My favorite place that Carl and I visited on our Northeast road trip was Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor in Maine. You can check out my travel guides for our other road trip stops: Newport, RI and Portland, ME. Bar Harbor is literally the cutest town ever. We got to wander through all of their shops and eat at some of their best restaurants. Acadia National Park is filled with beautiful mountain and ocean views and we got to hike some of their amazing trails. In this travel guide, I will be sharing everything we did on our trip to help you plan an amazing trip to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor.
How Many Days to Spend in Acadia National Park
If you are deciding how many days to spend in Acadia National Park, you can stay anywhere from one day to one week. To be able to see all the highlights in Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, I recommend staying for at least three days.
Hotels near Acadia National Park
The hotel we stayed at was The Primrose Inn in Bar Harbor. We loved it and thought it was so cute and homey. The breakfast was really good too! They would give you fresh baked pastries as an appetizer before your meal. The photo below was a maple bacon scone, chocolate chip scone, and quiche, sausage and fruit for your meal.
It was also super close to all the downtown restaurants and shops – only a 10 min walk! This hotel is part of the Stay Bar Harbor properties. The Inn on Mount Desert is another good option!
There’s so many adorable inns, cottages, and bed & breakfasts in Bar Harbor. I recommend you stay in one or get an Airbnb!
Things to Do in Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor
Explore Bar Harbor
Bar Harbor is the cutest town. It’s filled with shops and boutiques, great restaurants, and an amazing view of the harbor! When we first arrived, we went to lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon exploring and walking around the town.
Acadia National Park
There are so many things to do in Acadia National Park. The great thing about the hiking trails in Acadia is that there are so many different ones that vary in length, difficulty, and elevation so there is something to do for everyone! We also loved how close Bar Harbor was to Acadia – it was only a 15 min drive!
There is also a fee to get into the park. The cheapest option is their seven day pass: $30 per car, $25 per motorbike, and $15 per individual coming in on foot.
Watch the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain
One thing you must do in Acadia National Park is watch the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain. Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the United States’ East Coast. It’s cool because from October to early March, it’s the first sunrise in the United States.
You can hike up Cadillac Mountain, but to avoid waking up even earlier and having the risk of missing the sunrise, you can drive right up to the top and walk over to the summit. You can take Cadillac Summit Road all the way to the top. Parking is limited and this is a very popular thing to do in Acadia so the parking spaces will fill up pretty quickly.
Check the weather and sunrise time beforehand. Ideally, you want a clear or partly cloudy day in order to see a beautiful sunrise. Make sure you allow plenty of time for travel, parking, and finding a spot to watch. I recommend getting there between 20-30 minutes before sunrise. When we went in the middle of May, sunrise was at 4:45am. It was about a 20 minute drive from our hotel so we got up an hour before to get there around 4:15.
I also recommend you dress warm! Wear layers since it can be really chilly. Even though it was May, it was 40 degrees outside at that time so we wore our winter coats. We sat on a rock, but I saw people sitting on blankets and chairs.
Drive through Park Loop Road
Park Loop Road is a 27 mile scenic drive. It has a bunch of stopping points, where you can see beautiful coastal views. You can start at Hulls Cove Visitor Center and some of the best stops are Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Schooner Head Overlook and Otter Point.
The photo below was taken at Otter Point.
Bike Ride on Carriage Roads
The carriage roads consist of 57 miles that are completely car-free. It’s a great place to explore nature from hiking, biking, or even riding a horse-drawn carriage. Carl and I wanted to rent bikes and go through the trail, but we didn’t have enough time.
Watch the sunset at Bass Harbor Lighthouse
A popular place to watch the sunset in Acadia National Park is Bass Harbor Lighthouse. Keep in mind that the parking lost is small so make sure to arrive early! Even if you don’t come here to see the sunset, it’s great to walk around and and snap photos of the lighthouse.
Hiking Trails in Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park has over 120 miles of amazing hiking trails. There vary in length and difficulty and there is a trail for everyone to enjoy.
Some easy hiking trails are Jordan Pond Nature Trail, Bar Harbor Shore Path, Ocean Trail, and most Carriage Roads. For moderate hiking trails, check out the Bubble Rock Trail, Beech Mountain Trail, and the Bowl Trail. If you are looking for challenging hikes, I recommend the Beehive Trail, Precipice Trail, and Champlain Mountain Trail.
The two hikes we did on our trip was the Beehive Trail and the Bubble Trail in Jordan Pond.
The Beehive Trail is my favorite hike! It was challenging and a lot of fun! The trail is 2 miles and it includes narrow paths and iron rungs to climb up. It was fun and challenging climbing up. I felt so adventurous haha! It was super thrilling so I wouldn’t recommend it if you have a fear of heights.
As you’re hiking, you get the most amazing view of Sand Beach and the ocean. It’s so incredible and I was in awe the entire time. This is a popular hiking trail so I recommending getting there early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
If this sounds like a cool hike, I also recommend an even more challenging hike called the Precipice Trail. However, keep in mind that this trail is closed from March 15 – August 15 so we were unable to hike it when we went in May.
Jordan Pond + Bubble Trail
The second major hike we did in Acadia was the Jordan Pond Loop Trail and the South Bubble trail. The Jordan Pond Loop is an easy walk around the pond. South Bubble is one of the two mountains at the end of Jordan Pond. There is also a North Bubble trail.
We parked near the Jordan Pond House and walked halfway around the Jordan pond and then hiked up South Bubble and walked the other half back to the car as one big loop.
I think the best views of Jordan Pond is the top of South Bubble trail. But you can actually hike both bubble mountains as one big trail! There is also a boulder called Bubble Rock where it is sitting on the edge of the cliff. It’s cool to see but it also gave me anxiety since it literally looks like it’s going to fall off any second haha.
The food in Bar Harbor is soooo good! I listed all our favorite restaurants below. Most of them get really busy so I highly recommend you make reservations.
Thrive Juice Bar & Kitchen – I loved this healthy option in Bar Harbor. They have smoothies, juices, salads, etc. We got a smoothie one morning before our hike and they were so good!
Jeannie’s Great Maine Breakfast – You have to try their blueberry pancakes! You can’t go to Maine without trying their blueberries!
Lunch / Dinner
Side Street Cafe – Carl and I loved this place so much that we came here twice during our trip. We ate here for lunch and dinner. Their crab dip appetize is AMAZING. We loved their mac and cheeses and lobster grilled cheese. You also have to try their blueberry pie! Blueberries in Maine are so flavorful and delicious.
Stewman’s Lobster Pound – We shared two pounds of mussels and tried their crab and lobster rolls!
Galyn’s – The Frenchman Bay Stew is incredible!
Jordan Pond Restaurant – You can’t go to Acadia without eating at Jordan Pond Restaurant. The wait is insane (we waited a little over two hours) but it’s so worth it! You have to try their famous popovers (served with butter and strawberry jam), which are sooo good! And their crab cakes are the best I’ve ever had!
Dessert / Coffee
Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium
Slice of Eden – We bought a blueberry pie for my family on our last day and it was soooooo good! Everyone loved it!
Hope you enjoyed my Acadia National Park travel guide! You can also shop all my Acadia outfits below 🙂