If you’re looking to take a day trip from Bar Harbor during your vacation in Acadia National Park, you’re in the right place. This travel guide will provide you with 5 fantastic options for day trips you can take that vary from an adventure to the Easternmost point of the continental U.S., to an option to explore a nearby city.
Hi there! I’m Sam, and I’ve been traveling around Maine for over 10 years, and exploring the coast of this beautiful state is one of my favorite things to do. Having visiting Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park so many times I’ve lost count, I’ve gotten to know the area well, and have found the perfect day trip options if you’re looking to expand your time in this area.
Ready to start planning? Let’s get into it!
5 Day Trips From Bar Harbor
Below is a list of my top 5 day trips from Bar Harbor, with distances listed for each destination. Be sure to scroll to the bottom to determine if a day trip from Bar Harbor is right for you and your vacation plans.
1. Winter Harbor & Schoodic Peninsula
Distance From Bar Harbor: 1 hour
Schoodic Peninsula is part of Acadia National Park, and a region of the park that most people skip during their trip. But this gorgeous peninsula is filled with amazing hikes, scenic overlooks and dramatic views of the cliffs along the coastline, and is one of the best day trips from Bar Harbor you can take.
To drive around Schoodic, there is one road that makes a one-way loop around the entire peninsula, so be sure to pull over and stop if you see something you’d like to stop and take a picture of. If you pass it, you’ll have to keep going straight, exit the park, and enter again to drive back to your missed destination.
Be sure to visit Raven’s Nest, a dramatic overlook that has incredible views. This is now an unmarked trail because it can be dangerous if you’re not careful. If you have young children, this may not be the best stop to make, but if everyone in your group can practice extra caution, it’s perfectly safe, and worth stopping for.
How To Find Raven’s Nest On The Schoodic Peninsula
To find Raven’s Nest on the Schoodic Peninsula, find the third pullover area on your left after entering the park, or use these GPS coordinates: 44.352005, -68.074934. Park in the pullover, and cross the street – you’ll easily see the unmarked trail. The trail to the overlook is very short, and will only take you a few minutes to walk until you arrive at Raven’s Nest.
Schoodic Point, located at the Southern tip of the peninsula, is another popular stop, and absolutely worth your time. Here, you can walk out onto the cliffs, watch the crashing waves hit the coastline, and even take in views of Mt. Desert Island from a distance.
There are also lots of hiking opportunities and scenic pull-offs during the entire drive along Schoodic Peninsula. To plan your day and research the best hikes, be sure to visit their website by clicking here.
If you’d like to grab a bite to eat before heading back to Bar Harbor, be sure to stop by Fisherman’s Galley in Winter Harbor for awesome seafood. They even have a hot dog cart that serves both hot dogs and lobster rolls if you’re a family with younger kids, and are looking for something quick and easy that will satisfy everyone.
Tip: Since Schoodic Peninsula is part of Acadia National Park, you’ll need to show your park pass at the entrance gate. If you’re coming from Bar Harbor, chances are you’ll already have one, but if you don’t, you can purchase it on your phone before leaving for the day, and have your hotel or accommodations print your pass for you before driving to Schoodic.
2. Isle Au Haut
Distance From Bar Harbor: 1.5 hours to drive to the ferry, and then 45 minutes on the ferry.
Also part of Acadia National Park, the lesser-visited Isle Au Haut makes for a memorable day trip from Bar Harbor because it’s an island only accessible by passenger ferry. You’ll likely run into far fewer crowds here than the more popular Mt. Desert Island part of Acadia, and have a very peaceful experience.
This day trip is definitely for those who are more adventurous, as there are no facilities on the island and is meant to be a full emersion into nature. If this sounds up your alley, then keep reading.
To get to Isle Au Haut, you’ll need to drive to Stonington, ME, a little town located on Deer Isle. Don’t worry, there are bridges you can drive on to get to Deer Isle! Stonington is located at the very southern tip of Deer Isle, and from there, you’ll take the Isle Au Haut ferry over to the island, which is 5 miles off the coast.
Once you arrive on Isle Au Haut, be prepared for a very remote and off-the-beaten path experience. While about half the island is home to private residences, the other half is designated as National Park land for tourists to explore.
There are over 20 miles of hiking trails to explore on the island, and some of the best include Duck Harbor Mountain Trail, Western Head Trail and Goat Trail. You’ll also see some impressive views of the dramatic coastline, so be sure to bring your camera! Visiting this little island is an amazing experience if you’re up for the challenge and ready to get away from the crowds.
Tips for visiting Isle Au Haut:
- If visiting in the summer, be sure to arrive at the ferry dock at least 30 minutes prior to departure time, as parking at the ferry is limited, and can fill up fast.
- Be sure to pack your Acadia National Park entrance pass, as this island is part of the park.
- Since there are no facilities on the island, so be sure to bring everything you need with you for a day of hiking or sightseeing. This includes plenty of water (or a refillable water bottle with a filter to refill at one of the very clean streams that run through the island), snacks, lunch, sunscreen, bandaids for blisters, etc.
- Restrooms can be found at the Ranger Station, and at Duck Harbor. Be sure to bring a map with you to find the restrooms in case your cell service is weak (or offline maps before arriving).
- Please be respectful, and leave no trace! Pick up any food wrappers that may have fallen out of your pack, and leave everything as it was when you found it to protect this beautiful piece of land.
AND THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP OF THEM ALL:
Don’t miss the ferry back to Stonington! Be sure to confirm times and docking locations with the boat captain before exiting the ferry upon arrival, and keep a close eye on the time.
Distance From Bar Harbor: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Lubec is going to be the furthest of all the day trips from Bar Harbor, but it’s a really beautiful little town that has both hiking and sightseeing opportunities. If you’re up for a longer day trip, Lubec is definitely a town to check out.
Lubec is home to a beautiful lighthouse, West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, which is located at the easternmost point of the continental United States. The red and white striped lighthouse alone is a great site to see, and there are some easy walking and hiking trails right at the lighthouse grounds that provide really great views of the coast.
Just outside of the town of Lubec are some amazing hiking trails with even more epic coastline views. If this is of interest to you, I highly suggest the Boot Head Preserve and Hamilton Cove hiking trails.
Psst! I have an entire post on the best things to see in Lubec, if you’re looking for more ideas!
Distance From Bar Harbor: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Probably the most relaxing of all the day trips from Bar Harbor, Camden is a beautiful little harbor-side town that’s small enough to enjoy in a day, but large enough that you still have plenty of things to do. This is the destination to pick if you’d like a day of shopping, dining and easy sightseeing. This is also the most romantic of all the options if you’re traveling with a spouse or partner.
Main Street in downtown Camden is home to some really nice storefronts that have everything from souvenir shops and home goods, to specialty food markets. Along Main Street, you can turn off and walk the harbor, which is small, but has some beautiful sailboats that dock there. From the harbor, walk up a bit toward the park for some sweeping views of the harbor.
One of the best things to do in Camden is take a Windjammer tour along Penobscot Bay. During the tour, you’ll pass by Curtis Lighthouse, spot wildlife, and drinks are available to purchase once on-board to enhance your experience. This experience will be sure to make your day trip from Bar Harbor worth it!
Camden Hills State Park is just a few minutes outside town, and worth a visit to drive to the summit of Mt. Battie and take in some views of the harbor from above.
Lastly, be sure to swing by Camden Cone before you leave, which is an adorable little ice cream shack down by the water.
Camden Restaurant Suggestions:
- Camden Deli is a great, casual little spot right on Main Street for soups, salads and sandwiches, as well as some baked goods and desserts. They also offer online ordering, and indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the harbor.
- The Waterfront is awesome for a sit-down lunch on the back deck overlooking the harbor.
- Natalie’s Restaurant is a wonderful dinner destination of you’re looking for something special and more upscale.
Distance From Bar Harbor: Just over 1 hour
Last but not least, I have one city option for you if you’re looking for a change of scenery for your day trip from Bar Harbor. Bangor is a great little city that’s Northwest of Bar Harbor, and an easy day trip to take.
A popular thing to do in Bangor is to go brewery hopping because there are quite a few options. There are five taprooms right in the downtown area including Orono Brewing, Bangor Beer Co., 2 Feet Brewing, Sea Dog Brewing, and Black Bear Brewing. Just outside of downtown Bangor in Brewer, ME, and only a short 15-20 minute walk away, you can also find Black Canvas Brewery and Mason’s Brewing Company.
Note: Be sure to drink responsibly and plan for a designated driver after your beer tastings!
Bangor pays homage to its history in the lumbar and ship-building history with a giant, 31-foot tall statue of Paul Bunyan right on Main Street in Bangor. This is a great photo opp, especially if you have kids with you.
Other fun things to do during your day in the city is to stroll along the Penobscot River Walkway, hike through the Bangor City Forest, hit up the shops in downtown Bangor, and walk through Cascade Park.
What Is There Between Bangor and Bar Harbor?
Between Bangor and Bar Harbor, you’ll pass through the historic town of Ellsworth, which is home to the Telephone Museum, the Stanwood Homestead Museum and Bird Sanctuary, and the Woodlawn House Estate.
If you take Route 15 from Bar Harbor to Bangor, instead of Route 1A, you’ll also drive by the The Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory, which is the largest bridge observatory in the world.
What Is Bangor, Maine Known For?
While Bangor is known as being the commercial heart of Northeastern Maine, it’s most famous for once being the home of author Stephen King. In 2018, King moved out of his Bangor home, and turned the beautiful house into an archive of his work, and also turned the guest house next door into a retreat for writers.
The house is still not open to the public, and only available by appointment for researchers, but you can walk past it when visiting Bangor. The former Stephen King house can be found at 47 W. Broadway.
Are Day Trips From Bar Harbor Worth It?
Bar Harbor is an absolutely beautiful town with so much to do in the adjoining Acadia National Park, so my recommendation is to not take a day trip from Bar Harbor unless you have at least 3 days, but ideally 4 or more.
If you have 3 days or less, your time is best spent in Bar Harbor and Acadia. But if your plans include 4 days or more in Bar Harbor, then a day trip from this list is a wonderful way to spend your time for the ultimate Maine experience.
Can You Take A Day Trip From Bar Harbor To Nova Scotia?
While there is a ferry from Bar Harbor to Nova Scotia, it’s not advisable to do this route as a day trip, as the ferry is 3.5 hours each way. This would be a great trip to take if you can add on at least 2 additional days to your vacation. For example, a minimum of 2 days in Bar Harbor, followed by at least another 2 days to visit Nova Scotia.
Another reason this isn’t the best idea is because you’ll get very little bang for your buck. The ferry costs $210 per adult (round trip), and one-way vehicle fares begin at $274. Since you’ll need a car to explore Nova Scotia, this option isn’t cost-effective for a day trip.
More of My Maine Travel Guides:
- Maine In November: Is It Worth Visiting?
- Maine In The Spring: Where To Go & What To Do
- Maine In October: Best Fall Foliage Spots & Things To Do
- The Best Acadia National Park Itinerary
- Maine In The Winter
- Portland, Maine In The Winter
- Best Stops To Make On A Portland, Maine To Acadia National Park Road Trip
- Best Breweries In Portland, Maine
- Where To Find The Best Whoopie Pies In Maine
- Best Day Trips From Portland, Maine
- The Best Maine Lighthouse Road Trip Itinerary
- Best Breweries In Portland, Maine
- Blueberry Picking In Maine
You may also enjoy:
- Best Stops To Make Between Boston and Portland, Maine
- The Most Incredible New England Lighthouses To Visit
- Gorgeous New England Islands Worth Visiting
- My Unforgettable Boston To Bar Harbor, Maine Road Trip Itinerary
That’s A Wrap On Fun Day Trips From Bar Harbor
If you’re spending 4 or more days in the Acadia region, a day trip from Bar Harbor is absolutely worth your time, and hopefully you’ve found something on this list that inspires you to go out and explore more of the Maine coast!