Vacationers have been going east for decades to experience Bar Harbor, the largest town on Mount Desert Island. Bar Harbor started as an exclusive resort town for famous families like the Vanderbilts, the Rockefellers, and the Astors, though the town has changed a lot since a major fire destroyed most of the town in 1947. Bar Harbor is still a popular place for visitors who come to experience the best that New England has to offer. Whether you’re hiking through Acadia National Park or trekking from the museums to a downtown Bar Harbor lobster bake, the best way to explore this coastal town is on foot. A shuttle bus runs from Mt. Desert Narrows and Narrows Too campgrounds to Downtown Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.
From spring until fall, the hosts of Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. take visitors from all over the world into the Gulf of Maine to see humpback, finback and Minke whales, some of the largest mammals on Earth. The Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. also hosts a slew of other tours including sunset whale watching, puffin sightings, and lighthouse tours. You can even fish for your own dinner on the Lobster Fishing and Seal Watching tour aboard the Miss Samantha, Maine’s largest lobster passenger boat. Remember to dress warmly any time you go whale watching – temperatures can drop down to the 40’s ℉ even in the summertime. Whale watching tours with Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. take off daily from 1 West Street in downtown Bar Harbor, Maine, just a 20-minute drive from Mt. Desert Narrows or Narrows Too campgrounds.
Acadia National Park
There’s no contest that people come to Bar Harbor to explore Acadia National Park. A hike that visitors of Mt. Desert Narrows and Narrows Too camping resorts may enjoy is a visit to Acadia National park’s deepest and clearest lake, Jordan Pond Path. Whether you decide to explore the perimeter of the lake or take on the more strenuous Pemetic Mountain Loop, the network of trails around the pond are mostly suitable for hikers of all ages. As with all hiking excursions, remember to bring water and always take into consideration your hiking abilities. The Jordan Pond Path trailhead is just a 30-minute drive from Mt. Desert and Narrows Too campgrounds. Jordan Pond is a public water supply and therefore, swimming in and drinking from the pond are prohibited. The Shore Path Trail is also a popular trail in Acadia National Park that wraps around the eastern shore of Mount Desert Island. It is a special treat to get up while it’s still dark and view the colorfully spectacular sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean with views of the Porcupine Islands across the way.
Downtown Bar Harbor
Downtown Bar Harbor is about a 20-minute drive from the Mt. Desert Narrows and Narrows Too campgrounds. Visitors and locals come to the Village Green for numerous special events, unique museums, and specialty local shops. The Natural History Center is the best stop to get information on exploring Acadia National Park and detailed guides of the area. Through educational exhibitions, activities, and quiet places for reflection, the Abbe Museum shares the history and culture of Maine’s native people, the Wabanaki. The core exhibit here is titled, People of the First Light, and shares the more than 12,000 years of history, conflict, adaptation, and survival in the Wabanaki homeland. The Bar Harbor Town Band performs free concerts at the Village Green from July through mid-August on Monday and Thursday evenings at 8pm. Across the street from the village green is Carmen Verandah, a popular spot in downtown Bar Harbor for the late night crowd. There is live music almost every week and they are open late for dancing. Also special to Bar Harbor is the Acadia Night Sky Festival, “a community celebration to promote the protection and enjoyment of Downeast/Acadia’s stellar night sky as a valuable natural resource through education, science and the arts.” The Acadia Night Sky Festival takes place September 21-24, 2017.
Seeking lobster? Look no further!
For the most authentic Maine lobster experience, head to Stewman’s Lobster Pound in downtown Bar Harbor. This oceanfront lobster pound has two locations and offers up the most authentic Maine grub that one could experience – lobster, steamers, mussels, clam chowder, plus a full menu of imported and local beers and selection of wine. For lunch or dinner, Stewman’s is a classic Maine restaurant that you won’t want to miss. If you’re a foodie who doesn’t mind a bit of travel for great grub, head down to Thurston’s in Bernard, Maine for the freshest New England lobstah-eatin’ experience. As you sit on the restaurant’s dock, you’ll see fishermen on their boats return to the wharf and bring their catch straight up to the restaurant. It doesn’t’ get fresher than that!