12 places to visit and things to do in Bar Harbor for 2020
Late winter/early spring is a great time to plan a vacation. So, now’s the perfect time for some trip inspiration to help nail down those few remaining details about your 2020 trip to Bar Harbor. Whether visiting in just a few weeks for some snowy winter fun, on the sunniest of summer days or during autumn’s show of bright colors, there is something in Bar Harbor for each visit with these 12 places to visit and things to do.
1. Ice climbingExplore the natural wonders of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park on an epic climbing adventure. Climb ice-covered cliffs and discover rare viewpoints to take in the magnificent sights of the island. Grab a pair of spiked boots, strap on a harness and buckle up your helmet with Acadia Mountain Guides or Atlantic Climbing School for an unforgettable outdoor adventure on the ice.
2. Romantic date nightWhat could be more romantic than visiting a cozy coastal village? Plan the perfect date night with fancy food and a show. Dig into the locally sourced fine dining at Havana Restaurant. While the ingredients come from nearby, the taste will transport you elsewhere with its authentic Latin flair. After your meal, enjoy a movie or performance at the 1932 Criterion Theatre. The elegance of this historic theatre is perfect for a romantic evening out.
3. Irish spiritEmbrace the nightlife by going out to Leary’s Landing Irish Pub. Watch your favorite games, take a bite of authentic Irish fare or try local craft brews. You can’t get any closer to an Irish pub in the United States, both in experience and geographic location.
4. Artistic inspirationUse Bar Harbor as the inspiration for your next work of art. After spending days exploring Bar Harbor, create a masterpiece to take back home that will always remind you of your visit at one of ArtWaves classes or workshops. Also great for families visiting the area, bring the kids along to create works deserving of a place on the fridge.
5. Check the must-see spots off your Acadia National Park bucket listWhile there’s plenty to see in Acadia National Park, the must-see famous spots include Cadillac Mountain, Jordan Pond, Sand Beach, Bass Harbor Head Light, Thunder Hole and a ride along the Park Loop Road. Don’t miss out on the lesser-known experiences either, like taking a hike along Gorham Mountain Trail or the Jordan Pond Path or riding your bike on the Carriage Roads. Enjoy the lush green foliage sprouting in spring and rolling ocean waves throughout the park.
6. Wildlife watchingJoin in the fun of seeing Bar Harbor’s coastal creatures. From animals as large as whales to as small as seabirds, you will be sure to catch a glimpse of Maine’s majestic wildlife, as well as take in the beauty of the blue ocean water. Step onto a boat with Acadian Boat Tours for sights of puffins or hop on board with Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company to spot ocean giants.
7. Celebration of independenceOne of Bar Harbor’s biggest events of the year, the July Fourth celebration brings a unique Maine twist to Independence Day traditions. Kick-off the day with a festive blueberry pancake breakfast before the annual independence parade. Lobsters can try to run away at the lobster races, but they can’t outrun the hungry seafood festival attendees. To wrap up the festivities, listen to the Bar Harbor town band just before fireworks burst over Frenchman Bay.
8. On the oceanGet out on the ocean for a peaceful and relaxing kayak ride. See the rugged rocky coastline from the water without the sound of an engine or obstructed views. Paddle your way to fun with experts from Castine Kayak Adventures or Coastal Kayaking Tours.
9. StargazingWith increasing light pollution, Bar Harbor is one place in the United States where the stars still shine bright. We have put a great deal of effort into keeping our night skies dark, making it easier to enjoy the magic of the night’s shining stars. Look up to the sky on your own adventure or join us for the Acadia Night Sky Festival, September 16-20, 2020.
10. Frights and foliageVisiting during the fall? Get in the spooky spirit with a ghost tour at Red Cloak Haunted History Tours or Bar Harbor Ghost Tours. Follow our local ghost hunters along the most haunted places in town. Autumn is also the perfect time to look for fall foliage. For the best sights, visit Acadia’s carriage roads and hiking trails or contrast the bright foliage with the ocean along Frenchman Bay.
11. Wabanaki heritageCelebrate Native American Heritage Month by learning more about the Native people in Maine, the Wabanaki. The Abbe Museum’s activities and exhibitions will show you the culture and lifestyle of Maine’s Native Americans. Learn how the beautiful setting of what is now Bar Harbor influenced indigenous art and how the natural surroundings influenced everyday life.
12. Holiday cheerJump on your holiday shopping, whether you are visiting in June or December. Bar Harbor’s shops offer locally crafted gifts and souvenirs that bring added meaning and love to your present. Join Bar Harbor in celebrating the holiday season in November and December with the Early Bird Pajama Sale, Midnight Madness shopping, bed races and the Village Holidays.
From the start of the year all the way to the end, Bar Harbor has a wide range of activities and destinations for your trip. Now is a great time to make those final touches to your plan or spark your planning process!
Photos courtesy of Michael Belinski and Jeff Jordan.