If you are wondering where to stay when visiting Acadia National Park, I would highly recommend the Holiday Inn Resort Bar Harbor. We loved our stay for many reasons which I will go through. We were impressed with how family-friendly it was with kids eating free and the location couldn’t be better for exploring the park.
Let me begin by saying how much my head spun when trying to find a hotel in Bar Harbor. I was blown away by the prices. $600 a night to $800 a night? What is happening?! Not only were they really expensive, they were all sold out!
I didn’t want to pay a fortune for a hotel that we were barely going to spend time in. That said, I didn’t want to stay in a dump either.
Where to stay when Visiting Acadia National Park
I settled for the Holiday Inn. I say settle because, in my experience, the Holiday Inn’s I have stayed in are basic but a great budget option. After seeing the competition, $275 a night sounded like a deal. It was also dog-friendly.
The Holiday Inn is a mile outside of Bar Harbor and I was disappointed that we wouldn’t be able to walk around town easily. In the end, it was such a blessing because parking downtown was a literal nightmare. We would have to circle for at least 20 minutes to find a spot and then another 20 minutes to figure out how to pay for parking.
The Holiday Inn had free parking. I never had to look for a spot. It was quick and easy. The Holiday Inn also has a free shuttle that brings you into town.
We received a text that our room was ready early so we head over to check-in. We were given a free upgrade which scored huge brownie points for me. I had booked a standard room and they gave us a room with a view over the pool and partial ocean view. You can pay more to have a direct ocean view which must be incredible.
I normally schlep all of our bags to the room, but the building we were in didn’t have an elevator. This wasn’t a huge deal for us, but if you have mobility issues, definitely let them know so they can put you on the main floor.
There were bell boys there ready to help with our bags so our things were at our door before we even were.
Our room was spacious with two queen-sized beds, a table and chairs, a large bathroom and a television. I just saw online that you can book a a room that has a separate little suite with bunk beds for kids. My kids would have loved that.
We walked out on the balcony and looked over the pool with the ocean back drop and I said “This is a Holiday Inn?!”
My husband said that if I hadn’t told him the name of the hotel, he would have thought we were at the Four Seasons. There is nothing “budget” feeling about this hotel.
We head straight for the heated pool. My husband got a drink from the Splash Pool Bar and took in the ocean views. I soaked in the hot tub, which is my favorite thing to do after a long day of driving.
Dining options at the Holiday Inn Bar Harbor
I rarely eat in hotel restaurants, because the food is usually overpriced and subpar. But we did not want to deal with the hassle of driving into Bar Harbor. Not only is parking a challenge, but all of the restaurants had over an hour wait.
The Holiday Inn has a couple of dining options on site. La Bella Vita is an Italian restaurant beside the main lobby. Stewman’s Oceanfront Lobster Pound is down by the water but you can also order their food at the Splash Pool Bar.
Here is my next favorite thing about the Holiday Inn: kids eat free! Up to two children under the age of 11 can eat free off the children’s menu any time of day. This saved us so much money.
La Bella Vita has an incredible view of the ocean. I was prepared for hotel food, but I can honestly say that this was my best meal in Bar Harbor. We had Umbria Pizzette, which was like a flat bread with wild mushrooms, asiago cream, truffle oil, crisp arugula. Paired with a Cesar salad and a nice glass of red wine, it was amazing. And don’t skip desert. The molten lava cake was almost too pretty to eat. I had to tell my kids it was really spicy so they would keep their hands off.
The free kids meals didn’t skimp either. They had a large selection and even included a desert.
For breakfast, we head back to the same restaurant and had a huge hearty breakfast before we started hiking. Again, the kids meals were perfect. They had pancakes with a bowl of fruit.
We were less than a three minute drive from the park entrance. This made it so easy to access Acadia National Park. If it rained, which it did a lot, we would just head back to the hotel until the weather cleared. If you are getting up for an early sunrise up Cadillac Mountain, you are already right there.
I had considered staying at Under Canvas, but the prices were through the roof. Now I am so glad we didn’t because we would have just been sitting in a tent in the rain.
The Holiday Inn Resort Bar Harbor is dog-friendly and we did expect to bring Finn. The more I thought about it, I was worried about going out to eat and him just sitting in a hotel room eating the pillows in frustration. Then I saw that they charge $75 per night for pets. I can see having an extra cleaning fee, but $75 per night was over the top for me. Dogs are also suppose to be under 30 pounds. In the end, we found a local pet sitter through the Rover app.
If you are researching where to stay when visiting Acadia National Park, I would highly recommend the Holiday Inn Resort Bar Harbor. It was such a family-friendly, dog-friendly hotel right near the park entrance. It wasn’t over the top expensive yet it still had a luxe resort feel to it. The kids loved the heated pool and the food was great. We would definitely return.
Be sure to read our full guide to visiting Acadia National Park.
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