16 Peaceful Day Trips from Portland, Maine

Portland Maine is located on the central coast which makes trips along the Atlantic coast easy and accessible. There are lots to do in the state of Maine from having a leisurely dinner at a diner or biking in Kennebunkport.

Explore the coast to see historic lighthouses and charming coastal towns. There are the beautiful islands of Casco Bay and Penobscot Bay which you can explore. 

Here are a few spectacular ways to explore the city of Portland. Read on for the best day trips from Portland, Maine.

Sebago Lake, Maine

Sebago Lake

The second-largest lake of Maine is only an hour away from Portland. Maine’s Sebago Lake spans over 28,000 acres.

The lake is surrounded by the towns of Sebago, Casco, Naples, Raymond, Standish, and Windham. Visitors can do boating, kayaking or swimming.

In the summers a lot of visitors flock to Sebago Lake and stay in the cabins and cottages surrounding the lake. The depth of this lake is 300 feet and it is a popular lake for fishing.

Distance: 60 minutes

Ideal for: Water-based activities

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park

This park is one of the top ten visited park in the United States and is located on Mount Desert Island, off Maine’s Atlantic coast.

Acadia National Park offers 150 miles of hiking trails, 45 miles of carriage roads, and 27 miles of historic motor roads. Visitors can enjoy a range of outdoor activities like hikes, trails, ranger-led trails, and nature walks.

They even have hawk and falcon programs. The park is also home to Cadillac Mountain which is the highest peak on the east coast of the United States.

Distance: 160 minutes

Ideal for: Outdoor activities

Bar Harbour, Maine

Bar Harbour

Bar Harbour is the largest city on Maine’s Mount Desert Island. It is a popular tourist destination in the Down  East area of ​​Maine.

Bar Harbour is actually the sandbar that connects the island to the mainland at low tide. This destination makes for one of the best day trips from Portland Maine.

Here you can visit a variety of shops, restaurants, taverns, hotels, or bed and breakfasts as well. 

The New England town is home to  Acadia National Park and is an easily walkable city great for exploring the shops, galleries, and restaurants on foot.

Bar Harbour is famous for its coastal beauty which its visitors can soak in. You can take a walking tour with a certified Maine Guide to learn more about the town.

Distance: 4 hours

Ideal for: Relaxing on an island

Camden, Maine

Camden

Another coastal town in Central Maine is a haven for ocean lovers. This is also the famous administrative center of the London Borough of Camden.

Camden is perfect for an outdoor and coastal adventure. It is located on Penobscot Bay and the deepwater Camden Harbor is home to several tall ships that offer cruises of the bay and fishing excursions.

This city makes for one of the best day trips from Portland Maine. This picturesque port is a sailor’s dream place and visitors can also choose to charter their own ships.

There is an excellent view of the bay from the top of Mount Battie at the Camden Hills State Park. 

You can enjoy shopping for antiques, browsing upscale boutiques and eat fresh seafood. 

Distance: 1 hour and 43 minutes

Ideal for: Sailors and ocean lovers

Bath, Maine

Bath

Also known as the “City of Ships”, Bath is a small town located at the Kennebec River. The city is popular with tourists and Bath makes for an excellent day trip from Portland Maine.

Explore the 19th-century architecture like the Marine Maritime Museum or indulge in water-based activities like boating or fishing.

Bath Iron Works and Heritage Days Festival also happen in Bath annually on the Fourth of July weekend. There are many beaches which you can explore like Popham Beach State Park and the beaches at Reid State Park.

Distance: 37 minutes

Ideal for: Outdoor activities

Freeport, Maine

Freeport

Best known as a shopping destination, Freeport is located in Cumberland County, Maine. This destination is a favorite amongst  New Englanders seeking deals among the hundreds of brand-name outlets.

Freeport is famous for its many outlet stores that are open 24 hours a day and true shoppers delight. The shops occupy 18th and 19th-century buildings and homes along Route 1

After shopping, you can enjoy the Freeport Historical Society and the Historic Pettengill Farm. 

Also visit the famous Wolf’s Neck Wood State Park, where you can kayak, or take a bicycle for rentals.  

Distance: 20 minutes

Ideal for: Shoppers

Bethel, Maine

Bethel

Just east of the Vermont border outside of the White Mountain National Forest, Bethel is a beautiful hilly location. Bethel was also named the most Beautiful Town in Maine.

Visitors can enjoy a number of amenities and activities in the town’s historic village as well as in the surrounding area.

Here you can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities like kayaking, skiing and much more. The downtown area can also be explored for shopping and dining. 

If you visit Bethel during winters then it is one of the best destinations in Maine for alpine or Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and après ski fun. You can also explore the Mineral and Gem museum and Maggie Ring’s Nature Park, and the Bethel Recreational Pathway for cyclists.

Distance: 14 minutes

Ideal for: outdoor recreation activities

The Kennebunks, Maine

The Kennebunks

Located in York County, Maine, United States, Kennebunk is home to several beaches. People who love fishing will love this destination and it can be a fun day trip from Portland Maine.

The Brick Store Museum and Nature Conservancy’s Kennebunk Plains are popular nature trails that you can explore.

Distance: 31 minutes

Ideal for: Fishing enthusiasts

Boothbay Harbour, Maine

Boothbay

This popular yachting and tourist destination is located along the rocky Atlantic coast about one hour’s drive north of Portland.

Surrounded by evergreen forests, Boothbay Harbour makes for an excellent day trip from Portland Maine.

This destination is also home to over 200 artists whose work you can see in galleries, local shops, and even museums.  Visit the Boothbay Region Art Foundation or visit during a Boothbay Art and Crafts Show, which takes place on summer weekends

Explore the downtown area to end your day where you can enjoy the shops and restaurants. The Main State Aquarium is also a great place to go with kids.

Distance: 1 hour and 11 minutes

Ideal for: Art enthusiasts

Damariscotta, Maine

Damariscotta

Also referred to as the Capital of Oysters, Damariscotta has been known for this for more than two thousand years. 

Visit the Whaleback Shell Midden State Historic Site where you can see the history of this place. People who enjoy costume design can have a good time at this place. Damariscotta holds many costume design contests.

To end the day you can have a meal at restaurants such as the Shuck Station or the Newcastle Publick House.

Annual festivals which you can visit are summer’s Damariscotta Oyster Celebration and autumn’s Pemaquid Oyster Festival.

Distance: 1 hour

Ideal for: Oyster lovers

Peaks Island, Maine

Peaks Island

This is a popular summer destination that can be reached with a short ferry trip from Portland. It is the most populated island in Casco Bay, Maine and attracts lots of tourists.

A great place to be explored by bicycle this island is just a 4-mile long circumference. Charming cottages, theatres, and amusement parks line the beaches.

Visitors can go swimming, kayaking and explore the rocky Cairn beach as well. Island Avenue is also a great place to explore which is the home of the Peak’s Island shops, restaurants, and cafes.

Distance: 38 minutes

Ideal for: Beachside fun

Deer Isle, Maine

Deer Isle

Deer Isle is a popular day trip destination from Portland, Maine. Comprising of the main Deer Isle Island and adjacent Little Deer Isle, these are Atlantic Islands.

Visitors can get the charming feel of a 1950’s rural neighborhood at these islands. It is a small community of around 3000 residents which include many artists who are drawn to the island’s world-famous Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.

Visitors can also enjoy photography, kayaking, bird-watching and much more at the Deer Isle. The small island is home to 12 nature conservancies that protect the land and wildlife habitat.

Distance: 3 hours 15 minutes

Ideal for: Idyllic day trip

Lewiston, Maine

Lewiston

Located in the Maine Lakes Region, Lewiston was founded by French-speaking Canadians who immigrated to work textile mills.

The French influence in this town is still alive and can be seen in Lewiston’s Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, built-in 1870.

Distance: 46 minutes

Ideal for: Idyllic day trip

Stonington, Maine

Stonington

A three-hour drive from Portland, Maine, Stonington is located in New London County. Today this area is famous for its tree-lined village streets and historic houses.

Visit the Captain Nathaniel Brown Palmer House and Old Lighthouse Museum where you can learn about the history of this place. Stonington is one of the most charming towns in Maine and makes for an excellent day trip from Portland Maine.

Distance: 3 hours and 8 minutes

Ideal for: Historical day out

Ogunquit, Maine

Ogunquit

 Located on Maine’s Atlantic coast, the name, Ogunquit means  “beautiful place by the sea”. It used to be a fishing village that has now turned into an artist’s haven and tourist destination is known for its rugged beauty and rocky coastline. 

Visitors can pay a visit to the Ogunquit Museum of American Art which was founded in the 1950s. Visit the many galleries that are located all around town.

Travelers can also visit the Ogunquit Performing Arts and the Ogunquit Playhouse which offer year-round theatre and live music performances.

The Ogunquit Beach is quite a hit with the families and this 3.5 mile-long stretch of soft sand offers a great place for swimming. Footbridge  Beach, offers public restrooms, gift shops, changing rooms, and snack bars.

Distance: 43 minutes

Ideal for: Family day out

Portland Head Light, Maine

Portland Head Light

This historic 1791 lighthouse sits within the Fort Williams State Park in Cape Elizabeth, on Portland Head. The Lighthouse does not operate now and it only operated till 1989 when it was decommissioned by the US Coast Guard.

The US Coast Guard continues to maintain the light and fog signal and the keeper’s quarters have been renovated into a museum. Visitors can watch Interpretative displays and lighthouse lenses that are on exhibit.

There is a small gift shop as well that operates seasonally.

Distance: 17 minutes

Ideal for: Family day out

Conclusion

There is lots to see and cover from the city of Portland, Maine. Explore the second-largest lake and indulge in fishing or visit the coastal town of Camden. Maine has lots to offer to its visitors and residents of Portland can take advantage of that.

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