Breaking down the sites you need to see, things to do, & great places to eat when visiting Bar Harbor Maine, Southwest Harbor, & Acadia National Park
Two weeks ago, my fiancé’s parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. Amazing, I know. I always appreciate when couples have been together for that amount of time. My own parents are celebrating 25 years in August…I love having such a strong relationship influence to look up too. Anyways, for their anniversary Devin’s mom, wanted us all to get together in Bar Harbor, Maine for a few days of relaxation & outdoorsy things…Bar Harbor style.
Me being such the over-packer that I am, packed way to much stuff, swimsuits, dresses, etc. etc., also I’d never been before so I had literally had no idea what to expect. So my first piece of advice would be to check the weather, because the winds are intense there & prepare to be outside. We stayed there for 4 nights & 3 full days, leaving on our 4th day. I kid you not, the only time we were at the bed & breakfast was to actually eat breakfast & sleep. Our days were jam packed but so relaxing & fun all at once.
I wanted to put together this guide for anyone who is interested in ever visiting Bar Harbor & I also just wanted to share the photos I took because I don’t know if you have ever been to one of our National Parks (this was my first) but Acadia was AMAZINGLY beautiful.
Where we stayed in Bar Harbor, Maine
We stayed in the most adorable bed & breakfast run by two gentlemen from Serbia & Australia. It’s such a small world because my brother Maverick, played basketball in Belgrade, Serbia for a few months last year. I mentioned the team he played for, & the inn-keeper just lit up. It’s so insane meeting someone for the first time & finding something relatable.
Anyways, the B&B was called Lindenwood Inn & it was so perfect. It had an in-ground pool, hot tub (which we did not go in because the air was just too cold), a cabana & two buildings that made up the inn. The main house is shown in the photo & the Rosebrook House (not pictured) is where Devin, myself, & his sister Micayla stayed.
Each room had such charm, as well as the entire vibe of Lindenwood. Tucked away within Southwest Harbor, also known as “the jewel”, Lindenwood is found outside of Bar Harbor, but still offers views of the mountains, lakes, & bay. Devin & I had a great view of the bay from the window in our room.
Throughout our stay, we had breakfast every morning at Lindenwood. European inspired & different each day, the breakfast did not fail to disappoint.
Must-See Places in Bar Harbor
Acadia National Park – Park Loop
The Park Loop is 27 miles long & it will take you through Acadia’s parks, lakes, coasts, forests, & mountains in a straight shot. Much of this road is one-way. One way up, one way down. It has plenty of spots to pull off to the side of the road to see the sites.
On the Park Loop you can see sites such as Jordan Pond, Cadillac Mountain, Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, & the Bubbles…which we unfortunately didn’t get to see.
We found ourselves on the park loop everyday of our trip. By far the most incredible site was on top of Cadillac Mountain (shown below).
Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the North Atlantic Seacoast & the view from the top is simply incredible. It was recommended to us to go for the sunrise, which we didn’t quite make, due to the 3:30am call time, but hey we heard it’s an experience… as I can only imagine.
The top of the mountain is insanely windy. Like so windy it’s hard to stand up at times. While Micayla was trying to take some cute pictures of Devin & I, Devin’s FAVORITE hat went flying off his head. Hysterical now, but at the time, I risked my life running after that hat, which I did thankfully retrieve before it was a goner.
Jordan Pond & The Carriage Roads
This was my favorite activity we did while in Acadia. We rented bikes in Bar Harbor & biked close to 25 miles on the Carriage Roads.
The Carriage Roads was a project constructed by John D. Rockerfeller Jr. as an attempt to preserve the land of the park from transportation methods. Complete with stone bridges & packed gravel, the Carriage Roads make for a very enjoyable bike ride…if that’s your thing.
At the halfway point of our ride, we stopped at the Jordan Pond House, which is at the bottom of the trails. This is where I took the picture of Jordan Pond at ground level. Swimming is not permitted in the pond because it is actually a water source, to I forget where lol!
Overall, a fantastic time…I would HIGHLY recommend.
Sand Beach, found within the Park Loop, was really amazing. One minute you are just driving up a mountain surrounded by forests & then there is a beach, it’s bizarre but so beautiful. This is a really popular spot to see in Acadia. There were a lot of people the first time we went, the second time was a little more quiet. People swim here but the water is extremely cold. Devin went in to about mid-thigh.
There is an amazing & advanced 2 mile hiking trail called Beehive that we were planning on doing, but ran out of time. Beehive trail overlooks Sand Beach & is fairly strenuous, complete with steep ledges & ladders.
Found within the Park Loop, Thunder Hole is one of the main attractions of the park. The key is to come during high tide because when the tide is high, the combination of water & air in a small cave create the sound of thunder & water splashes up through the rocks. We unfortunately didn’t get to see this in action, but Devin’s family was able to see/hear it the last time they were at Acadia.
Shown in this picture is “Balance Rock” & it has been there since the Ice Age. When I told Devin this little bit of history, he was quick to remind me that “all rocks are from the Ice Age” *insert eye roll* haha.
Moving on..Shore Path will lead you around Frenchman’s Bay in the heart of Bar Harbor. I would highly recommend wearing a jacket if you choose to walk the path because it can get VERY cold down by the water, we did not complete the entire path due to the cold.
You can follow this path to the Bar Harbor Inn, mentioned a little later in this post.
Frenchman’s Bay is in the heart of Bar Harbor. The views here are stunning. I actually had no idea that Bar Harbor was such a tourist spot, so I was surprised to see so many people being shuttled off a parked cruise ship (which was just to the left of this photo). There is also a sand bar that appears during low tide that you are actually able to walk across to the island shown in the photo. We had this stunning view of the bay during two of our lunches in Bar Harbor, which I detailed below.
Echo Lake & Beech Cliff Trail
Personally, this hike & the bike ride were my favorite things we did. Beech Cliff Trail starts at Echo Lake & takes you along a 1.8 mile hike to the top of Beech Cliff where you are able to see incredible views of the surrounding areas & Echo Lake.
The top of this trail is where the picture of me (at the beginning of this post) was taken. The trail was considered advanced, but it was so much fun. It included iron climbing ladders attached to the rocks, so anyone who has a fear of heights may not want to take this one on.
The trail up is easily seen & on the way down from the cliff, all you have to do is follow the blue markings. The way up the cliff is different from the trail going down, which leads you back to the parking lot.
Also, Echo Lake is very swimmable. Devin was dying to show us all how tough he was by going swimming in the freezing cold waters of Acadia a few times. But thankfully we talked him out of it each time due to “not having a change of clothes & a towel” LOL!
Bass Harbor Light Station
Okay this lighthouse was amazing. There is something about lighthouses that I just love & this one is no different…it literally looks like it came straight out of a movie. In order to see this particular view seen in the photo, you have to hike down a mini trail & then scale down the rocks. The rocks may be a little tricky, but hey the view is worth it…just watch your step lol!
Ship Harbor Trail
So here is my favorite picture of the trip I think, s/o to Micayla like always! She got this shot in the forest on the Ship Harbor Trail. The trail is very easy & provides a quick walk through the forest to the ocean.
Places to eat in Bar Harbor, Maine
Red Sky – This was our first meal in Southwest Harbor. It was so good the first night, we went back for more the second night. It was about a ten minute walk from the bed & breakfast where we stayed. I was on a duck-kick the entire trip ( I ordered duck three time within the four days we were there lol). The pan seared duck at Red Sky was fabulous, & their homemade chocolate mousse was even better.
Bar Harbor Inn – Talk about a view! We ate at the Bar Harbor Inn for lunch on our first full day in the heart of Bar Harbor. We sat on the patio at the Terrace Grill & overlooked Frenchman’s Bay, while we ate. The food was wonderful. You can easily find Bar Harbor Inn by walking along Shore Path.
Stewman’s Lobster Pound – Go here if you want a classic Maine lobster roll experience. Devin said his lobster roll was exceptional. I didn’t have one because they didn’t have gluten free rolls, but oh well, my burger without the bun was equally as good lol!
Asticou Inn– For dinner the second day we went to a near by inn, in Northeast Harbor, called the Asticou Inn. The dining room looked over the harbor & it was just beautiful. I again, ordered duck, & it was exceptional. They also offered gluten free/dairy free cookies & almond milk for dessert…amazing. Their homemade blueberry jam is also perfect & you can buy it by the jar.
Jordan Pond House– We stopped at the Jordan Pond House for lunch at the halfway point of our bike ride. It’s famous for their popovers & I guess people line up for them. Devin said they were great, I personally have no clue other than just seeing them (they did look amazing) because again, not gf lol!
Havana– For dinner the last night we went to a Latin-American restaurant called “Havana”. The food was simply incredible. I got pan seared scallops over a mixture of spaghetti squash & fennel, it was unreal. I give this restaurant 5 stars, except for dessert. Devin’s sister Micayla & I both got a gluten free/dairy free chocolate mousse which was exquisitely served in an avocado, but ugh it was awful, we both sent it back. And FYI I can’t remember that last time I ever sent anything back while at a restaurant. Other than that, Havana was wonderful.
CJ’s Big Dipper – Okay best for last. CJ’s Big Dipper is located within Bar Harbor & is literally the best ice cream place. Why? Because they have AMAZING gluten & dairy free almond milk swirl. I promise you it’s amazing. We went here everyday of our trip, because it was just too good. They also make homemade blueberry soft serve. I tried a taste of Devin’s & it was exactly how you would imagine…unreal good. I just stuck to my chocolate & vanilla almond milk soft serve twist because honestly, I just couldn’t get enough.
The four days spent in Bar Harbor were so enjoyable & provided some much-needed relaxation. The first morning, I got up at 6 to do yoga on the porch. Although it was freezing, it was so refreshing to spend some much needed time outdoors. Being outside & breathing the fresh air can be so beneficial for our physical & mental health.
I loved exploring & doing things that I usually don’t do. It brought me back to my childhood memories of hiking & being outside with my family, which made me so happy. Personally, after visiting Acadia, I would absolutely go back & would love to visit more National Parks.
Have you ever been to Acadia?