Bar Harbor is one of our favorite places on earth. We just love it so much. For those who want to come to Acadia and don’t plan on camping, if you’re going to stay in a hotel in the town, downtown Bar Harbor is the best place to be. Though there are trolley pickups around the island that other hotels have access to, being able to walk everywhere is really the best option for us, especially with multiple children. Harborside Hotel is where we have stayed our last few visits. The location on the harbor is so gorgeous, you have the speckling of boats out on the water and the islands as your backdrop to your stay. When the tide is low, you can walk across the breakwater to one of the islands, too.
We are not a really adventurous family, though we do plan on coming back to Bar Harbor in the near future and doing more hiking now that we have more self sufficient children (we never pack the right shoes for hiking), but when you go with young children, we recommend not missing:
Park Loop Road. We usually do this drive during nap time, but it is a really great way to see Acadia from a car if you’re not attempting a hike at that time.
Jordan Pond. This is a gorgeous pond and it is an easy walk through the evergreens to get there. There is also a restaurant in the parking lot, so you can plan to eat there as well!
Sand Beach. The water is always freezing, but go for a day in your clothes even. The view is beautiful, the best of the islands two beaches, and there are a lot of shells to look through on the shore. There is a hike, Great Head Trail, if you want to hike from the beach. There is a fee to park your car at the beach.
Schooner Head Cliff Trail. This is such an easy walk down (most of it is paved for you) and then there are lots of different levels of shoreline that you can step out onto to see some amazing views. This was our newest discovery and we will definitely do it again as it was so easy with kids!
Wonderland Trail. This pretty trail is just over a mile long and is very easy for young kids.
Ship Harbor Trail. Another mile hike, good for all ages.
*Acadia National Park does have a cost to enter, either per vehicle or per person if you arrive on foot.
After you’ve hiked all day you can enjoy one of the two pools at Harborside Hotel, the view at both is incredible. I love the main pool, as it has the hotel wrapped around it and I can pretend I’m in Europe abroad, but the second pool is even larger, has a smaller wading pool for younger kids, and the best view of the harbor and islands! Dinner at La Bella Vita, right off of the hotel lobby or across the street at Paddy’s Pub – don’t miss the giant pretzel appetizer for the kids! (and adults!) Or pizza at Epi’s, we always opt to eat upstairs, not sure why, but if you go, that’s my tip 😉
Every room at Harborside has a patio, we love sitting out there and taking the mornings slow – then heading down the street to CJ’s for ice cream for breakfast. I know, but when you’re on vacation, you know? We always get the fresh blueberry soft serve and that first visit all of the kids always pick a different flavor, but try ours and without fail, they always get the blueberry on our next visits. So many visits to an ice cream shop are necessary during different times in life and this is one of those times: being in Bar Harbor. It is the rules.
They have a variety of room options, we had a such a great surprise in ours, we had a little room within our room with a bunk bed for the boys! Plus a king size bed and a sleeper couch, the room is absolutely amazing for families. (The Kids suite)
Harborside is an Opal Collection property and they have their wonderful Opal Paws program, which was really great for us because we stayed at their other resort in Rockport, Samoset Resort, right before we stayed here and we were able to have our dog, Jasper, with us the whole time and he loved it! They laid out a dog bed for him and a little bag of treats which he devoured, but his favorite part was hanging out on the patio and watching everyone walk around outside.
Harborside Hotel is the type of place you return to again and again, year after year. It is just so beautiful, the staff is so warm and welcoming, and you get extraordinary nature, cute seaside town, and delicious food all in one!!
We were fortunate to partner with Harborside Hotel, but all thoughts are all my own and always honest. That is always a promise.
and for fun, here’s a blog post on our trip to Maine 3 years ago –