Ultimate Guide to Bar Harbor 4th of July

Red lobsters, white sails, and the sparkling blue Atlantic. Mount Desert Island already has all the right ingredients for Independence Day celebrations. So whether you’re local or visiting, get ready for countless Bar Harbor 4th of July activities, eats, art and more. Packed with fun events for all ages and at the height of Acadia’s beauty, it’s no surprise that the 4th of July brings locals, summer residents and visitors together. In fact, the Today Show and National Geographic have both titled Bar Harbor 4th of July one of the best in the country! Let’s run through the annual Bar Harbor 4th of July events and how you can make the most of your visit to MDI on this special occasion.
Pro Tip: There’s only one way on and off Mount Desert Island—Route 3—so we recommend arriving early to ensure you don’t miss any festivities! Most of our guests stay 2-3 nights, giving them a chance to enjoy downtown celebrations, explore Acadia in July, and just relax.

Start the Day at the Pancake Breakfast

6am-10am
Photo of young woamn enjoying pancakes at the Bar Harbor Fourth of July Pancake breakfastThe Bar Harbor Rotary Club, who’s mission it is to bring together MDI’s diverse community, will host their annual pancake breakfast at the Athletic Field on Park Street. And what better way to bond than over a plate of Maine blueberry pancakes? In addition to fresh flapjacks off the griddle, they’ll be serving breakfast sandwiches, sausage, orange juice, milk, water, tea, and coffee. All proceeds from the breakfast go to Rotary projects and local nonprofits, often raising more than $20k in a single day!

Find Your Spot for the Bar Harbor Parade

10am
Don your stars and stripes and find a spot along the 1.8-mile parade route to watch Bar Harbor’s first responders, community organizations and businesses—including Witham Family Hotels!—show off their patriotism. The Bar Harbor parade starts at the corner of Wayman Ln and Lower Main St and heads towards Agamont Park before turning on Cottage and looping back on Mt Desert St. Vintage cars rumble past, trucks tow red, white and blue floats tossing candy, and residents get decked out in costumes to strut their way through downtown. We love to watch the parade from the porch of the Bar Harbor Grand Hotel or set up camp on the Village Green.

Photo of parade map for Bar Harbor Maine Fourth of July ParadePro Tip: While parking downtown is free on the 4th of July, spots can be limited and some roads are closed to traffic. We suggest leaving your car parked at your hotel and catching the free Island Explorer bus, which stops conveniently in front of the Bar Harbor Motel, Acadia Inn and various stops around downtown.

Pick Up a Souvenir at the Bar Harbor 4th of July Craft Fair

photo of Witham Family Hotel Employees in Bar Harbor Fourth of July parade8am-3pm
Head over to the YMCA parking lot on Park St to explore the tents and tables of the Island Arts Association craft fair. From jewelry inspired by the Atlantic Ocean and gorgeous photographs of Maine’s landscape to handmade pottery, traditional quilts and so much more, it’s the perfect opportunity to take something home with you to remember your Bar Harbor 4th of July. And since the craft fair runs from morning to mid-afternoon you have plenty of time to consider your choices and come back when something is calling to you.

Fill Your Belly at the Bar Harbor Seafood Festival

11am-2pm
The Rotary Club is back at it again, serving up the classics of Maine summer eats at their annual Seafood Festival. They begin cooking lobsters and crab at 11am and don’t stop until they run out! You can grab a lobster roll, crab roll, hot dog, or hamburger for lunch along with French fries, corn, watermelon, and chips. Just like the Pancake Breakfast, proceeds from the Seafood Festival go back to the Rotary Club and community funds.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a fuller menu, most restaurants are open on the 4th of July so you can still have a sit-down meal while all the Bar Harbor 4th of July events are going on. We recommend calling well in advance to make a dinner reservation.

Catch Live Music at the Town Pier

3:30pm-9pm
Our very own Bar Harbor Hospitality Group sponsors a free, family-friendly concert series down at the town pier with local bands keeping the afternoon lively. Bring a folding lawn chair or picnic blanket to enjoy the concert in repose or get up and dance! The concert also gives you a chance to stake out your spot for the fireworks a bit early. VisitBarHarbor.com updates the schedule of bands each year so be sure to check out who is playing for your visit!

Catch Live Music at the Town Pier

7:30-8:30pm

Photo of a crown listening to the Bar Harbor Band at Agamond Park in Bar Harbor MaineIf classical is more your style, don’t miss the Bar Harbor Band’s annual performance on the Village Green. A true representation of MDI’s strong community, the town band has been performing since 1898 with a rotating cast of horns, strings, drums and more. They set up under the Village Green pavilion for an hour performance, and lucky for you, they typically play twice a week throughout the summer.

Celebrate with a Bang at The Bar Harbor Fireworks

Approximately 9:15pm
Among all the festive Bar Harbor 4th of July events, the fireworks are the most anticipated and best attended. Visitors and residents alike gather in Agamont Park and along the Shore Path to watch the town put on a spectacular display over Frenchman Bay.

Photo of the Fourth of July Fireworks in Bar Harbor MainePro Tip: Those staying at the Bar Harbor Inn can get front row seats to the Bar Harbor fireworks from their rooms, the Terrace Grille, or the Reading Room. You can also catch the special Bar Harbor fireworks cruise by Acadian Boat Tours that departs from the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel at 7pm and docks by the town pier for unparalleled views. Or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, hike to the summit of Cadillac Mountain and look north to enjoy a unique perspective on the fireworks.

More Advice on Bar Harbor 4th of July

  • With so many Bar Harbor 4th of July events, it’s a busy day to visit our island town, so it helps to come prepared.
  • Sunscreen is a must and should be reapplied throughout the day, even if the weather is cloudy.
  • Of course, there are plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars where you can grab a drink, but it helps to bring a water bottle when you head downtown.
  • Lawn chairs are great for setting up camp at the seafood festival, live music and fireworks but can be a pain to carry around during the day. Picnic blankets and beach towels are easier to carry and still provide you a place to sit.
  • While Bar Harbor in July is often in 80’s under the sun, night can bring a chill so it’s smart to bring an extra layer for watching the fireworks.
  • We recommend leaving pets at home for the day. Crowds and fireworks can be stressful for our canine friends, so they’ll likely enjoy an evening at home much more.
  • Have fun!

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