15 Best Things to Do In Portland Maine – Bearfoot Theory


Situated on the shoreline of southern Maine, Portland is most recognized for being a quintessential New England metropolis. With cobblestone streets, lobster roll carts, lighthouses, a wealthy mariner historical past, and loads of different points of interest, Portland is unquestionably value a cease on any New England highway journey.

Don’t thoughts the truth that I don’t eat lobster (gasp!); this record is comprised of a ton of different finest issues to do in Portland, Maine together with out of doors actions, must-visit websites, and scrumptious bites to eat (apart from the seafood).

Note: this agenda is significantly better fitted to people visiting within the hotter months, as Maine is understood to get some chilly snaps and snow through the winter.

Take a Sunset Kayak Tour

The north finish of the Portland peninsula juts out into the gorgeous Casco Bay the place Portland Paddle gives sundown kayak excursions. The guided tour begins about 2 hours earlier than sundown (examine their web site for a precise time if you go) and lets guests benefit from the surreal fantastic thing about the Maine harbor and marine life.

As of August 2022, the sundown tour is $45 per individual and $40 for teenagers ages 10-16.

View out over front of kayak with Portland Maine skyline in distance and sunset skies overhead
Get the very best seat for watching Portland’s well-known sunsets on a guided sundown kayak tour

Walk, Run, or Bike Around Back Cove

Head a couple of minutes outdoors of town by automobile or by foot to hike the three.6 miles path round Back Cove. It’s a paved and well-maintained pathway that provides stunning metropolis views and is nice for teenagers or canine on leash.

See What’s Happening at Thompson’s Point

Thompson’s Point is a waterfront venue with tons of occasions occurring all year long. From a Summer Sunsets Live sequence to a Maker’s Market to open-air circus performances, there’s at all times one thing enjoyable happening.

Check out the Thompson Point web site for an up to date occasion schedule. Spending a day or night at Thompson’s Point is actually among the best issues to do in Portland, Maine!

Go Sailing on a Windjammer

One of the very best methods to expertise Portland, Maine is by sailboat. The Portland Schooner Co. gives two-hour crusing excursions on Casco Bay and past. It’s a good way to spend a morning and afternoon and see Portland from the water. Food and drinks are usually not included however passengers are inspired to carry their very own.

Tours are solely obtainable from May by way of October.

Sailboat on Casco Bay in Portland, Maine
See Portland from the water with a 2-hour crusing tour

Take a Surf Lesson at Higgins Beach

If the concept of browsing in Maine sounds loopy, suppose once more — oh, and seize a wetsuit. Higgins Beach is a well known New England surf break with fairly constant waves year-round. It’s a well-liked spot with pleasant locals and is situated simply south of town close to Cape Elizabeth.

Go to Black Point Surf Shop to lease a surfboard or ebook a lesson.

Hike the Fore River Sanctuary

From the middle of town, a brief stroll down Congress Street will get you to this 85-acre protect with one of many space’s solely pure waterfalls – Jewell Falls. Bring your canine, some pals, and a digital camera to snap pictures of the gorgeous marshlands and wildlife the place town meets the ocean.

Give your self a couple of hours to get pleasure from a leisurely stroll round this 3.2-mile loop — the golden hour is most popular.

>>Read Next: Best Hikes in Portland, Maine

Explore the Eastern Promenade

Local Mainers name this 2.1 miles of waterfront seashores and pathways “the prom”, which is definitely one of many extra desired areas of town to reside. It has a laid-back Venice Beach vibe with small bungalows and winding streets only a stone’s throw from the water. There can be a brewery on virtually each nook, which makes it a simple shoo-in for my favourite spot on the peninsula.

Bring a towel and a picnic lunch and benefit from the small sliver of sandy beachfront and end the time without work with a drink at Lone Pine Brewing Co.

Camp on Richmond Island

Snag one of many 4 distant and primitive campsites obtainable to guests on Richmond Island simply south of Portland and close to Cape Elizabeth. This island provides you a novel seashore tenting expertise that’s completely off the crushed path and is among the extra adventurous issues to do in Portland.

Before you head out, ensure you receive a allow and convey your personal firewood.

The island is simply obtainable by boat and there’s no operating water, no electrical energy, and no canine allowed. As at all times, pack out all trash and tread calmly whereas exploring the realm.

If you’re on the lookout for extra distinctive tenting experiences, Wolfs Neck Woods State Park north of Portland is one other of our favorites.

Eat, Drink, and Shop in Old Port

If you want a fast break from mountain climbing, tenting, and browsing, take a while to discover the Old Port District for a quintessential Maine expertise. The metropolis is filled with creatives, makers, and entrepreneurs with tremendous cool storefronts which can be undoubtedly value a go to.

For eats and sips, take a look at Central Provisions which is tucked away on a cobblestone aspect avenue, and The Thirsty Pig, a enjoyable place with good meals and craft brews.

Cobblestone street lined with brick buildings in historic Old Port District of Portland Maine
The historic Old Port District is a good place for meals and boutique outlets

Stargaze on the Portland Observatory

The Portland Observatory is a fixture within the seacoast metropolis and a logo of its maritime roots. Trek as much as Munjoy Hill to take a guided or self-guided tour of this historic landmark. You’ll be spoiled with panoramic views of town and naturally, a novel view of the ocean past the barrier islands.

The Portland Observatory on hill above houses and buildings in Portland, Maine
The Portland Observatory is a historic landmark that provides nice views out over town and waterfront

Take the Ferry to Peaks Island

Historically referred to as “The Coney Island of Maine” and a WWII outpost, a go to to Peaks Island is a novel cease for anybody visiting Portland. The ferry takes roughly 20 minutes (every manner) and there are a number of departures per day. On the island, discover the Fifth Maine Museum, the world’s solely Umbrella Cover Museum, and luxuriate in Lisa’s well-known cinnamon buns on the Peaks Café. If you’re on the lookout for one thing outdoorsy to do, you may as well lease bikes and kayaks on the island.

Take a Self-Guided Craft Beer Tour

The metropolis of Portland alone has over a dozen of breweries — some brick and mortar and a few on wheels — that makes this Maine metropolis a haven for beer lovers. Many of the breweries are situated shut to at least one one other, so it’s straightforward to do a self-guided strolling tour, undoubtedly among the best issues to do in Portland, Maine, in my view.

Downtown Portland Maine at sunset

Suggested route:

Begin at Austin Street Brewery on Fox Street, the place they typically have meals vans and occasions any day of the week. Right subsequent door is Rising Tide Brewery, which has been on the town for years and has an excellent status as a enjoyable hangout with a big out of doors patio. Next, stroll about seven minutes up Anderson Street to get to Lone Pine Brewing Co. Enjoy a pour-on faucet earlier than heading over to Goodfire Brewing Co., conveniently situated subsequent door.

While you’re in Portland, additionally take a look at these must-see breweries on the peninsula: Bissell Brothers Brewing Company, Oxbow Blending and Bottling, and Root Wild, a kombucha brewery with a couple of stellar beers on faucet. The famed Maine Beer Co. is situated 20 minutes north in Freeport and is value a drive for diehard beer lovers.

If you need to be a part of a guided tour, take a look at the Portland Brewery Tour with Maine Brew Bus.

Glass of beer etched with Maine Beer Company Do What's Right

Get Caffeinated at Tandem Coffee

You can’t go to Maine and never have espresso — not what you had been anticipating I might say, proper? Well, it’s true. The line at Tandem Coffee runs out the door on weekends and for good purpose, the espresso and baked items listed here are excellent.

So, get in line, and if the climate permits, dangle outdoors the place there may be ample seating and a great vibe total.

Visit the Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light is among the hottest issues to do for Portland guests, however for good purpose. The lighthouse is about on the rocky bluffs of Fort Williams Park, about quarter-hour south of town within the city of Cape Elizabeth.

In addition to the historic lighthouse, the Park can be dwelling to strolling trails, an award-winning museum, a number of previous forts, and a youngsters’s backyard.

Try to go to on a weekday, as this place does get busy.

Historic army ruins at Fort William Park in Portland, Maine
In addition to the lighthouse, Fort Williams Park can be dwelling to historic military ruins

Visit the Portland Museum of Art

Located within the historic Arts District in downtown Portland, the Portland Museum of Art is a good place to spend a day. With rotating exhibitions that includes a variety of artists, there’s at all times one thing happening. Check the calendar for a listing of upcoming occasions.

If you need to see much more artwork, time your go to to coincide with the free self-guided First Friday Art Walk.

What’s in your record of the very best issues to do in Portland, Maine? Did we depart something out? Let us know within the feedback!

Discover the best things to do in Portland, Maine with this locals' guide including outdoor adventures best places to eat/drink, and more.

Written by
Katherine Oakes

Katherine Oakes is an outside journey, sustainability author and yoga trainer. As an avid hiker, skier, yogi (namaste) and aspiring environmentalist, her finest days are spent getting somewhat grime below her fingernails and contemporary air in her lungs.


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