Family-Friendly Guide to Bar Harbor

June 6, 2024

It is worth staying in Bar Harbor, Maine, if you want an unforgettable family getaway. Bar Harbor is full of activities you can enjoy together, from fascinating museums and charming ice cream shops to sightseeing cruises and scenic hiking trails.

Why Is Bar Harbor So Popular?

Bar Harbor is a quiet, charming town surrounded by beauty. It is the perfect blend of unforgettable adventures and peaceful serenity, and it is full of family-friendly activities. You and your loved ones can make lasting memories in this popular destination.

Bar Harbor Maine town square during a fall day.

Family-Friendly Activities in Bar Harbor

If you plan to visit Bar Harbor with your family, you can fill your week with these fun activities.

Spotting Wildlife

Bar Harbor is full of exciting opportunities to witness Maine’s wildlife. Catch a sightseeing cruise to witness extraordinary whales, adorable puffins, endearing seals, various seabird species and beautiful lighthouses. You can also embark on a North Country Rivers Moose Safari with a registered guide.

Exploring Tide Pools

Bar Island is a fun excursion you and your family can take during low tide. This island is only accessible when the tide goes out and reveals a sandy half-mile bar you can walk on, leading you to an enchanting area full of marine life.

Bring your water shoes or flip-flops, and check out the sea stars, Jonah crabs, snail eggs and periwinkle snails. You can venture out to Bar Island an hour and a half before and an hour and a half after low tide. If you are looking for Bar Harbor toddler activities, the tide pools are a delightful opportunity for them to learn and play.

Hitting the Trails

Acadia National Park is full of fun trails with various challenge levels. Here are some easier trails for your family-friendly Bar Harbor vacation:

  • Wonderland Trail: The Wonderland Trail is another fantastic spot to wade through tide pools. This spectacular trail takes you through stretches of fir and spruce trees until you reach the ocean and find the opportunity to witness tiny creatures up close. You and your kids can soak in the forest air and enjoy an easy, flat path to the shoreline.
  • Flying Mountain: Flying Mountain is a moderate loop trail perfect for adults and adventurous kids. This path is slightly steep and offers incredible views of Somes Sound before it descends to a peaceful rocky beach and ocean cove.

Indoor Rock Climbing

If you and your family seek a rainy-day adventure, Volta Climbing Gym is a fun stop. This unique gym features rope climbing, bouldering and kilter board walls designed for individuals of all ages and abilities, so there is excitement for the whole family.


Bar Harbor is a walkable town full of charming shops with a little bit of something for everyone. Grab some Bar Harbor apparel at Cool As A Moose, and stop in The Naturalist’s Notebook to enjoy an interactive exploratorium. The Naturalist’s Notebook sells books and fun souvenirs, but it also features interesting brain-building spaces and creative exhibits everyone in your family will love.

Exploring Fascinating Museums

Vacations are perfect opportunities for kids to experience new places and learn new things. In Bar Harbor, you can visit science and history museums like the Abbe MuseumWendell Gilley MuseumOceanarium and Education Center and the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History.

Miniature Golfing

Challenge your loved ones to a game of mini golf at Pirate’s Cove. This unique pirate-themed course is open from mid-April through October, and it takes you across footbridges, through mountain caves, past cascading waterfalls and onto an authentic pirate ship.

Lobster roll. Maine lobster mixed with mayo, celery, onions, garlic, scallions, chives, lemon juice. Lobster roll on toasted hotdog bun w/ lettuce, tomato, garlic mayo seasoned salt & pepper. Classic American restaurant or diner lunch sandwich favorite.

Dining Experiences for Families in Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor is home to quaint casual restaurants with delectable food and picturesque views. The following restaurants are perfect options for your Bar Harbor family vacation.


Blaze’s menu offers a wide variety of options, making it the perfect spot for a family dinner. From pizza and salads to jumbo lobsters and scallop risotto, there is a delicious meal for each person in your group. Blaze’s atmosphere features an outdoor patio seating area that allows dogs, so your four-legged friends can join you.

The Chart Room

Visit The Chart Room for a delicious dinner on the water. You and your family will love the outdoor seating area’s views and the fresh seafood. The Chart Room also features a kids menu with tasty items and a pet menu for the pups.

Abel’s Lobster Pound

Abel’s Lobster Pound is another fantastic dining option on the water if you visit Bar Harbor between late spring and fall. You and your family can enjoy classic lobster rolls and scrumptious lobster dinners while watching the boats from the restaurant’s gorgeous picnic area by the shore.

Ice Cream

Complete your Bar Harbor family night out with a sweet treat. Bar Harbor is home to delicious ice cream shops such as Mount Desert Ice Cream and Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium.

Family-Friendly Places to Stay in Bar Harbor

Kampgrounds of America offers fun and relaxing beach camping near downtown Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Bar Harbor / Oceanside KOA Holiday is a serene escape surrounded by exciting activities for all ages. Wade through tide pools, explore Acadia’s trails, witness magnificent wildlife and end your day gathered around a crackling campfire by the water.

At Bar Harbor / Oceanside KOA Holiday, you can enjoy convenient amenities and recreational activities such as bike rentals, lawn games, tie-dye crafts, themed weekends and the Lobstah Express Fun Train.

Travel Tips for Families Visiting Bar Harbor

Consider the following tips to make the most of your Bar Harbor vacation:

  • Plan outdoor and indoor activities so you have some rainy-day options.
  • Stick to easy and moderate trails based on your family’s hiking skills.
  • Watch children closely while hiking and exploring the shore.
  • Take plenty of photos to remember your trip.

Does Bar Harbor Have a Boardwalk?

Bar Harbor’s waterfront area features a pier where you can watch the boats or rent kayaks for a memorable time on the water. While Bar Harbor has no boardwalk, you can venture downtown for fun activities, food and sweet treats after checking out the pier.

How Many Days Do You Need in Bar Harbor?

With so many activities, sights, restaurants and excursions in Bar Harbor, you should plan to spend three to seven days in this magical beach town. You can pack some fun family adventures into a long weekend, but a full week is the best way to enjoy the perfect balance of adventure and relaxation.

What Is the Best Month to Visit Bar Harbor?

Bar Harbor is beautiful year-round, but it is most popular between June and August. The temperature is cool all year, but summer provides the most warmth and sunshine for your excursions.

Enjoy a Bar Harbor Family Adventure at KOA

Bar Harbor is a captivating destination full of lush forests, a tranquil shoreline, beautiful wildlife and a quaint downtown area. Bar Harbor / Oceanside KOA Holiday offers a waterfront oasis where you and your family can enjoy unique activities and cozy campfires after your excursions. Reserve a stay at KOA to start your family adventure in Bar Harbor.

About the Author: Kampgrounds of America

Kampgrounds of America is the largest system of open-to-the-public campgrounds in the world, with over 500 locations across the United States and Canada. Founded in Billings, MT in 1962, KOA’s family of campground brands – KOA Journey, KOA Holiday and KOA Resort – today serve more than a million camping families each year. KOA is dedicated to “connecting people to the outdoors and each other” by providing people with a variety of camping experiences and the information they need to make the most of their camping trip. Read more of their camping and travel resources by visiting

Enjoy a Greater Slice of the Great Outdoors

Discover even more room to enjoy outdoor living with a KOA Patio Site®. These spacious sites offer your very own patio equipped with outdoor furniture and the perfect place for a fire. Wake up and enjoy a cup of coffee with the sunrise and spend an evening relaxing with family and friends.

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