Are you wondering how many days in Portland you should plan for? Well, you’ve come to the right place! The charming coastal city of Portland, Maine boasts a modest population of around 66,313. Famous for its stunning lighthouses, mouth-watering lobster rolls, and vibrant downtown area, it’s no wonder Portland is known as one of the best places to visit on the east coast of the United States.
Here’s the thing: to make the most of your Portland experience, it’s best to spend a total of five days in and around the city. With three days dedicated to exploring the wonders of Downtown Portland, you’ll have plenty of time to indulge in local delicacies at amazing restaurants, sip on local craft brews, and take in the city’s rich history. You’ll also have two extra days to venture beyond the city limits and immerse yourself in the beauty of Maine’s coastal towns and outdoor activities.
Found in the U.S.’s Eastern Time Zone, Portland’s picturesque coastline hugs the shores of Casco Bay, making it the perfect place for a relaxing getaway or an adventurous road trip. With so much to see and do, you’ll soon discover why Portland is such a great option for a memorable holiday. Whether you’re visiting during the warm high temperatures of summer or braving the winter months to enjoy the city’s cozy coffee shops, there’s always something to do in this beautiful corner of the world.
How to Get to Portland, Maine
Getting to Portland, Maine is a breeze, no matter where you’re coming from. In fact, it’s an excellent destination for a road trip! If you’re already in Maine, driving to Portland is the way to go since the city is well-connected by major highways. From Bangor, it’s about a 2-hour drive, while from Augusta, you’re looking at just over an hour of travel time.
If you prefer flying, Portland International Jetport (PWM) is the closest airport, conveniently just a few miles from Downtown Portland. While there are other airports in Maine, such as Bangor International Airport (BGR) and Augusta State Airport (AUG), they’re a bit further away, so you’ll need to factor in some extra travel time. However, they could still be great options depending on your itinerary and flight preferences. Flying from Bangor takes approximately 1 hour, and from Augusta, it’s around 40 minutes.
Once you touch down in Maine, you can easily hop on a bus or train to reach Portland. The Amtrak Downeaster train service connects Portland to nearby cities like Boston, taking roughly 2 hours and 30 minutes. The bus service Greyhound is another option, providing connections from cities within Maine and beyond. For example, a bus journey from Bangor to Portland takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes, while from Augusta, it’s around 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Weather in Portland Maine
The weather in Portland, Maine varies depending on the season. In the colder months, you’ll find a winter wonderland with average high temperatures around 32°F (0°C) and average lows dipping to 13°F (-10°C). January tends to be the snowiest month, so if you’re a snow lover, this is your time to shine!
As spring rolls in, Portland starts warming up, with average high temperatures in April reaching 53°F (12°C) and average lows around 36°F (2°C). This is a lovely time to witness the city’s blossoming beauty.
Summer on the other hand, is a great time for outdoor activities, with the warmest month being July. During this time, you can expect average highs of 79°F (26°C) and lows around 59°F (15°C). It’s not going to feel like summer in the Florida Keys, but it’s comfortable enough to spend time on the water.
Lastly, autumn in Portland is a colorful affair, offering crisp air and vibrant foliage. September brings average highs of 69°F (21°C) and lows around 48°F (9°C), making it a great place to experience the best of New England’s fall charm.
In short, whether you’re in a cozy café during the winter or enjoying a delicious lobster roll in the sunshine, you’re sure to have a fantastic time!
Where to Stay in Portland Maine
When planning your trip to Portland, Maine, it’s essential to find the perfect hotel to rest your head after a day of exploring. Luckily, the city offers various accommodation options catering to different budgets and preferences.
If you’re looking for luxury, Portland Harbor Hotel is an upscale boutique hotel located right in the heart of Downtown Portland. It makes for the perfect base for your adventure. With a nautical theme running throughout, you’ll immerse yourself in the coastal atmosphere. This award-winning AAA Four-Diamond hotel offers a range of room types, including the luxurious Deluxe Double Queen Room. The room boasts top-notch amenities, complimentary local chocolates, two lush queen beds, a work space, Jacuzzi tub, marble shower, and luxurious toiletries.
If you’re tired after a long day of travel, you don’t even have to leave the hotel to find delicious, locally-sourced food and drinks. The Harbor Bistro + Terrace is a great spot for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It also looks out over the beautiful terrace garden behind the hotel for a peaceful and serene dining experience.
Downtown parking won’t be a problem, either, as the hotel provides a parking garage and valet service. On-site dining options are available, and as a guest, you’ll even enjoy free coffee! With its prime location, exceptional service, and unique decor, Portland Harbor Hotel is an excellent choice for your stay in the city.
1. Check into Portland Harbor Hotel
Welcome to Portland! First things first, you will start your adventure by checking into the charming Portland Harbor Hotel. With its easy parking and prime location, you’ll find this hotel to be the perfect base for your stay. Not only is it within walking distance to many of Portland’s must-see attractions, but it’s also conveniently close to the downtown area, making it easy to explore the city at your leisure.
2. Check out Bug Light Park and Bug Lighthouse
After settling into your hotel, it’s time to stretch your legs and explore the picturesque Portland Harbor and Casco Bay. Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront, soaking in the beautiful scenery and fresh sea breeze. As you wander, you’ll find plenty of photo opportunities and spots to simply sit and watch the boats go by.
Next up, make your way to Bug Light Park, a lovely green space perfect for picnics or just relaxing on a sunny day. Here, you’ll find the charming Bug Lighthouse, a small but noteworthy landmark that’s definitely worth a visit. Snap some photos of this cute lighthouse and the stunning views of the surrounding area. You’ll soon see why Bug Light Park is a beloved spot for both locals and visitors alike.
3. Grab Dinner at Luke’s Lobster
As evening approaches, treat yourself to a delicious seafood dinner at Luke’s Lobster. Known for its mouth-watering lobster dishes and voted “best waterfront dining in Portland,” this place is a must-visit. To truly experience their amazing menu, go for the Luke’s Trio, which includes a lobster roll, crab roll, and shrimp roll. It’s the best way to taste the best of Maine’s comprehensive seafood portfolio.
Don’t forget to pair your meal with a refreshing Maine Blueberry Lemonade! Finally, cap off your dinner with a slice of warm blueberry pie smothered in vanilla ice cream. It’s a scrumptious dessert that perfectly embodies the essence of Maine. As you savor your meal and take in the waterfront views, you’ll understand why Luke’s Lobster is such a popular spot in Portland.
1. Take a Maine Foodie Tour with Maine Day Adventures
Get ready for a mouth-watering adventure with Maine Day Adventures as you dive into their Maine Foodie Tour. You’ll explore the delightful culinary scene of this charming town alongside a friendly and knowledgeable tour experts.
These tours are your chance to taste some truly delectable local dishes and confections lovingly crafted by Maine’s most talented chefs, bakers, distillers, and artisans. While you’re munching away, you’ll uncover fascinating stories about the history, culture, and traditions that make each restaurant and bar special.
Join Maine Day Adventures for a foodie tour that’s not only delectable but also educational and entertaining. You’ll make some scrumptious stops at:
- Gilbert’s Chowder House
You’ll be in for a treat with their various chowders and wallet-friendly lobster dishes. Don’t miss the Lobster Stew or the Super Seafood Chowder in a bread bowl.
- Andy’s Old Port Pub – Here, you’ll want to try the seafood tacos and pair them with an Allagash White beer.
- Rigby Yard Wharf Street – Get ready for the ultimate lobster roll, loaded to perfection and served with a side of Cape Cod potato chips.
- Dean’s Sweets – Prepare for a sweet indulgence with their truffles, especially the Needham coconut made with Maine mashed potatoes.
- Two Fat Cats Bakery
To wrap up your culinary adventure, grab a whoopie pie and a Blueberry Buckle. You won’t regret it!
2. Explore the Portland Museum of Art
As you’re figuring out how many days in Portland you’ll need, be sure to carve out some time for the Portland Museum of Art. Nestled in the heart of downtown Portland, this amazing museum offers an immersive experience of the world of art and creativity.
You’ll be wowed by the diverse collection of artwork that spans centuries, from renowned artists like Winslow Homer to contemporary local talents. There’s always something new and exciting to discover. In fact, with rotating exhibits and events, you’ll find yourself getting lost in the creative world for hours on end.
But here’s the thing, the Portland Museum of Art isn’t just about the visual arts. It’s also a hub for community engagement, hosting film screenings, lectures, and even workshops for aspiring artists. So go ahead, explore the museum, and let your inner art enthusiast run wild!
1. Breakfast at Holy Donut
Let’s kick things off with a sugary-sweet breakfast at Holy Donut! Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on these mouth-watering donuts that have become the talk of the town. In fact, Holy Donut has gained quite a reputation for crafting some of the most delectable and unique donuts in all of the United States. But what sets them apart from the rest?
They use a secret ingredient that will blow your mind: Maine potatoes! That’s right, these fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth delights are made with fresh, locally-sourced potatoes, giving them an irresistible texture you won’t find anywhere else.
With an array of creative flavors like Dark Chocolate Sea Salt and Lemon Poppy, Holy Donut has something to satisfy every sweet tooth. And for those looking for a savory treat, they’ve got you covered, too, with options like Bacon Cheddar. So, whether you’re a donut aficionado or just looking for a tasty way to start your day, Holy Donut is the perfect place to fuel up before continuing your Maine itinerary.
2. Go Shopping in Old Port
Now that you’re energized from those heavenly donuts, it’s time to hit the quaint cobblestone streets of Old Port for some retail therapy. This historic downtown area is not only picturesque but also home to a variety of unique shops, making it a great place to find souvenirs and local treasures.
First, head to Lisa Marie’s Made in Maine, where you’ll discover a wide selection of handcrafted products that showcase the talent and creativity of Maine artisans. From beautiful jewelry to cozy home goods, you’re bound to find something special here.
Next up is The Blue Lobster, a charming boutique filled with coastal-inspired decor, artwork, and accessories. It’s the perfect spot to pick up a little piece of Maine to bring back home with you.
For the gemstone enthusiast, Crystal Joys is a must-visit. This magical store offers an extensive collection of crystals, gemstones, and jewelry, making it a great place to find a meaningful gift or a little something for yourself.
Finally, don’t forget to check out Maxwell’s Pottery Outlet. This fantastic shop offers beautiful, handcrafted pottery at outlet prices, making it an ideal stop for snagging a one-of-a-kind piece at great value.
3. Grab Lunch at Duckfat
After working up an appetite from shopping, it’s time to treat yourself to a mouth-watering lunch at Duckfat. This quirky yet cozy eatery has quickly become a favorite among locals and visitors alike, and for a good reason. Renowned for its delicious gourmet comfort food, Duckfat offers a menu that’s both inventive and satisfying.
One of the standout items on their menu is, of course, the hand-cut Belgian-style fries cooked to perfection in—you guessed it—duck fat. These crispy, golden delights are served with a variety of creative dipping sauces, making them a must-try. Don’t stop there, though. Duckfat’s panini selection, made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, is equally impressive. If you’re feeling adventurous, give their signature Duck Confit Panini a whirl.
To top it all off, Duckfat also offers scrumptious milkshakes and craft sodas, making it the perfect spot for an indulgent lunch that’ll have you raving to your friends back home. Just be prepared for a possible wait, as this popular spot tends to get busy. Trust us; it’s worth it!
4. Head to Portland Head Light for sunset
As the day winds down, make your way to the iconic Portland Head Light, the most photographed lighthouse in the world. This historic gem, perched on the rocky shores of Cape Elizabeth, has been a beacon of beauty and maritime history since its construction in 1791. It’s no wonder that photographers and nature enthusiasts alike are drawn to its timeless charm and picturesque setting.
As you arrive, take a leisurely stroll around Fort Williams Park, which surrounds the lighthouse. Explore the scenic walking trails, the old fort ruins, and the cliffside views of the rugged coastline. Here’s the thing, though: the real magic happens when the sun begins to set. Find the perfect vantage point and get your camera ready because the golden hues cast by the setting sun paint a breathtaking backdrop for the iconic Portland Head Light. The warm light reflecting off the lighthouse’s white facade creates an enchanting sight you won’t soon forget.
5. End the day with cocktails at Blyth & Burrows
After along day of exploring, head to the sophisticated maritime themed cocktail bar, Blyth & Burrows. Located on Exchange Street, the menu and the decor pay homage to Portland’s maritime history. Serving stunning hand crafted cocktails and light bites, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a night cap. Top cocktails include the “Loose Cannon” espresso cocktail, and the pretty pink “Sleight of Hand.” If you’re in the mood for a late night snack, order the Herbed Goat Cheese with Honey, or the Haddock Sliders.
After immersing yourself in the city’s charms, dedicate your fourth day to exploring the wonders beyond Portland’s borders. With its convenient location along the coast, Portland serves as the perfect starting point for memorable day trips. The diverse landscapes of Maine offer a variety of options, from quaint coastal towns to lush forests and picturesque mountain trails.
Whether you’re in search of breathtaking scenery, charming local shops, or outdoor activities, you’ll find that venturing out of the city for a day is a must. So, pack your adventurous spirit and embark on a day trip that will add a touch of excitement and discovery to your Portland, Maine itinerary.
1. Two Lights State Park
TAs you kick off your day trip, make sure to stop by Two Lights State Park. This coastal gem is just a short drive from Portland. It offers a variety of opportunities to immerse yourself in the beauty of Maine’s rugged shoreline. Spend a couple of hours in the morning exploring the park’s scenic trails and marvel at the stunning sheet rock formations.
Wandering through the park, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the refreshing scent of the salty sea breeze and the soothing sound of crashing waves. The trails offer diverse experiences, from wooded paths to rocky shorelines with impressive views of the Atlantic Ocean. Keep an eye out for the park’s two historic lighthouses, which serve as iconic symbols of Maine’s maritime heritage.
2. Grab Lunch at Seaglass Restaurant at Inn by the Sea
After a refreshing morning at Two Lights State Park, you’ll definitely work up an appetite. Treat yourself to an exclusive lunch at Seaglass Restaurant, located within the luxurious Inn by the Sea. This elegant seaside resort offers stunning ocean views, beautifully landscaped grounds, and top-notch service, making it a delightful spot to relax and dine in style.
Seaglass Restaurant is known for its creative, locally-sourced dishes that showcase the best of Maine’s culinary scene. You can’t go wrong with their Blueberry Compote Pancakes, a delightful twist on a classic breakfast dish that showcases Maine’s famous blueberries. For a true taste of the coast, indulge in the Lobster Eggs Benedict, a mouth-watering combination of tender lobster and perfectly poached eggs atop a toasted English muffin, all under a blanket of velvety hollandaise sauce.
3. Old Orchard Beach
As your day trip continues, make your way to Old Orchard Beach, a popular destination on Maine’s coast. This picturesque beach stretches for seven miles, offering plenty of space for sunbathing, swimming, or taking a leisurely stroll along the shoreline. The sandy beach and gentle waves make it an ideal spot for families and beach lovers alike.
However, the fun doesn’t stop at the water’s edge. Just steps from the beach, you’ll find a lively boardwalk bustling with activities. Check out the amusement park, complete with a Ferris wheel, roller coaster, and various games to keep you busy. Grab a bite to eat or do some souvenir shopping at the numerous shops and eateries lining the boardwalk. With so many things to see and do around Old Orchard Beach, you’re sure to create lasting memories of your day trip outside of Portland.
4. Brews at Allagash Brewing Company
It’s not a trip to Portland unless you check out the local craft brew scene. The Belgian-inspired Allagash Brewing Company is perhaps one of the most well-known breweries in the Portland area. With multiple locations, it’s easy to pop in after a day of hiking or outdoor activities to unwind and cool down with a cold brew.
Make sure to try their bourbon barrel aged beers, the “Barrel & Bean,” and the ” Curieux” golden ale. Additionally, Allagash donates one percent of their earnings back to the state of Maine every year! It’s the ultimate way to “support local.”
1. Grab breakfast at Tandem Coffee and Bakery
If you’re lucky enough to not have an early morning flight, head over to Tandem Coffee and Bakery. You’ll enjoy a cozy atmosphere and friendly staff as you savor your last moments in this amazing city.
Treat yourself to a scrumptious loaded biscuit packed with bacon, egg, onion, and cheese, and wash it down with a Malt Iced Coffee. Your taste buds will surely thank you. While you’re at it, grab a cinnamon roll and a homemade Blueberry Scone to go. These treats will keep the delicious memories of Portland alive as you continue your journey beyond Maine’s coastal gem.
2. Head back to the airport
As you wrap up your fantastic Portland adventure, don’t forget to give yourself ample time to get to the airport. Make sure you arrive a couple of hours before your departure, especially if you need to return a rental car or if it’s peak tourist season. By planning ahead, you’ll ensure a smooth and stress-free end to your trip.
What is the best month to visit Portland, Maine?
The best month to visit Portland, Maine, is typically during the summer months between June and August. During this time, the weather is warm, making it perfect for exploring the downtown area and coastal towns and indulging in outdoor activities. However, if you prefer cooler temperatures and fewer crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of May and September. Regardless of when you visit, make sure you take out a reliable and comprehensive travel insurance plan — especially if you’re visiting from another country!
How many days do I need to see Portland, Maine?
For a comprehensive experience of Portland and its surroundings, plan a 5-day trip. You’ll want to spend three days exploring the city’s downtown area, coffee shops, local breweries, and amazing restaurants. Reserve the other two days for day trips to nearby attractions. You can take a day trip to Bar Harbor, Acadia, and the most photographed lighthouse: the Portland Head Lighthouse. This itinerary will give you a well-rounded experience of what Portland and Maine have to offer.
Is Portland, Maine, worth visiting?
Absolutely! Portland, Maine, is a great place to visit on the east coast of the United States. With its picturesque coastal scenery, vibrant downtown area, and abundance of delicious seafood, it’s a perfect destination for a road trip or a weekend getaway. The city is brimming with history, art, and outdoor activities, ensuring there’s something for everyone to enjoy. You absolutely won’t want to miss out on the best lobster rolls and the Holy Donut!
What is the best time to go to Maine for lobster?
While lobsters are caught year-round in Maine, the best time of year for lobster is from June through August. During this period, lobsters are more abundant, and the high temperatures make it an ideal time for enjoying seafood. If you’re a lobster lover, plan your Maine itinerary to coincide with the peak lobster season. You’ll enjoy the freshest and most succulent lobster dishes.
Final Thoughts: Visiting Portland, Maine
Spending five days in Portland, Maine is the perfect amount of time to dive into the city’s unique atmosphere. You’ll have the chance to soak up Portland’s rich history, savor its thriving food scene, and experience the laid-back coastal vibe. However, the city’s charm isn’t just about its beautiful landscapes. It’s friendly, welcoming locals will make you feel right at home.
As you wander around Portland, you’ll discover something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, art enthusiast, foodie, or outdoor adventurer, it’s brimming with amazing things to do. Be sure not to forget the breathtaking natural beauty surrounding Portland, too. From iking, beach combing, and exploring coastal towns, there are endless opportunities for day trips.
Don’t wait to pack your your bags! Check out this East Coast gem to make lasting memories on your Maine itinerary. You’ll leave with a newfound appreciation for this amazing destination and all its delightful offerings.
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