June 26, 2023
Bar Harbor, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia have a lot of things in common — from renowned Acadian roots and spectacular lighthouses to maritime hospitality and colourful fishing communities. These towns are the hidden gems of their respective regions. Full of quaint shops and unlimited hospitality, they’re worth exploring over and over again. The CAT high-speed car ferry will take you back and forth to these destinations in just 3.5 hours, meaning you’ll be refreshed and ready to explore these destinations upon your arrival. And if you’re wondering what to do when you arrive, we can help! We’ve gathered some amazing attractions in this itinerary, all within an hour’s drive of Bar Harbor and Yarmouth!
Once you arrive in Bar Harbor, make yourself at home in one of the many hotels, inns, cottages, or bed and breakfasts eagerly awaiting you. Take a moment to unwind before embarking on a journey to explore the beauty of this unique town.
It’s essential to fuel up with a delicious meal before exploring, and the local specialties of Bar Harbor are sure to delight. It will come as no surprise that Bar Harbor is known for its delicious lobster statewide, but that’s just the start of the culinary adventure. During your stay, indulge in freshly caught scallops, crab, shrimp, clams, haddock, and other delightful seafood delicacies. To satisfy your appetite, head to the Thirsty Whale located on Cottage Street in the heart of downtown Bar Harbor. Fill your tank with their famous homemade chowders or fish sandwiches before setting out to explore the town and its surroundings.
Jordan Pond – Acadia National Park
Bar Harbor serves as the main gateway to Acadia National Park. For the adventurous and outdoorsy types, camping overnight in Acadia National Park is a must. You can get to the parking lot of Cadillac North Ridge Trail in just 5 minutes from downtown Bar Harbor. Catching either a sunset or sunrise from atop Cadillac Mountain is an experience everyone should have while visiting. If you’re looking for a hiking challenge, then Precipice Trail is sure to test even the most experienced hikers.
Another great outdoor activity awaits you with a hike to Bar Island. Here, a wide gravel bar emerges during low tide, connecting Mount Desert Island and Bar Harbor Island. This bar creates a natural harbour on the eastern side of the town, hence the name Bar Harbor! Plan ahead and take advantage of low tide windows to explore Bar Island on foot. Be mindful of your time on the island, ensuring you return to the mainland before the tide rises to avoid getting stranded. If you prefer to not worry about the time and water level, take a leisurely stroll along the Shore Path.
The Shore Path is part of a larger project called The Museum in the Streets. This self-guided tour is easy to follow, thanks to marked signs throughout the town. The tour immerses you in the history of Bar Harbor through its historic buildings and the stories of its former residents. Along the path, enjoy breathtaking views of the rocky coastline, neighbouring islands, and boats sailing through the harbour.
All the walking and exploring are bound to make you hungry. Don’t miss Galyn’s, a local favourite since 1986. Galyn’s is the go-to place for happy hour, offering delicious fresh fish, local seafood, steak, chicken, and vegetarian options. For a memorable experience, head to the Galley Lounge upstairs and enjoy a sunset view over the water.
To truly appreciate Bar Harbor, you must also see it from a bird’s eye perspective. Scenic Flights of Acadia, just a 20-minute car ride from downtown Bar Harbor, offer an unforgettable experience. Hop aboard a closed cockpit high-wing Cessna aircraft with an experienced pilot and discover this corner of Maine in a completely unexpected way. Choose from a tour of Acadia National Park, Cadillac Mountain, Somes Sounds, or a lighthouse tour, where you’ll get to see up to twelve lighthouses. This unique experience will add a perfect finishing touch to your day.
Whether you’re departing from Nova Scotia or arriving in Yarmouth on The CAT, you’ll quickly discover that Yarmouth is one of Nova Scotia’s best-kept secrets. Away from the typical tourist hotspots, Yarmouth is a town rich in history, culture, delicious food, and thrilling outdoor adventures.
After your road trip or ocean journey, take a moment to relax and enjoy a cold, crisp beer from Heritage Brewing Co. This local brewery is committed to the artistry of crafting small-batch craft brews right in the heart of Yarmouth. If you’re lucky, you might even catch one of their live music events. This is the perfect place to make a game plan of what adventures you’ll be embarking on during your stay.
For a memorable day, head over to Pubnico. This small French Acadian community is just a 30-minute drive from the town of Yarmouth. Learn all about Acadian heritage at the Historical Acadian Village of Nova Scotia. Situated on a beautiful 17-acre site overlooking Pubnico Harbour, the village showcases the industrious spirit of the Acadian people, and it celebrates their resilient language and culture, which has thrived for over 350 years.
Location: Le village historique Acadien, Lower West Pubnico, Yarmouth and Acadian Shores
Credit: Tourism Nova Scotia / Photographer: Christian Webber
While in Pubnico, make sure to visit the Argyler Lodge and Restaurant. This establishment offers guided kayaking tours and cooking classes using the catch of the day and ingredients from their garden. The lodge also boasts spectacular ocean views from its airy wrap-around veranda. Don’t miss the chance to hit the beach for a refreshing swim or a traditional seaside lobster boil. The Argyler is a unique luxury oceanfront lodge in a charming Nova Scotia fishing village.
Did you know that the Cape Forchu Lighthouse is the second-most photographed lighthouse in Nova Scotia? It’s true! This iconic landmark is a must-visit when in Yarmouth. Explore the lighthouse and the rugged landscape surrounding it, and don’t forget to climb to the top for the Climb the Light experience. Afterward, indulge in fresh local seafood at the Keepers Kitchen next to the lighthouse.
Location: Trout Point Lodge: East Kemptville, Yarmouth and Acadian Shores Credit: Destination Canada
Yarmouth is also renowned for having some of the darkest skies in North America. From Trout Point Lodge to the Deep Sky Observatory, designated platforms offer unobstructed views of the night sky. At the Deep Sky Observatory, located in North America’s first certified Starlight Tourist Destination, you can witness the beauty of the Milky Way and, on a clear night, even catch a glimpse of the Rings of Saturn.
You can also treat yourself to a stay at Trout Point Lodge, nestled in the Tobeatic Wilderness Area, a designated UNESCO wildlife area. This luxury wilderness lodge and nature retreat allow you to unwind while enjoying comfortable accommodations and luxurious dining. Their stargazing platform offers a 360-degree view of the darkest skies, providing an upscale setting for celestial observation. Additionally, the lodge offers unique outdoor experiences such as forest bathing, guided foraging, kayaking, and mountain biking tours.
Yarmouth, The Acadian Shores, and Bar Harbor offer a wealth of experiences, whether you’re seeking one-hour drive adventures or longer road trips. The CAT Ferry is excited to take you there and show you the wonders of these destinations. Check out our sailing schedule for all available crossings, as well as our special offers for our latest promotions.