Southwest Harbor, Maine, is known as “The Quiet Side of the Island”. Located on Mount Desert Island, here you can enjoy the serenity of mountains and oceans along the east coast, and still have the convenience of being in close proximity to the popular town of Bar Harbor. The surrounding nature provides plenty of outdoor recreational activities to enjoy with your pooch! This makes it a sea-breeze to have the healthy, active lifestyle you and your pup deserve.
When you and your pupper need to get out into nature and relax, head over to the Seawall Campground. This campground is located on the southern coast of Southwest Harbor and is considered part of the Acadia National Park. This campground provides access to several trails and beaches along the rugged coastline. When Fido is tuckered out, you both can spend the night in one of the wooded campsites near the ocean. Dogs are welcome to join in on the fun as long as they stay leashed!
Southwest Harbor has several restaurants that are hospitable to our furry family members, one of which is the Quiet Side Cafe and Ice Cream Shop. At this cafe you can dig in to some delicious homemade blueberry pie with your canine companion while sitting at one of the dog friendly outdoor picnic tables.
With all of these dog friendly things to try in Southwest Harbor, you and Fido will grow to love this quiet side of the island.
One of the top things to do in Southwest Harbor is accessible from the City Center. It’s from here that you can find the Flying Mountain Trail. This trail is a 1.5 mile loop up to the summit of a small mountain. There are lots of steps, but the views are worth it! From the summit you can enjoy views of the Sommes Sound to the east, and the ocean and islands to the south. The trailhead is located on Fernald Point Road. Leashed dogs are welcome, but don’t forget the waste bags and water! After working up an appetite, treat yourself to some delicious fresh caught lobster at Beal’s Lobster Pier. Dogs are welcome at the outdoor seating, where you can watch the boats roll in as you eat.
The neighborhood of Wonderland is exactly that for nature enthusiasts and their dogs! This neighborhood is located along the southern shore of Mount Desert Island and is not short on trails and views. One of the most pawpular, is the Wonderland Trail, accessible from Seawall Road. This is a relatively easy, flat trail that welcomes people and pups of all fitness levels. Along the rocky coast, you and your dog can explore the many tide pools, and gently sniff out crabs, sea urchins, periwinkles and more. It’s a great place to relax with your dog and watch the waves crash against the rocks. Dogs are welcome as long as the stay leashed and get picked up after.
Just a short trot across the border brings you to the Bass Harbor neighborhood in Tremont. This neighborhood is home to the iconic Bass Harbor Lighthouse. This is one of the most picturesque lighthouses in Maine, sitting on rugged cliffs and surrounded by dark evergreens. There are some trails around the lighthouse that you and your dog can explore, and rocks to climb around. Be sure to wear proper footwear, because the rocks can be slippery. Restrooms are located at the parking lot. After all that time near the water, you may be craving some seafood. If so, head over to Seafood Ketch in the same neighborhood. This restaurant offers delicious surf and turf, that you can enjoy at one of the dog friendly deck tables with ocean views.
The Acadia National Park is very dog friendly, but we all know our energetic pups love to get off-leash once in a while! After exploring some pathways in the park, head into the neighborhood Seal Harbor in Mount Desert to access the privately owned Little Long Pond Leash Free Area. This area is just a 25 minute drive from Southwest Harbor, and has large rolling meadows, a pond to swim in, and a variety of hiking trails. Be careful though, because this are is not fenced in! For a unique way to enjoy the area, check out Carriages of Acadia, also in the neighborhood of Seal Harbor. They offer dog-friendly, horse-drawn carriage excursions. Here you can travel down the historic roads of Acadia with your furry friend, while enjoying mountain vistas, remarkable bridges and views of the Cranberry Isles.
Mount Desert Island draws in tons of tourists each summer because of its access to the Acadia National Park. One of the access point to this park can be found in the Bar Harbor City Center, just 30 minutes from Southwest Harbor. This national park is considered the crown jewel of the North Atlantic Coast, with 7 peaks over 1000 feet, and 158 miles of trails. Aside from a few restricted areas, the vast majority of these trails permit leashed dogs to explore with their owners! After all that hiking, you and your tired pup might be looking for an easier way to explore the area. From this neighborhood, you can catch the free, pet friendly, Island Express! This shuttle bus brings you and your dog to some of the most paw-rific areas on Mount Desert Island, including the Acadia National Park, along Loop Road, and to the Jordan Pond House.