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Great Vacation Destinations
Bar Harbor Offers Perfect Multi-Generational Vacation


Planning a quality vacation the whole family will enjoy can be daunting but visitors will discover that the ingredients for the perfect family trip are all here in Bar Harbor. Home to Acadia National Park, honored in 2014 as GMA's "Favorite Place in America," Bar Harbor is ideal for a vacation where every family member will come home with experiences they will remember for a lifetime. From the endless activities in the park to the great adventures to be had at sea or around town, Bar Harbor is that special place where children, parents and grandparents can all enjoy family fun together.

Bar Harbor is on Mount Desert Island, the third-largest island on the eastern seaboard of the United States. This region of Maine is renowned for its incredible natural beauty, which boasts the only natural fjord on the coast, and Cadillac Mountain, the highest mountain on the east coast north of Rio de Janeiro. Walking or hiking may be one of the best ways to experience this incredible environment. For the family traveling together, there are many hikes in Acadia National Park and around town that even smaller children can enjoy:

  • Bar Harbor Shore Path - An easy walk with wonderful views of the harbor and Porcupine Islands. 1.0 mile/1.6 km
  • Jordan Pond Nature Trail - In Acadia, this easy loop is through forests and along the pond. 1.0 mile loop/1.6 km loop
  • Ocean Trail - This trail begins near Sand Beach in Acadia and runs parallel to the Park Loop Road on its east side past Thunder Hole all the way to Otter Cliff. 3.0 miles/4. 8 km
  • Bar Island - At low tide, you can immediately see how Bar Harbor got its name - a large sand bar connects downtown Bar Harbor to Bar Island. Children love taking buckets and shovels onto the bar and exploring all the sea life uncovered at low tide. If you go, don't forget to check the local tide schedule and leave plenty of time to get back before the tide rolls in. Accessible 1-1/2 hours either side of low tide.
  • Bubble Rock Trail - Although not an easy hike, Bubble Rock is one of the most visited spots in Acadia National Park. Perched precariously on the eastern edge of the summit of South Bubble Mountain, the giant boulder is an excellent example of the powerful action of ancient glaciers. Moderate, 0.7 miles one way.

If you want to rest your feet for a day, come aboard a sightseeing boat and experience Mount Desert Island from the sea. Join Captain John on Lulu, a traditional Downeast lobster boat, for a 2-hour tour of Frenchman Bay and experience an up-close demonstration of lobster fishing, fascinating seal watching and breathtaking coastal scenery. For a unique hands-on experience, check out Diver Ed's Dive-In Theater aboard his vessel, the Starfish Enterprise. Diver Ed dives down to the ocean floor and brings up his discoveries for an entertaining and educational trip.

The whole family can enjoy biking through Acadia on the gorgeous carriage roads. Bikes for adults and children, and trailers are available to rent in town. There are 45 miles of carriage roads and they are car free, making this a safe and fun way to visit the park.
When you're ready to cool off, Acadia's Sand Beach offers families nearly 300 yards of sand to play in and cool Atlantic waves to catch. Those preferring calmer, warmer waters may want to visit the freshwater beach at Echo Lake. Both swimming areas have lifeguards on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

For the science lovers in your family, head to the Naturalist's Notebook with its engaging installations and activities that combine nature, art and science. The original Notebook exploratorium in Seal Harbor offers three floors of interaction, shopping and learning for all ages. The Notebook is just a short drive from Bar Harbor or Northeast Harbor.

Hungry families will find no end to the delicious dining in Bar Harbor and don't worry, you don't have to like seafood, although if you do, you're in luck. For a meal with an unforgettable view, visit The Looking Glass Restaurant, which sits high on a hillside with breathtaking views of Frenchman's Bay and the surrounding mountains and hills. For a truly retro dining experience, visitors can't miss the West End Drug Co. where coffee is still twenty cents a cup and you can get an old fashioned fountain soda with your lunch. For more family-friendly options on where to eat, visit http://www.barharborinfo.com/Where-to-Eat.aspx.

The community of Bar Harbor is a lovely place to share some quality time with your loved ones. Every Wednesday evening from mid-July through August, the town has a free family movie night in the park downtown with free popcorn. For more information and ideas to help you start planning a great family vacation, please visit http://www.barharborinfo.com/Things-to-Do/Family-Activities.aspx.
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