You may have heard of Bar Harbor as being the gateway to the incredible Acadia National Park. However, the enchanting resort town offers so much more than the national park. There are also dramatic coastal walks and many wild islands to explore, so you could easily spend more than just a few days here.

Bar Harbor has a very laid-back culture about it. Whether you’re dawdling the beautiful walking trails or savouring the flavours in one of the many local restaurants, it is definitely worth spending a bit of time taking in all that Bar Harbor has to offer.

Despite the town being relatively small in size, Mount Desert Island, where Bar Harbor resides, actually spans over 100 square miles. This can lead to confusion on the best place to stay. That is why we’ve put together this expert guide on the best places to stay in Bar Harbor.

So let’s get underway with our top picks for where to stay in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Where to Stay in Bar Harbor

Need an answer fast? Don’t worry, we got you. Here are our top picks for places to stay in Bar Harbor.

The “Nook” – Pond Side Cottage in Bar Harbor | Best Budget Accommodation in Bar Harbor

The Nook Pond Side Cottage in Bar Harbor

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Located on Eastern Bay, this unique bed and breakfast in Maine dates back to the 1920s, where it was originally a large garden shed. Don’t let that fool you, today, it is a beautiful 500 square foot cottage that can fit up to four guests. Home to a toasty fire pit and wrap-around deck, it’s a great place to stay after long day of exploring Bar Harbor.

Manset Village Overlook | Best Bed & Breakfast in Bar Harbor

Manset Village Overlook Bar Harbor

The highlight of this luxurious lodge is the terrace, which overlooks cream-coloured sands and glistening oceans. This large holiday home is also perfect for families as it comprises of five bedrooms and a large living space. There is also a fully-equipped kitchen and washing machine, making it ideal for long-staying guests. It is only a short drive to some of the island’s most spectacular national parks including Acadia National Park.

Bar Harbor Inn and Spa | Best Hotel in Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor Inn and Spa Bar Harbor

Located just a few minutes walk from central Downtown is Bar Harbor Inn and Spa, a grand and exclusive hotel with some of the best views in of Frenchman Bay. Primely located on the waterfront, the hotel boasts beautifully cut grounds overlooking the ocean, an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, along with two restaurants, both of which offer breathtaking views right from the dining tables.

Bar Harbor Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Bar Harbor

FIRST TIME IN BAR HARBOR
Downtown Bar Harbor
FIRST TIME IN BAR HARBOR

Downtown Bar Harbor

Downtown is located in the centre of Bar Harbor and it’s where most of the shops, restaurants, and attractions are located. This makes it the best neighbourhood in Bar Harbor to stay in for your first time due to its convenient access to the town’s top attractions.

ON A BUDGET
Witch Hole Pond Bar Harbor
ON A BUDGET

Eastern Bay

Eastern Bay is a neighborhood located north of Downtown Bar Harbor. It’s the best area to stay in if you want to avoid the crowds of the town center and be amongst nature, but also be close enough to enjoy Bar Harbor’s best attractions and national parks.

FOR FAMILIES
Canada Cliff Bar Harbor
FOR FAMILIES

Southwest Harbor

Northeast Harbor is a serene and stunning area situated south of central Bar Harbor. It is a great place to stay if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle and enjoy the great outdoors.

COOLEST AREA TO STAY
Azalea Garden Bar Harbor
COOLEST AREA TO STAY

Northeast Harbor

Northeast Harbor provides a sense of exclusivity, with beautiful high-end houses dotted across the harbor front. Known for having one of the best ports on the East Coast, the tiny village is transformed into a powerhouse for boats in the summer season with massive yachts filling up the tiny harbor.

Bar Harbor is a small town located on the diverse Mount Desert Island, which has an array of different neighborhoods, all offering incredible places to stay nearby some of their own unique attractions, meaning there’s a little something for everyone.

In Bar Harbor, you may feel as if you’ve transferred back to the 60s with traditionally designed houses and a slower pace of life, which creates an authentic and warming feel.

To help break down the best places to stay, we’ve divided Bar Harbor into 4 different neighborhoods.

Downtown Bar Harbor is the main hub and is likely to be the first place you visit when you arrive. So, why not stay there? For first-time visitors, it is the ultimate place to stay as it’s close to a large wealth of attractions, along with shops, restaurants, bars, and easy transport links to Acadia National Park.

Heading slightly north, the neighborhood of Eastern Bay has a very different atmosphere. With a more laid-back vibe with little shops and restaurants, the coastal neighborhood is perfect for those looking to save some dollars whilst also having a peaceful vacation.

If you’re looking to splash the cash a little and live a life of luxury, then the exclusive neighborhood of Northeast Harbor is the place to be. It is home to huge holiday homes and plush apartments towering over the sought-after marina packed full of beautiful mega yachts. Here you will also have quick access to Arcadia National Park and will only be a short drive to Downtown Bar Harbor.

Finally, we have Southwest Harbor, a relaxed area located just over the water from the desirable Northeast Harbor. As a beautiful neighborhood consisting of five small villages, here you will be amongst nature with an abundance of outdoor activities to do, making it perfect for families. It is important to be aware that you are a bit out of the way in this neighborhood, so be prepared to make some long journeys in the car.

Still undecided? No worries, we’ve got more information about each neighborhood below – including our top accommodation and attractions for each place.

Bar Harbor’s 4 Best Neighborhoods to Stay In

Now, let’s take an in-depth look at the best areas to stay in Bar Harbor and what there is to see and do.

1. Downtown Bar Harbor – Where to Stay in Bar Harbor for First Timers

Downtown Bar Harbor
  • COOLEST thing to do in Downtown Learn about Wabanaki culture at Abbe Museum
  • BEST place to visit in Downtown– head to the nearby Arcadia National Park for some epic hiking

When staying in the colorful waterfront town, you’ll probably want to see Arcadia National Park. Downtown Bar Harbor is within a short drive to the entrance of the park and is also in the hustle and bustle of everything else the quirky town has to offer. You’ll be located on the doorstep of the top attractions around the town, along with having plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from when the sun goes down.

Not only is the neighborhood close enough to Arcadia National Park, but it is also within a short distance to other natural beauty spots including coastal trails and gorgeous offshore islands.

Precipice Studio w/Loft in the Heart of Bar Harbor | Best Budget Accommodation in Downtown

Loft in Bar Harbor, Maine

This victorian style studio is nicely tucked away in a quiet neighborhood and has an open plan style layout that can accommodate up to four guests. It’s primely located just a 5-minute drive from Acadia National Park and just two minutes to sample a plethora of dining and shopping options in Downtown Bar Harbor. It comes with all the amenities for a comfortable stay including a fully equipped kitchen and dining area.

Chiltern Inn | Best Bed & Breakfast in Downtown

Chiltern Inn Bar Harbor

This beautiful and traditionally decorated bed and breakfast in Downtown has some incredible facilities on offer. The Chiltern Inn is equipped with an indoor pool and sauna, hot tub, wood-burning fireplace, and art gallery room. Not only does the Chiltern offer guests a free breakfast, but it also serves up tasty afternoon snacks of fine wine and cheese. This place is so comfortable you won’t even want to go outside!

Bar Harbor Inn and Spa | Best Hotel in Downtown

Bar Harbor Inn and Spa Bar Harbor

Undeniably the hotel with some of the best views in Bar Harbor and even Maine! The Bar Harbor Inn and Spa is exclusively located on the waterfront with beautifully cut grounds overlooking the ocean. It is one of the most luxurious places to stay in the area. With an outdoor swimming pool, relaxing hot tub, two onsite restaurants with breathtaking views of the water, what more could you want? Oh, and it’s only 5.8 mi away from the Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park. Now that does sweeten the deal!

Things to See and Do in Downtown

Ellsworth, Acadia National Park 1
  1. Take a trip to explore the famous Acadia National Park
  2. Learn about Wabanaki culture at Abbe Museum
  3. Stroll along Bar Island Land Bridge to Bar Island (Tide Dependent)
  4. Take a wander along the coastal shore footpath
  5. Have a picnic on the luscious village green
  6. Grab a bite to eat at CIAO

2. Eastern Bay – Where to Stay in Bar Harbor on a Budget

Witch Hole Pond Bar Harbor
  • COOLEST thing to do in Eastern Bay – Soak in some history at the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History
  • BEST place to visit in Eastern Bay – stroll around the stunning area of Hulls Cove

Eastern Bay is a neighborhood located north of Downtown Bar Harbor. It’s the best area to stay in if you want to avoid the crowds of the town center and be amongst nature, but also be close enough to enjoy Bar Harbor’s best attractions and national parks.

Eastern Bay is a slightly adventurous area, with plenty of outdoor activities to explore on and off the island. Here you can adventure through the rocks at Hulls Cove, take the plunge and swim in Witch Hold Pond or perhaps learn a spot of history at the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History. The neighborhood also has a great selection of budget hotels, rental apartments, and B&Bs making it our top pick for those heading to Bar Harbor on a budget.

The “Nook” – Pond Side Cottage in Bar Harbor | Best Budget Accommodation in Eastern Bay

The Nook Pond Side Cottage in Bar Harbor

This unique bed and breakfast dates back to the 1920s where it originally was a large garden shed. Today it is a spacious 500 square foot cottage capable of accommodating up to four guests. Home to a toasty fire pit and a warming atmosphere, it’s the ideal place to return to after a long day of exploring. It also comes with free parking and allows pets, which is perfect for those on an epic east coast road trip.

High Seas Motel | Best Hotel in Eastern Bay

High Seas Motel Bar Harbor

A basic but cheerful motel in the heart of Eastern Bay, High Seas offers guests comfortable rooms, complimentary morning coffees, and a large and refreshing outdoor pool. The motel is perfectly located near hot spots in Bar Harbor such as Agamont Park and Frenchman Bay. It is also one of the more affordable places to stay in Bar Harbor, perfect for solo travelers or backpackers.

Seabury Escape | Best Bed & Breakfast in Eastern Bay

Seabury Escape Bar Harbor

This large holiday home in Eastern Bay has a traditional yet modern interior, with wooden oak floors and an open-plan plush kitchen. There is also a stunning outdoor terrace where you can have your morning coffee overlooking beautiful forestland. Capable of housing up to six guests, this stunning home is perfect for groups of travellers wanting to experience the stunning nature of Bar Harbor. For cycling enthusiasts, it is also possible to cycle the surroundings of this accommodation.

Things to See and Do in Eastern Bay

Agamont Park Bar Harbor
  1. Explore the beauty of Hulls Cove
  2. Spend the day adventuring through Agamont Park
  3. Take a dip in Witch Hole Pond
  4. Wander along Duck Brook Bridge
  5. Learn History at George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History

3. Southwest Harbor – Where to Stay in Bar Harbor for Families

Canada Cliff Bar Harbor
  • COOLEST thing to do in Southwest Harbor – marvel at butterflies and flora at Charlotte Rhoades Butterfly Park
  • BEST place to visit in Southwest Harbor – take a boat trip to Greening Island

Just outside of Bar Harbor lies the area of Southwest Harbor, which consists of five small and quaint villages. It is a coastal neighborhood that is well-known for its traditional yet colorful and vibrant buildings.

Its location amongst nature and its relaxed vibe make it one of the best places for families to stay in Bar Harbor. Despite its relaxed vibe, Southwest Harbor isn’t short of things to do! You can spend your days wandering around the beautiful flower gardens at Charlotte Rhoades Butterfly Park or even take a boat trip to the epic Greening Island!

It is a short drive away from the main town, but you can also find a small array of independent shops and delicious restaurants in Southwest Harbor itself.

Evergreen Hill in Acadia National Park | Best Bed & Breakfast in Southwest Harbor

Evergreen Hill in Acadia National Park Bar Harbor

Evergreen Hill is a cheery cedar cape on Mount Desert Island, nestled on half an acre of fir trees and native blueberry. The decor is a true Maine cottage with a peaceful, quiet, and relaxed vibes enhanced by cosy family spaces. Capable of housing up to six guests and a pet, this is the best Airbnb in Maine for those traveling in groups or for long-staying guests. The highlight of the home is the fully-equipped and modern kitchen, as well as the little dormer spaces for when you need peace and quiet with a good book.

Manset Village Overlook | Best Luxury Accommodation inSouthwest Harbor

Manset Village Overlook Bar Harbor

The highlight of this luxurious lodge is the terrace, which overlooks cream-coloured sands and glistening oceans. This large holiday home is also perfect for families, as it comes with five bedrooms and a large living space. It is also only a short drive to some of the island’s most spectacular national parks, including Acadia National Park. For those wanting a place to stay in Acadia National Park, but also have access to the town, this is the perfect place to stay.

Lindenwood Inn | Best Budget Accommodation inSouthwest Harbor

Lindenwood Inn Bar Harbor

Located just out of the center of Southwest Harbor is the beautiful inn of Lindenwood. Home to spectacular surroundings and immaculately kept outdoor swimming pool and seasonal hot tub, it’s a great place to come back to after a day in the outdoors. There are also a number of restaurants, cafes, and shops on your doorstep if you don’t fancy trekking to central Bar Harbor. Each room comes with a plush double bed and seating area, giving you plenty of space to sprawl out and make yourself at home.

Things to See and Do in Southwest Harbor

Blue Hill, Acadia National Park 2
  1. Observe spectacular pieces at Wendell Gilley Museum
  2. Wander around the beautiful flower gardens at Charlotte Rhoades Butterfly Park
  3. Take a boat trip to Greening Island
  4. Explore Acadia National Park
  5. See breathtaking views at Canada Cliff
  6. Take a trip south to Seawall Acadia National Park

4. Northeast Harbor – Coolest Area to Stay in Bar Harbor

Azalea Garden Bar Harbor
  • COOLEST thing to do in Northeast Harbor – stroll around the stunning Thuya Gardens
  • BEST place to visit in Northeast Harbor – cruise around the nearby islands

Northeast Harbor provides a sense of exclusivity, with beautiful high-end houses dotted across the harbor front. Known for having one of the best ports on the East Coast, the tiny village is transformed into a powerhouse for boats in the summer season with massive yachts filling up the tiny harbor.

Northeast Harbor is home to a plethora of exciting activities, from cruising around the nearby island on a beautiful sailing yacht to immersing yourself in greenery by wandering through the incredible Thuya Gardens.

The area has a quiet and relaxed atmosphere and is home to only a handful of restaurants and shops. You may not find budget accommodation options here, but if you’re looking to splash the cash and stay somewhere more memorable, it certainly is worth it!

Delightful Bungalow – Northeast Harbor & Acadia | Best Bed & Breakfast in Northeast Harbor

Delightful Bungalow Northeast Harbor and Acadia Bar Harbor

If you love being outdoors, this is the perfect guest house for you! With a plethora of hiking and biking trails, boat trips, and watersport activities right on your doorstep – this home is an outdoor lovers dream. The delightful bungalow accommodates up to four guests and has a cute porch swing for you to enjoy your morning coffee on. There is also free parking and a fully equipped kitchen.

Harbourside Inn | Best Hotel in Northeast Harbor

Harbourside Inn Bar Harbor

Harbourside Inn is nestled on a wooded hillside in the village of Northeast Harbor. Built in the shingle style that is popular to the Maine coast, the three-story Inn has 14 guest rooms – each with their own distinct character, charm, and comfort. This is the perfect place to stay in Northeast Harbor if you’re a history lover.

Kimball Terrace Inn | Best Budget Accommodation in Northeast Harbor

Kimball Terrace Inn Bar Harbor

Located just over a mile away from the famous Acadia National Park is the budget-friendly inn of Kimball Terrace. Equipped with basic but spacious rooms, all of which include an ensuite bathroom. There is also an onsite outdoor swimming pool, which is perfect for those hot Maine summers. It is also just a 5 minutes’ walk from the Great Harbor Maritime Museum and the Sea Princess Cruises.

Things to See and Do in Northeast Harbor

Bear Island Bar Harbor
  1. Visit Great Harbor Maritime Museum
  2. Go on a cruise around the nearby islands
  3. Have a wander around Thuya Garden
  4. Explore the rough terrain on Bear Island
  5. Rent a sailing boat for the day
  6. Have a picnic at Azalea Garden
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What To Pack For Bar Harbor

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Bar Harbor

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor really is so much more than Acadia National Park with its bustling centre and variety of unique neighborhoods, all offering unique attractions such as exploring the natural wonders or dining in beautiful local eateries.

In this guide, we’ve looked at the four best neighborhoods to stay in Bar Harbor. If you’re still not sure which is right for you, here is a quick recap of our favorites:

  • The Downtown area is definitely the place to stay for your first visit with a huge selection of shops, restaurants, and attractions, as well as having regular transport links to the Acadia National Park.
  • Although further away from the town, Eastern Bay is the most-affordable place to stay in Bar Harbor and is a great place to locate yourself.
  • Finally, if you’re looking for a rural holiday away from the hustle and bustle of Bar Harbor’s city centre, then the neighborhoods of Southwest Harbor and Northeast Harbor provide exactly this. They provide the perfect opportunity to sit back and relax.
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