Some of our favorite activities include:
Biking - bring your own or rent a bicycle from Bar Harbor from Acadia Bike. The park offers spectacular carriage roads which are off limits to cars, so you can have a relaxed ride without worrying about traffic. If you plan to rent a bike, make a reservation a few days ahead of time during the high season. The Island Explorer bus can accommodate bikes for a drop off in the park, or a pick up at the end of the day. Be sure to check the schedule.
Hiking - bring a pair of sturdy shoes or boots, some water bottles, and a camera. Trails range from short to long, from easy to difficult. You can do several trails in one day, so grab a box lunch from one of the restaurants in town to enjoy a mountaintop picnic. Coordinate your hike with the Island Explorer bus schedule so you can leave your car at the visitor center or at the trail head, and take the bus back to your car. Some of our favorites are Great Head, Gorham Mountain, and the Beehive.
Swimming - Take a dip at Sand Beach, only 4 miles from the house, or at the public beach in Seal Harbor, only 3 miles from the house. Freshwater swimming is available at Echo Lake, a 20 minute drive to the quiet side of the island. Leave early, as the parking fills up fast!
Jordan Pond Tea House - Take a break from your hike or bike ride by treating yourself to lunch or tea and popovers. There's a good Acadia Shop for souvenirs or snacks. In a hurry - a Harbor Bar (chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich, dipped in chocolate) usually hits the spot for us!
Park Loop Road - Take the Island Explorer, drive or bike this gorgeous 20-mile one-way loop around the park's most scenic vistas. The bus stops at the most popular sites along this and many other roads. Hop on/off at Sand Bay, Thunder Hole, Otter Cliffs, Jordan Pond, or Eagle Lake.
Whale Watch, Harbor or Nature Cruise - Some of these leave from Northeast Harbor or Southwest Harbor, though many also depart from Bar Harbor. Seals, seabirds, birds of prey, and whales can all be viewed on various cruises. Bring warm clothing if you plan on a whale watch, as it gets cold on the ocean no matter the season. We love Diver Ed's Dive-in Theatre for hands-on viewing of sea creatures and Acadian Nature Cruises for getting up close to bald eagles, harbor seals, and Egg Rock Lighthouse.
The Quiet Side - The western side of the island is worth a visit. Take a dip in Echo Lake or Long Pond, drive along the spectacular coast line, climb the fire tower on Beech Mountain, or watch the sunset at Bass Harbor Lighthouse.
Northeast Harbor: Have breakfast or lunch with popovers at the Asticou Inn. They have a fantastic view of the harbor. Their restaurant is run by Acadia Corporation, which operated the Jordan Pond House for several decades.
Kayaking - We haven't tried it, but it's very popular. Ocean or lake kayaks are available, with or without a tour guide. Contact the local bike & kayak shops for details, or bring your own.
Shopping & Dining - Bar Harbor has great shopping for all price ranges. Pick up some local art or a t-shirt to remember your vacation. There is no shortage of excellent places to eat for all three meals. Cafe This Way and 2 Cats are our favorites for breakfast, the Side Street Cafe is great for lunch, and Blaze has tasy options for dinner. For pizza, you cannot beat Rosalie's. Don't forget to get a drugstore counter malted milkshake or an ice cream soda at West End Drug Company! Stewman's Lobster Pound is right on the water and serves steamed lobster.
If you're worn out from all the physical activities, head to Otter Cliff to read a book, or puzzle at Balance Rock, on Shore Path, in Bar Harbor. There are so many activities – you will not run out of things do!