On The Water

Ocean Kayaking and Lighthouse Tours in Bar Harbor


Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park offer some of the finest sea kayaking and canoeing in the nation. From novices to experts, the sea-kayaking opportunities in Bar Harbor will challenge all skill levels. Need lessons? Several area companies offer sea-kayak instruction and tours. Be sure to bring your canoe or sea-kayak with you to take advantage of the many lakes and ponds offering some of the most scenic and relaxing trips. Don't have your own sea-kayak or canoe? Many companies offer rentals so you can be on the water in no time.


A single lighthouse stands on Mount Desert Island: Bass Harbor Head Light. Located at the southwestern reach of Acadia National Park in Bass Harbor, the light guards the southern entrance of Blue Hill Bay and warns against Bass Harbor Bar. The light is still fully operational, signaling an occulting red four seconds—three red flashes, one second of darkness.

Built in 1858, the lighthouse sits high atop a rugged granite shoreline, making it one of the most scenic in New England. Today, the US Coast Guard mans the station, listed on the National Historic Register. Visitors may tour the grounds at Bass Harbor Head, but not the lighthouse itself.

Five other nearby lighthouses with island settings from Blue Hill Bay to Frenchman Bay signal mariners with flashing lights and fog blasts to keep them safe in foul weather. Two of them—the Mount Desert Rock Light and the Great Duck Island Light—are owned by the College of the Atlantic, where students study whales and nesting seabirds. The other three are Bear Island Light, Egg Rock Light, and Isle au Haut Light.

The oldest light in the area, Baker Island Light (1828), along with Winter Harbor Light, have been replaced with lighted offshore buoys.
All these great old lighthouses can be viewed and photographed on boat tours that reveal their incredible and storied histories.