Bar Harbor, Maine, US
Aug 28, 2020
Arrives 07:00 AM
Departs 05:00 PM
Located on Mount Desert Island in Maine, Bar Harbor is the quintessential New England coastal town. Picturesque and charming, it is a scenic and walkable town with streets lined with restaurants and boutiques. Dining on lobster is a must, as is a scoop or two at one of the town’s homemade ice cream shops. Boat tours explore the waters and islands that surround Bar Harbor, with seasonal opportunities to see wildlife—including whales—and lighthouses along the way.
Bar Harbor is surrounded by the magnificent Acadia National Park, making the area an adventurer’s playground. The park, which is celebrating its centennial in 2016, is home to sites such as Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain along the eastern coast of the United States and the first place in the country to see the sun rise. Guests can hike, bike or take a horse-and-carriage ride to explore Acadia’s lakes and striking coastline. Take advantage of the best bargain in Bar Harbor during your visit: The free Island Explorer buses take guests to Acadia’s major sites and to other nearby destinations.
Sample Port Activities
Acadia National Park
Starting At $79
Featuring one of the most scenic drives on the east coast, Acadia National Park is one of the most visited National Parks in the United States. Journey along the 27-mile Park Loop Road, which will take you along the ocean’s edge past Sand Beach, Schooner Head Overlook, and the High Seas mansion built by a wealthy gentleman whose wife perished on the Titanic. Keep an eye out for moose, black bear and white-tail deer as you travel through pine forests and past the Jordan Pond House with a beautiful view of the Penobscot Mountains and Bubbles Hill.
Continue past Otter Cliffs and the Gulf of Maine with beautiful views of the offshore islands. Your tour includes (weather permitting) a photo stop atop the 1,530-foot Cadillac Mountain, offering a 360-degree panoramic view of granite cliffs, coastal mountains, forests, lakes, and valleys. Pass through the quaint town of Bar Harbor to view some of the charming Victorian mansions built by America’s rich and famous at the turn of the 20th century.
Notes: Visibility at Cadillac Mountain is weather permitting.
Acadia National Park & Lobster Bake
Starting At $129
This tour combines the highlights of the Acadia National Park tour with a true Downeast lobster bake. You will pass through the quaint town of Bar Harbor and drive by opulent summer ‘cottages’ before entering Acadia National Park. A journey along Park Loop Road showcases the spectacular scenery of Maine’s rocky coastline. Continue past Thunder Hole, Otter Cliffs and the Jordan Pond House and, weather permitting, you will head to the 1,530-foot summit of Cadillac Mountain -- the highest point on North America’s eastern seaboard. With a 360-degree panoramic view, you will see how glaciers carved through the granite cliffs to form a beautiful landscape.
Sit down to a true Downeast lobster bake in a beautiful setting along the coast. Enjoy succulent Maine lobster pulled fresh from ocean water and drizzled with butter, with all the trimmings, and a blueberry dessert. (Steak is available upon request for non-lobster-eaters).
Notes: Visibility at Cadillac Mountain is weather permitting. National Park Service regulations strictly control the number of coaches allowed at the top of Cadillac Mountain.
Step Back in Time: A Walk through Victorian Bar Harbor
Starting At $39
Step back in time to the turn of the 20th century, when Bar Harbor was the world’s most exclusive and illustrious resort and stately Victorian mansions belonged to fabulously wealthy summer residents trying to outdo each other with lavish parties. Walk with your costumed guide—perhaps he is the Vanderbilt's carriage driver, or she is a maid from the nearby Rockefeller estate—as (s)he shares tales of a magnificent time in America’s history. Learn of the society matron who ordered imported crystal champagne glasses by the case so her guests could toss them against the ocean-side boulders of Frenchman Bay after using them once, and the insecure couple who thought they could impress others by giving away priceless diamonds and jewels. Find out how the truly wealthy lived—attending the grandest parties, procuring superbly manicured estates, occupying mansions that seemed to stretch forever. See the magnificent Tiffany stained-glass windows of St Saviour's Church before you return to the pier.
Notes: Total walking distance is approximately one mile. The tour is conducted at a leisurely pace, suitable for almost everyone.
Best of Both Worlds
Starting At $89
Encompassing the best that Bar Harbor has to offer, this tour includes not only the beautiful scenery of Acadia National Park, but you’ll also learn about the fascinating world of the lobster fisherman and journey back in time to experience an example of Bar Harbor’s Golden Age architecture. Your journey along Park Loop Road will take you along the ocean’s edge passing Otter Cliff and Thunder Hole where the ocean swells converge against the granite cliffs to create a thunderous roar. Depending on traffic and weather conditions, a photo stop will also be made at Thunder Hole, Schooner Head or Otter Cliffs. Enjoy a visit to a local establishment in the heart of Bar Harbor where you are brought back in time to the exclusive world of the Gilded Age. Your guide will share tales of a bygone era, when America's wealthiest families made Bar Harbor their summer playground. Following your tour- you will then be treated to a fascinating look into Maine’s lobster industry. A licensed Maine Lobsterman will explain the life cycle of the lobster, demonstrate the use of authentic traps and show you how these succulent creatures are caught. At the end of the tour, you are free to explore Bar Harbor’s many shops, boutiques and restaurants or join your guide for a short stroll back to the pier.
Notes: Tour may operate in alternative order. Walking is at your discretion. Walking surfaces are paved and partially accessible by wheelchair, but there are some uneven areas and some steps.
Panoramic Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park
Starting At $59
This panoramic drive begins by passing the Village Green, where you will see Bar Harbor’s clock and the village bandstand -- a focal point on summer evenings when locals gathered to hear the marches of John Philip Sousa and other popular music. Visit the Bar Harbor of yesteryear, when it was one of the most exclusive resorts in the world. As painters, poets and authors began to speak of the island’s natural beauty, America's élite, including the Astors, Fords, Morgans, Rockefellers, Carnegies, and Vanderbilts, transformed the island with elegant estates often referred to as ‘cottages.’ View a number of Victorian mansions that survived the Great Fire of 1947 -- a magnificent era when fabulously wealthy residents tried to outdo each other with lavish parties and opulent lifestyles. Travel to one of the most scenic spots in all of Acadia National Park -- Cadillac Mountain -- the highest point on North America’s eastern seaboard. The 360-degree panoramic view shows how glaciers once carved granite cliffs to form a beautiful landscape of towering coastal mountains, lush forest, lakes and valleys.
Notes: Suitable for guests using a wheelchair.
A Walk in the Park: Ocean Trail Hike
Starting At $69
Discover the spectacular natural beauty and fascinating history of one of the most gorgeous islands in America. As waves crash against granite, you’ll learn about the powerful glacial activity that gave the Maine coast its unique identity, the variety of wildlife that abounds, and the flora and fauna that make Mount Desert Island such a paradise.
A walk along the rockbound coast provides the perfect setting for your guide/naturalist to introduce you to all the wonders of Acadia National Park. Learn the role that barons such as John D. Rockefeller played in forming the park. You'll also learn about the fishing industry and the Golden Age of Bar Harbor, when Mount Desert Island was the playground of America's fabulously wealthy.
Notes: Up to two hours of walking may be required. Wear comfortable walking shoes.
Lulu Lobster Boat Ride
Starting At $59
This entertaining and educational two-hour cruise on the Lulu -- a Downeast Maine-style lobster boat -- is set on Frenchman Bay and around the Porcupine Islands, offering delightful views of Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island. The captain will haul lobster traps during the cruise to show what a commercial lobsterman does to catch the lobsters, how the trap works, and how they are baited. Learn about the biology and anatomy of the lobsters, crabs and other interesting creatures that are in the traps, and hear about the regulations Maine enforces to make lobstering so successful. Seal watching is included, along with a discussion of this marine mammal’s habitat, anatomy, biology and life cycle. The route usually passes Egg Rock Lighthouse to visit the seal colony. Bald eagles are often seen here as well. is included, along with a discussion of this marine mammal’s habitat, anatomy, biology and life cycle.
Notes: Not advisable for wheelchairs. Minimum age is 6 years. Tour may not be exclusive to Holland America Line guests. Wildlife sightings, while common, are not guaranteed.
Starting At $69
Travel aboard a fast, luxury whale-watch catamaran, equipped with the latest in navigation and communication equipment. The vessel has full galley and bar service, and excellent viewing from all three decks. Stable, fun and propelled by water jets, it is also safe for whales and the environment. There is a great abundance of marine life in the Gulf of Maine and today your destination is the feeding grounds of the larger whales, 20 miles south of Bar Harbor. Watch for harbor porpoise, seals, and a great variety of pelagic seabirds. Offshore you will search for pods of pilot whales and Atlantic white-sided dolphin, sharks such as basking, blue and mako, and schools of bluefin tuna. Commonly encountered are humpbacks, finbacks and minke whales and, occasionally, northern right whales.
Learn from the on-board naturalist about each whale’s behavior, adaptations to life in the ocean, and conservation issues.
Notes: Dress warmly in layers; wear a jacket, hat and gloves, as it is much cooler on the open ocean. Wildlife sightings are likely but are not guaranteed. The boat may not be exclusive to Holland America guests.
Historic Lighthouses & Acadia National Park by Sea
Starting At $59
Board a 90-foot jet-powered catamaran to see the spectacular sea cliffs, pristine islands, and secluded coves of Acadia National Park. As you cruise out over the sapphire blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, an on-board historian will provide fascinating and fun facts. On the open water you'll see the Porcupine Islands, which once sheltered 17th-century French warships seeking refuge from the British Navy. Watch for Champlain Mountain, Great Head, Thunder Hole, Sand Beach, and the famous Otter Cliff -- one of the highest Atlantic coastal headlands north of Rio de Janeiro. View five of Maine's most beautiful lighthouses. The Egg Rock Lighthouse, built in 1828, is tucked on an island in the mouth of Frenchman Bay. Winter Harbor, built in 1856, features a round brick tower attached to a two-story, wooden Victorian-style keeper's house. The lighthouse on Baker Island was established in 1828 and comprises a round brick tower. Great Duck, built in 1890, is still an active lighthouse. Finally, the Life Saving Station on Little Cranberry Island was opened in 1880 and marks the start of your trip back to the pier.
Notes: Dress warmly and in layers. The boat may not be exclusive to Holland America guests.
Kayak Frenchman Bay
Starting At $69
See why the waters surrounding Mount Desert Island are considered the premier sea kayaking destination on the East Coast as you go paddling with New England’s top outfitter. Sea kayaking is easy to learn, and this tour is suitable for beginners. Anyone in good physical condition can participate. Using stable tandem kayaks (two people to a kayak), you’ll discover how easy it is to develop a fluid stroke that will propel you efficiently through the waters of Frenchman Bay. A Registered Maine Guide will provide basic instruction as well as commentary on the geology, marine environment, history and lore of coastal Maine. Glide by the famed Porcupine Islands and you’ll have a chance to see such varied wildlife as harbor seals, porpoises, cormorants and bald eagles. From the unique perspective of your kayak, you’ll view historic Bar Harbor’s working waterfront.
Notes: Minimum age is 12 years.