Fall—from early September to late October, that is—is the best time to visit Bar Harbor in Maine. Autumn in Bar Harbor is glorious according to expert opinion, and it’s an opinion we heartily agree with. But why is fall such a great time to visit this part of New England? We give you seven reasons why:
Reason #1: The fall foliage is amazing
Only a few places in the country can beat the awe-inspiring beauty of the fall foliage in Bar Harbor. The woodlands surrounding the town, especially the forests of Acadia National Park, shed their summer greens for the bright yellows, the gleaming golds, the fiery reds, and the rich browns of autumn. This fall foliage is best enjoyed while hiking, but you can also bike or go on a leisurely drive around town to drink in the view.
Reason #2: The summer crowd has gone home
America’s elite built their vacation “cottages” in Bar Harbor in the late 1800s because of the town’s relative isolation. While modern technology and infrastructure have connected the town with the rest of the world, autumn in Bar Harbor gives glimpses of this isolation that these elites have enjoyed. The summer crowd would have been gone by September. When they do, you’d have the opportunity to enjoy fully the peace and serenity that the town is known for.
Reason #3: It’s much cooler outside for outdoor fun
Most people only find the time to enjoy the Great Outdoors in summer. But when the sun isn’t too hot and you’ve got crisp autumn air cooling you down, you get to appreciate the surrounding natural beauty more. When it’s autumn in Bar Harbor, the temperature hovers between 40F and 50F, just right for a hike along Acadia NP’s 155 miles of trails. The best part is, with the summer crowd gone, you can enjoy these trails with only a few people often sharing the space with you. Plus, the trails that Acadia NP normally closes down in spring and summer to allow peregrine falcons to nest are typically opened once again in autumn and winter. Among these are Precipice Trail and Valley Cove.
Reason #4: The night sky is so much clearer
Bar Harbor is one of the last few places on the planet where you can still see stars clearly at night. This is all thanks to ordinances designed to protect Mount Desert Island’s night sky from encroaching light pollution. The town celebrates the clarity of its night sky with the annual Acadia Night Sky Festival. There you can attend activities where you can learn more about the stars and the importance of protecting the night sky. The highlight of the festival is, of course, the star parties, where you get to go stargazing. On 2019, the festival will be from September 25 to 29. The star parties will be at Sand Beach, Seal Cove, and Cadillac Mountain.
Reason #5: You can run the most scenic marathon in the US
If you’re a runner, autumn in Bar Harbor means you can join one of the most picturesque marathons in the country. That’s none other than the Mount Desert Island Marathon or #RunMDI. #RunMDI is famous for bringing its participants down some of the most beautiful sights around Mount Desert Island, including the only fjord on the Eastern Seaboard, Somes Sound. #RunMDI features three main events—the marathon and the team relay start at Bar Harbor, while the half-marathon begins at Northeast Harbor. The finish line for all these races are at Southwest Harbor. The 2019 #RunMDI will be on October 20.
Reason #6: You can enjoy a showcase of local art
With all that natural beauty surrounding the town, is it any wonder that Bar Harbor is home to a number of artists and crafters? The annual Bar Harbor Fine Arts Festival showcases the work of these artists and crafters. The works on display and for sale vary—including paintings, photographs, sculpture, and handmade items. The 2019 iterations of the event are slated for August 2 to 4 and for September 6 to 8, both at Bar Harbor Inn.
Reason #7: Oktoberfest
Bar Harbor is craft brew heaven, and the town properly celebrates this fact with a weeklong Oktoberfest. This week of bottles and brews, awesome music and amazing food kicks off with a party at Smuggler’s Den Campground. It’s then sustained by a variety of wine-tasting events, craft events, games, and other activities, including a war canoe race and a beer-less pong tournament. The Bar Harbor Oktoberfest 2019 begins on October 10.
If you’re still looking for a vacation destination this fall, do consider Bar Harbor. Autumn in Bar Harbor is the best time to visit, and you’ll be enchanted with everything you’ll see there.