Bar Island Trail during Low Tide in Bar Harbor Maine

Bar Island Trail is a short, 2 mile, family friendly hike where you walk through Bar Island sandbar and onto an island that is considered part of Acadia National Park. It is one of the most unique trails I have ever done! It was pretty surreal to be walking to an island in Maine during low tide. The hike starts just off just downtown of Bar Harbor, and turns into a wet, rocky trail towards an island. Check out my other post if you would like a general overview of some of the best hikes in Acadia for kids. Here is our family’s experience of hiking the Bar Island Trail during low tide.

bar island

What to Know about Walking to Bar Island Maine

Getting to this trail is rather simple. You park on the street downtown (close to Bridge Street) and then follow the signs to Bar Island. Once you reach the edge of downtown, the views quickly transform from a quaint Maine beach town into a seaside escape. There are many reminders that Bar Island is only accessible during low tide. Plan ahead and check the tide charts that morning to see what the best times to visit are. You do not want to get stuck on Bar Island.

The morning we visited was foggy (as was our entire 2 day stay). We were traveling on a Northeast road trip and were looking at where to stay near Acadia National Park. Bar Harbor was the perfect spot for our little family hiking trip in Acadia.

Shady Rays

In addition to the Bar Island crossing, there were plenty of things to do in Bar Harbor Maine that did not include hiking. The town is quintessential seaside Maine. We could have easily spent a day enjoying the downtown and taking a famous Acadia carriage ride, but we were visiting for too short a time. The food scene in Bar Harbor was spectacular as was the natural beauty all around us.

The Bar Island trail length is quite short – 1 mile round trip. The kids enjoyed finding little animals in the tide pools, and searching for unusual rocks and shells by the shoreline. I couldn’t help but admire the scenery around it. Something about the fog made the whole experience “Maine like”. No surprise though, the water was frigid. It’s amazing that the only way to reach Bar Island is during low tide.

Acadia National Park Hiking

Once we arrived at Bar Island, we took a stroll around. It is actually part of Acadia National Park. We got to the small summit, yet there was so much fog that you really could not see anything. Once again, the weather disappointed, yet I am determined to return and see this place on a sunny day and hike to Bar Island again.

Pano Bar Island

Best of Acadia

Overall, this hike is a great option for all types of families. Hiking to Bar Island during low tide is the only time to can go walking to Bar Island. All other times, it is inaccessible. Even little ones would enjoy and be safe on this trail. I would not recommend a stroller here, as it is very bumpy. Check out the other two hikes we did in Maine: Ocean Path Trail and Bubble Rock or our stop in Portland, Maine.

Check out: 18 Tips for Hiking with Kids

Other National Park Options

There are 61 US National Parks, and while we have only visited a few, check out our reviews of why they should be on your radar of national parks to visit:


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Bar Island Trail

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