On your next trip aboard The CAT, add these lesser-known local favourites to your adventure list for an unforgettable vacation.

You may think you know what to expect from Bar Harbor, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, but we can assure you that no two vacations are ever the same when you travel to these destinations aboard The CAT high-speed car ferry. Of course, these two towns have things they’re known for, but there’s always something new to discover. Along with the changing of the seasons comes the opening of new stores, the emergence of a new trail, or a twist on an old classic. Follow along as we showcase some of our favourite hidden gems in the area and add to your list of must-visit stops during your next adventure.

Bar Harbor – Maine’s Coastal Gem

A beach under an orange sky at sunset in Bar Harbor
Location: Thunder Hole, Bar Harbor, Maine

Everyone knows about Acadia, the beautiful national park that offers unparalleled Atlantic views and 130 miles, or 209 kilometres, of hiking trails. And how could we not mention the spectacular restaurants and fresh seafood offerings along the Maine coast? But, while these hooks might be the things that lure you into Bar Harbor, they won’t be the only spots to draw you back.

If you plan on hiking along the Maine coast and using this picturesque beach town as a home base, you must schedule a trip to Thunder Hole, preferably 1 – 2 hours before high tide. Thunder Hole is a true wonder where the sound of crashing waves being driven into a narrow channel creates a sound akin to monstrous thunderclaps. It’s a genuine thrill and jolt of adrenaline to witness the power and wonders of the natural world up close and personal.

Looking to learn about the rich history and past of Maine? The once quaint and unassuming Abbe Museum, located along a trail, is now located in a modern and inviting downtown space. Here, you’ll find dynamic and stimulating exhibitions and activities centred on the history and cultures of the Indigenous people in Maine, the Wabanaki.

Looking to fill some time on a rainy evening, or perhaps you’re simply a cinema fanatic? The 1932 Criterion Theatre is one of two Art Deco theatres in Maine and brings the silver screen to life. Lastly, if you are looking for a place to kick back and process all you’ve done and learned while in Bar Harbor, why not have a picnic and lounge in Village Green Park, a lovely green space with gazebos, benches, and more. The perfect place to end your day under the warm summer sun.

Expect the unexpected in Yarmouth

An illuminated observatory at night
Location: Deep Sky Eye Observatory, Yarmouth, N.S. / Credit: Tourism Nova Scotia

If you’ve sailed into Yarmouth on The CAT, you know about the iconic Forchu Lighthouse. And locals and visitors alike know the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia branch — located right downtown — is a must-visit. But beyond these highlights, there are several other places to get an authentic taste of Yarmouth and discover hidden gems to add to your CAT adventure crown.

Yaciuk’s Antiques is the place to find treasures and oddities. Yaciuk’s Antiques specializes in music boxes and clocks and has an impressive collection of early photography, tintypes, daguerreotypes, cabinet cards, vintage kitchenware, glassware, advertising bottles, and more. With an ever-revolving stock, there is always something new to covet when you visit this shop.

If you are looking to return from vacation with a new pep in your step and a fresh new look, check out The Style Merchant. With a spa, salon, boutique, and wig shop, you’ll be leaving Yarmouth with a new manicure, handbag, and blowout!

One hidden gem of Yarmouth is so well hidden that it only comes out at night — the night sky! Yarmouth & Acadian Shores is where you can find some of the darkest and clearest skies in North America. In fact, the region is so ideally suited for viewing the night sky that it has been designated the first Starlight Reserve in North America by The International Starlight Foundation. Take advantage and set up camp in Ellenwood Lake Provincial Park, explore the milky way at the Deep Sky Observatory, or get a guided night sky tour during your stay at Trout Point Lodge.

A Hidden Gem for Every Adventurer’s Treasure Chest

The CAT ferry passing by the Yarmouth lighthouse
Location: The CAT Ferry / Credit: Tourism Nova Scotia

The CAT is your gateway between some of the most fun and exciting times along the East Coast of Canada and the United States. From high-profile adventures to quiet moments spent reflecting, from sun up well after sundown, you never know what amazing new adventure is waiting for you just around the corner. This summer, take advantage of our special offers and book your trip today! The high seas are calling!

Cover Image Credit: Destination Canada
Location: Trout Point Lodge: East Kemptville, Yarmouth and Acadian Shores