Portland Head Light

1. Portland Head Light

One of the most iconic sights in Portland is the Portland Head Light and one of the most photographed spots east of the Mississippi.

Originally built in 1791, it’s a fully functioning lighthouse that overlooks the Gulf of Maine, and it’s been helping sailors, soldiers and settlers reach New England since the days of yore.

You can’t miss the Portland Head Light.

It looms over the whole coastline, and it uses both a beacon and a foghorn to guide travelers through the dark.

The only difference between its past and present is that the tower has exchanged whale oil lamps for electric lights.

Today, visitors to the lighthouse can climb the stairs, see the sights, take a tour, explore the on-site museum or just lounge around the grass.

It’s a great place to suck in a deep breath and enjoy the salt and spray of the ocean.

Drop by the Portland Head Light if you’re looking for awesome stuff to do in Portland. 

You’ll find it listed in just about every travel guide, and it’s worth the praise!

Address: Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107, USA
FMI portlandheadlight.com

So Portland Bug Light

  2. South Portland Bug Light

And if you’re into lighthouses, another great one is the Spring Point Ledge Light in South Portland Spring Point Ledge Light was built in 1897 to warn mariners of a dangerous ledge in Portland Harbor. The light resembles a giant spark plug, sitting at the end of a granite breakwater in South Portland. You can visit this light by heading south on Route 77 in Portland. Continue on Broadway in South Portland. Turn right on Pickett Street and then left onto Fort Road, which ends at Fort Preble and a parking area.

This is a favorite with the kiddos. You can walk to the end of the breakwater – far out into Portland Harbor and kids love this. It is so much fun. The views are spectacular but be sure to wear your sweatshirt! There is always a breeze! FMI: http://www.springpointlight.org/

Casco Bay Mailboat Run

3. For a view of the harbor from the water side, take a run around the islands while the ferry drops off mail. A great trip on a hot day, you can even bring your own picnic lunch with beer or wine. You can get off on any island of your choosing but be sure to track the ferry schedule so you do not miss the last boat back or you will have to call a water taxi. Keep your eye out for seals and other wildlife – and watch the lobstermen hauling traps. Address: 56 Commercial St
Portland ME
FMI  https://www.cascobaylines.com/

Portland Arts District

 4.  If you’re a patron of the arts, the Portland Arts District is an absolute “must-see” while you’re in Maine.

For starters, it gathers a large number of museums, theaters, galleries and art colleges in a few square blocks.

You could spend all day exploring its performance venues, and you wouldn’t even need a car for your travels.

The Portland Arts District is also home to a tradition known as the “First Friday Art Walk.”

On the first Friday of every month, all of the art institutions open their doors to the public from 5PM – 8PM.

Many of them offer free admission or serve food and drink to guests.

It’s a great social gathering for creatives of all types, and it’s one of the best things to do in Portland on a weekend.

The Portland Museum of Art is a world-class art museum that boasts significant holdings of American, European and contemporary art as well as iconic works from Maine – highlighting the rich artistic tradition of the state and its artists. The permanent collection includes works spanning from Andy Warhol and Winslow Homer to Louise Nevelson and Claude Monet. Free admission on Friday evenings from 5 – 8PM.

Address: Congress Street, Portland, ME, USA
FMI Portlandmaine.com

Sunset and Full Moon Canoe Paddles on the Scarborough Salt Marsh

5.   Sunrises get all the hype since Maine is the first in the nation to see the sun every day, but when a sunset is seen from the water, with all the colors multiplied by the water’s reflection, well that’s the kind of sight that makes you stop mid-paddle to stare in wonder.

During a sunset or full moon canoe tour on the Scarborough Marsh, you’ll get a sunset (and maybe a moon rise) on the water, in a canoe in the a beautifully scenic spot filled with wildlife with a expert guide who can name all the birds and fish.

You don’t have to wait for sunset, you can paddle the marsh anytime – renting the Maine Audubon’s canoes or with your own. 

  Address: Scarborough Marsh, Maine Audubon Nature Center
92 Pine Point Road, Scarborough
FMI Maineaudubon.org

Lucky Catch Cruises

6.   Have you ever wondered about the journey of a lobster from the bottom of the ocean to the top of a plate?

With Lucky Catch Cruises you can watch every step of the process and eat the lobster when you’re done.

Lucky Catch Cruises will take you on a boat ride with real fishermen to bait, catch, trap and haul sea critters from the deep.

Under their careful instruction, you can get your hands dirty like you’re part of the crew.

Address: 170 Commercial St
Portland ME
FMI luckycatch.com

Congdon’s After Dark

  7. Congdon’s After Dark is the only food truck park in New England! It offers a unique dinner experience for summer guests and residents with up to 10 food trucks serving from 4 – 8 pm with at least one truck staying open until 9 or 10 pm. Visit again, as the trucks rotate!

Congdon’s After Dark is a fun and family-friendly experience, with delicious and diverse food options, live music, a Maine-centric Beer Garden, weekly fundraisers, car shows, kids entertainment and pets are always welcome. (Leash please!) Admission and parking is free with plenty of outdoor and indoor seating. Located less than 2 miles from Wells Beach on Route One.
Congdon’s After Dark
1100 Post Road, Wells, ME
FMI [email protected]

The Old Port

8. If you like the thought of strolling near the waterfront and wandering down old wharfs, or strolling down cobblestone streets, check out the Old Port.

It’s one of the biggest tourist attractions in Portland, and it’ll offer an entertaining day trip for visitors of all ages.

Activities at the Old Port range from scenic seal watches to a beer connoisseur’s delight in beer gardens. 

(And check out Maine Foodie Tours for tours that are centered around specific foods, themes, locations and events. For example, the “Old Port Lunchtime Lobster Crawl” will leave your fingers permanently covered in butter after you’ve cracked open the most delicious lobster tails in the area. Also, the “India Street Food Artisans” will keep your taste buds ablaze from the spices of the east. 

In the Old Port, you can eat, drink, shop or just people-watch along the harbor.

It’s the kind of place where street musicians always have their hats on the ground and crowds line up for hours at their favorite gelato shop.

Address: Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101, USA
FMI https://www.portlandoldport.com

Mackworth Island

9 Mackworth Island, one of the many islands in Casco Bay, but accessible by a causeway, is definitely worth a visit. The 1.25 mile trail that encircles the island takes about an hour to complete at a leisurely pace and visitors are treated to stunning views of Casco Bay and Portland. Along the way, stop to watch boats and ferries motor though the Atlantic waters while seagulls, osprey and shorebirds glide overhead as they search for food.  The best part for children is that there is a fairy forest inside.  Children are encouraged to build a home for a fairy using natural elements found along the walk – pinecones, seashells, driftwood, etc. It may be designed for children, but adults always enjoy building a house or two as well! 

Address: Andrews Ave off Route 1 Falmouth, ME

FMI https://trails.org/our-trails/mackworth-island-trail/ 

Perkins Cove

10.   Perkins Cove is a lively, postcard-perfect fishing village turned artist colony on the south end of Ogunquit. From glimpses of the town’s maritime past to bustling shops and restaurants, this charming spot—one of the most photographed corners of Maine,  is a great place to spend an afternoon. Wander around the narrow streets and visit some fantastic jewelry and gift boutiques, art galleries, clothing shops and numerous restaurants. 


Then, take a walk along Marginal Way. Walking along the Marginal Way is like braving a tightrope over the windy cliffs that border the Atlantic, but in the best and most beautiful way possible. Named for the literal margin of trail that is pressed between land and sea, Marginal Way features 1.25 miles of winding trail with stunning views overlooking the town of Ogunquit and the rollicking waves of the Atlantic. Leaving Perkins Cove with its candy shops and working fishing dock on one end of Marginal Way, walk to the three miles of sandy dunes that make up Ogunquit Beach. The walk is not particularly difficult, with a small bit of elevation change, and there are benches placed periodically along the way for those who need a rest or wish to stop and enjoy some of the many views.

Address: From the village of Ogunquit, take Shore Road to Perkins Cove
FMI https://visitmaine.com/things-to-do/hiking-climbing/marginal-way-ogunquit

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