Dog Friendly in Bar Harbor, Maine
National Parks have a somewhat well-deserved reputation as not very dog-friendly. After all, there is a list of restrictions at most parks about where your dog can't go. Usually it includes "all backcountry trails", hiking trails, and major tourist sites. There are, however, some National Parks where this is not the case. Acadia National Park, in Bar Harbor, Maine is certainly one of the them.
A trip to Acadia or Bar Harbor is a trip to a picturesque coastline typical of only Maine in the Northeast. This unspoiled country, both inside and outside of the National Park, is very dog-friendly. Due to the long Maine Winters most travel to Bar Harbor takes place in the Summer Months. Lodging is usually going to consist of small inns or B&Bs, and not large resort or well known hotel chains. There are a number of vacation home rentals that are pet-friendly as well. Some inns to consider are the Ledgelawn Inn in Bar Harbor, Rose Eden Cottages or the Oceanside Meadows Inn. Some vacation rentals are the Bar Harbor Acadia Cottage Rentals or the Ryan Estate Rentals. There are others listed in our directory as well. Many visitors to Bar Harbor hitch up the travel trailer or drive their motor home or other recreational vehicle here. Camping can be done in Acadia, Spruce Valley Campground or Timberland Acres Campground.
The highlight of any trip to the area is certainly going to be Acadia National Park. The park's scenic loop road passes all of the major park attractions where you can stop and spend as much or as little time as you want. You can purchase an audio tape tour of the loop road. Cadillac Mountain, which rises 1500 feet above the park, offers scenic views of Bar Harbor and the Maine coastline. There are hiking trails there as well. Other attractions that your dog will like are the miles and miles of carriage roads throughout the park. Acadia is not only dog-friendly, where leashed dogs can hike almost the entire park, but also horse-friendly. People bring their horses from all over the country (yes, even the west coast) for a summer of riding in the park. And you can hike all of these carriage trails with your leashed dog. Just stay out of the way of the carriages. You can also take a carriage ride with your dog in Acadia with Wildwood Stables. If your dog likes to swim there is Hadley Point Beach along Highway 3 and about ten minutes from Bar Harbor, near Eden. This beach allows dogs on leash year-round. The rest of the sandy beaches in Acadia do not allow dogs during the summer months, but in the fall, winter and spring you can enjoy them with your dog as well. There is an off-leash area in the park known as the Little Long Pond Leash-Free Area. The parking area is located about one mile west of Seal Beach on Peabody Drive (Route 3). This is the only off-leash area in the park (it is actually not in the park, due to the property lines in the area, but it is for practical purposes in the park). When in Acadia with your dog do not miss dining at the Jordon Pond House Restaurant. With service on tables on a grassy lawn in the park with a panoramic view of the lake and park, this restaurant is one of the most pet-friendly in the country. Maine seafood and popovers are among the favorite menu items.
The quaint resort seaside town of Bar Harbor is a fishing village doubling as a tourist center due to the neighboring National Park. Your leashed dog can ride the local buses called Island Explorer Buses. These buses take visitors and locals between campgrounds, lodging, Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. In Bar Harbor, you and your pup can shop in many stores in the downtown shopping district. There are a number of dog-friendly patio restaurants in town as well. Jack Russell's pub is a steakhouse. For breakfast, brunch or lunch try the Cottage Street Bakery, which is not really a bakery but a breakfast restaurant. For a scenic boat tour of the harbor there are a number of dog-friendly cruises available that leave from Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor or Southwest Harbor.
When visiting Bar Harbor from most places you will pass dog-friendly Portland Maine and Camden Maine. If you have time on your hands you can head much further east by taking the Cat Ferry to Yarmouth Nova Scotia and the maritime provinces of Canada or to drive north to Quebec City. Most visitors will drive to Bar Harbor on Interstate 95.