Maine has it all: rocky coastline, lighthouses, blueberry fields, and some of best restaurants America has to offer. While Acadia National Park, Rockport and Kennebunkport are all must-see scenic destinations, the state’s main attraction is the city of Portland; and end-of-summer is the perfect time to visit. Check out our top picks to get you on your way to Vacationland.
With Manhattan as your origin, a 5.5-hour drive will land you in the center of Portland. No car? No problem! As of this year, Concord Coach Buses launched direct bus rides from Manhattan to Portland. If flying is more desirable, a nonstop flight from any New York airport is just over an hour. When you arrive, there’s no need to rent a car; Portland is a pretty walkable city (weather-permitting) and Uber is plentiful.
Located in the former Portland Press Herald Building, this four-star boutique hotel has the chicest accommodations in town. It’s new, modern and steps from downtown. The guest suites feature soft Frette bed linens and free WiFi; plus, the hotel has a standout spa and bicycles for guest use.
This shabby chic bed-and-breakfast has cozy, vibrant guest rooms; all with their own private bathrooms, TVs, and fireplaces.
While you could spend the day sitting on a bench overlooking the bay, there is so much more to see in Portland.
Immerse yourself in the arts scene at the Portland Museum of Art, the largest and oldest public art institution in the state. Here, you’ll find pieces from contemporary American artists, including Maine-native Norman Rockwell.
Wandering through Old Port is always a charming journey, where you’ll find cobblestone street after street of boutiques large and small. Some of our favorites include vintage shop Encore, children’s boutique Little, yarn shop KnitWit, toy shop Treehouse Toys, and home goods havens like More & Co., K Colette, and Portland Trading Co.
Stylish, cool boutiques including Peyote Moon, Judith, and Portland Dry Goods are noteworthy stops. Also, be sure to check out local designer Alaina Marie‘s funky (and sustainable!) accessory shop with standout pieces made from fishing gear.
A trip to Portland would not be complete without a 20-minute ferry ride over to Peak’s Island. This small beach town is filled with exploration, and we’d recommend doing it by bicycle. Cruise around town, popping in-and-out of galleries and feeling the crisp sea breeze; this is true paradise.
Lobsters, blueberries and whoopie pies may be this bohemian town’s claim-to-fame, but foodies from around the globe travel to Portland for their standout restaurant scene. Here are some highlights.
A James Beard Award winner, this small, casual seafood spot is known for their raw bar and unique brown butter lobster rolls.
Reservations are a must at the buzzing and rustic Fore Street. This seasonal American restaurant is one of Portland’s most celebrated. The restaurant group’s newest locale, Scales, is another bright and airy gem.
For a taste of true lobster in Portland, head to Portland Lobster Company. Steamed lobster platters, heaps of fried clams, and classic lobster rolls are served on paper plates in a picnic-table-filled patio overlooking the water.
Some other fantastic restaurants include the seasonal tapas bar Central Provisions, neighborhood lunch favorite Duckfat, gluten-free hot spot Vinland, rustic Chinese eatery Empire, elegant Middle Eastern cafe EVO, and upscale omakase sushi bar Miyake. It may feel silly to travel to Maine for pizza, but Flatbread is an organic, locally-sourced, wood-fired pizza restaurant to additionally put on your list.
This converted gas station turned sleek coffee shop is the ultimate place for artisanal coffee and breakfast pastries.
Known for its craft beer scene, there is no shortage of places to unwind with a drink. There’s Allagash Brewery, where you can have a drink-accompanied tour, or the Novare Res Bier Cafe for a rotating selection of craft beers. Off-the-beaten-path, Foulmouthed Brewing is another fun hang out for modern brews. For an experience you’d only find in Portland, visit Urban Farm Fermentory where they serve 22 rotating varieties of kombucha, jun, cider, mead, and beer in a raw loft space.
Wine aficionados will love Drifers Wife, a chic, upscale wine bar, and when it comes to cocktails, Portland Hunt + Alpine Club knows how to mix it up. Trendy newcomer Little Giant also offers tasty libations and lite bites in a beautiful space.