Referred to as "the jewel" of Mt Desert Island and the Acadia National Park region, Southwest Harbor (as the name suggests) is situated on the southwest side of the island to the west of Somes Sound, the only fjord on the eastern shore of North America. A search for vacation rentals in Southwest Harbor, Maine take you to a place of true pioneering significance. The first place on Mount Desert Island to have hotels and wharves to accommodate steamboats in the early nineteenth century, the town still serves as a working harbor, alive with the activity of yachts, lobster boats, and renowned shipbuilders. Less than 12 miles from the contemporary hubbub of Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor resides on the "quiet side" of the island, exchanging more modern amusements for nature, and hustle for serenity as you surround yourself in the vibrant cultures of the mountains, lakes, and seaside. Southwest Harbor's downtown area is located just five minutes from the waterfront, with strollable streets hosting an array of shops, galleries, and restaurants. And nothing beats dining with a harbor view! Spend some time at Beal's Lobster Pier, where the "food is as authentic as the view", with fresh catches straight from the pier being served up all day long. Downtown also serves as a great starting point for nearby hikes, including the 2-mile Beech Cliff Loop with views of Echo Lake and Somes Sound. You can set off on a water course with rental kayaks, canoes, sailboats, and charters. Don't miss a stroll through Charlotte Rhoades Garden and Butterfly Park (recently reopened after renovations), and the numerous local Acadian art galleries, including Wendell Gilley Museum of Bird Carving. Southwest Harbor is the largest municipality on the southwestern side of the island, with convenient access to explore the neighboring villages of Manset, Bass Harbor, Tremont and Bernard, as well as offshore islands like Islesboro or Little Cranberry Island. Manset is home to one of the most worthwhile views on the island, where you can catch panoramics of Bear Island Lighthouse, Sutton Island, Little and Great Cranberry Islands, and the open ocean.