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Help for planning a trip to Bar Harbor

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SW Illinois
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Help for planning a trip to Bar Harbor

My hubby and I are planning a trip to Cooperstown for the Baseball Hall of Fame; we're so close that we decided that we'd go ahead and head on over to the Bar Harbor/Acadia Natl Park area while we're "so close". We've gotten such excellent advice before from the TA forums, so here we are for more. ;-)

We prefer to travel just past the peak season; we're looking at making this trip some time between mid-September to mid-October; we're retired (mid-50's) so we can be flexible with our dates. We are beach-lovers, so that is a priority; we do not have to stay *on* the beach as long as we have a fairly easy/convenient walk to the beach (or short drive if there's no waterfront lodging). We aren't interested in water sports/swimming; we just enjoy walking along the beach. We also enjoy biking and easy hiking. We prefer a little more isolation -- i.e., we aren't big fans of the busy, carnival-ish, touristy kinds of destinations. By the same token, we don't want to be too isolated; we like to be conveniently located (i.e., a short drive) to restaurants, shops, etc.

We're always on the lookout for "budget" lodging; while we want something clean and nice, we would rather pay less for lodging and spend more time at our destinations than to pay more and have to cut our trip a little short -- we don't spend THAT much time in our room, so we certainly don't need anything plush or luxurious. We don't intend to do any cooking, so a simple, clean room is all we need.

Forgive me for the lengthy post -- I just wanted to try to give you all an idea of what we're looking for ... so you all can point us in the right direction. Thanks so much for your help!fall; since we're that far, we want to continue on over to Bar Harbor. We've never been to Maine before, so we'd like some help/advice.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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for Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park
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1. Re: Help for planning a trip to Bar Harbor

First of all, there really isn't much in the way of beaches here. Probably the largest one is Sand Beach; it is in Acadia National Park and they frown on people trying to camp there. Once you get here and see the shore, you will understand the phrase "the rock-bound coast of Maine."

The time you identify is a good time to be here. The busiest time of the season is past. The tourist population largely has changed from families with children to couples---except perhaps for the Columbus Day holiday, which usually coincides with the peak of autumn foliage and thus is a popular time.

Acadia National Park is very user friendly, with about 45 miles of carriage roads upon which to bicycle or walk (no motorized vehicles) and over 100 miles of hiking paths and trails.

The area has a diverse lodging industry. As an introduction to the area, activities, lodging, etc., see:

http://www.acadiamagic.com

If bed and breakfast inns interest you, see:

http://www.sleepbarharbor.com

Also, there is a private web site operated by a frequent visitor; it has a lot of suggestions about things to do, places to eat, and so forth:

http://www.ouracadia.com

Finally, my photo albums of the park are at:

http://tinyurl.com/2w873s and a blog at:

http://cwvoigt.wordpress.com

Happy planning

Bar Harbor
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2. Re: Help for planning a trip to Bar Harbor

I agree with cwvoight, people don't generally come here to walk on a "beach". Even Sand Beach is only about 10 minutes across and our water will be very chilly by the time you get to town. But, if you do like biking and hiking of any kind, then do come...our beautiful Acadia National Park offers great biking and the hiking can be anything from a wonderful walk on a carriage road to a great hike up the mountains...the choice is yours... as far as lodging, we have everything here for every budget, check out the links he provided you with. Have a great time while you are here.

SW Illinois
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3. Re: Help for planning a trip to Bar Harbor

cwvoigt wrote: Probably the largest one is Sand Beach; it is in Acadia National Park and they frown on people trying to camp there.

My question: I understand that Sand Beach is beautiful, but it appears, per tripadvisor's map (tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g143010-d5…), that it's on Branch Lake, which looks to be quite a bit inland. Is this correct?

Perhaps the beaches further south (Wells area) would have beaches that would be more what we're looking for. Thanks for your help so far.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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4. Re: Help for planning a trip to Bar Harbor

SWIllinoisBeachLover:

"My question: I understand that Sand Beach is beautiful, but it appears, per tripadvisor's map (tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g143010-d5…), that it's on Branch Lake, which looks to be quite a bit inland. Is this correct?

Perhaps the beaches further south (Wells area) would have beaches that would be more what we're looking for. Thanks for your help so far."

Well, either you or TripAdvisor is very confused. As I said, the Sand Beach here is in Acadia National Park, and is on the ocean.

If what you are looking for is large extents of sand beaches, then yes, the answer is to concentrate on the southern areas of Wells, Old Orchard Beach, etc.

SW Illinois
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5. Re: Help for planning a trip to Bar Harbor

cwvoigt wrote: Well, either you or TripAdvisor is very confused. As I said, the Sand Beach here is in Acadia National Park, and is on the ocean.

Thanks. I included a link to TripAdvisor's map, showing (by the star) the location of Sand Beach. It sure didn't appear to be in Acadia National Park, as you had indicated, which surely didn't make sense -- which is why I asked for clarification. ;-) If Sand Beach is on the ocean, that sounds like it would be quite adequate for us (we prefer oceanfront beaches). Add in the biking & hiking, and it sounds more like Bar Harbor would be an ideal destination. Again, thanks so much for your help! I'll go check out the links you provided. ;-)

Catlin, Illinois
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6. Re: Help for planning a trip to Bar Harbor

Hi SWIllinoisBeachLover,

After reading your post, I think you and your hubby will love Mt Desert Island and Acadia. If you are like us, you will not spend much time in your room, for there is much to see and do.

First, here is a link to a NPS map of Acadia that will help you: nps.gov/acad/…ACADmap2005.pdf

Next is a great place to start your planning: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60709-s1/…Inside.html

For walks along the beach there is the Shore Path: tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60709-d66…

Something new that I have only read about is the Schooner Head Path: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60709-i381-k23948…

We also like Ship Harbor trail and Wonderland down by Bass Harbor.

As for biking, there are companies that rent bikes in Bar Harbor.

Remember to stop by the Hannaford supper market to pick up supplies for a picnic or two. There are many great places for one in the park.

I have found that the members of this forum helped us plan a great vacation to Maine. I know they will for you to.

Here is a link to our travel pictures. Just scroll down to 2007: http://picasaweb.google.com/rwdwTA

Enjoy your trip!

SW Illinois
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7. Re: Help for planning a trip to Bar Harbor

Thanks, fellow Illinoisan!

(BTW, I thoroughly loved your photo albums!)

Catlin, Illinois
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8. Re: Help for planning a trip to Bar Harbor

I am glad you enjoyed the pictures. They only give you a taste of all there is to see.

BTW, I got this idea from cwvoigt sharing his pictures. Thanks cw

Bar Harbor, Maine
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9. Re: Help for planning a trip to Bar Harbor

RWDW provided a number of good ideas for hikes and walks.

The Shore Path is one of our favorites for a short walk. For a longer walk with a bit "wilder" scenery, there is the Ocean Path that runs from the Sand Beach Parking lot above the ocean to Otter Cliffs.

Schooner Head Path is a new path, still under some construction at one end, than runs from the village out to the Schooner Head overlook in the park.

Ship Harbor and Wonderland are on the south end of the island. Both are relatively short, low-impact walks. If you are willing to walk on the rock and pebble beach that lies between the two areas, you can make a loop.

These and one more are described in a bit more detail in "Bar Harbor Easy Hikes" in the Things to Do section on the left side of this page.

SW Illinois
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106 reviews
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10. Re: Help for planning a trip to Bar Harbor

Another question: it looks like our trip may need to be moved up -- to June. The upside is that the average temperature in June is 5 degrees warmer than in September (and we might be able to save a couple of bucks on lodging). Is June a good time to visit Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park? Is it terribly crowded (since schools are no longer in session)? Again, thanks so much for all your help!