Life in Bar Harbor

Most people know of Bar Harbor as a bustling summer destination—and yes, summer is truly celebrated here on Mount Desert Island—but make no mistake, this is an active year-round community.

Below is information on cost of living and area school districts. Get more information about relocating to Mount Desert Island through the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce.


The cool water of the Gulf of Maine keeps summer temperatures mild. July is usually the warmest month in Bar Harbor, with an average high of 80 and an average low of 57. January is usually the coldest month, with an average high of 32 and an average low of 10.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Downeast Maine is neither high nor low, and is comparable to other coastal regions in the Northeast. In January 2011, the cost of living index for Bar Harbor was 101.0, compared to the national average of 100.

The mean commuting time for Bar Harbor residents is less than 11 minutes, and many employees who live beyond Bar Harbor significantly reduce their commuting costs by riding Lab-subsidized buses for less than $20/week.


Bar Harbor is a highly educated community, as 95 percent of residents 25 and over have a high school diploma and 18% have graduate or professional degrees.

The schools on Mount Desert Island are consistently among the best in the state. The student population is also ethnically and culturally diverse, as many of the students are the sons and daughters of Jackson Laboratory employees.

Public schools

Private schools

Higher education

The Jackson Laboratory is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. We consider all qualified applicants and employees for hiring, placement and advancement, without regard to a person's race, color, religion, national origin, age, genetic information, military status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability or protected veteran status.

Trailing spouse or partner?

There are several major employers both on Mount Desert Island and in Greater Bangor.

Learn more

Area information

Cultural interests

Getting around