Bar Harbor, Maine, is for any travelers that love adventure. There’s so much to do in Bar Harbor. It is located in Hancock County and is one of the towns in Mount Desert Island that connects both to Mount Cadillac and also to one of the biggest National Parks in the United States, Acadia National Park.
The park offers a lot of activities and 150 miles of hiking trails to choose from. The trails range from easy to challenging, from along the seashore to through the forest to the mountain’s top.
If you have followed our trip this summer, Maine is the third State and third stop of our road trip.
Last Minute Booking
I initially included Maine in my rerouting plans for our road trip but then canceled our bookings because Maine required 14 days quarantine upon entering the state. But two days before we left Rhode Island, my sister-in-law texted me that Maine lifted the rules for New Yorkers. That meant we could proceed with our plan.
After talking to my sister-in-law, I discussed the possibility of visiting Maine with Nate. He was cool with the idea, so I researched and studied the map as we would have to stop in another city after Maine before coming home.
We left Newport, Rhode Island, after lunch, and proceeded to Bar Harbor, Maine. It took us 5 hours plus to get there from Newport, and we arrived a little after 7:00 pm. I’m glad there was a Popeyes restaurant along the way, and we were able to eat dinner before arriving at our hotel.
We drove through mostly rural areas on our way to Bar Harbor, Maine. It was so quiet with hardly any houses around.
The sunsets were spectacular on our route. The kids and I especially enjoyed the view as we drove along.
The check-in process was fast and easy at the Holiday Inn Bar Harbor. The desk clerk gave us our key card and directed us to our room. Even though our room was in the second building, this Holiday Inn was way better than the one we reserved in Rhode Island.
The room was clean, comfy, and had a microwave, refrigerator, and coffee maker.
I ran towards the property’s back to see the beautiful sunset over the ocean while Nate carried some heavy loads to our room. This hotel is beautiful and a great place to spend time with your loved ones and enjoy the view for a fraction of the cost of a five-star hotel.
I’m glad I saw this hotel open up on the date we visited. The outdoor pool is huge and heated, plus there is a hot tub.
Our First Night
On our first night, Nate suddenly got the small stove we brought with us in case of an emergency and cooked something for Kyle to eat as he refuses to eat anything. I visited my sister before at the beginning of our road trip and she gave me the stove. I’m grateful! It eases my concern about food matters with all of the COVID shutdown of restaurants.
While Nate, the kids rested and relaxed in our hotel room, I researched where to go and what to do the next morning.
Starting Our Adventure With Great Food
Waking up early was the best thing we did. We went to a nearby restaurant called the Looking Glass Restaurant. It was only a 2-5 minute drive from our hotel. All restaurants were taking precautionary measures, and we were lucky to arrive on time and not wait in a long line.
The food was awesome! It was one of my favorite breakfast places on the whole trip. The restaurant used disposable plates and silverware and allowed you to print and check your own order instead of using laminated menus to observe pandemic safety protocols.
We ordered the BYO Scrambled eggs with Canadian Bacon, Veggie Delight Bowl, and Blueberry Pancake.
I felt safe eating here. It’s a nice place to have breakfast as it overlooks the ocean. They have space outside for eating, but it was kind of rainy and cold during our visit.
After eating breakfast, we proceeded to Bar Harbor town’s main area to shop for souvenirs and sweatshirts before going to the mountain.
Shopping At The Main Street
We walked to Main Street, where the kids enjoyed learning how to make big bubbles out of strings and keep them rolling into the air. On our stroll, we noticed the hotel’s sign we had originally reserved a room in and then canceled because of COVID. It’s advertised as one of the best hotels in the area. We had a picture there. It’s a nice area if you like to be in the middle of the action and within walking distance of everything. But a quieter place with a view of the ocean that the Holiday Inn gave is us more to my liking, and it’s not far to get into the main shopping area. Yes, you have to drive, but Holiday Inn wins for me for the price and what you get.
We were able to buy matching sweaters, decorative plates and try blueberry ice cream in one of the best ice cream places in the area called CJ’s Big Dipper Ice Cream.
Acadia National Park
It took us only 5 minutes to arrive at the park, but many cars lined up to get into the park. Nate saw an opening and decided to take the spot and park there.
We walked one mile before arriving at the main parking lots where some of the trails start. We picked the Sand Beach and used the bathroom before starting our walk. The easiest trail is called Ocean Trail. It is the one we choose to take because it is bearable for families with younger kids. You can walk alongside the street if you like and then go down to the rocky formations if the views interest you. I also noticed people drive through it. They park in the parking lots across the street to avoid walking too much.
The kids are so proud of themselves every time Nate helps them climb big rocks. I have never seen them smile as big during our walks before and be that excited as they were on this walk, especially Kyle. But of course, it gives me goosebumps as some of the areas are steep.
We got to hear the Thunder Hole Nate and the kids went nearby it and get to hear the waves that sound like thunder but were not impressed about it. We then climbed one of the big rocks nearby as not so many people were there.
The rock formation of the Otters Cliffs is interesting and unique. You’ll enjoy a great, relaxing view if you happen to visit on a nice, fine day. It was cloudy and foggy the day we went.
My kids did not complain that they were tired and didn’t want to walk anymore on this day. They were so good and happy! As a mom, I felt blessed and proud that they are maturing and finishing this walking adventure with us.
It took us 2-3 hours to complete the journey as we had to walk another mile back to our car from the main area where the trails start.
Late Lunch and Early Dinner
After our trek, we went back to the main area of Bar Harbor and found a restaurant to eat. You can easily find parking on the side of the street. I noticed some businesses have their own private parking, too.
We ended up eating in Jalapenos Mexican Restaurant as the other restaurant we wanted was full with a one hour wait time. We were starving and didn’t want to wait that long. The food was delicious, and we felt safe dining there. Only two other groups of people were eating when we were there.
It was sunny when we arrived at our hotel, and the kids wanted to enjoy the pool. We changed our clothes and headed to the pool area so the kids could swim. The weather was around 56 F, but the pool was heated and located outside, allowing people in.
The kids enjoyed their time swimming while I wrapped myself in towels as it is cold for me. I ended the fun after a short time because Kyle was not following my instructions.
Heading back to the hotel rooms, we enjoyed some quiet time while the kids watched TV or played on their phones.
Around 6:00 pm, after two hours of resting, I begged Nate to go back to Cadillac Mountain. It is the best-known sight of Acadia National Park and the highest mountain on the East Coast at 1 530 feet.
Nate was hesitant to go back as it was already dark and cloudy. I’m glad we went. It was so pretty up there, a romantic and breathtaking experience. We drove through thick clouds on a tiny, curvy road. It can be dangerous. But on top of the clouds and experiencing the beautiful sunset together with Nate was the best! The night ended with a beautiful view, and I’m glad I insisted on us going.
We woke up very early so we can catch the sunrise but no luck! The clouds were so thick, and it was a rainy day.
We waited and waited for the sunrise. Everyone decided to leave before us, so we ended up taking a picture of Keira jumping with thick clouds as her background.
Then we searched for a breakfast place and found Jordan’s Restaurant. A lot of people like it here. Nate enjoyed what he ordered and rated it a five. I was not so happy with my pancake, but overall I think it was fine. I ordered hot cocoa, but it came cold. However, I can still recommend this place as it was mostly good, and I felt safe dining here.
As we drove to our hotel, the kids decided to swim at the pool and use the hot tub. Luckily, there’s no time limit on using the pool. The hotel leaves the gate open so everyone who wants to swim in the pool and use the hot tub can use it anytime they want.
The kids run to our room change so fast, and yes, we’re the first people who enjoyed it before anyone else arrived. We got to enjoy the area as a family without worrying about social distancing. That’s the perks of waking up early during vacation days!
We used the hot tub first, of course, as it was freakin’ cold, but the hot tub makes it manageable. It was a quiet morning all to ourselves, laughing and enjoying our time together. Keira and Kyle went back and forth, swimming in the pool and soaking in the hot tub. They enjoyed jumping in the pool, playing the diving game, and catching whatever the other one throws in the pool. It was a fun morning.
When three more people arrived at the pool, we headed back to our room and let others enjoy the hot tub.
We decided to start driving back to Hartford, Connecticut, and not hike any more trails or see any more sites as it is so rainy and cold. Many people were driving that day, and we ended up spending more hours on the road than we expected due to heavy traffic.
Bar Harbor is a rural place that has so much to offer to its visitors. I loved how the area looks so small, yet there’s so much to see and do. This place is an adventure lover’s heaven, and I would love to come back someday. When you visit here, no matter what time of the year, be sure to bring with you warm clothing and hiking clothes and shoes. That way, you’ll be ready to hike if time and weather permit.
Families who have younger children can enjoy some of the easy trails in Arcadia National Park.
“Hiking is another way of teaching our kids courage”.
If you wanted to check our journey last summer here are the other articles.