Skip to Content

The Best Time to Visit Bar Harbor, Maine in 2023

The Best Time to Visit Bar Harbor, Maine in 2023

Are you thinking about going to Bar Harbor, Maine, soon? Doing the necessary research on the best times to visit will ensure you know the upcoming weather, the lowest prices, and the least crowded places to visit in the area.

There are so many things to love about Bar Harbor, and when you know the best time to visit Maine, you’ll have the opportunity to check everything off your seasonal bucket list.

Everybody has a list of things they want to accomplish during a vacation.

So whether it’s finding the most affordable flights and rooms, the least crowded times to visit, or moderate temperature to enjoy the coastal breeze, we’ll show you the best time to visit Bar Harbor, Maine, that suits your needs.

We’re also here to give you traveler tips and things to consider about Bar Harbor to make this the trip of your dreams. So let us be your guide to all things Bar Harbor!

Why You Should Visit Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor is a small coastal town on Mount Desert Island in Hancock County, Maine.  Aside from being a quaint New England town, it’s perhaps best know as the gateway to Acadia National Park, one of the top 10 best national parks in the United States.

Bar Harbor is one of the most naturally beautiful places in the United States. It’s filled with ocean cliffs, rocky beaches, glacier-formed lakes, valleys, and unobstructed mountain vistas and boreal forests.

Overall Best Time to Visit Bar Harbor

Dusk snapshot of the coastal lighthouse in Acadia National Park, which is perched on a rock overlooking the bay


If you’re looking for the ideal trip with great weather and the most options for outdoor activities, the best time to visit Bar Harbor, Maine, is April-May or September-October.

These two months rest outside of summer, so you can enjoy the sunnies skies and warm temperatures without the expensive rates in the area. The beginning of May marks the beginning of whale watching season.

They say April showers bring May Flowers, and the lush forests of Bar Harbor come alive in May. The Springtime is comfortable with a slight chill from the ocean. You’ll be able to walk around Bar Harbor enjoying the low 60s temperature during the day.

May is the beginning of the season, so most businesses are opening back up. You’ll be able to go shopping and dine at some of the best places in Bar Harbor, Maine.

May and September give you the best chance for a relaxing drive through the countryside. Unfortunately, during the summer, traffic jams take away from the relaxing atmosphere.

Also, spring is the best time to avoid bugs. Black Flies are typically found in June and can be annoying throughout the summer, so you’ll be able to enjoy your trip without worrying about too many bugs.  

Cheapest Time to Visit Bar Harbor

Photo of waves lapping the coast of the lighthouse, taken during the Winter, the cheapest time to visit Bar Harob

G Allen Penton/Shutterstock

Typically the cheapest times to visit Bar Harbor are between November and March. However, this timeframe is the off-season, so you’ll find excellent rates and fewer travelers.

While you might want to save some money on flights, rooms, and activities, you should only come to Bar harbor during this time if you’re not afraid to embrace the frigid winter temperatures.

Visitors tend to take advantage of the lessening crowds as winter approaches in the Northeast. November is the warmest of these months, but the temperatures rarely reach the 50s.

While enjoying the affordable prices through autumn and winter, you can also enjoy the stunning fall foliage in October and November. The foliage offers the classic New England views of the trees.

Least Busy Time to Visit Bar Harbor, Maine

People walking downtown at night during the least busy time to visit Bar Harbor Maine

Bar Harbor, USA – June 8, 2017: People walking sidewalk street by Main road in downtown village during evening night/Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

Bar Harbor’s quietest month is December. Anyone who’s a warm weather traveler won’t enjoy any of the activities on hand because of the cold weather.

Leading up to December, Bar Harbor’s quiet months include September through November.  The off-season is the least busy time to visit because the weather is cold, and many activities in Acadia National Park are closed for the season.

However, if you plan to visit between September through November, there will be the least amount of tourists due to the chilly weather. In addition, Bar Harbor is a kid-friendly town, and since many kids return to school, the visitors stop coming by this point.

According to the Maine Climate Council, the annual precipitation of rain and snowfall has increased, meaning if you’re visiting in December, there’s a higher probability of snow.

The snow doesn’t need to ruin your outdoor activities during the winter. Skiing and snowmobiling in Acadia National Park are the most popular activities for tourists and locals. Winter offers you cozy and quaint cottages in the areas to lodge in during your stay.

Again, these bed and breakfasts offer classic New England winter feelings. Beginning December 1st, Maine closes the Acadia National Park’s Park Loop Road for the entire winter.

Read Next: The Overall Best Time to Visit Acadia National Park in 2023

Worst Time to Visit Bar Harbor

People boarding a sailboat during the Summer, the most crowded and worst time to visit Bar Harbor Maine

Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

Generally, summer is the worst time (though not necessarily a terrible time) to go to Bar Harbor, Maine. Typically, the worst time to visit Bar Harbor, Maine, is between June and August.

While this may be considered the worst time to visit, it’s also the busiest and most popular time that tourists and Maine residents visit Bar Harbor.

One good thing about visiting during the summer is that the temperature is relatively low compared to other towns in Maine. The area is part of the coastal division near the ocean, which results in both lower summer and winter temperatures.

Things to Consider

Lobster on a wooden plate for a piece on the best time to visit Bar Harbor Maine

Alena Haurylik/Shutterstock

Now that you know the best times to visit Bar Harbor, Maine, here are some things to consider if you’re considering a trip here.

These include:

Seafood Popularity

Maine is famous for its seafood, especially Bar Harbor, due to its proximity to the ocean. Regardless of the time of year you visit Bar Harbor, it’s impossible to find a restaurant that doesn’t serve lobster.

Of course, there are other things to eat. However, you might have trouble finding places to eat if you don’t enjoy seafood. Every year, visitors and locals consume more than five million lobsters.

Bring the Right Gear and Clothing

Whether you’re planning on hiking through Acadia National Park during the summer, participating in world-class water sports, taking in the breathtaking ocean views, or enjoying winter sports, you must have the right gear to make your trip more enjoyable.

The first thing to know about packing for Bar Harbor is that the temperatures differ depending on the time of year you visit.

Here are a few suggestions about what to wear while hiking through Acadia National Park:

  • Hiking shoes or boots
  • T-shirts
  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Hat

Here are a few suggestions about what to wear in Bar Harbor during the winter:

  • Sweatshirt
  • Long coat
  • Gloves
  • Pants

Bar Harbor doesn’t have a dress code for locals or visitors. However, this town is extremely picturesque, and it’s a great place to dress nicely during the winter and take pictures in town or the snow.

Holiday and Annual Events

Every month of the year features a highlighted event. Unfortunately, these events result in higher flight and hotel prices. However, you can book early to beat the crowds during peak season.

Here’s a monthly breakdown of the busy holiday events you’ll find here:

  • January. New Year’s Celebration
  • February. Skiing and Snowmobiling
  • March. Drive through beaches
  • April. Whale Watching
  • May. Taste of Bar Harbor Festival of Food  
  • June. Bar Harbor Art in the Park Show
  • July. July 4th Fireworks
  • August. Bar Harbor Fine Arts Festival
  • September. Bar Harbor Outdoor Art Show
  • October. Downtown Oktoberfest
  • November. MDI Marathon and Half Marathon
  • December. Christmas Lights Parade

You can plan your visit outside the busiest holidays to enjoy a less crowded and more affordable trip with an abundance of hotel and flight availability. Book your vacation well in advance if you want to enjoy these varying activities in Bar Harbor.

You will run into higher prices if you wait until the last minute. If you’re looking for the best time to visit Bar Harbor, Maine, you must consider all the above factors before booking your trip.

There are pros and cons to visiting Bar Harbor, Maine, during the best time of year, and those who can handle the shifting temperatures will have a memorable trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

Photo of Bear Island Lighthouse sitting on the side of a hill and protruding up from the forest, surrounded by pine trees

TD Dolci/Shutterstock

Do you need more help deciding the best time to visit Bar Harbor, Maine? Here are a few frequently asked questions to help you plan your trip:

How many Bar Harbor lighthouses can you visit?

Bar Harbor has three unique lighthouses that look beautiful along the rocky shoreline. These lighthouses contribute to the city’s nautical history.

These include:

  • Baker Island Light Station
  • Bass Harbor Head Light Station
  • Bear Island Light Station

Lighthouses are one of the best features of any coastal town. These picturesque lighthouses are worth checking out on your next Bar Harbor, Maine trip.

Where is Bar Harbor?

Bar Harbor is situated along the Atlantic Ocean at the southern end of Maine. Bar Harbor is three hours southwest of Portland compared to other popular Maine towns. Bar Harbor is also one hour southeast of Bangor, Maine.

How do you get around Bar Harbor, Maine?

Depending on where you’re staying, the main places are an easy walk to Cottage Street and Main Street. These streets are the primary locations for the shops and restaurants in downtown Bar Harbor.

Downtown Bar Harbor is a great place to walk on a nice day. However, depending on when you visit Bar Harbor, there’s a good chance you might encounter rain or snow during the off-season.

What are the lodging options in Bar Harbor?

Bar Harbor, Maine, offers many different lodging options for people depending on the type of vacation you’re having. Bar Harbor has many cozy motels and inns for anyone looking for the small-town experience.

Some hotels and resorts keep you close to the coast, and you can easily use public transportation to get you to your many activities in the area.

What kind of wildlife can you see in Bar Harbor?

Bar Harbor is the perfect location for birdwatching. In addition, Mount Desert Island has over 20 species of warblers and 308 other species of birds in Acadia National Park.

Off the coast of Maine, puffins are another popular animal to see. Unfortunately, the only way to see puffins is by taking a boat to one of the small islands off the coast. You’re unable to see puffins on Bar Harbor without traveling by boat.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Bar Harbor, Maine?

Bar Harbor includes:

  • One of America’s best national parks
  • Delicious seafood
  • Ocean views
  • Shopping options

We threw a lot at you, so let’s recap the best time to visit Bar Harbor before you start booking a plane ticket.

Overall, the best time to visit is April-May and September-October. The weather is the most comfortable time of year, but the outside activities and attractions are open after the off-season and remain open after the peak season.

These shoulder seasons are less crowded than during the summer. So you won’t need to worry about large crowds in the lodges or Acadia National Park. You can also find great deals on flights and hotels during these months.

Now that you have the best time to visit Bar Harbor, it’s time to start planning the trip of your dreams. And trust us when we tell you that it’ll be a trip to remember. Happy travels!