Family Vacations: Bar Harbor

Bar harbor attracts thousands in the summer and during fall foliage season.

Bar Harbor, the gateway to Maine's Acadia National Park, was New England's premier summer resort in the 19th century. It continues to attract thousands of visitors, especially in the summer and during fall foliage season.

The Bar Harbor area has a terrific selection of family activities, including an oceanarium, kayak tours, nature programs, and a small museum showcasing an excellent collection of Native American artifacts. Visitors can also rent bicycles to explore the 55 miles of carriage trails that lace the area. Families can rent a canoe or kayak and explore on their own or take boat tours in search of whales, seals, and seabirds. Plus, there are summer classics such as mini golf, rock climbing, and tide pool exploration.

Be sure to walk along Shore Path, a wide, winding trail that follows the shoreline for more than a half-mile along a public right-of-way. The pathway passes many elegant summer homes and inns, offering a superb view of the area's Victorian architecture. Be sure to visit Ben and Bill's, a candy store and ice-cream parlor on Main Street, where every kind of candy imaginable is for sale.

Bar Harbor Visitor Information

Address: Downtown Bar Harbor at State Routes 3 and 233, Bar Harbor, ME

Telephone: 207/288-5103 Toll-free: 800/288-5103

Hours of Operation: Times vary

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Maine State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Maine, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.


Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.