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Explore Vibrant Portland Maine

The Perfect Blend of Sea and City

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Portland Harbor Hotel, Portland Maine

Portland Harbor Hotel

Portland, ME

Portland Harbor Hotel is a AAA Four Diamond hotel in the heart of Portland’s Old Port. The hotel features spacious rooms with soaking tubs, free Wi-Fi, and stunning views of the harbor. Amenities include a fine-dining restaurant, a fitness center, and a spa. With its excellent accommodations and convenient location, you’re sure to have a memorable stay

 

468 Fore Street
Portland, ME 04101

Aloft Hotel, Portland Maine

Aloft Hotel Portland

Portland, ME

Aloft Hotel is a modern hotel in Portland, ME. The hotel features modern rooms with airy high ceilings, free Wi-Fi, and a 24-hour fitness center. Amenities include a lobby bar, a game room, and a rooftop terrace with stunning views. Whether you’re looking for a fun and vibrant place to stay or a convenient base for exploring Portland, the Aloft Hotel is the perfect choice.

 

379 Commercial Street
Portland, ME 04101

Cambria Hotel, Portland Maine

Cambria Hotel Old Port

Downtown Portland, ME

Cambria Hotel Old Port Downtown Portland is a modern hotel in Portland’s historic Old Port district. The hotel features spacious rooms with free Wi-Fi, and on-site dining and a bar that serves local craft beer. The hotel is within walking distance of downtown Portland attractions like the Portland Museum of Art and the Old Port district.

 

25 Hancock Street
Portland, ME 04101

Discover Portland Maine

Getting to Know Portland, Maine

Nestled along the breathtaking coast of Maine, Portland stands as a radiant emblem of New England’s maritime heritage. As Maine’s largest city, Portland seamlessly fuses its historic charm with a vibrant, contemporary spirit.

Portland Maine Waterfront

Question: How large is Portland, Maine?

Answer: Portland, Maine is a relatively small city, with a total area of 69.44 square miles (179.85 km2). Of this, 21.31 square miles (55.19 km2) is land and 48.13 square miles (124.66 km2) is water. Portland is situated on a peninsula in Casco Bay on the Gulf of Maine and the Atlantic Ocean.

Portland is the largest city in Maine by population, with over 68,000 people calling it home. However, it is still considered a small city compared to many other major metropolitan areas in the United States.

Portland's small size makes it a very livable city. Residents have easy access to all sorts of amenities, including restaurants, shops, parks, and cultural attractions. The city is also very walkable and bikeable, making it easy to get around without a car.

If you are looking for a small city with a lot to offer, Portland, Maine is a great option. It is a beautiful city with a vibrant culture and a friendly community.

Renowned for its iconic lighthouses, cobblestone streets, and picturesque harbor, the city serves as a gateway to the rugged beauty of Maine’s coastline.

But Portland’s allure extends beyond its scenic views. Food enthusiasts are drawn to its burgeoning culinary scene, boasting everything from world-class seafood to artisanal breweries.

Old Port in Portland, Maine

Culture seekers will appreciate its array of art galleries, theaters, and music venues, all bathed in the city’s distinct maritime ambiance.

Add to this an eclectic mix of boutique shops, island adventures, and the famous Old Port, and it’s no wonder Portland is a top tourist destination.

For those considering a vacation to Maine, Portland offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and urban sophistication.

Table of Contents
A BRIEF HISTORY OF PORTLAND MAINE

A Little Bit of History about Portland, ME

Portland, Maine, is a city with a rich and vibrant history. It was first settled in 1633 by Englishmen Richard Tucker and George Cleeve, and was originally known as Casco. The town was renamed Falmouth in 1658, and officially incorporated as Portland in 1786.

Portland played an important role in the American Revolution. In 1775, the British Royal Navy bombarded and burned the town, in retaliation for Falmouth’s support of the Patriot cause. The town was rebuilt after the war, and quickly became a major shipping and commercial center.

Bombardment of Falmouth (Portland, Maine) by British in 1775

In the 19th century, Portland was a major center for shipbuilding, ice harvesting, and fishing. The city was also home to a thriving textile industry. Portland’s importance as a shipping port declined in the late 19th century, but the city remained a major economic center for Maine.

Portland began to emerge as a popular tourist destination in the early 20th century. The city’s beautiful scenery, historic waterfront, and charming neighborhoods attracted visitors from all over the country. In recent decades, Portland has experienced a renaissance, with new businesses and residents flocking to the city.

Here are a few important historical events pertaining to Portland, Maine:

1633: Casco is settled by Englishmen Richard Tucker and George Cleeve.
1658: Casco is renamed Falmouth.
1775: Falmouth is bombarded and burned by the British Royal Navy.
1786: Falmouth is renamed Portland.
1820: Maine becomes a state, and Portland is selected as the capital.
1831: The capital of Maine is moved from Portland to Augusta.
1866: A fire destroys much of Portland’s downtown center.
1941: Portland becomes the home port of the US North Atlantic Fleet during World War II.
1973: The Portland Head Light is designated a National Historic Landmark.
2012: Portland is named one of the “Best Places to Live” by Money magazine.

Portland Maine Waterfront

Today, Portland is a thriving city with a lot to offer visitors. The city has a vibrant culinary scene, with restaurants serving everything from fresh seafood to international cuisine. Portland is also home to a thriving arts community, with museums, galleries, and theaters showcasing the work of local and international artists.

In addition to its cultural attractions, Portland is also a popular destination for outdoor recreation. The city is located on a peninsula surrounded by Casco Bay, and there are many opportunities for hiking, biking, kayaking, and fishing.

If you are looking for a city with a rich history, vibrant culture, and beautiful scenery, Portland, Maine is a great option. The city has something to offer everyone, from history buffs to foodies to outdoor adventurers.

How Portland Got Its Name

Portland, Maine, originally went by the name "Casco," a term derived from the Native American name for the bay in that region. However, the name "Portland" has an English origin, and the city's renaming is a result of a decision made by the English settlers.

In the 1600s, the area went through a series of territorial disputes, primarily between the English and the French. After the English gained control, the region saw an increase in English settlers. During one of its early phases of English settlement, it was named "Falmouth" after Falmouth in Cornwall, England.

However, after the devastating attack during King Philip's War in 1675 and a series of subsequent attacks, the area was largely abandoned. It wasn't until the 1720s that settlers began to return in significant numbers.

After the Revolutionary War, during the rebuilding phase after the British had burned Falmouth in 1775, the community on the peninsula decided to separate from Falmouth and establish itself as a new town. In 1786, they chose the name "Portland." It's often believed that the name was chosen in honor of the Isle of Portland in Dorset, England. The name Portland has a meaning related to "land surrounding a harbor," which aptly describes the city's geography.

History Fact

7 Interesting Facts About Portland, Maine

Name Sharing: Portland, Maine, actually gave its name to Portland, Oregon. When two of the latter's founders (both from New England) were determining a name for their new settlement on the West Coast, a coin toss decided the outcome. Had it landed differently, Portland, Oregon might have been named Boston!

Historical Fires: Portland has been rebuilt four times after being destroyed by wars and fires. The most devastating was the Great Fire of 1866, which razed a significant portion of the city.

Birthplace of Prohibition: Portland's mayor, Neal Dow, enacted the first prohibition law in 1851, earning him the title "Napoleon of Temperance." This move would later inspire the national Prohibition movement.

Closest U.S. Transatlantic Port to Europe: This makes Portland, Maine a popular destination for cruise ships and cargo ships.

Culinary Capital: Portland has one of the highest restaurants per capita ratios in the U.S. Its culinary scene is renowned, especially for seafood dishes like lobster and clam chowder.

Highest # of Microbreweries Per Capita: Portland has more microbreweries per capita than any other city in the United States. There are over 20 microbreweries in Portland, including Allagash Brewing Company, Bissell Brothers Brewing, and Oxbow Brewing Company.

Birthplace of Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Longfellow was born in Portland in 1807, and his childhood home is now a museum.

POPULAR PORTLAND MAINE ATTRACTIONS

Top Things To Do in Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine is a vibrant coastal city with a rich history and culture. It is a popular tourist destination, offering visitors a wide variety of things to see and do.

First up is the historic Old Port with its cobblestone streets, where one can find unique shops, restaurants, and waterfront views.

Nearby, Monument Square buzzes with events and showcases the grand Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

For maritime history buffs, the Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth is a must-see. This iconic lighthouse, set against crashing waves, offers picture-perfect views.

Ocean enthusiasts can explore Peaks Island, easily reachable by ferry, offering serene landscapes and hiking trails.

The Portland Museum of Art captivates art lovers with its impressive collection of American and European works. Finally, foodies won’t want to miss Portland’s booming culinary scene, especially the renowned seafood dishes.

In addition to these attractions, Portland also offers a variety of other things to see and do, such as:

  • Visit one of the city’s many parks and gardens
  • Attend a concert or sporting event
  • Take a walking tour of the city’s historic neighborhoods
  • Visit one of the city’s many breweries or distilleries
  • Take a day trip to one of the nearby islands or coastal towns

No matter what your interests are, you are sure to find something to enjoy in Portland, Maine. Here is a quick overview of some of the top things to do in the Portland area, ensuring an unforgettable Maine vacation experience.

Old Port in Portland, Maine

The Old Port

The Old Port is a historic waterfront district in Portland, Maine. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state, offering a unique blend of history, culture, and entertainment.

The Old Port was originally a working waterfront, with wharves, warehouses, and shipyards. In the 19th century, the Old Port was a major center for trade and shipping. However, in the 20th century, the Old Port declined as a commercial center.

In the 1970s, the Old Port began to undergo a revitalization. Old warehouses and shipyards were converted into shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Cobblestone streets were restored and new buildings were constructed in a style that complemented the historic architecture of the district.

Today, the Old Port is a vibrant and eclectic neighborhood. It is home to a wide variety of shops, restaurants, bars, and art galleries. For anyone visiting Portland, the Old Port is a delightful mix of the past and present.

Popular Portland Area Tours & Attractions

Discover Portland Maine Guided Bus Tour
Discover Portland City and Lighthouse Tour
5/5

The most comprehensive tour of Portland! Hop on board a trolley and relax as we show you around. The tour covers all of our most famous sights on the Portland peninsula…
More >>

2 Hours
Free Cancelllation

from 

$40.00

Private Lighthouse Sightseeing Charter on a Vintage Lobster Boat
Lighthouse Sightseeing Charter on a Vintage Lobster Boat
5/5

Charter a vintage lobster boat, dubbed MONHEGAN, and set sail with this two-hour tour into Casco Bay. You’ll get great views of the Maine coastline, passing by ….
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2 Hours
Free Cancelllation

from 

$321.00 

Portland, Maine Hidden Histories Walking Tour
Portland Hidden Histories Walking Tour
5/5

With this small-group walking tour, you’ll go beyond coffee and craft beer and get a look at the true Portland, Maine—across 400 years of history…
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2 Hours
Free Cancelllation

from 

$49.00

Portland Museum of Art in Portland Maine

Portland Museum of Art

The Portland Museum of Art, nestled in Portland, Maine, is a haven for art enthusiasts. Founded in 1882, it’s home to a diverse collection that spans centuries, showcasing both American and European masterpieces.

Visitors can marvel at paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts, all housed in a beautiful building that’s a mix of historic and modern architecture.

The museum often hosts special exhibits, giving regulars something new to discover. Beyond the art, the museum offers workshops and events that invite participation and learning.

For those exploring Portland, the Portland Museum of Art is more than just a rainy-day attraction—it’s a journey through the world of art, making it a must-visit spot in the city.

Commercial Street in Portland Maine

Commercial Street

Commercial Street is a historic waterfront street in the Old Port of Portland, Maine. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, offering visitors a unique blend of history, culture, and entertainment.

Commercial Street was built in the 1850s on piers that were extended into Casco Bay. The street was originally used to support the city’s growing shipping and warehousing industries. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Commercial Street was lined with warehouses, shipyards, and maritime businesses.

In the late 20th century, Commercial Street began to transition from a working waterfront to a tourist destination. Warehouses were converted into shops, restaurants, and art galleries. New buildings were constructed in a style that complemented the historic architecture of the street.

Today, Commercial Street is a vibrant and eclectic neighborhood. It is home to a wide variety of shops, restaurants, bars, and art galleries..

Here are some of the key features of Commercial Street that make it a popular attraction for people looking for things to do in Portland, Maine:

  • The historic architecture: Commercial Street is home to a variety of historic buildings, including brick warehouses, cobblestone streets, and 19th-century brick buildings. The street’s historic architecture is one of its most appealing features.

  • The vibrant atmosphere: Commercial Street is always buzzing with activity. Visitors can enjoy the outdoors, attend events, or simply relax on a bench and people-watch.

  • The shops and restaurants: Commercial Street is home to a wide variety of shops and restaurants, offering something for everyone. Visitors can find everything from high-end boutiques to casual eateries.

  • The art galleries: Commercial Street is home to a number of art galleries, showcasing the work of local and international artists.

  • The proximity to the waterfront: Commercial Street is located right on the waterfront, offering stunning views of Casco Bay and the Portland skyline.

  • The working waterfront: Commercial Street is still a working waterfront, with fishing boats, lobster pots, and fishing gear lining the piers. Visitors can learn about the city’s maritime heritage and watch the fishermen at work.

Whether you are looking for a place to learn about Portland’s history, enjoy a delicious meal, or simply relax and people-watch, Commercial Street is the perfect destination.

A Day Sail Aboard Schooner in Portland, Maine

Day Sail Trip Aboard Schooner Timberwind

Taking a Day Sail trip aboard the Schooner Timberwind in Portland, Maine is a unique and unforgettable experience. The Timberwind is a historic two-masted schooner that was built in 1931. She is one of the largest schooners still sailing in the United States, and she is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Timberwind offers a variety of day sail trips, ranging from two hours to six hours. Day sail trips depart from Portland Harbor and offer passengers a chance to experience the beauty of Casco Bay. Passengers can enjoy the stunning views of the coastline, the lighthouses, and the seals and seabirds that inhabit the bay.

The Timberwind is also a great place to learn about sailing and maritime history. The crew is knowledgeable and friendly, and they are always happy to answer questions about the ship and the bay. Passengers can also help with the sails and other tasks on board, if they wish.

Whether you are a history buff, a sailing enthusiast, or simply looking for a unique and enjoyable way to spend a day, a Day Sail trip aboard the Schooner Timberwind is a great option.

Portland Observatory in Portland, Maine

Portland Observatory

The Portland Observatory is a historic maritime signal tower located in Portland, Maine. It was built in 1807 and is the only known surviving tower of its type in the United States.

The observatory was built to help ships navigate the dangerous waters of Casco Bay. In the early 1800s, before the advent of modern navigation technology, ships relied on signal towers to communicate with each other and to find their way to port.

The Portland Observatory is a six-story brick tower that is 86 feet tall. The observatory is topped by a lantern room that houses a powerful telescope. The observatory also has a number of flagpoles that were used to signal ships.

The observatory was in operation for over 100 years. It was closed in 1926 and fell into disrepair. In the 1980s, a group of dedicated volunteers began to restore the observatory. The observatory was reopened to the public in 2000.

Today, the Portland Observatory is a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower for stunning views of Portland, Casco Bay, and the surrounding coastline. Visitors can also learn about the observatory’s history and its role in Portland’s maritime heritage.

Odyssey Whale Watching Tour

Whale watching aboard the Odyssey in Portland, Maine is a popular tourist attraction that offers visitors the chance to see some of the most majestic creatures in the world up close.

The Odyssey is a spacious and comfortable boat that is specifically designed for whale watching. The boat has multiple viewing decks, so passengers can have a clear view of the whales from all angles. The boat also has a team of experienced and knowledgeable naturalists who provide passengers with information about the whales and their habitat.

Odyssey Whale Watching tours depart from Portland Harbor and last for approximately three hours. During the tour, passengers will have the opportunity to see a variety of whale species, including humpback whales, minke whales, and finback whales. Passengers may also see other marine life, such as dolphins, seals, and sea turtles.

Whether you are a nature lover, a marine enthusiast, or simply looking for a unique and enjoyable way to spend a day, Whale Watching aboard the Odyssey is a great option.

Peaks Island

Peaks Island is a charming island located in Casco Bay, just a short ferry ride from Portland, Maine. The island has a rich history and culture, and it is a popular tourist destination for people of all ages.

Peaks Island was originally inhabited by the Wabanaki people. The island was first settled by Europeans in the 17th century, and it was used for fishing and farming. In the 19th century, Peaks Island became a popular summer resort destination. The island was home to a number of hotels, boarding houses, and other tourist attractions.

Today, Peaks Island is a vibrant year-round community with a population of over 1,200 people. The island is known for its beautiful scenery, its laid-back atmosphere, and its friendly people.

Meandering along the island’s paths, one can discover remnants of bygone eras, like old military installations from World War II. Peaks Island is also a popular destination for outdoor recreation, with opportunities for hiking, biking, swimming, and kayaking. Art galleries, eateries, and local shops add to the island’s allure.

For those Portland visitors wanting a mix of history, nature, and tranquility, Peaks Island is the perfect day-trip destination.

Discovery Portland Maine City Tour Trolley

Portland Discovery Land & Sea Tours

Portland Discovery Land & Sea Tours is a tour company that offers a variety of land and sea tours in Portland, Maine. The company’s tours are designed to help visitors learn about the city’s history, culture, and natural beauty.

Portland Discovery Land & Sea Tours offers a variety of tours, including:

  • City and Lighthouse Tour: This tour takes visitors on a guided trolley ride through the city of Portland, past historic landmarks such as the Victoria Mansion and the Portland Head Light.
  • Harbor Lights and Sights Cruise: This cruise takes visitors around Casco Bay, where they can see lighthouses, forts, and other historic landmarks.
  • Sunset Lighthouse Cruise: This cruise takes visitors to the Portland Head Light at sunset, where they can enjoy stunning views of the coastline and the lighthouse.
  • Lighthouse Lovers Cruise: This cruise takes visitors to four different lighthouses in Casco Bay.

Portland Discovery Land & Sea Tours uses comfortable and modern vehicles and boats. The company’s tour guides are knowledgeable and experienced, and they are passionate about sharing their love of Portland with visitors.

Whether you are looking for a way to learn about Portland’s history and culture, or you are simply looking for a fun way to spend a day, Portland Discovery Land & Sea Tours is a great option.

Eastern Promenade

The Eastern Promenade is a scenic waterfront park in Portland, Maine. It is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, offering a variety of activities and attractions.

The Eastern Promenade was built in the late 19th century as a way to protect the city’s waterfront from erosion. The park is two miles long and offers stunning views of Casco Bay and the Portland skyline.

Lined with grand old homes, the promenade boasts a spacious green, perfect for picnics and games. The park also has a number of playgrounds and a splash pad for children. The well-maintained trail, popular for walking and biking, meanders along the water’s edge. Visitors can watch boats sail by, spot seabirds, or simply soak in the horizon.

Historical markers dot the park, sharing tales of Portland’s maritime past. Whether you are looking for a place to relax and enjoy the scenery, or you are looking for a place to be active and enjoy the outdoors, the Eastern Promenade is a great option

Victoria Mansion in Portland Maine

Victoria Mansion

Victoria Mansion, also known as the Morse-Libby House, stands as a grand testament to Portland, Maine’s opulent past.

Built in the 1850s, this magnificent Italianate villa offers visitors a window into the lavish lifestyles of the 19th-century elite.

Stepping inside, one is transported back in time, surrounded by intricately carved woodwork, plush furnishings, and stunning frescoes. Each room tells a story of craftsmanship and luxury, preserved meticulously over the years. Guided tours provide fascinating insights into the mansion’s history and the family who once lived there.

For those exploring Portland, Victoria Mansion is more than just a house—it’s a journey into a bygone era of elegance, making it a must-visit attraction.

Wadsworth-Longfellow House in Portland Maine

The Wadsworth-Longfellow House

The Wadsworth-Longfellow House is a historic house museum located in Portland, Maine. It was the boyhood home of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.

The house was built in 1785 by Longfellow’s grandfather, Peleg Wadsworth. Longfellow lived in the house from 1807 to 1825. The house is a well-preserved example of Federalist architecture. It has two stories and is made of brick. The house has a number of features that are typical of Federalist architecture, such as a symmetrical facade, a fanlight over the front door, and a Palladian window.

The house is furnished with a collection of period furniture and artifacts. The furniture includes sofas, chairs, tables, and beds that were used by the Longfellow family. The artifacts include books, paintings, and other items that were owned by the Longfellows.

The Wadsworth-Longfellow House is a National Historic Landmark and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Portland. Visitors can tour the house and learn about its history and the life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The house also hosts a number of special events throughout the year, such as poetry readings and concerts.

For those visiting Portland, the Wadsworth-Longfellow House offers a unique dive into America’s literary and historical heritage.

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Portland, Maine

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company and Museum

The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company and Museum is a unique and exciting tourist attraction in Portland, Maine. It is home to a collection of historic two-foot gauge railway equipment, including steam and diesel locomotives, passenger cars, and freight cars. The museum also offers scenic train rides along Portland’s Eastern Promenade.

The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company was founded in 1993. Its mission is to preserve, operate, and educate the public about Maine’s two-foot gauge railway heritage. The museum’s collection includes over 20 locomotives and over 100 passenger and freight cars.

The museum’s scenic train rides depart from the Portland Terminal station and travel along the Eastern Promenade. The train ride lasts approximately 40 minutes and offers stunning views of Casco Bay and the Portland skyline.

The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company and Museum is a popular tourist attraction for people of all ages. It is a great place to learn about Maine’s railway history, see historic trains, and enjoy a scenic train ride.

Monument Square in Portland, Maine

Monument Square

Monument Square is a historic square in the heart of Portland, Maine. It is home to a number of significant landmarks, including the Portland Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the Portland Public Library, and the City Hall. Monument Square is also a popular destination for shopping, dining, and people-watching.

The square was originally known as Hay Market Square. It was used as a market square in the early 1800s. In 1889, the Portland Soldiers and Sailors Monument was erected in the center of the square. The monument was built to honor the Portland soldiers and sailors who died in the Civil War.

In 1891, the square was renamed Monument Square. The Portland Public Library was built on the west side of the square in 1912. The City Hall was built on the east side of the square in 1914.

Monument Square is a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can admire the historic buildings, visit the Portland Soldiers and Sailors Monument, and relax on one of the many benches in the square. Monument Square is also home to a number of restaurants, shops, and art galleries.

Portland Headlight in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Portland Head Light & Fort Willliams Park

Portland Head Light, nestled in Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, is an iconic beacon of New England’s maritime heritage. Constructed in 1791, this historic lighthouse stands proudly at the entrance of Portland Harbor, guiding ships safely for over two centuries. With its dramatic backdrop of rugged cliffs and crashing waves, the lighthouse has become one of Maine’s most photographed landmarks.

Adjacent to the lighthouse, Fort Williams Park sprawls over 90 acres, boasting remnants of old military fortifications, winding trails, and panoramic ocean views. Once a key defense post, today the park is a haven for picnics, kite flying, and seaside explorations. The combination of the lighthouse’s history and the park’s natural beauty draws countless visitors each year.

For those in the Portland area, Portland Head Light and Fort Williams Park offer a scenic and historical escape, making them top attractions on any itinerary.

NEARBY PORTLAND MAINE TOURIST TOWNS

Tourist Towns Near Portland Maine

Nestled around the vibrant city of Portland lie a number of other interesting communities that beckon tourists with their unique charm and attractions.

Scarborough, with its pristine beaches and coastal allure; South Portland, offering a mix of maritime history, quaint neighborhoods, and numerous boating and waterfront activities; Cape Elizabeth, home to iconic lighthouses and breathtaking ocean views; Westbrook, radiating a riverside charm paired with cultural attractions; and Falmouth, with its scenic harbor and lush green spaces, each contribute to Maine’s rich diversity of experiences.

While Portland often grabs the headlines, these neighboring towns serve as delightful gateways to the state’s diverse landscapes and histories. For travelers venturing to the Portland area, diving deeper into these surrounding towns promises a richer, more varied Maine experience.

Scarborough, Maine

Scarborough is a town located just 7 miles south of Portland, Maine. It has a population of over 20,000 people. Scarborough is a popular tourist destination in Maine, known for its beautiful beaches, historic sites, and scenic oceanfront vacation homes.

Scarborough has a rich history dating back to the 1600s, when it was first settled by English colonists. The town was named after the English town of Scarborough, a seaside town in the district and county of North Yorkshire, England. Scarborough played an important role in the American Revolution, and it was home to several Revolutionary War forts.

Today, Scarborough is a popular tourist destination due to its beautiful beaches, including Scarborough Beach State Park, which is one of the most popular beaches in Maine as well as the Pine Point Beach Preserve which begins at the far northern end of Old Orchard Beach. Scarborough also offers a variety of other attractions, including the Scarborough Marsh, the state’s largest salt water marsh, which is a haven for birdwatchers and kayakers.

Throughout the years, Scarborough has evolved, blending its historic roots with modern amenities, making it a sought-after destination for travelers. For those venturing to the Portland Maine area, a visit to Scarborough offers a delightful mix of history, nature, and relaxation, just a stone’s throw from Portland.

South Portland, Maine

South Portland, Maine

South Portland is a city located just 5 miles south of Portland, Maine. It has a population of over 26,000 people. South Portland is a popular tourist destination in Maine, known for its beautiful waterfront, historic sites, and charming downtown district.

South Portland has a rich history dating back to the 1600s, when it was first settled by English colonists. The city was originally part of Cape Elizabeth, but it separated in 1895. South Portland played an important role in Maine’s shipping and shipbuilding industries, and it was home to several shipyards during World War II.

Today, South Portland is a popular tourist destination due to its beautiful waterfront, which offers stunning views of Casco Bay and Portland. The city also offers a variety of other attractions, including the Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse, the Fort Preble Park, and the Bug Light Park. South Portland also has a vibrant downtown district with a variety of shops, restaurants, and bars.

South Portland is a popular tourist destination for people of all ages. Families enjoy the city’s many parks and playgrounds. Couples enjoy the city’s romantic restaurants and charming downtown district. History buffs enjoy the city’s many historic sites and museums.

With its mix of history, scenic views, and close proximity to Portland, South Portland stands out as a delightful destination for travelers exploring the diversity of Maine’s many scenic coastal communities.

Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Cape Elizabeth is a town located just 8 miles south of Portland, Maine. It has a population of over 9,000 people. Cape Elizabeth is a popular tourist destination in Maine, known for its dramatic coastline, historic sites, and charming village center.

Cape Elizabeth has a rich history dating back to the 1600s, when it was first settled by English colonists. The town was named after Cape Elizabeth, England, the birthplace of Queen Elizabeth I. Cape Elizabeth played an important role in the American Revolution, and it was home to several Revolutionary War forts.

Today, Cape Elizabeth is a popular tourist destination due to its dramatic coastline, which includes Portland Head Light, one of the most iconic lighthouses in the United States. Cape Elizabeth also offers a variety of other attractions, including Fort Williams Park, Crescent Beach State Park, and Two Lights State Park. 

Visitors are drawn to Cape Elizabeth for its mix of history, natural beauty, and proximity to Portland, making it a must-visit spot on any Maine itinerary.

Westbrook, Maine

Westbrook, Maine

Westbrook is a city located just 6 miles north of Portland, Maine. It has a population of over 20,000 people. Westbrook is a popular tourist destination in Maine, known for its historic downtown district, diverse dining scene, and outdoor activities.

Westbrook has a rich history dating back to the 1600s, when it was first settled by English colonists. The city was named after Colonel Thomas Westbrook, a commander of the Massachusetts Militia during King William’s War. Westbrook grew around the Presumpscot River, which once powered its bustling mills. Indeed, Westbrook played an important role in Maine’s textile industry during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Today, the town has transformed these historic spaces into modern uses, creating a blend of old and new. Accordingly, Westbrook has become a popular tourist destination due to its historic downtown district, which is home to a variety of shops, specialty store, and art galleries. The city also has a diverse dining scene, with restaurants serving everything from classic American fare to international cuisine.

Westbrook also offers a variety of other attractions, including the Westbrook Performing Arts Center, a 1,000-seat campus theater showcasing musical, theater, comedy & dance shows; the Smiling Hill Farm; and the stunning Westbrook River Walk which provides a scenic path alongside the river, perfect for leisurely strolls. A unique highlight is the periodic appearance in winter of a rare spinning ice disk phenomenon on the river, drawing curious visitors.

Westbrook is a popular tourist destination for people of all ages. Couples enjoy the city’s romantic restaurants and vibrant arts scene. History buffs enjoy the city’s historic sites and landmarks. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the city’s many hiking and biking trails, as well as its proximity to several lakes and rivers. With its mix of natural attractions, a pinch of history, and a dose of Maine culture, Westbrook stands as a compelling destination for those seeking a taste of Maine’s diverse charm.

Falmouth, Maine

Falmouth is a town located just 7 miles north of Portland, Maine. It has a population of over 11,000 people. Falmouth is a popular tourist destination in Maine, known for its charming village center, historic sites, and beautiful coastal scenery.

Falmouth has a rich history dating back to the 1600s, when it was first settled by English colonists. The town was named after Falmouth, England, the birthplace of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who was one of the founders of the Maine Colony. Falmouth played an important role in the American Revolution, and it was home to several Revolutionary War forts.

Falmouth has grown over the centuries while maintaining its New England charm. The town’s anchor, the Falmouth Town Landing, is one of the oldest working waterfronts in Maine, teeming with boats and offering spectacular views of Casco Bay. For nature enthusiasts, the Gilsland Farm Audubon Center presents sprawling meadows and woodlands, perfect for birdwatching and hiking while Mackworth Island State Park offers a tranquil island preserve with rocky beaches and shorebirds, plus a round-the-island trail & views of Casco Bay.

Falmouth’s blend of coastal beauty, historic landmarks, and peaceful nature spots makes it a delightful detour for travelers. Those venturing to Maine will find Falmouth a refreshing stop, just a short hop from the vibrant buzz of Portland.

Yarmouth, Maine

Yarmouth is a town located just 11 miles northeast of Portland, Maine. It has a population of over 8,500 people. Yarmouth is a popular tourist destination in Maine, known for its historic charm, beautiful scenery, and vibrant downtown area.

Yarmouth has a rich history dating back to the 1600s, when it was first settled by English colonists. The town was originally part of Falmouth, but it separated in 1784.

Yarmouth played an important role in Maine’s shipbuilding industry as it was home to several shipyards during the 18th and 19th centuries. Accordingly Yarmouth boasts a rich maritime heritage, evident in the town’s well-preserved 19th-century homes and landmarks.

One of the town’s highlights is the annual Yarmouth Clam Festival, a summer tradition celebrating Maine’s seafood culture with food, crafts, and entertainment. Royal River Park, with its meandering trails and peaceful ambiance, is a favorite spot for both locals and visitors.

The town’s blend of historical architecture, lively events, and natural beauty makes it a magnet for tourists. For those exploring Maine, Yarmouth offers a delightful combination of the state’s past and present, making it a must-visit location near Portland.

TOP PORTLAND MAINE AREA LODGING

Top Portland Maine Area Hotels

Portland, Maine, renowned for its vibrant arts scene, historic charm, and ocean fresh seafood, has long been a beacon for travelers seeking a quintessential New England experience.

For those venturing to this coastal city, choosing the right accommodation can enhance their journey. From quaint historic inns to contemporary boutique hotels, Portland offers a diverse array of lodging options to suit every traveler’s preference.

Here, we list several popular hotels and unique stays in or around the Portland area, ensuring visitors find the perfect backdrop to their Maine adventure. So, whether you’re looking for a luxurious stay or a more budget-friendly option, you’re sure to find accommodations to suit your needs in the Portland, Maine area. 

Hampton Inn Portland Downtown Waterfront hotel in Portland, Maine

Hampton Inn Downtown Portland Waterfront

Nestled in the heart of Portland, Maine, the Hampton Inn Downtown Portland Waterfront Hotel offers travelers an ideal location paired with modern comforts. Situated steps away from the city’s bustling waterfront, guests can relish in picturesque views of the harbor and easy access to Portland’s renowned seafood eateries, historic sites, and boutique shops. The hotel boasts well-appointed rooms, complimentary breakfast, and a range of amenities tailored for both leisure and business travelers. With its prime location and commitment to service, the Hampton Inn Downtown stands as a top choice for those seeking a convenient and comfortable stay in Portland.

Portland Regency Hotel & Spa in Portland Maine

Portland Regency Hotel & Spa

Located in Portland, Maine’s historic Old Port district, the Portland Regency Hotel & Spa​ offers a luxurious escape for discerning travelers. Housed in a restored armory, this hotel seamlessly blends history with contemporary elegance. Guests can indulge in the on-site spa, ensuring relaxation after exploring the nearby cobblestone streets, boutiques, and waterfront eateries. With its refined rooms, top-tier amenities, and a renowned restaurant, the hotel provides a sanctuary of comfort and style. For tourists seeking both heritage and opulence, the Portland Regency stands as a premier choice in the heart of Maine’s most iconic city.

Press Hotel Autograph Collection in Portland, Maine

Press Hotel Autograph Collection

Situated in the vibrant heart of Portland, Maine, the Press Hotel Autograph Collection​ is a beacon of luxury and history. Once the home of the state’s largest newspaper, this boutique hotel pays homage to its journalistic roots with a design that artfully weaves the past into present-day luxury. Guests are treated to chic rooms with typewriter-themed decor, a nod to its storied past. The hotel’s prime location ensures easy access to Portland’s top attractions, while on-site amenities like gourmet dining and a fitness center elevate the experience. The Press Hotel is a haven for tourists seeking a blend of history, style, and unparalleled comfort.

Other Popular Portland Area Hotels & Inns

Hilton Garden Inn Portland Downtown Waterfront in Portland, Maine
Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Waterfront

Portland, Maine

4.5/5

Overlooking Portland’s scenic waterfront, the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown offers guests modern comforts, stunning harbor views, and convenient access to the city’s top attractions, making it a prime choice for discerning travelers.

Portland Harbor Hotel in Portland, Maine
Portland Harbor Hotel

Portland, Maine

4.5/5

Nestled in Portland, Maine’s vibrant heart, the Portland Harbor Hotel offers luxurious accommodations, top-tier amenities, and an unmatched location, positioning guests steps away from the city’s iconic waterfront, charming Old Port, and cultural attractions.

Cambria Hotel Portland Downtown Old Port in Portland, Maine
Cambria Hotel Portland Downtown Old Port

Portland, Maine

4.5/5

Located in Portland’s historic Old Port, the Cambria Hotel Portland Downtown offers contemporary elegance, modern amenities, and a prime location, giving guests an immersive experience of Maine’s charming coastal city.

TOP PLACES TO EAT IN PORTLAND MAINE

Top Portland Maine Area Restaurants

Portland, Maine, isn’t just a picturesque coastal city; it’s also a culinary gem that has been gaining national acclaim. With its rich maritime heritage, it’s no surprise that seafood takes center stage, from classic lobster rolls to innovative ocean-to-table dishes. But the city’s gastronomic wonders don’t stop there. From cozy cafes to upscale dining establishments, Portland offers a diverse culinary landscape for every palate.

Here, we provide a quick overview of some of the top restaurants in the Portland Maine area, guiding tourists to the must-visit spots where they can savor the very best of Maine’s flavors.

Street & Co. Restaurant in Portland, Maine

Street and Co. Restaurant

Nestled in the heart of Portland, Maine’s historic Old Port, Street and Co. stands as a culinary landmark. Renowned for its authentic seafood offerings, diners are treated to dishes like the signature lobster diavolo and perfectly seared scallops.

With its rustic charm, open kitchen, and commitment to fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, the restaurant offers an atmospheric dining experience that captures the essence of coastal Maine. For tourists keen on a memorable gastronomic adventure, Street and Co. showcases the finest of Portland’s seafood tradition.

Becky's Diner

Becky's Diner

A true Portland, Maine staple, Becky’s Diner serves up classic comfort with a genuine harbor-side ambiance. Frequented by both locals and visitors alike, this iconic eatery is known for hearty breakfasts, featuring mouth-watering blueberry pancakes and succulent lobster omelettes.

The cozy diner atmosphere, combined with the fresh catch of the day dishes, encapsulates the soul of coastal Maine. For tourists aiming to taste the authenticity of Portland’s culinary scene, Becky’s Diner offers an unmissable, homestyle dining experience.

Flatbread Co. Restaurant

Flatbread Company Restaurant

Perched along Portland, Maine’s vibrant waterfront, the Flatbread Company presents a delightful blend of organic and locally-sourced ingredients atop their wood-fired pizzas. Tourists flock here for signature flatbreads like the “Casco Bay Community Flatbread” and the “Mopsy’s Kalua Pork Pizza.”

The ambient, rustic setting, paired with views of the harbor, enhances the dining experience. For those seeking a casual yet gourmet slice of Portland’s culinary scene, Flatbread Company offers a taste that’s both authentic and memorable.

Other Popular Portland Area Restaurants

Fore Street Restaurant in Portland, Maine
Fore Street

Portland, Maine

4.5/5

Fore Street Restaurant, located in Portland, Maine, is renowned for its wood-fired cuisine and crafted dinners, using local ingredients to create elegant dishes, showcasing Maine’s rich culinary heritage in a rustic, ambient setting.

Union Restaurant in Portland, Maine
Union Restaurant

Portland, Maine

4.5/5

Situated in Portland, Maine, The Union Restaurant combines local flavors with modern culinary techniques, offering guests an innovative dining experience within a chic, contemporary ambiance in the city’s heart.

Green Elephant restaurant in Portland Maine
The Green Elephant

Portland, Maine

4.5/5

 The Green Elephant in Portland, Maine offers a vibrant vegetarian bistro experience, presenting Asian-inspired dishes in a cozy, contemporary setting, catering to both veggie lovers and curious palates alike.

EXPERIENCE PORTLAND MAINE

Visit Portland Maine and Experience More

Portland, Maine isn’t just another dot on the U.S. map; it’s a fusion of historical charm and modern vibrancy. Boasting picturesque ocean vistas, a rich history, and a burgeoning culinary scene, the city offers an experience that’s hard to replicate. From indulging in fresh seafood to wandering its storied streets, Portland is both a delightful escape and an adventure waiting to happen.

When planning your next vacation or trip to Maine, we highly suggest giving Portland serious consideration. No matter what your interests are, you’re sure to find something to enjoy in Portland. Simply put, it’s a city that has something to offer everyone. Indeed, its blend of the traditional and contemporary ensures a visit filled with discovery and enjoyment. Whether you’re visiting for a weekend or a week, you’re sure to have a memorable time in Portland, Maine.

Locating Portland on the Map
Portland ME Quick Facts

TRAVEL MAINE BLOG

Discover the best of Maine with our travel blog highlighting special travel tips, sightseeing suggestions and regional interest stories to make the most of your Maine vacation trip. We bring you insigthful articles about unique places, kid-friendly activities, and regional entertainment that will help in planning your trip to Maine.

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