Bar Harbor, Maine Travel Diary Part 1

I took a week long trip up to Bar Harbor with my dad, aunt, and cousin. The main intention of the trip was to take my grandmother’s ashes up, but we also spent the week visiting family and the area. The last time I was here was in 2004, so it had been a long time. I vaguely remember anything–just bits and bobs since I lost the photographs from my first trip. I did some research for certain things I wanted to do and my family members filled in the gaps. I was excited to be visiting during mid-October, because the foliage was absolutely gorgeous! I tried to organize this post as best as I could and I hope it isn’t too long. I decided to make a separate post for where I ate, since it got a bit lengthy if I kept the two together.

Bar Harbor is located on Mount Desert Island, which is located in the down east portion of Maine. It’s a huge tourist town with a population of a little over 5,000. My dad grew up here and much of our family still live in the area. He couldn’t stop talking about just how much it has changed, which I think is a good thing since it’s bringing in more tourists to support the businesses. The “open season” of the area is April-October, which means that the majority of restaurants, bars, shops, and things to do are closed between November and March. Much of the town was still bustling while we were here, many places closing up by the end of the month. 2016 is also the centennial of the National Park Service, which brought many people to the area to visit Acadia National Park. Martha Stewart also lives in Seal Harbor, located in the southeastern portion of Bar Harbor. My family has told me stories that when she goes into town she expects “celebrity treatment,” although many locals have no idea who she is (haha!)

Cruise ships sail into the harbor up until November which brings in huge amounts of people. Even though it was mid-October the streets were heavily packed with tourists everywhere–it was almost unbearble to walk around and go into the shops! This year has been the busiest time in many years, but it probably has a lot to do with the National Park Service centennial.

Downtown has a bunch of cute little shops to fit anyone’s taste. There are a lot of souvenir shops, my favorite being Cool as Moose. There are also gallery and boutique shops that carry locally made items. A shop I recommend checking out is A Little Mad where I got a cute pint glass with a map of the U.S. on it with a heart on the state of Maine. My dad got my mom a hand made soy candle which he refuses to tell my mom the price of (lol). They also have stationary, jewelry, home wear, artwork, etc.

If you like bookstores, check out Sherman’s which has been here since 1886. There is also a used book store in town called Bar Harbor Bookshop.

Thunder Hole is located inside Acadia and is a natural rock inlet where waves crash up against making a “thunderous” boom. The best time of the year to actually hear the thunder is in February, but the park is closed during this month and only open to snow mobilers.

Bass Harbor Head Light House is on the southwest portion of the island. I’ve never seen a lighthouse before, but it’s probably one of the main things you envision when you think of Maine! This one was built in 1858 and actually houses a coast guard family.


My first full day here my cousin took me hiking in Acadia National Park, a major draw for visitors in Bar Harbor. 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, so I thought it was awesome to be able to experience nature’s wonders during a monumental year. All national parks require a park pass or one time entrance fee that is good for one week. There are also fee-free days throughout the year, so definitely check those out if you don’t want to pay! We hiked the Beehive Trail, which is a pretty moderate hike for intermediate hikers. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for beginners, unless you’re with someone who is experienced. The views were absolutely stunning!


Cadillac Mountain is part of Acadia National Park and is the highest point on the east coast of the United States. I wanted to get up here for the sunrise, since it’s the first place on the coast that sees the sun, but the sunrise time was at 5:45 and was a bit too early for me or my dad to want to get up! So I settled for the sunset, which was just as magical. I recommend to get up there early to make sure you get a parking spot–we managed to get the last possible spot that was in a ditch (hahah).
If you like anything coastal, New England, outdoorsy, or camping, taking a trip to Bar Harbor is definitely recommended. The mountains were pretty unreal–and I live in a pretty mountainous state (Pennsylvania). Although the food and shops are little pricey, there are still some hidden gems that are worth checking out. Stay tuned for part 2 which will be all about Bar Harbor’s restaurants!
Have you ever been to Bar Harbor? Would you ever consider visiting?

Want to start driving traffic to your blog like WHOA?


Download my FREE Traffic Booster Cheat Sheet to learn 5 easy ways to boost page views to your blog right NOW!

Powered by ConvertKit
previous post
next post
%d bloggers like this: