Parking efforts gone wrong in Bar Harbor attract online audience

For a state like Maine, which has a handful of small cities but is predominantly rural, you wouldn’t think parking would be a problem.

And throughout most of the state, it’s not. There are hundreds of mostly-small towns in Maine, not to mention unorganized territories, where people don’t have to think twice about where park their cars or trucks or even RVs. Just look off the side of the road and you’ll likely see a spot where you can leave your vehicle out of the way for at least a few hours.

But there are exceptions. In some urban centers, finding an available space can be a mild challenge, taking up a few minutes of your time. College campuses can be worrisome, as can compact tourist villages along the coast where millions of seasonal visitors drive through in the course of a few months.

In Bar Harbor, parking has become a spectator sport – in large part thanks to a Facebook page dedicated solely to photographs of bad parking jobs. Bar Harbor is one of the most visited destinations in the state between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and “Welcome to Bar Harbor’s Famous Parking Show” is a reflection of how high a premium there is on available parking during the summer.

Photos from other locales on or near Mount Desert Island frequently appear on the Facebook page, as do viral photos and videos of odd-parking jobs elsewhere on the planet.

[DISCLOSURE: I am an occasional contributor of photos to the Facebook group, which its creator has said is meant purely to be an entertaining outlet for local residents. Contributors are discouraged from being overly mean or holding grudges.]

Bar Harbor is not alone in this phenomenon, of course. But it does have one feature that most of the more heavily visited coastal towns do not: a sand bar out to a nearby island that is connected to the downtown grid of streets and which gets covered by water at high tide.

Given the combination of tides and unsuspecting visitors from out of state, you can imagine the kind of mishaps that ensue. But, thanks to YouTube, you don’t have to.

Below are some clips that some video-ready witnesses have posted on the site. Please keep them in mind next time you find yourself venturing out from the high tide line in any type of vehicle other than a boat.




This last one is a time-lapse video that show the bar being covered by the incoming tide.




Bill Trotter

About Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors. He writes about fisheries, marine-related topics, eastern coastal Maine communities and more for the BDN. He lives in Ellsworth. Follow him on Twitter at @billtrotter.