Family Activities

Visit the "Bar" of Bar Harbor
At low tide, kids can immediately see how Bar Harbor got its name—a large sand bar connects downtown Bar Harbor to Bar Island. Children love taking buckets and shovels onto the bar and exploring all the sealife uncovered at low tide. Across the sand bar to Bar Island, a nature trail rises to a summit, offering spectacular views of Mount Desert Island. If you go, don't forget to check the local tide schedule and leave plenty of time to get back before the tide rolls in —it comes fast!

Oceanarium and Lobster Hatchery
This hands-on nature experience lets kids play games as they tour the lobster museum. Propel wind-up boats in the boat tank, explore the water-cycle exhibit, tour the marsh, and visit lobster babies at the hatchery. Kids love to dress up like seals at the educational seal exhibit. Open mid-May to October, 9 am–5 pm (except Sundays). Special group rates available by reservation. 207-288-5005.

National Park Junior Ranger Program
Kids up to 18 can become Junior Rangers. First they complete activities in the Junior Ranger booklet. Then, after joining one or two ranger-led programs or walks and promising to take care of the park, they get their very own Junior Ranger patch. 207-288-3338.

Nature Center and Abbe Museum
The Sieur de Monts Nature Center of Acadia National Park features guidebooks and displays about park wildlife. Children get to record the animals they have seen in the center's logbook. Open daily from mid-June through September.
At the Abbe Museum, a short walk from the Nature Center, children learn about Acadia's earliest inhabitants. A rich variety of hands-on learning and arts activities teaches them about the culture and traditions of Maine Native Americans. The museum's collection includes prehistoric pottery, bone and stone tools, porcupine jewelry, trade beads, a large birch bark canoe, and a wigwam. 207-288-3519.

Swimming
Children love playing in the salty ocean waves and the beautiful sand at Acadia's Sand Beach. Those preferring calmer, warmer waters may want to visit the freshwater beach at Echo Lake. Both swimming areas have lifeguards on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Little ones can get their feet wet in the Glen Mary wading pool in downtown Bar Harbor.

Take a Nature Tour
Go by sea to watch seals, dolphins, porpoises, whales, and mysterious underwater creatures on a boat and underwater video tour. Or stay on land to spot bald eagles, ospreys, peregrine falcons, great blue herons, woodpeckers, warblers, and shorebirds on a beginning birdwatcher's tour.

Hiking and Biking
Hiking trails cover Acadia National Park. One, Gorham Mountain, is only 525 feet high, but it offers beautiful ocean views and wild blueberries (in July and August) along the trail. The carriage roads also offer 45 miles of groomed, auto-free roads for you to explore as a family—hiking or biking. Bar Harbor has a number of bike shops that rent everything from mountain bikes to touring models.

Mt. Desert Island Biological Laboratory's Public Tours
Kids get to see dogfish sharks, skates, and other marine animals up close. And they learn how marine biomedical research at the laboratory contributes to improvements in human health. Located in Salisbury Cove. 207-288-3147.

Park Street Playground
A favorite place for the young children of Bar Harbor, this playground has swingsets, sandboxes, teeter-totters, and slides. It's just down the street from Glen Mary Wading Pool in downtown Bar Harbor, next to the YMCA.

MDI YMCA
The YMCA keeps kids busy with a gym, track, indoor pool, fitness room, and rec room. Perfect fun for a rainy day. Open year-round, 7 days a week. 207-288-3511.

Miniature Golf
At Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf on Route 3, the legends of infamous pirates come to life. Enter the 18th century and see carousing buccaneers and an authentic, full-scale pirate ship. Putt your way through mountain caves, over footbridges, and under magical waterfalls. 207-288-2133.
OCEANARIUM & LOBSTER HATCHERY
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OCEANARIUM & LOBSTER HATCHERY

Enjoy an up-close experience with marine life. At the oceanarium at 1351 Route 3 take a guided tour of a salt marsh and the Maine Lobster Museum. At the working lobster hatchery we take you on a fascinating tour to see mother lobsters & baby lobsters & the hatchery process. We also feature a hands on Discovery Pool with lots of local sea life to learn about, have fun and get wet! Group discounts and tours.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
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ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

The First Eastern National Park

HARBOR HOUSE COMMUNITY SERVICE CENTER
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HARBOR HOUSE COMMUNITY SERVICE CENTER

Harbor House is a community house. We pull together to serve young, old and in-between -- and we take pride in and draw sustenance from our solidarity and commitment to bringing the joys of Mount Desert Island life to everyone. Every Harbor House program and activity springs from our common ideas, ideals and individual contributions. Boys and girls, young and old, Harbor House welcomes all. With six key program areas and a roster of more than 60 health, fitness, educational, sports, community-based and youth-focused classes and activities, Harbor House serves every age group and every economic level -- and, has done so for forty-three years and counting.

THE NATURALIST'S NOTEBOOK
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THE NATURALIST'S NOTEBOOK

Named a Best of New England destination by Yankee magazine in May of 2013 and one of the 50 Things to Do in Maine This Summer by the Bangor Daily News, The Naturalist's Notebook combines nature, science, arts and the frontier of knowledge in fun, engaging installations and activities. The original Notebook exploratorium in Seal Harbor offers three floors of interaction, shopping and learning for all ages. Smaller Naturalist's Notebook Annex spaces have opened on Main St. in Northeast Harbor and (as of Aug. 1) on the town green Bar Harbor. Open 10-5 every day from late June to late October in Seal Harbor and Northeast Harbor and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day through late October in Bar Harbor.The Notebook is just a short drive from Bar Harbor or Northeast Harbor. It's a great rainy-day (or sunny day) place for families or anyone who's even slightly curious about the world and the universe.

ISLAND CRUISES
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ISLAND CRUISES

One of the most treasured experiences of coastal Maine. Island Cruises operates out of Bass Harbor on the Southwestern side of Mount Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park.  We are a family owned business offering our exclusive Lunch Cruise to the island fishing village of Frenchboro, possibly the most iconic location on the entire coast of Maine.  We also offer an afternoon Nature Cruise, narrated by the owner and Captain, which the editors of Yankee Magazine said was the best island tour in all of New England. Genuine, personal and family friendly.

WOODLAWN MUSEUM, GARDENS & PARK
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WOODLAWN MUSEUM, GARDENS & PARK

Woodlawn is a 180-acre historic estate located a quarter mile from downtown Ellsworth, Maine.  Once home to three generations of the Black family, it is now treasured for its historic house museum, its gardens, and its public park.  Visitors can explore a superb historic house, stroll through beautiful gardens, play croquet, hike on pristine trails, and much more.

Additional Resources

CAMP BEECH CLIFF

264 Beech Hill Road
Mount Desert, ME 04660
(207) 244-0365

COASTAL MAINE BOTANICAL GARDENS

Barters Island Road
Boothbay, ME 04537
(207) 633-4333

DOWNEAST SCENIC RAILROAD

8 Railroad Siding Road
Hancock, ME 04640
(866) 449-RAIL (7245)

MOUNT DESERT ISLAND MARATHON

1369 State Highway 102
Suite #1
Bar Harbor, ME 04609
(207) 288-9828

MOUNT DESERT ISLAND YMCA

21 Park Street
Bar Harbor, ME 04609
288-3511

AURORA VAULTERS

397 Douglas Highway
Lamoine, ME 04605
207.266.3791