Packing for Bar Harbor

Guide to Packing for 3 Days in Bar Harbor, Maine

So, you’re planning a Bar Harbor vacation, and you want to know what to bring. Besides being full time residents of Mount Desert Island ourselves, we’ve also welcomed guests from across the country to our slice of coastal, Maine and have plenty of advice on packing for Bar Harbor. While we encourage you to stay on our island as long as you can, our average visitor spends 3 days in Bar Harbor exploring the town and Acadia National Park, so we’ll focus our guide on packing for a long weekend.

Weather in Bar Harbor Maine

Now, let’s set something straight before we begin: the weather in Bar Harbor. Of course, weather depends greatly on the time of year you visit, but even in the span of a few summer days, it can be variable. As Mark Twain said, “if you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes.” In fact, if I turn my head to the left my window is full of blue sky and sunshine, but the window to my right features some glum looking grey clouds.

We recommend checking trusted weather services like the Weather Channel or AccuWeather 2 to 3 days ahead of your Bar Harbor vacation to get the most accurate prediction for temperature and potential precipitation. That said, here’s a general breakdown of weather in Bar Harbor by month:

  • January & February: About as cold as it gets! Typically, between 10-30 with occasional snow or chilly drizzle.
  • March: The island starts to heat up with mid 20’s to mid 40’s temps and spring rains pick up.
  • April & May: We mostly move away from freezing overnight and can get up to low 60’s during the day. Expect a few days of rain.
  • June: Summer is just beginning, and temps can range between 50-75. You might still see rain but plenty of sunshine too.
  • July & August: Hot days and cool nights during the high season, ranging between 50’s and 80’s.
  • September & October: Mild temps mid 40’s to high 60’s along with drier conditions.
  • November & December: Teens to mid 40’s plus our snow season kicks off as we head towards the holidays.
    Aside from ranging day to day, Acadia National Park weather can also vary depending on where you are. The blustery top of Cadillac Mountain can be much colder than the tree-protected Park Loop Road, or sunny Sand Beach. Which is why you’ll hear us preach layering for your Bar Harbor vacation. More on that next…

Packing List for 3 Days in Bar Harbor

Okay folks, get out your suitcase—or waxed canvas duffel in my case—and get ready to pack. We’ll plan our packing list for early July, when the park is bursting with life and downtown Bar Harbor’s restaurants and shops are in full swing. Of course, you’ll need the basics like a toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, socks, and underwear. The rest, we can help with.


Mainers are pretty down-to-earth when it comes to our attire, and with all the walking around town and exploring Acadia National Park you’ll be doing, we suggest prioritizing items that are comfortable. As we mentioned earlier, layering is also important as it helps you adapt to variable temperatures throughout the day without having to fully change your outfit. Here’s my essential inventory when packing for Bar Harbor:photo of clothes to pack for Bar Harbor

  • 3 t-shirts
  • 1 long sleeve cotton shirt
  • 2 pairs of utility shorts
  • 1 pair of comfortable jeans or hiking pants
  • 1 cardigan
  • 1 set of pajamas
  • 1 sweatshirt

I also always bring a light rain jacket. Even if rain isn’t in the forecast, you might find yourself reaching for it to protect against wind on one of Acadia’s mountain peaks or to stay dry as your Bar Harbor boat tour sends ocean mist into the air.

Heading out to dinner at The Bistro or one of Bar Harbor’s many downtown spots and want an excuse to get a little dressed up? Breezy linen pants pair well with a (clean) t-shirt, or a sundress is easy to throw on. Jeans and a button down also add a touch of class. Just make sure to bring a sweater for when you stroll back to your hotel room in the cool night.

You might also want to add a bathing suit to your packing list so you can enjoy a swim in the pool or brave a dip in the ocean at Sand Beach—just be prepared for 50-60 ocean water.

The takeaway is to cater to versatility. Try to pick items that can be mixed and matched or transition from daytime activity to a night in downtown Bar Harbor. And hey, if you forgot something, there’s plenty of shops in town or at the Acadia visitors centers where you can pick up a t-shirt or sweatshirt to remember us by.


Photo of shoes to pack for Acadia National ParkThe first time I ever took a Bar Harbor vacation, I walked 9 miles on day one! Of course, you can drive to many of Acadia’s best attractions, but chances are you’ll want to get out at some point to wander around, so comfortable shoes are important. A good pair of sneakers will do the job just fine, but hiking boots are also a great option if you plan to tackle steeper trails like the Precipice Trail or Cadillac South Ridge.

Sandals are a great addition to your weekend footwear selection for hanging by the pool or going out to dinner. As a Mainer, I’m partial to my Tevas or Birkenstocks but any comfortable sandal will do.

Outdoor Gear

Photo of outdoor gear to pack for Acadia National ParkWhile hanging out in your room at the Acadia Inn can be relaxing, we encourage you to go out, go out, go out! There’s so much to see and enjoy in nature on Mount Desert Island; it’s what will make you fall in love with our coastal haven. That said, you should be prepared with a few items when spending so much time outdoors:

  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Park maps
  • Sunglasses and/or a hat
  • Simple first aid like band-aids
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Daypack or bag

Whatever you do, don’t forget to put on sunscreen and don’t be fooled by the weather in Bar Harbor. When you’re outside climbing mountains all day, even cloudy weather can lead to a sunburn.

Bonus Items

With this basic guide to packing for Acadia, you should be set up for a fantastic—and well prepared—3 days in Bar Harbor. You can scale this packing list up if you’re taking a longer trip. And adding a few bonus items to the list might make your Bar Harbor vacation even better.

Photo of bonus items to think about packing for Acadia National ParkFor example, I love having a disposable camera or Instax on hand to snap photos while out and about. Perhaps it’s old school, but the physical photos just have a certain something that smartphone pics can never achieve.

Portable batteries and chargers are a useful item to bring along, ensuring you can recharge your phone while out exploring Acadia National Park.

If you plan to spend time on a nature boat tour or sunset cruise and have trouble with sea sickness, picking up some Dramamine can be a lifesaver. P.S. we stock this at our front desk for purchase in case your forgot some or weren’t expecting that woozy feeling.

Books to read, playing cards or other packable games ensure you have something to do while lounging by the pool, having a picnic at Fabbri, or winding down at the end of the day. If you want to add another layer to your Bar Harbor adventure, consider bringing or renting bikes to explore the carriage roads on two wheels—just don’t forget a bike lock!

Share your Bar Harbor packing list or pic of your essentials with us to help other visitors get ready for an awesome Bar Harbor vacation!