Bar Harbor Is a Perfect Fall Getaway From the Philly Suburbs

The coastal Maine town’s stunning national parks and autumn festivals make this New England spot a must-visit.

Adobe Stock / Zak Zeinert

Bar Harbor’s stunning Acadia National Park and autumn festivals make this New England coastal town a must-visit.

Leaf peeping is plentiful in New England come October. Pair the golden hues with hiking trails, fall festivals and the overall charm of this coastal Maine town, and you’ve got a recipe for a perfect getaway. Fly directly into Bar Harbor, or hop a flight to Bangor or Portland and rent a car. Here are five things you won’t want to miss.

One of Bar Harbor’s biggest attractions is the sprawling 47,000-acre Acadia National Park. Gorgeous bay and ocean views abound, as do wildlife and whale sightings. Summit Cadillac Mountain, traverse hiking trails, stroll the beach and visit Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.


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Inside Acadia, enjoy a scenic drive or bike ride around Park Loop Road. Its 27 miles offer plenty of scenic pull-offs for snapping photos of foliage.

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From October 6-7, Smuggler’s Den Campground hosts the Acadia Oktoberfest, which offers wine, champagne and, of course, beer. On October14-15, explore handmade crafts and other artisan goods during the Island Arts Association October Craft Fair. The free event takes over the Atlantic Oceanside Lawn.

See the ocean’s most majestic creatures with Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. The three- to 5.5-hour whale watch tours take visitors out into the Gulf of Maine where they’re sure to see oceangoing mammals like dolphins, humpback whales and more. For a shorter expedition, try the Bar Harbor nature cruise, which takes guests on a two-hour exploration of the shorelines and islands surrounding Bar Harbor, where views of seals, bald eagles and harbor porpoise chasing herring abound.

On the very edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the breathtaking 110-foot Otter Cliff is one of the highest coastal headlands on the East Coast.

What’s the point of heading to Maine if you’re not going to try the finest local delicacy: fresh lobster? Due to its proximity to the sea, Bar Harbor offers some of the cheapest lobsters anywhere in the world, but with so many lobster shacks to choose from, you’ll want to ensure you’re making the right choice.

Our pick goes to The Travelin’ Lobster. A family-owned and -operated business since the 1970s, it found its current home in 2016, where it offers outdoor seating until it closes at dusk. Be sure to get there early in the day, not only because of the early closing, but because you’ll get the freshest lobsters from that morning’s catch.


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Once you’re all tuckered out from exploring New England’s natural beauties, hunker down at Ullikana Inn. Just steps away from Bar Harbor’s town center lies this quaint 1880s luxury cottage. Meticulously restored as a boutique hotel, Ullikana’s quiet rooms and peaceful gardens exude a charm not often found in the modern world. Each room and suite includes supremely comfortable new beds, 600-thread-count luxurious linens, cable television, Wi-Fi, private baths, individually controlled heat and air and free breakfast.

Related: 6 Can’t-Miss October Events Happening Around the Main Line

Our Best of the Main Line Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!