, baby lobsters, and the hatchery process. Group discounts and tours available. Two locations: Route 3, Bar Harbor and Clark Point Road, Southwest Harbor. Combination tickets available. Open 9–5, except Sundays, mid-May through mid-October. 207-288-5005 (summer), 207-244-7330 (winter).
Learn about plants and animals through hands-on exhibits and find out how Acadia National Park manages these resources. Open late May through early October. Free admission. Located on the Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park. 207-288-3338.
For an intimate and entertaining way to explore downtown Bar Harbor, try a historic walk past 25 magnificent structures—some on the National Historic Register—dating from 1860. It's as simple as three rights and three lefts. You'll start from the Village Green for an in-town tour past elegant mansions, majestic churches, and refurbished municipal buildings. And in just a few short miles, you'll return to the Village Green.
Visit the "Bar" of Bar Harbor
At low tide, kids can immediately see how Bar Harbor got its name—a large sand bar connects downtown Bar Harbor to Bar Island. Children love taking buckets and shovels onto the bar and exploring all the sealife uncovered at low tide. Across the sand bar to Bar Island, a nature trail rises to a summit, offering spectacular views of Mount Desert Island. If you go, don't forget to check the local tide schedule and leave plenty of time to get back before the tide rolls in—it comes fast!
Oceanarium and Lobster Hatchery
This hands-on nature experience lets kids play games as they tour the lobster museum. Propel wind-up boats in the boat tank, explore the water-cycle exhibit, tour the marsh, and visit lobster babies at the hatchery. Kids love to dress up like seals at the educational seal exhibit. Open mid-May to October, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. (except Sundays). Special group rates available by reservation. 207-288-5005/207-244-7330.
Get ready for interactive family fun at All Fired Up (Bar Harbor's Create-Your-Own-Art studio). Kids of all ages enjoy making souvenirs, crafting family artwork and vacation memories. 207-288-3130.
National Park Junior Ranger Program
Kids up to 18 can become Junior Rangers. First they complete activities in the Junior Ranger booklet. Then, after joining one or two ranger-led programs or walks and promising to take care of the park, they get their very own Junior Ranger patch. 207-288-3338.
Nature Center and Abbe Museum
The Sieur de Monts Nature Center of Acadia National Park features guidebooks and displays about park wildlife. Children record the animals they have seen in the center's logbook. Open daily from mid-June through September.
At the Abbe Museum, a short walk from the Nature Center, children learn about Acadia's earliest inhabitants. A rich variety of hands-on learning and arts activities teaches them about the culture and traditions of Maine Native Americans. The museum's collection includes prehistoric pottery, bone and stone tools, porcupine jewelry, trade beads, a large birch bark canoe, and a wigwam. 207-288-3519.
Children love playing in the salty ocean waves and the beautiful sand at Acadia's Sand Beach. Those preferring calmer, warmer waters may want to visit the freshwater beach at Echo Lake. Both swimming areas have lifeguards on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Little ones can get their feet wet in the Glen Mary wading pool in downtown Bar Harbor
Take a Nature Tour
Go by sea to watch seals, dolphins, porpoises, whales, and mysterious underwater creatures on a boat and underwater video tour. Or stay on land to spot bald eagles, ospreys, peregrine falcons, great blue herons, woodpeckers, warblers, and shorebirds on a beginning birdwatcher's tour.
Hiking and Biking
Hiking trails cover Acadia National Park. One, Gorham Mountain, is only 525 feet high, but it offers beautiful ocean views and wild blueberries (in July and August) along the trail. The carriage roads also offer 45 miles of groomed, auto-free roads for you to explore as a family—hiking or biking. Bar Harbor has a number of bike shops that rent everything from mountain bikes to touring models.
Biological Laboratory's Public Tours
Kids can see dogfish sharks, skates, and other marine animals up close. And, they learn how marine biomedical research at the laboratory contributes to improvements in human health. Located in Salisbury Cove. 207-288-3605.
Park Street Playground
A favorite place for the young children of Bar Harbor, this playground has swingsets, sandboxes, teeter-totters, and slides. It's just down the street from Glen Mary Wading Pool in downtown Bar Harbor, next to the YMCA.
The YMCA keeps kids busy with a gym, track, indoor pool, fitness room, and rec room. Perfect fun for a rainy day. Open year-round, 7 days a week. 207-288-3511.
At Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf on Route 3, the legends of infamous pirates come to life. Enter the 18th century and see carousing buccaneers and an authentic, full-scale pirate ship. Putt your way through mountain caves, over footbridges, and under magical waterfalls. 207-288-2133.