Bar Harbor sits on Mount Desert Island along Frenchman’s Bay in Maine. This New England town is known for its fantastic mountain views and some of the best lobsters in the land. From lobster cruises to haunted walking tours of the historic homes in the area, the family-friendly activities in Bar Harbor are endless, making it a great place to visit with kids. Best of all, many of the Bar Harbor vacation rentals are located within minutes of Acadia National Park, the town’s primary recreational area. If you’re all geared up for your Maine holiday, and you’re looking for some fun things to do, check out this top 10 list of kid-friendly activities.
1. Visit the Harbor’s Namesake
Bar Harbor is named after a sandbar that reveals itself at low tides. It’s a cool place to find unique shells and rocks, and the tidal flow reaches up to 12 feet twice a day. Strap on some hiking boots or shoes that you don’t mind dirtying up a bit, and take the family on an exploration of the unique sandbar. Make sure to visit at least two hours before or after low tide if you want to access the area, or head over during the tides and enjoy the view from land.
2. Spend the Day at the Abbe Museum
If you’re interested in learning about local culture and the earliest residents of Bar Harbor, pay a visit to the Abbe Museum. The museum is dedicated to the Native Wabanaki and houses artifacts that date back to prehistoric times. Stroll through the museum, and view unique artifacts such as spears, bone harpoons, woven baskets, and a 2,000-year-old flute. Then head outside for a music performance. If you hope to catch a performance, make sure to check the schedule prior to your visit, as dates are subject to change.
3. Play Some Mini Golf at Pirate’s Cove
For some good old-fashioned fun with the family, head over to Pirate’s Cove for a few rounds of mini golf. Referred to as “The Original Adventure Golf,” this Bar Harbor landmark has everything you need for a good time, including some of the friendliest staff members around. Putt through the fun course filled with caves and waterfalls, and keep your eyes peeled for a pirate or two who may pop by your game for a photo op.
4. Tour the Oceanarium and Lobster Museum
The Oceanarium and Lobster Museum is a great place to spend the day learning about the lobsters and ecosystems of Bar Harbor. When you arrive, take the marsh walking tour, and take in the gorgeous views while picking up some important information about ecology. Then stop by the lobster hatchery to see how Maine lobsters are raised. The museum also houses a cool gift shop with fun lobster-themed souvenirs.
5. Have a Beach Outing at Acadia’s Sand Beach
For a relaxing day near the water, head to Acadia National Park and set up an umbrella and beach chairs on Sand Beach. Soak up the sun, or cool off in the ocean waters. Build sand castles, enjoy a picnic, or do a little beach combing along the shoreline in search of the perfect shell to take home as a memento. The beach is 290 yards long and considered one of the most popular points of interest in all of Bar Harbor, due to its shoreline sand that consists mostly of shell fragments and the gorgeous views of Beehive Mountain.
6. Take a Bar Harbor Ghost Tour
If your family enjoys a little mystery, they’re sure to have a blast on a Bar Harbor Ghost Tour. The tour takes place in the evening, and all guests are given a lantern to light their way. During the walk through town, the guide tells old stories of ghosts that are known to roam the streets. One of the best stops on the tour is the 1932 Art Deco Criterion Theater, where past visitors have been known to catch ghost “orbs” on their cameras.
7. Go Underwater with Diver Ed’s Dive-In Theater
For an entertaining show about sea life, visit Diver Ed’s Dive-In Theater. The show takes place on the “Starfish Enterprise,” Ed’s prized boat, and the action begins after a short trip to a nearby dive location. Once the boat is anchored, the passengers push Ed into the water, and his entire experience is captured on a video screen on the boat. When Ed finishes exploring, he brings some of the sea creatures back up with him for the kids to check out.
8. Go on a Lobster Boat Tour
Maine is known for its lobsters, and there’s no better way to learn about the lobster tradition than by going on a guided boat tour. The Miss Samantha is Bar Harbor’s largest lobster passenger boat, and it offers two-part tours that include lobster trapping and seal watching. The tours are narrated by a naturalist who answers questions about lobster fishing, marine life, and life on the water. Guests can also hold the lobsters and sea animals that come up in the traps for a hands-on experience.
9. Take a Nature Cruise
For a day of exploring the beauty of Coastal Maine, book a sightseeing and nature tour with Acadia Boat Tours. Take in the sights and sounds of Frenchman Bay, Acadia National Park, and the Bar Harbor shoreline, as your guides fill you in on the area’s history. Be sure to bring your camera to snap some photos of sea birds and other wildlife peeking out through the trees, and take advantage of the boat’s full-service concession bar if your kids feel like a snack.
10. Visit Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park has an abundance of outdoor activities to offer, ranging from hikes and kayaking tours to horse-drawn carriage rides. Sign up for a carriage ride through the park with Wildwood Stables, or take a family hike along Wonderland Trail and enjoy the beautiful scenery. If you’re visiting during the summer months, check out the Great Maine Lumberjack Show, a fun lumberjack demonstration complete with log rolling and ax throwing.
Ready to go? Check out these amazing Bar Harbor vacation rentals on Tripping.com.