Guest post by kelbach
Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.
Day 1: Ohio to New York
Drove 4.5 hours from Cleveland to Elmira, New York and stayed at an Airbnb.
Day 2: New York to New Hampshire
- Corning Glass Museum
- Canoeing on Otsego Lake
- Downtown Portsmouth
Went to the glass museum, saw a glass blowing demonstration and the art displays as well as private collections. There’s an interactive area with the different uses of glass like a periscope, fiber optics, glass breaking, etc.
Then we drove to Cooperstown, NY and rented canoes from Canoe & Kayak Rentals and Sales for Otsego Lake. Spent some time out there and then visited two local antique shops.
Drove to Portsmouth, New Hampshire (4.5 hours) and stayed at another Airbnb. Ate dinner at The District in downtown Portsmouth – moderately priced with amazing burgers.
Day 3: New Hampshire to Maine
- Old Orchard Beach
- Owls Head Transportation Museum
- Bar Harbor
We explored Portsmouth for about 2 hours. Cute little city with a lot of shops and old architecture. Right across from the Kittery Naval Base and it was beautiful. Stopped at La Maison Navarre for their amazing macarons and coffee before hitting the road to Maine.
We stopped in Old Orchard Beach, which is a super touristy town just under an hour from Portsmouth. There’s a pier, lots of little shops and restaurants, a beachfront amusement park, and more. If you’re ok with crowded tourist areas, it’s nice.
Then drove to Owls Head (another 2 hours 15 mins) and went to the Owls Head Transportation Museum. Super cool museum focused on cars and airplanes, and most of the stuff is still working.
We drove State Route 1 (the coastal route) the rest of the way to Bar Harbor (2.5 hours). Lots of super cute coastal towns to stop at if you drive this way. Once in Bar Harbor, we stayed with a relative who has lived there for 30 years. He lives on the island basically in the center of town so we walked/biked most places. This night we walked down to the shore path which offers great views of Frenchman Bay and the Porcupine Islands.
Day 4: Acadia National Park
- Compass Harbor
- Carriage Roads
- Eagle Lake
- Bubble Rock
We walked down to Compass Harbor, which boasts a beautiful cobblestone beach and lots of fun rocks to climb up and around.
We were fortunate to have bikes at our disposal for free, but there are rental places in town (during peak season June – August). You’ll want to arrive early to ensure a rental. We biked to Witch Hole Pond on the Carriage Trail and then over to the path along Eagle Lake. This path is relatively flat excluding the ½-3/4 mile that’s all uphill. Eagle Lake is not swimmable as it’s a source of fresh water for residents of Mount Desert Island. The Carriage Trails are great and include lots of old bridges and beautiful views around Acadia National Park.
We finished off this day with a hike up the Bubble Rock Trail to South Bubble. This is a moderate hike but boasts a great view of Jordan Pond as your reward. If you venture to Maine in mid to late July, all your hikes will be great because they have delicious wild blueberries along most hiking paths.
Day 5: Acadia National Park
- Bar Island
- Sea Kayaking
- Somes Pond
We walked down to the Bar Island Sand Bar. During low tide a sand bar forms which connects Bar Harbor to Bar Island and you can walk over, hike the island, and also go tide pooling. Be mindful of your time as the water is cold (50is) so if you get stuck on Bar Island it’s at least 6 hours before the next low tide. Also, don’t leave your car on the sand bridge/bar either.
We took my uncle’s kayaks down to launch by a pier to paddle around Bar Island when the tide was in. There were jellyfish all around and the trip was easy. If you’re going to sea kayak, make sure you check the weather and are ok with lots of motion.
Drove over to Somes Pond to swim. This pond is great because there is a rock about 500 yards out that’s fun to jump off, sun bathe on, etc.
Finished the night at Reel Pizza in Bar Harbor. It’s a small movie theater with 2 options at a time. They have couches in the front and long counters in front of the seats. They serve pizza and alcohol as their draw.
Day 6: Whale watching
We took a whale watching tour through Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company. They took us out for 5.5 hours, which is quite longer than normal. They have a “whale guarantee” or your tickets are valid for another tour within 3 years. They cruised us up into Canada to a great spot filled with wildlife. We saw minke whales, humpback whales, harbor porpoises, gray seals, harbor seals, and a sperm whale. Our naturalist had NEVER seen a sperm whale before – they are super rare!
This was the 4th of July so the fireworks over Frenchman Bay at night were lovely.
We had dinner at McKay’s – a lovely restaurant with outdoor seating, live music, and the best lobster linguine!
Day 7: Maine to Ohio
We got up really early and drove up Cadillac Mountain for sunrise. It was spectacular, and a great end to the trip. Drove back home to Ohio.
Finally, I would not recommend going during the 4th of July. I was lucky enough to have a family member who knew where to go/how to get away from the busy areas, but if you’re going as a tourist it is very crowded. All the things like renting a bike or kayak, going on a whale watching tour, etc. are more difficult to book when you want.
Traveled in June 2018