A Traveler’s Guide to Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor is a peninsula located in the far northeast of Maine, on Mount Desert Island.  It’s full of rich fishing culture, amazing food, hiking, and much more.  There’s little to be found outside of it, so it’s like a hidden gem to vacationers everywhere.  As a kid my parents took my brother and I here many times, and this year Kyle took me here for my 23rd birthday! It was really nice to show him all of the places we went as a family, and to watch him experience all of it for the first time.  If you’re looking for a romantic and adventurous destination, here are some great things to do in Bar Harbor.  And don’t forget to check out my post on vacations for military families!


2 Cats

A small breakfast place that looks like it’s in someone’s pretty, little colonial home.  They have strong coffee, fresh blueberry pancakes, and great service.  Every time I’m in Bar Harbor, I always make a point to stop here before starting the day’s activities.

Side Street Cafe

If you’re looking for a true coastal seafood experience, this is the place to be. Lobster rolls, margaritas, and a wrap-around deck that allows you to see everything that’s going on around town. It’s a very relaxed setting, so you don’t feel like you need to dress up like some of the other places around. Stop in and try their Blueberry Basil margarita, you won’t regret it!


Definitely on the expensive side, but it’s like that for many reasons.  Blaze features wood fired everything, including wings, burgers, tacos, and more.  Whether you sit inside or out on their colorful deck, the atmosphere is perfect for a date night, or even a girl’s night!


I’ll admit, this is my all time favorite place to go for food and drinks. Their menu is creative and very fitting with the rustic New England surroundings. As you all know, I’m a big fan of margaritas, so I always have to have their lime agave margarita. With salt, of course.


Cadillac Mountain

If you’re not into hiking, this is the ideal place to do some sight seeing.  Drive up Cadillac Mountain for a view of the ocean all around you, and you can take a short walk on the trails that surround the summit.  It’s usually best to go in the summer months, but you can head up there in October for some fall foliage as well.

Whale Watch

In an island town, this is a typical Sunday for most residents.  But for the tourists, it’s quite the experience to board the big ferry and head out into the bay.  There’s a lot to see around Mount Desert Island, from seals and loons, to much bigger ocean creatures.  It’s a great activity for the kids too!

The Bee Hive

Don’t let the name scare you, as far as I’ve seen there are no bee hives! This hike wraps all the way around the bay, allowing you to see each perspective of the ocean community.  Although it’s not a long hike, it’s extremely steep at times, resulting in quite the view.

Ocean Pathway

Located right on the edge of town, this little walkway passes right in front of the Bar Harbor Grand Hotel. It’s only about a mile long, and can be used as a great running trail for early risers. Plus, you get to see all of the beautiful, Oceanside homes as you walk!


Edge view Cottages

Stay in your own little cottage, located directly on the edge of the bay. No noise, just pure relaxation. At the end of a long day exploring, you can come back to your own private patio overlooking the ocean. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Bar Harbor Inn

Talk about the perfect place to have a wedding. The Bar Harbor Inn is located directly on the waterfront, right beside the community park. Nice and close to all of the shops and attractions, staying here makes vacation completely effortless.

Residence Inn

If you’re looking for something that’s affordable, but still very convenient, this Inn is located just outside of Bar Harbor and its brand new. I have stayed here twice now, and each experience has been awesome. Plus, they have a great bar and restaurant attached to the hotel for your convenience. And it’s only a short drive from all of the other attractions.

What’s your favorite mini getaway destination? Have you ever been to Bar Harbor?



Published by Amanda N

Lifestyle blogger 🎗 Navigating life as a military spouse on the East Coast. Join our adventure!

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