BAR HARBOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – More than one million vehicles are expected to flow into Maine for Labor Day Weekend, according to the Maine Turnpike Authority.
Despite a surge in gas prices, that could put the finishing touch on another great year for state tourism—including in Bar Harbor.
"I've been coming here since I was a little boy,” Jeff Clark said. “It’s a tradition.”
Clark said he and his family has vacationed in Bar Harbor from Rhode Island for generations. Now he hopes to carry it on to his son.
"Four generations,” Jeff’s father, Bob Clark, said. “We just like it up here. It's really nice."
It is families like the Clarks drawn to Bar Harbor’s many attractions, that businesses are banking on.
“I think we're all prepped for a busy weekend. We're as ready as we'll every be right now. We're very psyched," Jose Howie said.
Howie, a manager at Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium worked hard all summer and said he is ready to serve up even more of their one-of-a-kind lobster ice cream as the busy season comes to a close.
“It’s been a phenomenal year,” he said.
“It was a busy summer here in Bar Harbor” Alf Anderson with the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce said. “We’ve had a lot of visitors, full restaurants and our lodging partners have been busy mostly to capacity.”
Officials at nearby Acadia National Park said they could exceed its record-breaking season last year when they saw 3.3 million visitors. The month of July was up nearly seven percent from the year before.
“Everyone seems to be smiling a lot so if that's any indication I think it's been a pretty successful summer,” Anderson said.
For the Clark family, it is no surprise that the beauty of Mount Dessert Island draws crowds.
"Nothing compares to this,” Bob Clark said.
For businesses, more people just means more to money rake in—especially with a big weekend ahead.
"You know we're always complaining that we're not ready for it to be here, but when it's done and over with you miss it,” Howie said.
The Maine Office of tourism told NEWS CENTER they do not have exact numbers yet, but are expecting another major growth year for tourism across the state.