Bar Harbor is a bit out there, shoved far away from the cities and grind of the Northeast, within eyesight of Canada, in coastal Maine. It rests on a little island called Mount Desert and sits nestled alongside one of the greatest National Parks of the East: Acadia.
Should you find yourself on this stone dropped along the coast, you’re likely one for adventure — and that’s good — as to come such a way would be a waste without setting foot on trail, grabbing iron rod to scale mountains or setting off into the ocean with a paddle. A little of what Bar Harbor and Acadia have to offer include…
Hiking and Climbing
Do not be deceived by the drip of green ink that represents Acadia on a map — it has much to offer. The park covers much of the island and over 120 miles of trails cover much of the park. Cadillac Mountain, the highest in the park and the highest so close to a lower 48 shoreline, is where one finds the sun first in the United States. Hike or drive (if you must) to the top, but expect crowds during the busy season.
Many other trails find their way atop many other peaks but none are so challenging as the Precipice Trail up Champlain Mountain. The trail is only nine-tenths of a mile long but it’s difficulty comes in the nearly 1,000 vertical feet climbed over such a short distance. Made possible only by the iron rungs one places their trust in this climb up a shear cliff is exhilarating and dangerous but most satisfying when complete.
The days can grow hot by mid-summer in Acadia but the water seldom warms along with it. Sand Beach, on the southeastern corner of the island, is the most popular in the park and deservedly so for its beautiful views and rare sandy shore. Water is best to be floated upon in Maine and so one should take to it by kayak or boat. Opportunities abound from local purveyors of rentable watercraft and tours. The island’s interior lakes are calm and peaceful for kayaks while the ocean provides excitement and range.
Lodging and Rest
Bar Harbor is a quaint little New England town but offers the modern variety of places to stay. It’s best to experience both sides of what the island has to offer and so a sampling of motels and camping within the park – possible at either the Blackwood or Seawall campgrounds – would be most appropriate. No matter where you lay your head to rest the classic New England fare of lobster rolls and chowder await you in town. Enjoy those but don’t be afraid to deviate a bit off the beaten path to the delicious Mainely Meat barbeque spot (with attached Atlantic Brewing Company) just north of town.