More about your Oliver Guide: Alexandra Hong
trip type: family
IDEAL LENGTH OF TRIP: At minimum 3 days. We visited for one week in mid summer and I'd love to stay two.
TO & FROM
We traveled from our home town Hampstead, NH to Bar Harbor ME by car about 5 hours. We drove through with a stop in Freeport, Maine to shop at LL Bean. Once arrived in Bar Harbor, we enjoyed walking within town. To explore the park we tried to make use of the Island Explorer Bus as much as possible.
We loved our rental home from Acadia Cottage Rentals. The ten of us (we joined another family) were able to have space to hang out, make hearty breakfasts and picnics, and the kids could eat their favorites while we went out to dinner! However, there are all types of accommodations from large luxurious hotels with sea side views and pools, romantic bed and breakfasts, motels and campgrounds.
EAT & DRINK
- Drinks on the porch at the Bar Harbor Inn ,
- Ice Cream at Udder Heaven
- Pizza at Rosalie's
- Dining at Havana (or Red Sky in Southwest Harbor) is a special treat.
- Donuts from the Colonels were divine after a bike ride!
- The Hannaford in Bar Harbor to purchase picnic supplies.
- If you are a lobster lover, lobster is a must! www.facebook.com/roseedenlobster
Stop in at the Visitor Centre to get the lay of the land and pick up your park pass and an event calendar. The Park has lots of amazing programs on offer. Walk along the shore path in Bar Harbor and enjoy the views.
Kayak with National Park Sea Kayak for an on-the-water adventure and to observe seals.
For your younger children, Diver Ed's trip (book well in advance) is a fabulous way to get out on the water. He dives in and collects animals like lobster and clams for the children to learn about and observe in a touch tank on the boat. He is highly entertaining!
Bike ride on the carriage trails around Eagle Lake
Hike up the Acadia Mtn trail followed by a swim in Echo Lake.
Hike up Cadillac's South Ridge trail - if you use the free bus called Island Explorer you can hike down the North Ridge Trail. Hiking up the Bee Hive includes rungs like ladders and makes for a fantastic adventure. You'll need a trail map available at the visitor center.
Picnic on the rocks over looking Sand beach following a hike on the Great Head Trail or after visiting Thunder Hole.
Shop for souvenirs and enjoy the hustle and bustle of tourists in Bar Harbor.
- We enjoyed taking the Island Explorer bus.
- Hiking a short way to swim at Lakewood Pond. It felt like our own private swimming hole! There is a spot for the adventurous to leap 5-10 feet into the water.
- Although the ocean is very chilly for swimming we also loved hiking in to Hunter's beach for a picnic on that beach. The children enjoyed cooling off in the river.
For some this is a "must", however for me, I say skip afternoon tea at the Jordan Pond House. The restaurant is in a stunning setting and I'm sure the popovers are delicious, but we had so many hiking and exploring plans, we'll make reservations for a more relaxing vacation.