Where To Stay In Acadia National Park And Bar Harbor

by Mark and Kristen Morgan
The Acadia Hotel in downtown bar harbor is a great choice for where to stay in acadia national park but it is expensive

We’re going to show you the best hotels and exactly where to stay near Acadia National Park for your budget. Will it be high-end Bar Harbor or a more relaxing and affordable small town on Mount Desert Island? Let’s find out!

Unlike many popular US national parks, there are no park run lodges inside the park boundaries at Acadia. So, you – along with every other visitor to Acadia – are left with a choice between one of three major campgrounds or finding a hotel nearby.

The result is a very competitive market with incredibly high demand and surging prices in peak seasons. Don’t forget, Acadia has two peak seasons; Summer goes without saying but also in Fall when autumnal colors are spectacular throughout the park.

Bar Harbor is the first place you think of when considering where to stay near Acadia, right? It is the quintessential New England coastal town and Summer home to many famous celebrities.

However, you won’t be surprised to hear about how expensive accommodation here can be, particularly if you don’t book a long way in advance and you visit in peak season.

We planned a last minute trip to Acadia in October and our 3 night stay in a Bar Harbor hotel came with an eye watering price tag. But it turns out there are plenty of other options spanning the budget range if you don’t stay in Bar Harbor.

Let’s get stuck into where to stay at Acadia National Park!

Don’t forget to read our top Acadia resources to help with planning your trip:

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Map Of Best Hotels Near Acadia National Park

If you look at a google map of Acadia National Park, you will see green and grey areas scattered across Mt Desert Island. Green is National Park land and grey is residential.

Many of these residential areas are within a stones throw of the top Acadia attractions and host visitors in hotels, B&B’s and lodges.

All hotels listed in this where to stay in Acadia National Park guide are depicted in the map below.

  • Green Markers – Bar Harbor Hotels
  • Blue Markers – North Mt Desert Island Hotels
  • Orange Markers – Northeast Harbor Hotels
  • Purple Markers – Southwest Harbor Hotels

Tips For Booking Hotels Near Acadia National Park

  • Book as soon as you have concrete travel dates to stand a better chance of getting the best hotel available for your budget.
  • Consider whether you absolutely ‘have’ to stay in Bar Harbor, despite the inflated prices.
  • Do you have any special or unique things to do in Acadia? A night hike or sunrise photography shoot? Consider staying near a top attraction, trailhead or photo location.
  • Save money on food by shopping at Hannaford Supermarket in Bar Harbor. We bought food to make lunches each day we were inside Acadia.
  • Camping is a cheaper alternative if you can find availability or plan to stay in a tent or RV.
  • Top tip: Remember Acadia is busiest in Summer and Fall, so Spring could offer cheaper hotel prices.
Stunning building house and grounds in Maine

Bar Harbor – Where To Stay In Acadia National Park

We couldn’t start off a list of the best places to stay near Acadia National Park anywhere else but in beautiful Bar Harbor.

Bar Harbor is rich in history, lobster and accolades. It was an exclusive Summer retreat to some of the wealthiest families in American history and in Acadia, it is the gateway to one of the busiest US national parks.

But convenience, glitz and glamour come at a cost. If your travel budget is healthy, you need not look anywhere else, but if you’re traveling on a frugal budget, you might want to check out our alternative options below.

Bar Harbor is a wonderful place to stay, with dozens of excellent hotels, eateries and craft breweries, a very walkable town center and the harbor itself to explore.

The town is very small, so almost all hotels are within walking distance of the Village Green and Main Street. This is where you will find shopping, restaurants and all other amenities.

Staying in Bar Harbor gives you the most convenient access to many of Acadia’s most popular hikes and attractions, including both Beehive Trail and Precipice Trail.

Best Hotels In Bar Harbor

Hotels in Bar Harbor can be split into two distinct areas.

  • The first group are downtown, easy to walk everywhere and typically extremely expensive.
  • The second group are clumped between 1 – 1.5 miles Northwest of downtown around college of the Atlantic. They are awkwardly far enough away from downtown to leave around a 25 – 30 minutes walk, which means it might be worth driving instead. However, they are usually a little lighter on the wallet.

It is important to note that many of the hotels we recommend are likely to have no availability for the dates you wish to travel, due to high demand.

Just keep clicking on the hotel options below and somewhere will hopefully have a room for your dates!

We are listing the top rated hotels in Bar Harbor by guests and spanning the budget range from expensive to, well, very expensive. This is Bar Harbor after all!

Each hotel has a rating out of 10 as per Booking.com previous guest ratings for reference.

Click any hotel to see prices and availability for your dates of travel:

If you are struggling to find any availability with the hotels listed above, try searching for all Bar Harbor accommodation options instead to see what you can find.

Downtown Bar Harbor shops and restaurants popular place for where to stay in acadia national park maine

North Mt Desert Island – Where To Stay In Acadia National Park

As you enter Mt Desert Island on ME-3 from the mainland, Bar Harbor is around a 10 mile drive. But you will find at least a dozen accommodation options on the way there.

From Eden to Salisbury Cove and Hulls Cove there are plenty of options spanning the price range for you to consider.

Eden in particular also has a small selection of highly rated places to eat, which could be useful for those who want to avoid Bra Harbor crowds and prices.

On the other hand, you lose convenience to Acadia and you will have to drive between your accommodation and Bar Harbor for a more lively nightlife scene.

But you will find on average that prices are more affordable in the Northern parts of Mt Desert Island.

One thing to note is that this part of the ME-3 is fast and busy. When we visited, cars were slamming on brakes regularly because they didn’t expect people to be turning off a fast road onto a tiny drive way.

Best Hotels In North Mt Desert Island

Below are a selection of hotels on the Northern edge of Mt Desert Island. You should see better availability and affordability in general here.

Each hotel has a rating out of 10 as per Booking.com previous guest ratings for reference.

Click any hotel to see prices and availability for your dates of travel:

Bar Harbor boats in the water near main street

Northeast Harbor – Where To Stay In Acadia National Park

Northeast Harbor is an interesting proposition for visitors planning where to stay in Acadia National Park.

In terms of location and proximity to popular hikes, mountain peaks and the loop road, it doesn’t get much better than this tiny corner of Mt Desert Island.

It is a very small community with just a handful of Inns to sleep and a handful of highly rated places to eat. But Northeast Harbor is also the place you can hop on a Sea Princess Acadia Nature Cruise.

This would be a much quieter, more relaxing place to stay than Bar Harbor but rooms are limited and will sell out quickly.

Stay here if you are looking for solitude in a very busy national park after spending the day surrounded by tourists.

Best Hotels In Northeast Harbor

Below are the only hotels in this small but excellently located region in Acadia National park.

Each hotel has a rating out of 10 as per Booking.com previous guest ratings for reference.

Click any hotel to see prices and availability for your dates of travel:

Southwest harbor is a quieter place to stay in acadia national park than bar harbor this bridge and building reflecting in the river is beautiful

Southwest Harbor – Where To Stay In Acadia National Park

If you’re looking for something in between the hustle and bustle of Bar Harbor and the tranquility of Northeast Harbor, try to book a room in the Southwest Harbor community.

On the West side of Mt Desert Island in Southwest Harbor, you will find more of the same highly rated Inns but this time with a greater selection of quality food options.

You are also very close to Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, one of Acadia’s most beloved attractions. The famous lighthouse is just 8 minutes drive to the South.

Heading North, you can drive to Echo Lake Beach within 6 minutes or park at the Acadia Mountain trailhead, also within just 6 minutes.

Southwest Harbor promotes a much more peaceful few days in Acadia National Park. Crowds are already at a premium inside the park so sometimes it can be nice to get away from them in your downtime.

Best Hotels In Southwest Harbor

Below are some of the top rated hotels on the West side of Mt Desert Island near Acadia National park.

Each hotel has a rating out of 10 as per Booking.com previous guest ratings for reference.

Click any hotel to see prices and availability for your dates of travel:

Motel surrounded by gorgeous fall foliage colors in bar harbor maine

Ellsworth – Where To Stay Near Acadia National Park

Let’s round off this list of where to stay in Acadia National Park with a place we never considered ourselves before we arrived – Ellsworth.

Why didn’t we consider it?

Well, it’s a 20 mile drive from Bar Harbor to Ellsworth back on the main land and that can take anywhere between 30 – 60 minutes depending on time of day.

So, why are we including it on this list?

Because we met at least a dozen hikers and photographers at Acadia who said they were staying in Ellsworth. Hotels are much cheaper and food options are more diverse, including fast food.

Note: We’re certainly not promoting fast food, but it can get really expensive when you sit down for all 3 meals of the day, every day for a 3 day visit!

Therefore, Ellsworth may just be the budget saving salvation you are looking for in order to see Acadia on the cheap. As long as you don’t mind the ~40 minute drive in and out each day, this is the best place to stay if you’re low on spends.

Best Hotels In Ellsworth

Below are a handful of the top rated hotels spanning the budget range on the mainland near Acadia National Park.

Each hotel has a rating out of 10 as per Booking.com previous guest ratings for reference.

Click any hotel to see prices and availability for your dates of travel:

Acadia National Park Campgrounds & RV Park

If you can’t find a hotel to fit your travel budget inside or near Acadia National Park, consider camping or parking an RV instead.

We know camping isn’t for everyone but it is a way to stay inside the park and save money. There are 3 major campgrounds you can choose between in Acadia National Park:

  • Blackwoods Campground – 281 sites comprised of 221 tent only and 60 RV only sites. Located perfectly between Sand Beach and Jordan Pond. Check availability.
  • Seawall Campground – 202 sites comprised of 43 tent only, 59 RV only and the rest mixed use. Located 4 miles South of Southwest Harbor (near Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse). Check availability.
  • Schoodic Woods Campground – 89 sites comprised of 13 tent only, 41 RV only and the rest mixed use. Located in Schoodic Peninsula on the mainland, over 40 miles from Bar Harbor. Check availability.

National Park campgrounds are notoriously difficult to book into these days, especially with small to medium sized travel companies ‘block booking’ camp sites.

You will have to be very flexible with dates or book as early as possible if you have set dates.

More From Acadia

Read our comprehensive guide on how to save money when booking hotels for travel, with 15 easy to follow and actionable tips to get started right now.

Best Places To Stay In …

We hope this guide about where to stay in Acadia National Park helps you plan your visit!

Have you been to Acadia? Where did you stay and how was your experience? 

Please let us know if you have any questions or need any help planning your visit.

-Happy Travels-

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