Bar Harbor, Maine has the distinction of being the second most popular outdoor adventure area in the United States (behind Yellowstone National Park). And, it is easy to understand why as this is the area where the Atlantic Ocean meets the mountains of scenic Acadia National Park.
Located on Mount Desert Island in Maine, Bar Harbor offers families a low-key eco-travel adventure, and during the fall foliage season, it puts on a spectacular show of colors! In and around Bar Harbor, there are many miles of shoreline to explore, 125 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage trails. In addition, there is a wide variety of ranger-led programs that will introduce your family to Acadia’s diverse natural and cultural history.
Suggested Eco-travel Itinerary
Acadia National Park. Numerousbiking and hiking trails can be traversed independently or by ranger-led group tours that offer conservation education as well as plenty of birding opportunities. Formal interpretive programs led by Acadia National Park Rangers are presented from mid-May to October, which enables the kids to stretch their minds as well as their bodies during mountain hikes, evening amphitheater programs, area boat cruises, seashore explorations, bike rides and special children’s programs. Check out the October Newsletter for specific events.
Wildlife and history tours. Local companies with registered Maine Guides will provide everyone with a different perspective of the wildlife and the history of the area; there are also several walking tours of Bar Harbor available.
Kayaking and canoeing tours. On the water, you can paddle a canoe or kayak either on your own or in the company of Maine camping guides who’ll explore with you the Mount Desert Island’s fascinating coastline. Alternatively, you can set sail with a guided expedition in search of whales, seals and seabirds.
Suggested Car-Free Voyage
Bus service from Boston to Bangor, Maine is available year-round via Concord Trailways. Once in Bangor, there are various bus and shuttle options for traveling to Bar Harbor including a fare-free Island Explorer bus running to Mount Desert Island as well as to other Acadia National Park destinations including neighboring villages, motels and campgrounds.
Alternatively, Amtrak offers services from Boston and other points in New England to Portland, Maine. Depending on your arrival time, you may choose to stay in Portland for the night or hop on the intercity bus to
Suggested Green Lodging
Maine has its own Maine Green Lodging certification that awards accommodations based on their ability “to reduce energy, conserve water, minimize waste, use environmentally preferable cleaners, and educate the public and their customers on reducing environmental impact”. Check out the Bluenose Inn – Bar Harbor Hotel and the Mira Monte Inn.
In the mood to see fall colors elsewhere in North America? Search our eco-certified North America trips for inspiration!