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Where to Stay in Bar Harbor, Maine in 2024 | Best Areas

Where to Stay in Bar Harbor, Maine in 2024 | Best Areas

What's the best area to stay in Bar Harbor, Maine?

Bar Harbor’s diverse regions offer unique experiences, from Downtown’s vibrant shopping and dining scene to the family-friendly beaches of Eastern Bay and the outdoor paradise of Seal Harbor. Northeast Harbor caters to boaters with its upscale vibe, while Southwest Harbor is a haven for birdwatchers, and Tremont offers seclusion and rustic charm away from the crowds.

Located off the coast of Maine, Bar Harbor is a town known for its gorgeous coastline and quaint communities. The town has a population of just over 5,000, but several million people visit each year to enjoy the beauty of the region.

The combination of mountains, streams, lakes, forests, wetlands, and rocky coastlines give Acadia National Park a unique beauty and diversity of plant life and animal life. 

Outside of the park, Bar Harbor has a mixture of sleepy coastal villages and small communities. The downtown area has shops, restaurants, and even a vibrant art scene. The smaller villages each offer their own unique charms and reasons to visit.

But before you get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of choices, read on. We’ll show you the best places and areas to stay in Bar Harbor, why we love each one, our hotel recommendations, and much more. Let us be your guide!

Read Next: Best Places to Visit in New England

The Best Places to Stay in Bar Harbor, Maine

Vector map of Bar Harbor, pictured with several of the best places to stay and attractions to visit

With over 60 square miles of land, Bar Harbor can be a daunting place to choose a place to stay. But don’t worry — that’s why you’re here.

Our favorite areas to stay include:

  • Downtown Bar Harbor: Vibrant shopping, restaurants, and attractions for all ages.
  • Eastern Bay: Family-friendly beaches, playgrounds, and activities, with stunning views of Frenchman Bay.
  • Seal Harbor: Hiking trails, scenic coastline, and a charming village atmosphere, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Northeast Harbor: Charming harbor towns with upscale shops, craft galleries, and sailing excursions.
  • Southwest Harbor: Serenity and solitude, with birdwatching sanctuaries, hiking trails, and quaint villages.
  • Tremont: Rustic charm, picturesque harbors, and a slower pace of life, ideal for those seeking a secluded getaway.

Where to Stay in Bar Harbor: Best Areas & Hotels

Bar Harbor covers almost half of Mount Desert Island and has over half a dozen small villages and neighborhoods. Here’s a closer look at some of the most popular areas to stay in Bar Harbor.

1. Best Area for Shopping: Downtown Bar Harbor

Image of one of the best places to stay in Bar Harbor Maine, the downtown area

Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

Bar Harbor’s lively downtown district sits close to the shore and is packed with shops selling Maine goods, seafood and pub-style restaurants, movie theaters and galleries, charming parks, and excellent hotels with local charm. 

If you enjoy wandering into independent shops and galleries with stops for lunch filled with Maine specialities, drinks, and strolls through the park, staying in downtown Bar Harbor is perfect for you. 

The brick sidewalks lead to funky and unique clapboard-clad boutiques and shops in this bustling district, offering goods like watermelon tourmaline jewelry (Maine’s state gemstone), sporting equipment, hand-woven baskets and artisanal crafts, and fun trinkets and souvenirs. 

You’ll find seafood (try a lobster roll) and wild blueberries (snag a slice of local blueberry pie) on the menus of most downtown restaurants, like the local institution of Geddy’s on Main Street and Stewman’s Lobster Pound near the Harborside Hotel.

There are plenty of vibrant Latin, Asian, Irish, and Italian restaurants when you want to shake things up, and the district has you covered with cute breakfast spots, like Jeannie’s Great Maine Breakfast and local-roasted beans and baked goodies from Coffee Hound Coffee Co. at the Stadium. 

For sensational sips, downtown Bar Harbor has great options to wet your whistle, like Bar Harbor Beer Works for local beers on tap with pub grub and seafood on the menu and Blaze for craft beer and pizza. 

Check out the charming Village Green park for regular events under the gazebo, like the Bar Harbor Town Band Summer Concert Series, and Agamont Park overlooking Frenchman Bay with trails and picnic spots for a perfect day out. Catch a flick at Reel Pizza Cinerama or a show at the funky Art Deco 1932 Criterion Theatre.

Your options for downtown hotels are abundant. While you’ll find national chains outside of the district, one of the best reasons for staying downtown is settling into a local inn or B&B housed in stately old waterfront mansions and cute Queen Anne-style cottages. 

Downtown Bar Harbor Budget Hotels

  • Anchorage Motel: Affordable, comfortable accommodations in the center of downtown Bar Harbor. It’s just a one-minute walk to the beachfront. 
  • Bar Harbor Villager Motel: Budget motel with a clean pool and free breakfast. Each unit has a mini-fridge and a coffee maker. 

Downtown Bar Harbor Mid-Range Hotels

  • Bar Harbor Grand Hotel: One of the most popular hotels in Bar Harbor, yet still affordable. It’s just off the main street of the town, offering convenient access to the beachfront and the shops. 
  • Ivy Manor Inn Village Center: The exterior of this small hotel resembles an English inn, covered in moss and surrounded by lush vegetation. The rooms are comfy and furnished with traditional décor and furniture. 

Downtown Bar Harbor Luxury Hotels

  • Acadia Hotel: High-end hotel near the coast. The spacious rooms include terraces, luxurious furnishings, and small kitchenettes.
  • Yellow House Inn: Bed and breakfast with a wraparound porch and large rooms. The home is a short walk from Bar Harbor Shore Path and has a wide selection of restaurants on the main streets of downtown Bar Harbor.

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2. Best Area for Families: Eastern Bay

Bringing the whole crew on your Bar Harbor getaway? The best place to stay is scenic Eastern Bay, just north of Bar Harbor in a less-crowded area overlooking Frenchman and Eastern bays. You won’t be far from the buzz of downtown or Acadia National Park. 

Enjoy a slower pace by staying in the serene coastal villages of Eastern Bay, which is around 10 minutes from downtown and 5 minutes from Acadia. You’ll find a great selection of hotels, family-friendly attractions, and restaurants in the area. 

Sweet Pea’s Farm Kitchen near Hadley Point Beach offers a fresh selection of food, cocktails, and wine in a scenic setting with outdoor dining available, from wood-fired harvest pizza made with seasonal ingredients to salads and snackable fried chickpeas. 

Dining indoors or out is a treat with Mainely Meat BBQ on Dreamwood Hill serving up brisket, pulled pork, chicken, ribs, and tantalizing sides with a playground for the kids, famous jalapeño cornbread, and a great selection of Maine craft beer.

Take the kids to Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf for a fun-filled day of putting to determine the true family mini-golf champion. Everyone will enjoy making their way through the pirate-themed course with caves, waterfalls, ships, and wooden stocks for a photo op! 

You can tour Atlantic Brewing Company’s 10-acre farm and brewery at Town Hill (kids are welcome) if you’re up to try a few local, small-batch brews in pints, flights, or growlers with another Mainely Meat BBQ location onsite.

Go for a swim or watch the sunset after a day at Acadia National Park at the scenic Hadley Point Beach, the island’s northernmost point. Hike trails (kid-friendly) at Stone Barn Farm national reserve, a 128-acre farm with historic structures, skiing and snowshoeing paths, and a pond. 

Accommodations in the area are especially nice without big crowds. Take your pick from a range of budget-friendly motels with convenient access to nearby attractions to luxurious oceanfront cottages and chain hotels with free breakfast. 

Eastern Bay Budget Hotels

  • High Seas Motel: Cozy accommodations across from the Pirate’s Cove Miniature Golf Course. The motel has a pool and a picnic area, making it a top choice for families.
  • Eden Village Motel and Cottages: This motel is about halfway between Salsbury Cove and the center of Eden. It’s a secluded spot with a playground for children. Each room has a fridge and microwave while each cottage has a small kitchenette. 

Eastern Bay Mid-Range Hotels

  • Bar Harbor Cottages & Suites: Located in the center of Salsbury Cove, this set of cottages and suites offers a charming place to stay. Some of the units offer views of the sea. 
  • Best Western Acadia Park Inn: This hotel is part of the Best Western chain of hotels. The hotel includes a business center and a laundromat. The deluxe rooms are spacious and available with a king-size bed and a sofa bed.

Eastern Bay Luxury Hotels

  • Heathwood Inn: Although this hotel doesn’t offer the largest rooms, the units are luxurious. Each unit has a seating area, a dining area, and a small kitchen.
  • Seabury Escape: The Eastern Bay region doesn’t have luxury hotels, but it does offer premium cottages and rentals, such as Seabury Escape. This large vacation home has three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

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3. Best Area for Nature Lovers: Seal Harbor

Boats in Seal Harbor for a piece on the best places to stay in Bar Harbor Maine

Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

Nature lovers will delight in the spoils of Seal Harbor, a coastal fishing village and beach destination with sophistication at Acadia National Park’s southern end. Lush gardens and parks, peaceful seaside activity, and charming restaurants make it a special area to stay in near Bar Harbor. 

While your view will include luxury yachts and sailboats in the harbor, the presence of playful seals, seabirds, and surrounding evergreen forests makes it the perfect basecamp for experiencing Mount Desert’s natural beauty outside of Bar Harbor proper. 

Watch lobster boats bring in their bountiful catches from Seal Harbor and take a stroll beside Little Long Pond. You can wander the carriage roads and trails through forests, creeks, and meadows on over 1,000 acres of natural beauty at Little Long Pond Natural Lands

The Stanley Brook entrance to Acadia National Park is minutes away for convenient park visits, while secluded Seal Harbor Beach and Village Green park are great spots to bring a picnic and watch the waves crash on the soft, sandy shore as boats pass by and seals play on the rocky bay.

While this area is ideal for natural beauty sans crowds and tourist attractions, you can take the free (May to October) Island Explorer shuttle for quick and easy transportation to Acadia National Park or over to the bustling downtown district of Bar Harbor.

The Lighthouse Inn and Restaurant makes a fantastic spot to frequent for lunch or dinner, offering local Maine seafood and American favorites like burgers and milkshakes along with a full bar and blueberry pie that’s to die for.

You could spot a celebrity summering in Seal Harbor during your trip, with big names like Martha Stewart and the Rockefeller family arriving during the blissful warm months to enjoy the seclusion and peace of the harbor. 

There are several cottage rentals and a singular inn in the area, giving it an exclusive feel that immerses you in the beauty and tranquility of this area just beyond Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. 

Nearby Otter Creek offers additional dining (like Otter Creek Market’s deli sandwiches and steamed lobster dinners) and accommodations options if you find Seal Harbor’s boutique establishments booked up for your travel dates. 

Seal Harbor Budget Hotels

  • Otter Creek Inn: This is one of the only hotels in the area. It’s toward the south of Otter Creek and just a few minutes from the center of Seal Harbor. It offers mountain views and low prices.
  • Carpenter’s Cottage: Enjoy a budget price on a cottage rental. This vacation home includes four bedrooms but costs less than the typical hotel. 

Seal Harbor Mid-Range Hotels

  • Ledgewood 11A: Small one-bedroom cottage rental just north of the center of Seal Harbor. The home has a small garden and is a short walk to the entrance of Acadia National Park.
  • Eagle’s Crag: Eagle’s Crag is another vacation home in Seal Harbor. It’s just off Route 3, which takes you to downtown Bar Harbor. It has three bedrooms and a full kitchen. 

Seal Harbor Luxury Hotels

  • Ledgewood 7: Ledgewood 7 is one of many cottages available to rent in Seal Harbor. This unit has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and is just a nine-minute walk from the beach.
  • Otter Creek Acadia House: This location stands out as the most luxurious rental property in Seal Harbor. Each room of the house has clean, modern décor and furnishings and lots of natural sunlight.

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4. Best Area for Boaters: Northeast Harbor

Northeast Harbor, a pick when considering where to stay in Bar Harbor Maine


Known to locals as the “Quietside,” the upscale village of Northeast Harbor sits just 20 minutes from Bar Harbor. It’s a summertime haven for passionate boaters who can’t wait to set sail or zip through the water in a scenic and lively destination. 

The area is filled with multi-million-dollar homes, beachfront cottage rentals, and affordable inns that make it accessible for travelers on a budget. Manicured, English-style gardens, scenic ponds, and hiking trails are beautiful additions off the water. 

Your first glimpse of the ocean during the peak summer season will greet you with an array luxury yachts, sailboats, and motorboats already out on the water near Sea Street, just waiting for you to join them in the naturally-sheltered harbor with gentle surf. 

Wander the Great Harbor Maritime Museum to learn about boating and fishing history in the area, check out Jericho Boat Charters if you’re ready to hit the water, or opt for Sea Princess Cruises along the coast with wildlife like seals and porpoises. 

Grab a lobster roll or the famous crab dip with a beer or glass of wine at The Nor’Easter Pound & Market, check Colonel’s Restaurant and Bakery for craft beer, seafood pizza, and chowder, while Milk and Honey Kitchen has great sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, pastries, donuts, coffee, and more.

You’ll even find food trucks set up on Harbor Drive, like the Bucking Lobster, slinging fresh lobster rolls piled high, burgers, and organic blueberry lemonade.

While you’re here, meander and sit for a spell through the perennial Thuya Garden and Asticou Azalea Garden to see Maine’s classy coastal take on English and Japanese gardens. Everything’s blooming and fragrant between May and June. 

When you’re ready to hit Acadia National Park or the restaurants, shops, and attractions in downtown Bar Harbor, head to the Island Explorer shuttle stop at the Northeast Harbor Pier for a free ride. 

You’ll find plenty of accommodations around Northeast Harbor that keep you tucked away from the hustle and bustle of busy Bar Harbor with great proximity to the water for boating and charters. 

Northeast Harbor Budget Hotels

  • Kimball Terrace Inn: If you want an affordable place to stay in Northeast Harbor, try Kimball Terrace Inn. As the name suggests, each room has a terrace. 
  • The Colonels Suites: Low-cost hotel with a variety of suites for singles, couples, and families. It’s in the center of Northeast Harbor, so you can easily reach nearby shops.

Northeast Harbor Mid-Range Hotels

  • Cozy Apartment with Deck: Enjoy your solitude at this comfortable mid-range rental. It includes a cabin atmosphere with modern furnishings. However, each unit has one bedroom.
  • Harbourside Inn: Located right off Route 3, this small inn has multiple guest rooms and offers convenient access to the national park and Bar Harbor. 

Northeast Harbor Luxury Hotels

  • The Colonels Suites #4 and #5: These are the only luxury accommodations available in Northeast Harbor. All guest rooms include a living room with a couch and a TV, along with access to a playground and outdoor activities.

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5. Best Area for Bird Watching: Southwest Harbor

Spring evening in Southwest Harbor Maine, one of the best places to stay in Bar Harbor Maine

Doug Lemke/Shutterstock

Southwest Harbor, also on the “Quietside” of Mount Desert Island, is a favorite spot for birdwatching and sits just 24 minutes from Bar Harbor. Loons, great blue herons, warblers, ospreys, snowy owls, woodpeckers, eagles, falcons, and mallard ducks are just a few of the bird species you could see.

This group of villages sits on the Somes Sound about 24 minutes from Bar Harbor, connected to downtown via the free Island Explorer shuttle with multiple stops through its picturesque villages of Seawall, Manset, Wonderland, Pemetic Hills, and Southwest Harbor.

It’s the perfect place to stay if you want a laid-back visit with a few days to spend in nearby Acadia National Park for more birdwatching. You’ll find a range of boutiques, museums, parks, and restaurants to explore while you’re in Southwest Harbor. 

The village of Manset is one of the most charming with views of the Bear Island Lighthouse, offshore islands like Great Cranberry Island and Sutton Island, yachts and sailboats in the harbor, and the Somes Sound. 

You’ll love the food options around Southwest Harbor, like seafood at Fish Camp with its own pier and outdoor dining, Bub’s Burritos is a fantastic spot for Mexican fare, while Eat-A-Pita and Cafe offers breakfast, seafood, stuffed pitas, and pasta with cocktails and wine.

Of particular interest for birdwatchers is the Wendell Gilley Museum of Bird Carving, featuring ornate aviary carvings, sculptures, and metalwork. Charlotte Rhoades Butterfly Park has picnic tables, a pond, playground, and overlooks the water with colorful flowers attracting butterflies (and birds!) for a magical experience.

Visit the historic Carroll Homestead and enjoy a guided walk through the woods, house, and grounds with rangers who can share facts about the homestead and the way life was 200 years ago. Take a guided boat tour or rent a sailboat or motorboat to enjoy the water. 

Hiking at Flying Mountain Trailhead leads you down granite step paths that lead to pebbled beaches frequented by loons and seabirds. Echo Lake Beach near the northern boundary is a secluded area for swimming and kayaking (rent kayaks at Maine State Sea Kayak on the way up).

Hotels, inns, and rental homes and cottages are clustered in the Southwest Harbor villages, giving you plenty of options for places to stay at different price points in this picturesque bird sanctuary on Mount Desert Island. 

Southwest Harbor Budget Hotels

  • Harbor Ridge: Harbor Ridge is a collection of townhouses and apartments with multi-day rentals. Most units sleep four to six adults. Although rentals are sometimes costly, Harbor Ridge offers budget accommodations for longer stays.
  • Drydock Café & Inn: Grab a bite without having to travel. This small inn has an onsite café with hot and cold food. 

Southwest Harbor Mid-Range Hotels

Southwest Harbor Luxury Hotels

  • Kenway Ranch: Kenway Ranch may not offer the most luxurious furnishings, but it’s a large rental with three bedrooms and a bathroom. It’s also a secluded property with convenient access to several hiking trails.
  • Southwest Harbor Home: This is another vacation home and one of the classiest properties in the region. You may not want to leave the carefully decorated interior, which includes four bedrooms and a fully equipped kitchen.

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6. Least Crowded Area: Tremont

Tremont, one of the best places to stay in Bar Harbor Maine


If you’re hoping to get as far away from the summer crowds as possible for your visit to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, you’ll appreciate the seclusion and peace of Tremont.

Located north of Southwest Harbor on the “Quietside” of Mount Desert Island, it’s under 30 minutes from Bar Harbor and just minutes away from Acadia. Villages like Bass Harbor, Bernard, and Seal Cove are within the area and offer boutiques, eateries, hiking trails, and harbor activities. 

As one of the most secluded regions of Mount Desert Island, Tremont is known as a place to steal away during the busy summertime to hike the 1.4-mile Wonderland Trail, visit the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, explore quaint communities, and still remain close to the buzz of the park and Bar Harbor. 

Bass Harbor is the most picturesque in Tremont, offering peaceful views of lobster boats and yachts bobbing in the water through morning fog with the lighthouse beacon (located on park land) shining brightly.

Dig into fresh seafood at Thurston’s Lobster Pound for lobster with all the fixings, hit Quietside Snacks for burgers, chicken sandwiches, and amazing fries, or try the roadside Seaside Dairy Bar and Lobster Pound for ice cream, fresh lobster, burgers, and more. 

You can hike or bring a picnic to the trails and meadows at Kelley Farm Preserve in Bernard, launch a kayak or paddle board at Heath Mill Landing in Seal Cove, and check out the Seal Cove Auto Museum with an impressive and unique collection of cars. 

As far as accommodations go in this less-crowded part of Mount Desert Island, you’re in luck with plenty of rental cabins, cottages, homes, and hotels to choose from in the peaceful villages of Tremont. 

Tremont Budget Hotels

  • Loft Cabin with Outdoor Patio: This small cabin sits in the hills just southwest of Acadia National Park. It’s a private spot with a single bedroom but is one of the least expensive options.
  • Jody’s Acre Hideaway: This quaint little retreat is technically in Southwest Harbor but is just down the street from the center of Tremont. It’s a comfortable, affordable place to stay. 

Tremont Mid-Range Hotels

  • Seasons in Seal Cove: Get away from the busy streets with a stay at Seasons in Seal Cover. This small, reasonably priced hotel is just a short walk north of the center of Tremont. 
  • Quiet Coastal Getaway: This is another secluded rental. It includes two bedrooms and is about 20 miles from downtown Bar Harbor. 

Tremont Luxury Hotels

  • Compass Rose: Compass Rose is a vacation home rental in Seal Cove, which is a short drive north of Tremont. As the area doesn’t have many hotels, renting a nearby home is a great alternative.

Creek Cottage: Soak up the sun in this cozy cottage in Bass Harbor, just east of Tremont. It has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, along with large floor-to-ceiling windows.

So, Where Should You Stay in Bar Harbor?

Bar Harbor has a rugged coastline with views of nearby islands, lobster boats, and yachts. It’s also the largest town on Mount Desert Island, offering access to shops and restaurants. Yet, Bar Harbor and the surrounding area have many different places to stay.

Let’s recap the best areas:

🛍️ Best for ShoppingDowntown Bar Harbor
👪 Best for FamiliesEastern Bay
🐋 Best for Nature LoversSeal Harbor
⛵ Best for BoatersNortheast Harbor
🐦 Best for Bird WatchingSouthwest Harbor
🧘‍♀️ Least CrowdedTremont

No matter where you stay in Bar Harbor, you can easily reach Acadia National Park and other scenic attractions. Before you book a flight, pick a place to stay and arrange your accommodations. Happy travels!