Mount Desert Island Travel Guide

  • Fisher woman. Little Cranberry Island, ME
    Fisher woman. Little Cranberry Island,...
    by aquatic
  • Dorr Mtn (1270') and Cadillac Mtn (1530')
    Dorr Mtn (1270') and Cadillac Mtn...
    by johncudw
  • Mount Desert Island
    by turtlebella

Mount Desert Island Things to Do

  • Hiking Mt. Caddilac

    Named after the French explorer, not the overpriced American vehicle, Mt. Cadillac is a crown jewel of Acadia National Park.This is a challenging hike, but not to difficult for the average family. I'm forty-something and carried my baby girl up on my back without difficulty.Bring along plenty of water and you might want to pack a lunch to be...

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  • Visit Somesville

    I highly recommend driving over to the quiet, western part of the Island to visit Somesville. Located at the inner-most tip of Somes Sound (the only fjord on the eastern coast of the US), this is a tiny but charming town. The houses and buildings are almost all white with black shutters and trim. There is an incredibly picturesque footbridge and...

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  • Canoe Long Pond

    Canoeing on Long Pond is something we do every time we visit Mount Desert Island. Once you get past the part of Long Pond where people live, it becomes a most idyllic spot. At one point all of the land bordering the pond is National Park land and so it is nice and quiet. You can just paddle around this (very large) pond or you can paddle over to a...

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  • Sea Kayaking

    There are several sea kayaking outfits in Bar Harbor. I like Acadia Kayak, they take you to the Western Bay, off of Mount Desert Island. It's much quieter over there- fewer boats and lots of wildlife. Every time I've gone we've seen at least one bald eagle, loons, cormorants, seals...it's great! Just being out there paddling is such a treat. Anyone...

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  • Hiking in Acadia National Park

    My husband and I love to hike. We love mountain views and ocean views. And so Acadia is a perfectly perfect place in my opinion, and surely my favorite place in the U.S. There is something for everyone - from the gentlest hikes your grandma could do to trails where you have to scramble amongst boulders and pull yourself up iron ladder rungs on the...

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  • Go up Cadillac Mountain and watch the...

    (or sunrise if its open at that time)This is a September sunset.The water is over on the west side of the island.One of the nice things one can do in the park.even if you don't have a long time to spendthere.1530 feet above sea level

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  • Go to Sand Beach

    Good place to take a walk on the beach and view the surrounding landscapeWater is cold even in late AugustThis is view from a January day

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  • Drive Ocean Drive

    This road in Acadia National Parkfollows the east side of Mount Desert Island, has rocky cliffs, and places to pull out and watch the waves, andhiking trail heads.

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  • Motor Boating in Frenchman's Bay

    There are motor boat rentals in Bar Harborat the docks. We went way around by Ocean Drive and the Beehive. This is the view from there.Be careful of certain marked shoalsand breakwater areas. They are dangerouswith motor boats.Views are nicer on a sunny day, of the island(s)

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  • Drive or hike up Cadillac Mountain (1530...

    Gives a good view of the whole island.This photo is not from the top, but alongthe way. This is Frenchman's Bay with the Porcupine Islands and wall along the roadand rocks on the mountainside, below

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  • Climb Gorham Mountain

    The mountain is near Sand Beach along Ocean Drive and is pink granite, 500 feet abovethe sea. Not as difficult as Sargent Mtn or Cadillac, or Dorr, shorter.Here is a photo of the view across Frenchman's Bay from the summitSand Beach can be seen on the left. Need to wear a good set of toughwalking shoes or light mountain boots that are tough for...

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  • Take a walk by the water

    The Ship Harbor trail is easy, pleasant, and it has great views. We didn't run into too many people, and it's more accessible for children and older adults than many trails. It's just before the Wonderland trail on 102A.

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  • Check out the Maine book selection

    While there are novels and biographies, the Port Side bookstore has its emphasis on Maine. Lots of children's books (McCloskey et al) and Maine information books cover the walls. _The Lobster Coast_ is an interesting buy for those interested in lesser known tales of the area. Highly recommended for a stop, especially before or after Thurston's!...

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  • Go to the chapel...for renewing or...

    You can get married at the Mount Desert Lighthouse Wedding Chapel in Bernard. It's tiny, and very casual, but it makes for fabulous photos! Thurston's is just down the road (two minute walk) to celebrate, and there is a little pier for photo opportunities.This comes from a local website: Lighthouse to serve as wedding chapel The lighthouse...

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  • Go climb a mountain!

    We found the hike/climb up Mount Penobscot very rewarding. Bring sunscreen, water, a snack, and good shoes for hiking. Sneakers are fine. It's NOT a good climb for children or people with limited mobility. Several areas are more of a clamber and a squeeze. The views are fantastic. Leave yourself several hours from Jordan Pond to climb. We took...

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Mount Desert Island Restaurants

  • Bar-b-cue and Brew - made right there!

    "Mainely Meat" as its name implies, is no place for namby-pamby veggie fascists - its all about mounds of barbecued delights served within spitting distance of Mt. Desert's very own Atlantic Brewing Company brewery.Not a place for those who frown on paper plates and beer served in the bottle - like God intended. You are just as likely to share a...

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  • Cuban in Bar Harbor

    First off, they have an astounding wine list, apparently they've been written up in the wine media, so I guess it isn't surprising. They also have some yummy cocktails-- mojitos, caiprinhas, etc. We quite enjoyed what I would call the Cuban/American/Latin American fusion food- I had an Argentinian style steak sandwich which was quite tasty and my...

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  • Sophistication in Bar Harbor

    Mache Bistro is a tiny place in Bar Harbor. While the vast majority of Bar Harbor restaurants are touristy type places, Mache Bistro is a far different place. The food and atmosphere are casually elegant, a little bit of sophistication in the middle of vacation tourism land. The decor is whimsical modern. Tables are all made of copper and the water...

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  • Best Lobster!

    Thurston's has the best lobster on the island, and probably the best in Maine! It's a bit off the beaten path but well worth it. Located in Bernard it's on the harbor (Bass Harbor) of a proper working, lobstering town. The restaurant is dockside so you can watch lobster boats come and go, and the general bustle of the harbor. The lobster is fresh...

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  • Ice Cream with a twist

    Lots of exceptional and creative flavors. There are tons of places to go for ice cream right in Bar Harbor, but we chose this place because it looked a little off-center. The flavors had ale, caramels, kahlua, and lots of fun combinations. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. The staff was very friendly, and they allow tastes. I had something called Bucketful of...

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  • Maine Pizza Chain

    So being from NYC, the pizza doesn't impress me. However, Pat's is kind of an institution and the one in Ellsworth has a great deck. If you went to the LL Bean outlet in Ellsworth and worked up an appetite, this might just be the place to go. There is a huge selection of toppings, as well as typical italian dinners, subs, and appetizers. The...

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  • Pizza and a Movie

    Pretty Unique, I think. Order a pizza and eat it while watching an Art film or a first run movie. There's quite a selection of movies and pizzas here. The schedule changes every few days, so check on it. While we were there, they were playing Pirates of the Caribbean and An Inconvenient Truth. It opens at 4:30, and there is a parking lot, but it...

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  • Lobster Pound

    So, there are tons to choose from, and we love Thurston's in Bernard, but I have to put in a word for the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound. It's on Route 3, just before crossing over to MDI - it's on your right on the way to the Island. There are the BEST crab sandwiches here. No, not rolls, sandwiches. They cost $12, but they are twice the size of...

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  • Real Good Food - REALLY!

    Need a break from seafood and crowded downtown restaurants while on MDI? Mother's Kitchen ROCKS. You can take out the sandwiches, or eat at one of the two/three picnic tables just outside. It's only open until 2 PM, so get there quick! They make their own bread and the sandwiches were truly the best I've had in a LONG time. Lots of comfort food...

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Mount Desert Island Warnings and Dangers

  • TempNomad's Profile Photo

    by TempNomad Updated Apr 4, 2011

    Be very wary if you decide to rent a vacation home with Baer Property rentals. We had a pleasant enough experience in Summer 2007, but after our "early bird" deposit was cashed in Oct/Nov of 2007 for the following summer, we heard nothing until six months later, just before the balance was due. We had tried to leave phone messages and email messages with Liz Slater, but we got no answer from either method. Obviously, prior to sending more money, we wanted some contact, so we emailed the owners of the property she represented. We were told that the owners had severed ties with her in late 2007. We are currently trying to get back our deposit, and it was only with pressure from the dissatisfied owners of the property that she even contacted us (by email) to "assure" us that the deposit would be returned. We have an attorney friend at the ready, just in case.

    Needless to say, we had to compromise with our vacation plans (yeah, I know, boo hoo with all the major world issues going on). Just a warning to those who might deal with her business.

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Mount Desert Island Tourist Traps

  • TempNomad's Profile Photo

    by TempNomad Written Aug 20, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    While it's very lovely, the shop streets are crowded and kitschy. It's fun to go and wander around to check out the trinkets, but avoid buying too many lobster key chains or t-shirts.

    Unique Suggestions: Instead, get an ice cream (preferable from MDI Ice Cream!) and walk down to the water to enjoy the views of boats and people.

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Mount Desert Island Off The Beaten Path

  • turtlebella's Profile Photo

    by turtlebella Updated Jun 28, 2007

    If you like good beer. Even if you don't but your spouse or best friend or family member back home does. You need to visit Bar Harbor Brewing Company, just outside Bar Harbor proper.

    This tiny microbrewery makes some of the finest beer ANYwhere. Their stout, Cadillac Mountain Stout, is consistently ranked as one of the best stouts made. In my family it's pretty much our favorite thing to drink. It has won many awards. Likewise their Thunder Hole Ale (you'll notice that many of their beers are named after local spots). They have peach and blueberry beers for those that like the fruity beers (and you gotta have blueberry beers, Maine is known for it's great blueberries!). And they have soda syrups- root beer and blueberry- too, so there's something for the kids.

    Tod and Suzie Foster run Bar Harbor Brewing Company themselves. They brew their beer in their basement. Yup, you heard that right: their basement. They've deliberately kept their operation small and the quality of their beer extremely high. And so you can't get BHBC beer very many places, just in Maine, and even that just down the coast to Portland, basically (they distribute their beer themselves, is basically the deal). And so if you bring any home with you, your beer aficionado friends will love you! That is, if you share any and not drink it all yourself!

    There is a tasting room in a cabin on their property and you can tour their brewery with Tod and learn all about how to brew great beer. Don't miss this - it's a great thing, Bar Harbor Brewing Company beer.

    Tod Foster - talking about brewing his beer
    Related to:
    • Beer Tasting

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Mount Desert Island Favorites

  • johncudw's Profile Photo

    by johncudw Updated Apr 29, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: This is the street with many restaurants
    and shops, and goes down to the harbor
    where the docks are.

    There are art galleries, outdoor outfitters,
    and specialty gift shops.
    The waterfront has a good view of the bay
    and the Porcupine Islands.

    Nice place to walk around and explore.
    Downtown is walking distance from many
    of the hotels.

    See the second picture for a view of Dorr Mtn. and Cadillac Mtn., from town.

    Fondest memory: in mid July 1969 was up here with parents
    and took the ship Bluenose over the ocean
    to Yarmouth Nova Scotia with the car and
    we drove up from there and all the way
    around into New Brunswick and
    back into Maine, and back home ( Connecticut )

    Bar Harbor in September 1998 Dorr Mtn (1270') and Cadillac Mtn (1530')
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Mountain Climbing

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