Welcome to Fifty Grande’s Best of the U.S. Bucket List series. This is your one-stop travel guide to the best, most unique and quintessential experiences of a city, state or event. Want to know how to “do” Bar Harbor? We’ve got you covered. Curated by experts, vetted by in-the-know locals, this is all you need to have the best trip ever. If we’ve written a Bucket List, we recommend you go. If it’s on this list, it’s the best the city has to offer right now. Consider this your one-stop answer to “What are the best things to do in Bar Harbor?”
On Maine’s Mount Desert Island sits Bar Harbor, a small but lively bayside town where summers draw a mix of rugged lobstermen, spirited adventurers and old-money New Englanders (the Rockefellers vacationed here). Nestled within its cozy streets are upscale boutiques and yacht repair services, juxtaposed with no-frills bait shops and hole-in-the-wall seafood joints. Bar Harbor also serves as an access point to Acadia National Park, 47,000 wild acres that have long attracted intrepid explorers. This is a place rich with history, in an area called home by humans for more than 12,000 years.
To get there, you’ll drive hours without cell service through lush, green, undeveloped land that feels more like a Tolkien story setting than America. When the speed limit signs turn to moose crossings, and you pass the billboard for “Timber Tina’s Great Maine Lumberjack Show,” you’ll know you’re getting close. Roll down the windows when you cross the bridge, and the smell of steamed lobster wafts from the tiny roadside shacks ahead. Then the road winds up into the bluffs, and Puritan-style houses give way to sweeping estates cradling modern mansions. A quaint town comes into view. You’ve arrived. Here’s what to do: