Ferry – Between Winter Harbor and Bar Harbor
The Bar Harbor and Winter Harbor Ferry
Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, and the Schoodic Peninsula in Downeast Maine are spectacular places to visit by land, but for those looking for a different perspective seeing Acadia National Park by sea provides an unforgettable experience. There are many different ways to get out on the water in and around Acadia National Park. Whether it’s on a guided tour, a lobster boat trip, a kayak, or ferry boat to one of the area's island destinations, each offers a unique way to enjoy the park.
If you’re looking to visit both the Schoodic Peninsula and Mount Desert Island sections of the park, then the Bar Harbor and Winter Harbor Ferry may be right for you. For those staying on Mount Desert Island, you can leave your vehicle at your hotel, motel, campground, or inn, and make use of the free Island Explorer shuttles that cover much of the island. Simply plan a route into downtown Bar Harbor where you can hop on board the ferry down at the pier.
If you’re staying on the Schoodic Peninsula and looking to make a day trip to Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island, you can catch the ferry at the Marine Center at 88 Sargent St. in Winter Harbor near the southern point of the peninsula. If you’re staying at Acadia East Campground on the northern side of the Schoodic Peninsula in Gouldsboro, the Marine Center is about a 10 minute drive. Limited Island Explorer shuttle stops are available between Birch Harbor, Winter Harbor, and the Schoodic Section of Acadia National Park as well. The Island Explorer Schoodic Shuttle is typically timed up with the arrival and departure of the ferry in Winter Harbor, making it easy for those on foot to travel from Bar Harbor to Winter Harbor and then enjoy the Schoodic side of Acadia National Park while on the shuttle, or on foot between shuttle stops.
The Bar Harbor and Winter Harbor Ferry offers multiple trips back-and-forth between the two communities across Frenchman Bay each day. The schedule is subject to change based on seasonality and weather, so it is best to visit the fairy website and book your tickets online prior to arriving.
Upon departure from the Marine Center in Winter Harbor the ferry will head south along the western coastline of the Schoodic Section of Acadia National Park. To the west of the ferry lies Grindstone Neck a smaller peninsula that extends off the western side of the Schoodic Peninsula. Grindstone Neck has historically been a popular coastal playground for the wealthy; many large, mansion sized “cottages“ can be seen from the ferry.
Roughly 10 to 15 minutes in to the hour-long journey, you will see the Winter Harbor Lighthouse straight ahead on Mark Island. This iconic lighthouse can be seen from the Schoodic Loop, Road with Cadillac Mountain in the backdrop when visiting Acadia National Park’s Schoodic District. It’s near this point that the ferry turns west and begins to meander through the islands and lobster buoys of Frenchman Bay.
On a hot summer day the ferry provides a welcome reprieve from the heat. Temperatures on the water can often be significantly cooler, it’s wise to pack a sweatshirt even on the hottest days.
Frenchman Bay is an incredible place. Known for being the ocean environment that is home to a plethora of aquatic life, it’s also a working waterfront that has fueled the lobster and seafood industry in the area for generations. Here, a great partnership between environmentalism and commercialism have helped to keep these pristine waters from being overfished and polluted.
While aboard the Winter Harbor Bar Harbor Ferry keep an eye out for wildlife. It’s common to see porpoises, eagles, harbor seals and more.
Near the midway point of your journey you’ll see stunning views of tall granite cliffs at Ironbound Island, where coastal birds abound and waves crash sending water high into the air even on the calmest day. It’s here where the ferry will turn south briefly angling you toward Egg Rock Lighthouse in the distance, a familiar sight from the Park Loop Road near the Hulls Cove Visitor Center.
Once around the southern tip of Ironbound Island, the ferry well again turn north toward Bar Harbor. It’s during this final stretch that the Porcupine Islands come into view. From right to left or east to west they are Long Porcupine Island, Burnt Porcupine Island, Sheep Porcupine Island, and Bar Island near the shore. During low tide visitors may walk across the natural land bridge to Bar Island, however it’s important to pay close attention to the tidal charts so as not to be left stranded.
Once docked at the pier in Bar Harbor, the town’s many shops, restaurants, craft breweries, and art galleries are just steps away. With help from the Island Explorer shuttle service, you can quickly access most any point in Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island. It is important to note schedule times and plan accordingly to be back at the pier 15 minutes prior to your return ferry’s departure.
When traveling from Bar Harbor to Winter Harbor many of the same sites will appear as described earlier. The Ferry departs from the Bar Harbor Inn Pier at 7 Newport Dr. in Bar Harbor. Once you arrive in Winter Harbor, hop on the free Island Explorer shuttle at the Marine Center Stop that should be waiting or arriving soon upon your arrival. From here you can explore the villages of Winter Harbor, Birch Harbor, and the entire Schoodic Loop Road of Acadia National Park, all without having to drive.
For more information or to book your Winter Harbor and Bar Harbor Ferry tickets visit https://downeastwindjammer.com/ferries/bar-harbor-schoodic-winter-harbor/
Available Trip Schedule
|Departing Bar Harbor||Departing Winter Harbor|
|9:00 a.m.||10:00 a.m.|
|11:00 a.m.||12:00 p.m.|
|1:30 p.m.||2:30 p.m.|
|3:30 p.m.||4:30 p.m.|
|**5:30 p.m.||**6:30 p.m.|
**5:30pm and 6:30pm Trips not available after Labor Day.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Bar Harbor Winter Harbor Ferry:
Can I bring a bicycle on the ferry?
Yes! Bikes are welcomed – $10/per seat (No electric bikes)
Can I Buy a One-Way or Roundtrip Ticket?
Tickets are sold as One Way Reservations, however, you will be prompted to also purchase your return ticket, if you desire, while booking online
How much does it cost to take the Ferry between Bar Harbor and Winter Harbor?
Adult are $18 one-way, and Children (ages 0-11) are $14 one-way.
Is the Bar Harbor Winter Harbor Ferry Pet Friendly?
Yes! Pets are welcome on the Ferry.