Bar Harbor, Maine / Acadia National Park

My family and I are going to be visiting this area later this summer. Any recommendations on restaurants, hikes, tours, day trips, etc. that are off the beaten path? Things that might not pop up on the normal trip advisor searches.

There’s a nice botanical garden near Boothbay Harbor, on the way up the coast.

We like staying in Southwest Harbor. Rent bicycles and ride to Jordan Pond House; probably need reservations. Islesford Dock Restaurant is my favorite but you need to take a boat or water taxi to it as it’s in the Cranberry Islands. Last time we were there my nephew yelled at Martha Stewart for messing up his hair when she rubbed his head.

Thuya Gardens are nice and worth the trip.

If you have time, a nice day trip from Bar Harbor is Campobello Island, New Brunswick - Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s summer home. It’s a 2+ hour drive each way. If you decide to go , it’s worth a stop a the West Quoddy Head lighthouse, the most eastern point in the continental US, on the Bay of Fundy. Some nice views

The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay are awesome. I’d budget 3 hours.
Cap’n Fish whiskey and Puffin tour is popular but fun.
In Boothbay Harbor…Shannon’s Unshelled was the best lobster rolls of the entire trip and Ports of Italy was really solid for dinner.

The Hoot in Northport is amazing for breakfast, check their hours though.

Meanwhile in Belfast (belfast) is a great limited menu authentic Neapolitan pizza spot. Service was meh, but the pizza was so good.

Castine Kayak Adventures does a great job tailoring a trip for your time budget and skill/athleticism.

Acadia has as many hikes as you’d like. Some are popular, but nothing like a lot of overloved places. The Beach is crowded a heck on a nice day, but totally worth it to cool off. Isle au Haut should be on your list to check out, too.

Side Street Cafe in Bar Harbor was great for lunch.

Second the recco for Isle au Haut. It is so beautiful there. Make it a day trip, get a picnic lunch in Stonington, take the mail boat, and spend a few hours hiking the trails around Duck Harbor.

Also highly recommend the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller gardens. They are amazing. Need to make a reservation in advance, but the effort will be repaid in spades.

So many good trails. If you want more peace and quiet, venture away from Bar Harbor. The south ridge trail up to the top of Sargent mountain is a favorite. Also love the walk around Little Long Pond, adjacent to Seal Harbor.

Thanks for all the recommendations. I’ll report back once we get further into our planning.

Any updates? Headed that way in a few days for 2 nights only. Was not planning on having a car and just walking, using the free shuttle, or taking a boat anywhere. Any additional guidance would be appreciated.

We are having a great trip so far. The weather has been outstanding. We have been active during the days and my body is starting to feel it.

We have spent all our time on Mt. Desert Island so far. Best hikes have been Gotham Mtn/Bee hive, Norumbega Mountain Loop and Perpendicular Trail/Mansell Mt. We rock climbed for half a day at Otter Cliffs along the Ocean, and today after our hike we cliff jumped into Long Pond.

Bar Harbor is a nice town with lots of places to eat and drink. It is fairly crowded with tourists, though. The other harbors to the south are smaller and less crowded. The best place we have eaten so far is Sip’s in Southwest Harbor. There are a couple nice wine shops there, too, surprisingly, with some older vintage stuff. Decent views of the Harbor from Upper Deck.

We have had good lobster rolls at Abel’s Lobster Pound at the top of Long Pond. Thurston’s lobster pound is very cool in Bernard, down near Bass Harbor. Great views of the Harbor, rustic, good drinks and lobster rolls.

There is a lot to do here, if you like the outdoors.