Bar Harbor is one of the loveliest summer colonies and luckily there is plenty of transportation to get there.
One of the most popular national parks in the United States, Acadia National Park is located largely on Maine’s stunning Mount Desert Island. The gateway and main attraction of the island and park is the historic resort town of Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor is a very popular tourist destination and summer colony. It is home to Acadia’s Cadillac Mountain and has a population of around 5,000 people.
Getting to Bar Harbor is easy with a number of transportation options. Take time on the island to explore the island’s romantic and scenic horse-drawn carriage roads. There are many ways to get to Bar Harbor—by car, ferry, and plane. Another way to get to Bar Harbor is by private boat. Another common way to get to Bar Harbor is to take a cruise ship along the North American coast.
Getting to Bar Harbor by car
Mount Desert Island and Bar Harbor are accessible from mainland America via Maine State Route 3.
- Road to Mount Desert Island: Maine State Route 3
- Access to Bar Harbor: On the road, in the air, on the ferry
It is very easy to drive to Bar Harbor as the island is connected to the mainland by a bridge. It should be noted that traffic jams can occur during the summer months (it’s one of New England’s most popular tourist destinations, after all).
The closest major cities to Bar Harbor are Boston and Quebec, Canada (both about 250 miles away). Other major cities like NYC and Montreal are about 475 miles and 350 miles away, respectively. All of these trips are doable for a long weekend.
One can reach Bar Harbor by bus (such as Concord Coach and Greyhound Bus) or by taxi from any of the local airports. It is not necessary to have a car (or rent a car) to enjoy Bar Harbor. There are also many guided tours around the island.
Take the ferry to Bar Harbor
It is also accessible by plane from Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport and by ferry from Winter Harbor, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
See The Cat for ferry services from Yarmouth in Canada. Ferries leave Yarmouth at 9:30am and arrive in Bar Harbor at 3pm, which is approximately a 5.5 hour ferry ride.
The Cat Ferry Yarmouth to Bar Harbor:
- Adult passenger: $115 one way l $210 round trip (ages 14-59)
- Vehicle up to 20′: $119 one way l $274 return
There is a daily passenger ferry from Bar Harbor to Winter Harbor and Maine’s Schoodic Peninsula. The ferry service operates from June 23rd to August 31st. The ferry is stunning, passing lighthouses, mansions, lighthouses and more.
- Departure times winter port: 10:00, 12:00, 14:30, 16:30 and 18:30
- Bar Harbor Departure Times: 9:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:30 pm, 3:30 pm and 5:30 pm
- Adult: $14 one way l $24 round trip
Visit their website for the latest information. The Schoodic Ferry is a 45 minute ride that connects the Schoodic Peninsula of Acadia National Park.
Getting to Bar Harbor by plane and taxi
It is possible to fly to (or at least close to) Bar Harbor. The nearest international airport is Bangor International Airport on mainland Maine near Bangor. From the airport, you can rent a car and drive to Bar Harbor—or take a taxi, bus, or shuttle (like Bar Harbor Coastal Cab & Tours or the Bar Harbor Shuttle).
- Nearby airports: Bangor International Airport and Bar Harbor Airport
Bangor International Airport is the closest international airport to Mount Desert Island (which is about an hour’s drive from Bar Harbor). The airport handles around 600,000 passengers annually and is a joint civil-military public airport. It was designated by NASA as an emergency landing site for the venerable space shuttle.
The nearest airport is Bar Harbor Airport (BHB). It’s also on the mainland, but right by the bridge that leads to the island. It has service to and from Boston, and has car rental and taxi services. It is only 9 miles northwest of Bar Harbor.
During the summer, Bar Harbor Airport is one of the busiest airports in Maine, serving many private jets for the wealthy to enjoy the area’s summer colonies. Commercial flights are operated at the airport by Cape Air.