Travel Guide: Glamp Your Way Through Rustic Bar Harbor, Maine

Whether your idea of getting back to nature involves hiking through the wilderness or roasting s’mores outside your luxe glamping tent, you’ll find your happy place in this rugged Maine sanctuary by the sea.

A sunset scene in Bar Harbor. / Photo by Michael Joven/Eyeem/Getty Images

Summer may be over, but that doesn’t mean the outdoor adventures have to end. An early-fall lounge in Bar Harbor bridges the seasons, beckoning with sun-soaked days, cooler nights, and the first glimpses of autumn in the trees. Plus, as the gateway to more than 47,000 acres of Acadia National Park, the area gives weekenders the opportunity to hit up the beach and the boreal forest all in the same day.

Before exploring, you’ll want to make a stop at Cadillac Mountain Sports for gear—including hiking boots with decent treads, as sections of Acadia’s trails can be steep or slick by the seaside. With more than 158 miles of pathways that thread along glacier-carved lakes, pink granite cliffs, and birch groves, you can spend days exploring the park. But if you only have one, you can’t go wrong with the gentle 4-mile Ocean Path, which leaves from Sand Beach and offers staggeringly gorgeous Atlantic views the whole way.

With all that natural beauty behind you, it’s time to take in some manmade sights. Refuel at Choco-Latte Café with its namesake drink—a double shot of espresso with house-made chocolate syrup, spices, and milk—and soak up some Gilded Age glamour by checking out the Queen Annes and Classical Revivals around the Harbor Lane-Eden Street and West Street historic districts. Get an up-close look at the period details while enjoying some pampering with a trip to the Spa at Bar Harbor Club, a resort built by J.P. Morgan that opened in 1930.

Hungry yet? Savor a takeout lobster bake from the no-frills C-Ray Lobster at one of its outdoor picnic tables (and don’t forget to snag a few whoopie pies for dessert). Other dining options in town offer a chance to globetrot: the enormous seafood paella with perfect bits of caramelized rice at Havana; the crisp-edged pies at Rosalie’s Pizza; and the tender corned beef sandwiches at Leary’s Landing Irish Pub. End your day with a sunset stroll to Veranda Bar at Balance Rock Inn, a hidden gem where you can drink in both classic cocktails and serene views of Frenchman Bay.

A peek inside Terramor Outdoor Restor’s luxe, lodge-like tents. / Photo courtesy of Terramor Outdoor Resort

Getting There

It’s a four-and-a-half-hour jaunt by car to get from Boston to Bar Harbor, the largest of four communities on Mount Desert Island—just long enough to binge an audiobook or that podcast you’ve been meaning to catch up on.

Staying There

The Terramor Outdoor Resort, which opened in August, is your childhood campground gone glam. The sprawling property boasts 64 high-end tents, from romantic retreats with king beds, private bathrooms, and outdoor showers to family-friendly options with bunk beds. If you need a little civilization, visit the bar and restaurant in the central lodge, or order a picnic crafted from local ingredients and dine al fresco in nearby Acadia.

While many destinations, hotels, and attractions have been affected by the pandemic, we hope you’ll take advantage of our inspirational travel suggestions to plan your next trip.