If you want a honeymoon trip that captures the essence of New England charm and natural beauty, plan a visit to the resort town of Bar Harbor and the nearby Acadia National Park. They are part of the region of Maine known, for complicated reasons to do with shipping, as Down East. Located on Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor has been a summer playground for the rich and the artistic. It is a center for yatching and maritime activities, and makes a great base to explore the coastline and for visits to Acadia National Park.
Acadia National Park is the only National Park in Maine and is worth visiting any time of the year. The park’s varied scenery includes the rugged Maine coastline, mountains, lakes, forests and streams, covering thousands of acres. Wildlife includes bears, foxes, deer, otters and bald eagles. The park is also famous for its biodiversity. The carriage roads are not open to cars, and are a great way to see the park on foot or horseback.
The majestic scenery and sea air provide a romantic setting for the park and the town. At Bar Harbor, you’ll find art galleries and museums, whale watching cruises or sailing trips to see the lighthouses and the puffins, music festivals in the summer, and fresh caught Maine seafood. Luxury resorts will wrap you in comfort, and for a different kind of experience, you can pitch a tent for two at one of the two campgrounds within the park. There are also plenty of inns and cabin rentals to suit all tastes and budgets.
This part of Maine was originally settled by the French, and you’ll find traces of the language, culture and cuisine everywhere. You’ll also find all kinds of cuisines, and your favorite may well be a Maine breakfast of pancakes with blueberries.
About Bar Harbor
At a Glance
- Bar Harbor is a resort town in a spectacular setting, offering access to Acadia National Park, cruises of every type, and a typical New England whirl of activity with art galleries, shopping at renowned boutique stores, maritime activities, music and dining.
- The town’s history as a summer retreat for New York and Boston millionaires lives on in the luxurious accommodations available for honeymooners. You can choose to stay at oceanside resorts in rooms with stunning views, and enjoy the spas and fine dining. There are also cozy beachside cabin rentals, and many campsites dotted across the area.
- Check out the music scene at Bar Harbor clubs, bars and concerts.
- Acadia National Park was founded in 1916, and extends over parts of Mount Desert Island, some of the smaller nearby islands and the mainland. The rocky coast has some of the highest peaks along this part of the Atlantic coast, with Cadillac Mountain being the highest point.
- The Park is a magnet for hikers, bikers, birdwatchers, rock climbers, kayakers and campers. The picturesque gravel carriage paths and bridges were especially designed to blend into the environment.
- Favorite winter activities in the Park include cross country skiing, ice fishing, snowmobiling and snow shoeing.
- A whale watching trip out of Bar Harbor is a moving experience that you will want to share with with that special person in your life. Trips run June through August. You can also take cruises that run along Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park to see seals, dolphins, bald eagles and the comic little North Atlantic puffins.
- Enjoy the excitement of a sailing trip with windjammer cruises, and learn the ropes to help out the crew. Closer to the shore, lighthouse cruises will take you past some of the most iconic scenes of the Maine coast.
- Take a scenic drive along the Park Loop Road in Acadia. Stop at Thunder Head and watch the inlet fill up with water from the incoming tide, and spout explosively. The Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is another landmark stop on the loop.
- Take a ranger-guided sea kayaking tour and stop to explore the tide pools on your way back.
- If you’re honeymooning in Bar Harbor in September, don’t Miss the Acadia Night Sky Festival.
- GETTING THERE: Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park are around 250 miles from Boston via Interstate 95, and fifty miles from Bangor, Maine. Hancock County Airport is ten miles from Acadia National Park and has connections to Boston. Bangor International Airport is about an hour away. You can get rental cars at the airports.
GETTING AROUND: While it helps to have a car, parking can be quite difficult to find during peak summer months. The Island Explorer bus service provides free local transportation from late June to early October, connecting the park, nearby towns and the Bar Harbor-Hancock County Regional Airport. Local bus services also go to the various destinations at the park.
If you’re driving, keep in mind that some park roads will be closed in the winter.
- WHEN TO GO: Down East Maine is a destination for all seasons. The best time to go depends on your favorite activities. Summer is the best time for hiking, biking, kayaking, cruises, berry picking and music festivals, and of course, for lobsters. Fall colors in Maine are spectacular and temperatures are just right for outdoor fun. Winter in Maine means snow and that brings out the skiers, snowmobilers, ice fishing enthusiasts and lovers of cold weather. Spring is the quiet time when you can enjoy each other’s company without the crowds.
- WEATHER: Summer temperatures remain comfortably in the 80s in the daytime, with cooler evenings. Winter daytime highs are in the 20s on average though strong winds make it feel colder. Average annual snowfall is around 60 inches.