Bar Harbor Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing

(Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island, Maine - ME, USA)

Photo of harborfront and whale sculptureA large proportion of the tourist attractions around Bar Harbor take full advantage of the stunning coastal scenery offered in this part of Mount Desert Island. Apart from the endless recreational attractions and hiking within the Acadia National Park, tourists come to Bar Harbor to enjoy a relaxing sightseeing cruise, an afternoon's sailing, or a spot of kayaking around Frenchman Bay.

For families holidaying in Bar Harbor, a number of tourist attractions stand out. These include a trip to the Mount Desert Oceanarium, where you can learn all about marine life in the waters of the surrounding Gulf of Maine. The coastal waters all around Maine have become a favorite spot for a variety of hungry whales, who come here to feed. A number of different whale watching cruises and trips depart from Bar Harbor and at various other points along the Maine coastline.

Mount Desert Oceanarium / Lobster Hatchery

Address: 72 Clark Point Road, Southwest Harbor, Bar Harbor, US-04679, Mount Desert Island, Maine (ME), USA
Tel: +1 207 288 5005
The Mount Desert Oceanarium offers both an enjoyable and education insight into local marine biology and is easy to find, being located within the Southwest Harbor area. Children will enjoy getting close-up with the attractions within the petting pools, where it is even possible to handle some of the more friendly marine creatures. Guided tours of the nearby Lobster Hatchery and Maine Lobster Museum are also available, where you will be able to see how these crustaceans are reared here, from tiny babies. Many tourists enjoy taking a stroll along the adjoining Marsh Walk.
Open hours: mid-May to October, Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts available when visiting both locations

Image showing whale watching cruise boats

Whale Watching

Address: Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company, 1 West Street, Bar Harbor, US-04609, Mount Desert Island, Maine (ME), USA
Tel: +1 207 288 2386
Visiting whales tend to travel long distances each day and so most companies choose to use speedy catamaran boats, to quickly locate the closest of these gentle giants, which often include enormous humpbacks measuring up to 18 meters / 60 feet in length and often weighing more than 45 tons. Since the likelihood of spotting whales during Bar Harbor cruises is so high, many companies have now chosen to even provide a money back guarantee in the unlikely event of no sightings. Most cruises last around three hours and during this time it is quite likely that you will encounter not only humpback whales, but finback, long-finned pilot, minke and northern right whales, as well as other wildlife attractions, such as both dolphins and seals.
Open hours: daily, seasonal variations
Admission: charge, concessions available

View of waterfront hiking trail

Hiking / Walking

Address: Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, Cottage Street, Bar Harbor, US-04609, Mount Desert Island, Maine (ME), USA
Various hiking trails are available around Bar Harbor and the Mount Desert Island, offering superb views across the coastline and mountains. The most popular hiking and walking trails take in the sights and attractions within Acadia National Park, such as Cadillac Mountain, Champlain Mountain and also Dorr Mountain. Detailed information about the hiking trails is available at the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce office on Cottage Street. The most popular routes include the Great Head Trail, the North Ridge Trail, the South Ridge Trail, the Bear Brook Trail and also the renowned Precipice Trail, a steep hike suitable only for the fittest of hiker. Something suited to those simply looking for a leisurely stroll is the Shorepath, which starts at the town pier and stretches along the oceanfront. The Ocean Trail is another easy walk and offers superb views of Maine's rocky shoreline.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Admission: free

Harbor picture

Sailing / Cruises

Address: 27 Main Street, Bar Harbor, Maine (ME), US-04609, USA
Tel: +1 207 288 4585
Since the neighboring shoreline close to the town is so beautiful, many tourists choose to take full advantage of this and join a sightseeing cruise, exploring this part of Main's coast more fully. Cruises around Frenchman Bay and the Somes Sound Fjord vary greatly, with the Schooner Margaret Todd boat being one of the most popular, coming complete with four masts and generally docked outside of the Bar Harbor Inn, close to the Town Pier. This particular boat offers daily cruises at 10:00, 14:00 and again at 18:30, when you are likely to be able to enjoy a good sunset. Also of note are the lobster boat tours, which are based at the Harborside Hotel and Marina, and the 'Scenic Nature Cruises' onboard the Sea Princess, which pass attractions such as the Bear Island Lighthouse, the Islesford Historical Museum, and the Cranberry Isles. Keep your eyes peeled for eagles and ospreys soaring high overhead, or porpoises and seals swimming close by.
Open hours: daily - seasonal variations
Admission: charge, discounts for seniors and children under 12 years old

Kayaking picture

Paddling / Kayaking

Address: National Park Sea Kayak Tours, 39 Cottage Street, Bar Harbor, US-04609, Mount Desert Island, Maine (ME), USA
Tel: +1 800 347 0940
Address: Aquaterra Adventures, 1 West Street, Bar Harbor, US-04609, Mount Desert Island, Maine (ME), USA
Tel: +1 207 288 0007
Lovers of the American outdoors will find that a very pleasant afternoon can be spent either canoeing or kayaking around Mount Desert Island's peaceful coast. Both canoes and kayaks can be hired at a number of venues close to the waterfront of Bar Harbor. Don't worry if you have never done this kind of this before - instruction is available, as well as paddle tours led by experienced canoeists. All the equipment that you will need is included in the price (including life jackets) and located next to the dock, so that will be no need to carry anything very far.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Admission: free