Cruise and Beach Destinations
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Bar Harbor Cruise Port Guide

Bar Harbor is known for historic buildings and Acadia National Park. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license
Bar Harbor is known for historic buildings and Acadia National Park. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

The New England cruise port of Bar Harbor, Maine, is a town of about 5,000 people on Mount Desert Island.

The small size of the town means that most of the attractions lie outside of it. The area is mostly known for Acadia National Park, which has many recreational activities and opportunities for active shore excursions. The park dominates the area around the cruise port.

The town’s waterfront has about four acres including the Town Pier at the base of the village.

Attractions and Shore Excursions

Attractions include hiking, sightseeing, windjammer, whale watching, kayak tours and nature cruises as well as private yachts, deep sea and lobster fishing boats.

Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park. Credit: Jeff Gunn, Wikimedia Creative Commons license

The best known attraction is the 48,000 acres of Acadia National Park, which includes Mount Desert Island and several nearby islands. The park has 120 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of gravel carriage roads including 16 stone bridges. The park, which has seven peaks more than 1,000 feet tall, attracts 3.3 million people every year, according to the National Park Service.

Nearly all of the shore excursions from cruise lines that visit Bar Harbor have a focus on things to do in Acadia National Park. The shorter ones cost between $75 and $100 and the longer ones cost about $125 to $175.

The village has an attraction called The Shore Path for anyone who likes a little walking. The level walking path, more than a century old, follows the Frenchman Bay shore from the Town Pier to Wayman Lane. It goes by one of Bar Harbor’s oldest inns and several historic summer “cottages”.  Sights include the Porcupine Islands, Balance Rock, Egg Rock Light and the Schoodic Peninsula.

Other attractions include a scenic road to the top of Cadillac Mountain, which is the highest point on the East Coast, according to the Bar Harbor village government.

Golfers may want to play at Kebo Valley Golf course, 136 Eagle Lake Road. It is the eighth oldest course in the United States.


The area around Bar Harbor rains on average about 10 to 12 days each month, according to historical records from the U.S. National Weather Service.

The average high temperature in September during the peak New England cruise season is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Long pants and light to medium-weight jackets are advisable.

Average daytime temperatures reach their highest point in July at nearly 80 degrees Fahrenheit. But leaves aren’t turning at that point, so cruise planners need to choose between the most warmth versus the most beautiful foliage.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
March 23, 2022

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