Family-Friendly Vacationing in Bar Harbor, Maine
Bar Harbor is a wonderful place to introduce kids to nature and hiking and will satisfy everyone in the family. The town itself is adorable and walkable. It really comes alive in the summer. There are ice cream shops, live music on the green, cute patios and gorgeous views of Frenchman Bay. Low tide means you can walk right out into the bay where there are amazing tide pools for little kids to splash around in or search for sea creatures. Of course, the main attraction is Acadia National Park, which offers both easy and more difficult hiking, beaches, bike trails and some incredible vistas.
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Where to stay in Bar Harbor
Bar Harbor Inn & Spa
Iconic costal Maine hotel with quintessential New England style.
Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina
Located just off the coast from Bar Harbor, this hotel with a pool features stunning views and heartfelt hospitality.
West Street Hotel
Ultra-stylish hotel in Bar Harbor with curated interiors and a chic pool over the harbor.
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Things to do in Bar Harbor
Diver Ed's Dive In & Touch Tank: This is a must do with kids! Diver Ed takes you out on a boat and then dives to the bottom of the bay for sea creatures. Kids learn about the animals and even get to touch them.
Ocean Path is perfect for a short, easy walk in Bar Harbor proper. This route has incredible views and is a great way to meander to dinner.
Walking to Bar Island and playing in tide pools is so much fun! The water in Frenchman Bay gets low enough that you can actually walk across the bay to Bar Island. Kids will love playing in the tide pools. Make sure to check the tide chart so that you don't get stuck.
George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History: This is a very small nature museum with small gift shop at the College of the Atlantic. It's a good option with kids if you end up with a rainy day. It does get crowded during the summer, especially if it's raining.
Sand Beach, Acadia: This is a gorgeous beach near the entrance to Acadia. Kids will love playing on the rocks, digging in the sand and looking for seals. The water is very cold even in the summer, so it's more of a lounging/sandcastle beach.
Swimming in Echo Lake is such a fun way to spend a day in Acadia. This is a beautiful lake with a small beach and bathrooms that is warm enough for swimming in the summer.
Jordan Pond House: A famous restaurant within the park that also has a nice walking path. The restaurant is a great place to stop for tea and a treat, but gets very crowded in the summer. You can make a reservation, but even if you have one, leave plenty of time for circling the parking for a spot, since they fill up in the summer.
The Shore Path: This is a beautiful, flat path that starts at Sand Beach. It's easy enough for younger kids and has incredible views and places to stop to climb on rocks.
Places to Eat & Drink in Bar Harbor
The Terrace Grill: Located at the Bar Harbor Inn, this beautiful patio has incredible views of the boats on Frenchman Bay. Go at sunset for drinks and seafood and watch people walk by on the Ocean Path.
Thrive Juice Bar: A cute little smoothie and juice shop that has incredible smoothie bowls for breakfast. Great spot for those who are gluten-free!
Havana: This is an upscale bistro with Latin and American food. The inside is a white tablecloth establishment whereas the patio is a more casual bar with high tops that serves small plates.
Side Street Cafe: A more casual restaurant with porch seating and solid bar fare. We found this to be very kid-friendly both in terms of the menu items and the little bag of slime they bring out for kids.
Project Social: Modern small plates and cocktails in a beautiful garden. One side of the garden has lawn games and is more casual.
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