Cheap Sleeps: Budget lodging near Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, Maine

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Yes, you can find budget lodging in Maine’s Acadia region, encompassing the Blue Hill/Deer Isle Peninsula, Mount Desert Island home to Bar Harbor, and the Schoodic Peninsula, all providing easy access to Acadia National Park.

Some of these are waterfront. Some have a bit more, uh, character. If you’re used to five-star lodgings, these won’t cut it; many wouldn’t earn even two. But all are clean and pass my sniff test. And each has peak-season rooms (not every room mind you, but at least a few) that go for less than $100 per night, some considerably less.

Boyce’s Motel, Stonington

Check into Boyce’s, and perhaps purchase artwork from one of Deer Isle’s numerous galleries with the savings. The hodgepodge of rooms and apartments are strung perpendicular to Main Street. The décor isn’t fancy, but the frills include a harbor-front dock, Wifi, and in-room refrigerators. Some rooms have kitchens, water views, and private decks. Pets are accepted in some rooms for an additional $10 per stay. The nearby Harbor Café is the local hot spot for grub and gossip, and the gussied-up Fisherman’s Friend serves lobster 30 ways. It’s an easy walk to the Isle au Haut ferry accessing a remote section Acadia National Park.

Sunset Motor Court, Ellsworth

For a cheap sleep in the Acadia region of Maine, book a cabin at the Sunset Motor court, in Ellsworth, Maine. Courtesy photoOver the years, this colony of tourist cabins located on Route 1 about 6 miles south of Ellsworth have caught my eye. They’re eye candy: Each is painted a different color and many are adorned with artsy embellishments, such as stars. The five one-bedroom (sleep two) and two two-bedroom cottages (sleep six) are spotless and well equipped. Each is air-conditioned and heated and furnished with queen-size beds, refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and even packaged pastries. Yes, you’ll hear the noise from Route 1, but the air-conditioners should help muffle it.

Isleview Motel & Cottages, Trenton

Clean, comfy, and cheap: The Isleview Motel & Cottages are a good choice for those seeking unfussy rooms within easy driving (or shuttle) distance of Acadia National Park. Hilary Nangle photo.The Kelley family’s Isleview Mote & Cottages is a budget find. The property comprises a motel, one- and two-bedroom cottages, and a few “sleep-and-go” rooms above the office, all decorated with country style. At these prices and with this location—facing Route 3 (yes, you’ll hear the traffic), 8 miles from the park entrance, on the Island Explorer shuttle route, across from a lobster restaurant, and just a half-mile from the Thompson Island picnic area—don’t go looking for fancy, but wallet-conscious travelers will be tickled with it. Most rooms are small but are equipped with mini refrigerator, microwave, Wi-Fi, coffee-maker, air-conditioning, and TV. Outside are picnic tables and grills. When I visited, I peeked in on two chambermaids who were cleaning one cottage. It was spotless, and they were rightly proud of their work.

Acadia Sunrise Motel, Trenton

Ask for a room with a view of Acadia's mountains at the Acadia Sunrise Motel, a wallet-friendly accommodation in Trenton, Maine. Courtesy imageHere’s another cheap sleep with a few surprises, such as an outdoor heated pool. New owners, in 2009, have been upgrading and updating the 1985 building (originally built as a strip mall). All rooms have air-conditioning, cable TV, phone, refrigerator, microwave, and coffeemaker; efficiency units have kitchenettes with stoves—These are quite spacious, with kitchenettes that lean more to full kitchens. There’s also a guest laundry. This motel also faces Route 3, so noise can be a problem, so ask for a rear-facing room, which has the added plus of views over the airport, to the water, with the mountains of Acadia as a backdrop. It’s serviced by the Island Explorer.

Open Hearth Inn, Trenton

Open Hearth Inn, Trenton, Maine. Hilary Nangle photo. IMG_3681This family owned cottage colony, with inn rooms, lodge rooms, and an apartment is a charmer. I stayed in one of the lodge rooms and it had the amenities of a mid-range chain hotel, but was far more spacious, with two queen beds and a futon sofa, small fridge, and microwave, too. The cabin-style cottages are well tended, and one guest, who spent the night in one with her mother, said she adored the place. Coffee and tea are available in the office, and on some morning, Sue also makes muffins (definitely worth getting up early for so as not to miss out). Other amenities include free Wifi, a small putting green, an indoor hot tub, and a nice deck with tables and chairs, as well as grassy lawn. Cabins are set back a wee bit from Route 1 and shaded by mature pines. Air-conditioners help muffle noise. The Open Hearth is across from the airport and a lobster pound, and on the Island Explorer bus route.

Edenbrook Motel, Bar Harbor

Snagging a cheap and decent room in a convenient location isn’t easy in Bar Harbor. Meeting the criteria is the Edenbrook, with four buildings tiered up a hillside, a walk-able mile from downtown. The least expensive rooms are on the lowest level, but those on the upper ones have increasingly panoramic views over Frenchman Bay. No flash here, expect 1960s-esque style and amenities. It’s on the free (with Acadia park pass) Island Explorer bus system, which provides access to most of Mt. Desert Island, and a short walk from College of the Atlantic, with an inexpensive cafeteria.

Belle Isle Motel, Bar Harbor

The Belle Isle Motel on Mount Desert Island has a some nice perks for a budget property: a heated outdoor pool, guest laundry, & barbecue. Hilary Nangle photo Clean and affordable, The Belle Isle, a vintage mom-and-pop roadside motel, delivers on both counts. Darren and Camille Taylor purchased the Belle in 2011 and have spruced it up with plans to do more (here’s hoping the low prices remain). The standard rooms are small, but all have air-conditioning, TV, free local calls, Wi-fi, and refrigerators; deluxe rooms are more spacious, but closer to the road. Also on the premises are a heated pool, playground, picnic area, and a guest laundry. A microwave is available for guest use. Another plus: It’s serviced by the  free Island Explorer bus.

Robbins Motel, Bar Harbor

If all you crave is a room with a bed, Robbins Motel, an older motel, has 30 small, unadorned (some might call them dismal) but clean queen-bedded guest rooms. While frills are few, all have  air-conditioning, TVs, and Wi-Fi. There is no charm, it’s not quiet, but it’s cheap and clean and serviced by the free Island Explorer bus.

Lighthouse Inn and Restaurant, Seal Harbor

Here’s a gen-u-ine bahgain in oh-so-tony Seal Harbor. Sure, it’s a bit dated and dowdy, but at these prices ($75-125 in season, $45 winter), who cares? All rooms have private baths and two have kitchenettes (one with a separate bedroom); there’s a restaurant downstairs serving inexpensive meals; and it’s a short walk to Seal Harbor Beach and the Seal Harbor entrance to Acadia National Park’s carriage road system. Yup, it’s on the Northeast Harbor route of the free Island Explorer bus service.

Harbor View Motel and Cottages, Southwest Harbor

Shhh, don’t tell too many folks about this property at the head of Southwest Harbor. The shorefront Harbor View is on the edge of downtown, but hidden from the highway. Picnic tables dot the grassy lawn, and at low tide there’s a private pebble beach. Rooms are split between two vintage motels and a newer three-story building with fancier (and a bit pricier) units. During peak season, July 12 through Labor Day, rates include a continental breakfast featuring homemade blueberry muffins. The Island Explorer bus stops nearby. Pets are allowed in some rooms for $10 per day. Also here are cottages that rent by the week.

Main Stay Cottages, Winter Harbor

bthse2Niftiest cottage at the Main Stay is the one-bedroom Boathouse, which dates from the 1880s. It hangs over Henry’s Cove, letting water lapping below serenade guests to sleep at high tide. More spacious is Little Cranberry, a one-room cottage with full kitchen, gas fireplace, and big deck taking in those harbor views. There’s also an expansive second-floor room in the main house with private entrance off the deck. The property is adjacent to the Bar Harbor Ferry dock and on the Island Explorer Schoodic route, making it easy to explore the region.

Albee’s Shorehouse Cottages, Prospect Harbor

The Ritz these aren’t. Albee’s comprises 10 rustic and rather ramshackle cottages hugging the shorefront; some are just feet away from the high-tide line. The cottages are decorated with homey touches such as braided rugs and fresh flowers, and most have views to Prospect Harbor Light. Guests often lounge on the ledges with computers, taking advantage of the Wifi. And how’s this for service: Purchase lobsters, and owner Richard Rieth prepare and deliver them to your cottage. In peak season, cottages rent by the week, but shorter stays often are available. Rieth is slowly fixing the place up, but if you’re the least bit fussy, look elsewhere. Dogs are welcome.

46 COMMENTS

  1. Hi-

    Having stayed there a number of times, I recommend the Colliier B&B in Town Hill. The rooms are clean and comfy, the[sit down] breakfasts are scrumptious and the owner, George and his staff are helpful and accomodating. George is a wealth of local info.

    Joel Deckler

  2. a sad follow-up to my aug. 2 comment . i subsequently learned that George died after a short bout with cancer. i believe his wife and staff are continuing to run the b&b.

  3. My Wife and I just got back from a wonderful Maine vacation, which was centered, entirely around your Blog. Your Cheap Sleeps lodging recommendations were affordable and charming to say the least but were also clean quite with many that had views that could command twice the price. My wife thought I was an accommodations genius, each place we stayed in got better and better. The views the rooms had made for one of the most memorable trips we’ve taken. Our trip started out in Bar Harbor then we quickly retreated to the quieter side. We stayed in the Lighthouse Inn in Seal Harbor, the Harbor View Motel in Southwest Harbor, Boyce’s Motel in Stonington, and Main Stay Cottages in Winter Harbor. Your website was like finding a gem in the rough. Thanks

  4. We just took a short trip up to Maine from PA and stayed in the little cottages at Sunset Motor Court based on your say-so. Wow! You described it perfectly! It was still spotlessly clean, and smelled wonderful. We were there during the Gov’t shut-down but still had a blast. Thanks for making our vacation do-able with low-priced recommendations.

  5. Thanks for the feedback. Sunset is a great find for budget-minded folks. Glad you had a good time despite the shutdown.

  6. We stayed in Albee’s Shore Cottages a number of years ago and WE LOVED IT!! It fit our budget and accepted our dog. We have dreamed of coming back and renting one of the larger cabins as well, but the small one we were in was very special, clean, and a call-back to return!! Highly recommend!

  7. Hi Hillary,
    Love your website. Any suggestion on bigger cottage that can holds up to 8 people that you can recommend us up in Bar Harbor?

    Thanks
    Kimmi

  8. Hi Kimmi,

    I just stayed at The Birches, a B&B in Southwest Harbor, and it has a separate five-bedroom/two-bathroom cottage that likely would work for your group — it’s on a gorgeous piece of land hugging the water, with a section of Acadia National Park just minutes by foot up the road, a nine-hole golf course just down the road.

  9. Hi. I was curious if the Park Entrance Hotel in Bar Harbor was still up and running. We stayed there a few years ago and liked it…Now it seems I can’t find anything listed recently about it. Thankyou

  10. Thank you so much for sharing information of places to stay in the Acadia and bar harbour area. Do you have other information in places close to Rye Harbor and near White mountain. We will be visiting NH and ME Sept. 18th to 24th. We will stay 2 ngts. in to Rye Harbor, Bar Harour, and the White Mountain park. Even some of the 2 star are not cheap. We are looking for a good food, clean place to sleep, and sight seeing.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my message
    Marty

  11. Hello Hilary,

    I am looking for a very inexpensive sleeping room for the school year. I already pay rent in lBangor and a mortgage in Eastport. Please advise. I can afford 400 a month tops. No utilities. thank you
    Marlene

  12. Sorry for not replying, I was on a deadline and traveling. I hope you found a reasonable and nice place, perhaps next time check out Fryeburg and Cornish, Maine, both of which border NH’s White Mountains, and Bethel, which is in the Maine section of the White Mountains.

  13. Hi Lisa, Albee’s is a seasonal operation so it’s closed in winter. If you’re looking for a place on the Schoodic Peninsula, try Elsa’s Inn on the Harbor, it’s open year round by reservation.

  14. We are planning a first time ever trip to Maine in late Sept. 2 weeks driving from Portland with focus on walking in Arcadia. After 3 nights in Stonington, we want to stay few nights in self catering place – where would you recommend in either Bar Harbour or Southwest at that time of year (c21st Sept)? Want to avoid crowds but close walking distance to restaurants, with nice water views. Close to Explorer bus stop would also be a plus. Budget price not essential, views are!

  15. Hi Sue, Early September is a beautiful time to visit Maine and especially Acadia. Two places come to mind in Southwest Harbor: Pier One (owned by the Harbour Cottage Inn, http://www.harbourcottageinn.com) has five truly waterfront suites, and The Birches, a waterfront B&B, which also has a rustic cottage (www.thebirchesbnb.com). Or, you might try L. S. Robinson, which handles rental cottages; I’ve used it successfully (www.lsrobinson.com). And the area chamber also has a list of rentals (www.acadiachamber.com). Good luck!

  16. We are visiting Acadia/Bar Harbor in May. Do you know if any place to stay with rocky waterfront or easy access to cliffs? We are rock climbers looking for easy access. Thank you in advance.

  17. As noted in the overall intro, every property on my Cheap Sleeps pages has rooms for less than $100, some significantly less. Rates vary with season and often change week to week, so it’s not possible to post them, but they’re just a click away.

  18. My wife and I were blessed to be able to spend a week on MDI a couple years ago during the fall. Totally fell in love. (Even with the shutdown) But the cabin we stayed at was just for two. Now we want to return with our children so they can experience the magic of Acadia with us. Two adults, two kids. Something affordable and clean. Fancy isn’t in our vocabulary. Rustic economy is more our speed. Late September/early October. Doesn’t have to be on the island. Anywhere in the area is fine. And the wife would absolutely LOVE any view of the ocean at all. Any suggestions? Thank you in advance. Can’t wait to go back.

  19. Thanks so much for the great info. The link to the Mainstay is broken. Phones on their website go no where or don’t answer. Do you know if they are still in business?

  20. Start with the places on this list, but you’ll find that rates drop at many places once summer ends. Look on the Schoodic Peninsula, Blue Hill/Deer Isle Peninsula, Ellswoth/Trenton/Lamoine, and the Hancock/Sullivan region in addition to on Mount Desert Island. I really like the Oakland House Cottages, a beautiful waterfront property.

  21. Hi! I love this post. I’m looking to rent a small cabin /cottage for 2 for 2-3 weeks. We are trying to escape Texas heat. We want simple, clean and safe with ocean views. We are very active and would like to be able to hike and bike right out the door. Any specific places that come to mind?
    Thank you!

  22. Great article with effective feedback. Here is my spiel… We are getting married in Sept 2015 (after out 15 year 5 children raising courtship). We are not fancy but very interested in sightseeing, staying in a quiet picturesque cottage/cabin to watch sunsets over the ocean near bar harbor. Clean accommodations best but modern is not necessary, rustic is lovely. We like to relax and grill after an exciting day and take in the scenery. Looking through your list is quite helpful, but unsure about the southeast side location…. Is this near everything (ex: Arcadia NP, MDI) but not the touristy side? Suggestions for the honeymooners? Not really looking for cheapest or fanciest as much as something that fits us.

  23. The Quiet Side of the island is not as touristed as Bar Harbor, but Southwest Harbor, especially is very convenient to the park. I’m sitting in an airport right now and will be off line for most of the next 10 days, so I’m sorry I can’t be of more help. The Birches in Southwest HArbor has a cottage that might be a good fit for you–it’s on the water and you can walk into the park from it (to Acadia and Flying Mountains).

  24. Hi Hillary,
    I am on my way to PEI, Canada, to do some family research, but would like to stop in Acadia on the way. Will probably only have a day or so to sightsee.
    Looking for a cheap, but quiet place…..any suggestions? I don’t care about fancy. The places you describe look charming, but I’m mostly interested in quiet.
    Thanks so much for your help!
    Sincerely,
    Rosemary

  25. Hi Hilary,

    Do you have any suggestions for renting a place with two children for 2-3 days in the third week of august?

    Thanks a ton.
    Arti

  26. First time we visited Acadia over 10 years ago we were able to stay in an upstairs furnished apartment at Primrose Inn in Bar Harbor, but when we returned a couple of years later they only offered Bed & Breakfast so we settled for a hotel room in Bar Harbor. Bad idea!!! This time we are looking for a reasonable priced, clean apartment that smells clean and fresh with comfortable bedding. We must have a kitchen that offers a real stove–not microwave. We plan to be there 10 days during the first two weeks of September 2015. We would be so appreciative if you could direct us. Many thanks. Ralph & Evelyn

  27. Your best bet is to check with the local real estate offices and various island chambers of commerce for listings of independent rental properties.

  28. For quiet, I’d head to the Mount Desert Island’s “Quiet Side,” a.k.a. Southwest Harbor area, or over to the Schoodic Peninsula.

  29. Sorry, I missed this. Your best bet is to check with the local real estate offices and various island chambers of commerce for listings of independent rental properties.

  30. Thank you so much in putting the time and effort to make this post! This has helped me so much in finding the right place to stay at an affordable price for my last minute family vacation. Lifesaver!

  31. Hi! Me and my friends are looking for some place to stay for 6 months while we’re training at Bar Harbor Regency. I think it’s near National Acadia Park. Do you recommend anything? 22 people all in all. Thank you so much! 🙂

  32. Just came across this article. I stayed at Albee’s with my parents fifty years ago. Mrs. Albee invited my parents to her church for a hymn sing. I stayed there again about twenty-five years ago with my wife and children and it was much the same, clean but very “rustic.” I’m glad to see it’s still going and apparently in good hands.

  33. You should talk with your employer or a real estate agency that handles rentals. Finding housing for 22 people in peak season is a challenge. Good lluck.

  34. My wife and I are planning on going to Maine in September. Flying and then renting a car. My father in law did the Appalachian Trail at 81 years of age, so we would like to that area as well. Do you have some recommendation,of the places we need to see and what about fly fishing? Thanks. Mark

  35. I’d recommend some of the Maine Sporting Camps in the Katahdin region (terminus of the AT) and the western mountains areas. If you’re hikers, consider the Maine Huts & Trails lodges in the western mountains (relatively easy hike into full-service lodges with hot showers, comfy rooms, and meals) or the AMC’s Maine Lodges near Greenville (Little Lyford is known for fishing). Both Libby Camps and Bradford Camps are popular for fly fishing, you can drive in, but it’s worth the splurge to fly in. Have fun,

  36. My family is looking at staying in Bar Harbor for two days and one night. Any recommendations on where to stay and the “must dos” while we are there? So much info online, not sure where to start!

  37. I suggest you start with a copy of of the most recent edition of either my Moon Coastal Maine or Moon Acadia National Park guidebooks. Both include my picks for lodging, dining, activities, and more. Many online lists are compiled by people who have never actually visited and often using old sources. I visit annually.

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