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On the Water

Bar Harbor is a base for several ocean endeavors, including whale-watching tours. Operators offer excursions in search of humpbacks, finbacks, minkes, and the infrequently seen endangered right whale. The best in the area is the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company (www.barharborwhales.com; tel. 888/942-5374 or 207/288-2386), which operates off the municipal pier at 1 West Street in downtown Bar Harbor, next to Agamont Park. Tours are on a fast, twin-hulled three-level excursion boat that can hold 200 passengers in two heated cabins. The tours run 3 hours or more. There are also puffin- and whale-watching tours; a scenic lighthouse excursion; a shorter (2-hour) nature cruise, in search of seals and birds of prey; and more. Tickets cost $32 to $64 per adult, $18 to $33 per child age 6 to 14. There’s free on-site parking and a money-back guarantee that you’ll see whales—how can you go wrong? The daily tours begin each season in late May and run through late October.

Sports and Outdoor Activities

GOLF: There are several good golf courses on Mount Desert Island. The Kebo Valley Golf Club (www.kebovalleyclub.com; tel. 207/288-3000) at 136 Eagle Lake Road in Bar Harbor (a short walk or drive from downtown) is one of the oldest in America, open in some form or another since 1888; it’s a beauty. (Golf Digest awarded it four stars.) Greens fees run from $49 to $99 per person for 18 holes (they’re highest in summer), and it can get very busy on peak summer weekends—try to reserve well ahead.

SEA KAYAKING: Sea kayaking has boomed around Mount Desert Island during the past decade. Experienced kayakers arrive in droves with their own boats. Novices sign up for guided tours that are offered by several outfitters. Many new paddlers have found their inaugural experiences gratifying; others have complained that the quantity of paddlers on quick tours in peak season makes the experience a little too much like a cattle drive to truly enjoy. A variety of options can be found on the island, ranging from a 2 1/2-hour harbor tour to a 7-hour excursion; plenty of outfitters in Bar Harbor and the other towns offer guided excursions. Check out Coastal Kayaking Tours, 48 Cottage Street (www.acadiafun.com; tel. 800/526-8615 or 207/288-9605) or National Park Sea Kayak Tours, 39 Cottage Street (www.acadiakayak.com; tel. 800/347-0940). Rates range from $50 to $60 per person for a 2- to 3-hour harbor, sunset, or half-day tour, up to perhaps $80 for a full-day excursion. Aquaterra Adventures,1 West Street, Bar Harbor (www.aquaterra-adventures.com; tel. 877/386-4124 or 207/288-0007) offers both guided tours and sea-kayak rentals; with unpredictable weather and squirrelly tides, however, kayakers are advised to have some prior experience before attempting to set out on their own.
 

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.