Portland Highlight panoramic shot, Maine

Things to do in  Maine

To the lighthouses

Snug harbors and historic lighthouses dot Maine’s jigsaw coast, which stretches all the way to the northeastern edge of the United States. Sea coasts, inland lakes, and the towering summit of Mount Katahdin showcase this state’s scenic diversity, and well-established travel culture means there’s usually an elegant inn or craft brewery nearby. Travelers can keep busy by exploring hiking trails, tide pools, ski mountains, and beaches, working up an appetite for a restaurant scene focused on local flavors and artisanal drinks.

Top 10 attractions in Maine

Portland Head Light

Dating back to the 18th century, the Portland Head Light watches over the rocky coastline of Maine as the state’s oldest lighthouse. Its picturesque location also makes it the most photographed lighthouse in the United States. And the surrounding Fort Williams Park is a popular beach and hiking destination.More

Casco Bay

An inlet on Maine’s southern coast, Casco Bay is a rich maritime area spotted with lighthouses, historic forts, and seven small islands. Calm conditions make Casco Bay an ideal spot for boating, sailing, and kayaking, while the islands each have their own unique communities to explore.More

Fort Gorges

With granite walls that appear to rise straight up from the surface of Portland Harbor, this abandoned military fort was built on a small island during the Civil War. Only accessible by boat, today it’s a reminder of Maine's military past and a curiosity for passing harbor cruises or intrepid kayakers.More

Acadia National Park

Located on Maine's Schoodic Peninsula and Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park is a New England gem. You'll find diverse areas of the park to explore, from dense woodlands and vast lakes to the tallest mountains on the Northeast coast. Maintained by the National Park Service, Acadia offers endless options for exploration—from catching the first sight of sunrise in the US on Cadillac Mountain to camping on the remote shores of Duck Harbor to hearing waves crashing in the park's famed Thunder Hole inlet.More

Eastern Promenade

Stretching for several miles along Portland’s East End, this scenic trail connects the city’s cobblestoned Old Port with Fort Allen Park, East End Beach, and beyond. Along the way, sweeping views of Casco Bay and its islands provide a picturesque backdrop for joggers, cyclists, and picnickers enjoying this easy-to-access greenway.More

Cape Neddick Nubble Lighthouse

Among the most photographed of all Maine’s lighthouses, this picture-perfect spot is full of New England coastal charm. From the whitewashed keeper’s house to the lighthouse itself, Cape Neddick Nubble Lighthouse is simply beautiful. Because the lighthouse is on an island, visitors are limited to admiring the view from the mainland.More

Kittery Premium Outlets

Hundreds of big-name brands and shopping malls flank Route 1 in Kittery, a major shopping destination that draws bargain-seekers from around the region. One major stop is Kittery Premium Outlets, a mall with more than 60 stores from Anne Taylor to Zumiez. Discounts abound, and sales discount goods between 25 and 65 percent.More
Tate House Museum

Tate House Museum

Dating back to 1755, Portland, Maine's Tate House Museum is the only existing example of pre-revolutionary architecture open to the public. In its heyday, it was the residence of Captain George Tate, a senior mast agent in the British Royal Navy, though it's now a museum, complete with period furnishings, an herb garden, and a gift shop.More
New England Distilling

New England Distilling

New England Distilling, known for its rye whiskey, bourbon, gin, and rum, was founded in 2012, but the owner’s family has roots in the business going as far back as the 1850s, having produced spirits under different labels until the 1950s. The Portland-based distillery pays homage to this history by using a combination of traditional equipment and modern gear, and offers tours and tastings.More
Rising Tide Brewing Company

Rising Tide Brewing Company

Rising Tide Brewing Company serves up one of Portland, Maine's most beloved beers alongside live music and food trucks. The lively tasting room features artisan craft beers produced by the small-scale, family-owned brewing company, which has since grown to be one of the area's top brewers. There's a local feel to the taproom, and a long bar for tastings that looks into the production area.Try four different beers on a tour of the brewery, or make an outing out of your visit on a craft drink tour through the city.More

Top activities in Maine

The Real Portland Tour: City and 3 Lighthouses Historical Tour with a Real Local
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Vintage Fire Truck Sightseeing Tour of Portland Maine
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Private Lighthouse Sightseeing Charter on a Vintage Lobster Boat
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Private Sunset Charter on a Vintage Lobster Boat
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Old Port Culinary Walking Tour from Portland
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Savor Bar Harbor Culinary Walking Tour
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All about Maine

When to visit

Maine flaunts its dramatic landscape through all four seasons, from the beachy thrill of summer to foliage-rich falls and snowy winters. July and August are ideal for peak vacation energy, but by early October the foliage is putting on its own spectacular show. Snow sports kick off in December and January, while March brings out foodies for Restaurant Week events around the state. April can be a muddy mess until May flowers announce the impending arrival of seasonal vacationers.

Getting around

Most travelers and locals rely on cars to get around Maine, but with a bit of planning you can explore using public transit. Amtrak trains from Boston bring travelers to stations as far as Brunswick, Maine, while several bus companies including Greyhound and Concord Coach Lines go farther afield. Ferries might be the most scenic way to travel, and small boats serve Casco Bay and dozens of islands scattered along the coast.

Traveler tips

The best Maine lobster isn’t always the kind served atop white tablecloths—some of the most beloved eateries are weather-beaten joints called lobster pounds. There, you select your own lobster from a tank of live animals, choosing between a new shell lobster—known for sweet, tender flesh—and the hard-shell lobster that offers more meat and firmer flesh. Then you simply take a seat at the nearest picnic table and prepare for the feast.

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People Also Ask

What is the best month to visit Maine?

Maine is a four-season travel destination, with varied outdoor activities that change with the weather. Beach weather brings crowds to the shore in July and August, while bright foliage appears in September or October. Snowy winters can last from December through March, with the most powder falling on inland mountains.

What do people do when they visit Maine?

Maine earns its “Vacationland” nickname with year-round outdoor activities such as boating, skiing, hiking, and camping. The coast’s lighthouses, beaches, and lobster shacks are a major draw, while offshore islands offer a taste of rural life. Maine is also a growing foodie hub, from Portland breweries to small-town destination dining.

What is the prettiest place in Maine?

A list of Maine’s prettiest places spans the rocky summit of Mount Katahdin and Acadia National Park’s cozy harbors. But the state’s most iconic symbols may be the historic lighthouses that line the rocky coast, such as the 1791 Portland Head Light that’s said to be the state’s most photographed spot.

What is the coolest thing about Maine?

Maine is the first place in the continental United States to see the sunrise. From mid-October to early March, Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park is the place to catch the day’s earliest rays. The rest of the year, the number-one spot roves between Mars Hill and West Quoddy Head.

What food is Maine known for?

Maine is world-famous for lobster, and the American lobster found in the state’s cold water has long been a culinary stable here. Traditional lobster dinners feature whole steamed lobster with corn, salad, and other sides; but today, the easier-to-eat lobster roll is the most popular way to enjoy the crustacean.

What are 3 things Maine is famous for?

Maine is famous for lobsters, lighthouses, and gorgeous landscapes—the scenery here goes from the high mountains of Baxter State Park to a coastline packed with sandy beaches and cozy fishing villages. All three are major draws for international travelers, helping earn America’s northeasternmost state its longtime nickname of “Vacationland.”

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