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Visting Maine- The short guide to "Vacationland"

Updated on May 18, 2008

Springpoint Harber features a small but beautiful lighthouse

The worlds best lobster comes from Maine

Don't look like a nerd in New England's hippest city!

There's a good reason why Maine is called Vacationland

Born and raised in the good old state of Maine, I can tell you that it's a wonderful place to VISIT (but boy was I glad to move to the city!).

If you are planning on taking a vacation in Maine, I would recommend staying in the Southern part of Maine. There are still a lot of scenic attractions to see, and if you do have something particular you'd like to see in Northern Maine, you could always take a day and drive up. I feel that those staying in Maine will get the most bang for your buck in Southern Maine as there is more within reach.

I also suggest that rather than renting a hotel/motel room, you search the web for cottages, bed and breakfasts, or homes you can rent. These places tend to have more charm, are equal (or lesser) in expense, and will make your stay all the more unique. For example, you could rent out a space like this for you and your family/traveling companions. This space is ideal for larger groups of people. It also happens to be the house I lived in during highschool which my father rents out. Staying in a space like this saves a ton of money when traveling with a family as the costs of hotel rooms can rack up quickly when its beyond one person staying there.

Here are my personal recommendations for things to do while visiting Maine:

In Southern Maine:

Visit Old Orchard Beach. This is a hot spot during the summer time as this area features a ton of great places to eat, arcades, Palace Playland (4 arcades plus many "fair"-like rides, and "The Pier"--which is hands down one of the hottest places to go out and enjoy the night life. Take a stroll on the beach as well and enjoy the expansive views.

Funtown/Splashtown and Aquaboggan:

Two great amusement parks in Saco within a close distance of each other. Funtown and Aquaboggan have more than meets the time in terms of diversity of rides and attractions. I can guarantee that people of all ages will have fun at both parks. However, I recommend that in order to avoid long lines, you visit both of these during the week. These parks are so great, not only are they packed with tourists on the weekends, but the locals never get tired of the great rides at fun town and the big waves at Aquaboggin. The one ride I recommend waiting in line for however long you have to is the Excaliber at Funtown, its the only wooden rollercoaster in Maine and it is the longest and steepest log flume ride in all of New England.

Antique stores/ flea-markets:

Taking a Sunday to scour some of the many antique stores and flamages in Southern Maine is well-worth it. You will find unbeatable bargains, and some of the most eclectic collections of interesting junk and fine collect than anywhere else on the new England map. To locate antique stores and flea-markets in the area, check the local newspapers, or take a drive and keep your eyes peeled!

Things to do in the Portland Area and beyond:

Take a trip to Scarborough downs and take in a spirited day of watching ( and bidding) on the oh-so popular horse harness racing.

Visit the Old port in Portland. The old port is the "inner city" part of Portland that stretches down to the coast line. Here you will find some of the more trendy and expensive places to eat, the best seafood markets, and a variety of small shops to check out. The old port also has one of the best bar scenes in New England.

Check out the Victoria Mansion for your dose of educational history. The mansion stands out in the middle of Portland and will immediately catch your eye once you are in the vicinity. The Mansion is enormous, well-preserved, and is highly noted for being one of the best home museums of the Victorian era.

Visit Springpoint harbor in South Portland ( one of the smaller, but still beautiful light houses in Maine) and Portland headlight ( the most famous of all the light houses) in Cape Elizabeth. Portland headlight is also a part of Fort Williams, another historical source of education as it is the only historic army base still standing in all of Maine.

Take a walk around Baxter Boulevard in Portland. Baxter Boulevard is a 4 mile path that wraps around the back cove. It's best to go on a day where there is a slight breeze, as it can get humid during the summer, or anything above a slight breeze can be very windy and chilly. You'll notice there are trees planted along the entire path... this isn't just for aesthetics, each tree is a tribute to World War I victims.


Drive a few miles North to experience shopping like you never have before. Freeport is the outlet Capital of New England, and also the home of L.L.Bean, which is quite the experience to visit, make sure you let the kids check out the trout pond on the first floor of L.L. Bean.

Other notable shopping areas include: The Kittery outlets, The old port, and the Maine Mall.

A trip to Maine is worth your while. You can have an active vacation and enjoy lots of attractions, while taking in your dose of education and supple scenery.

And last, but not least, my favorite, the Old Port Festival- The Old Port Festival occurs every year, usually rain or shine. This year the Old Port Festival is being held on June 1, 2008. The festival runs from 11am- 5pm. The Parade down Exchange Street starts at 11 am. The festival features 8 areas of different types of music, Maine foods, arts and crafts, art shows, and international foods. I HIGHLY recommend planning your vacation around this festival, it is hands down the biggest event of the year...and its FREE.

And remembah, don't forget to eat yah lobstah, its wicked good!

Old Port: is a tour mark you must hit!

Take a four mile walk around back cove--you'll love the view


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Essays like this are so important to bredoaning people's horizons.

    • hazelbrown profile image


      7 years ago from Central PA

      I'm from Maine and I'm going to visit this week. I always end up going in AUGUST! Next time I want to go in the fall or the spring... hot and muggy is not what I'm after. But lobstah, yes! Any time.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I live in maine

    • Wanderlust profile image


      10 years ago from New York City

      Just came back from Maine. Planned to go in June, but only could make it in August. Thank you Lady Luck and Twohandtouch for your suggestions - did follow them! Lobsters are amazing and served everywhere - total lobster paradise! Should say that Acadia is quite nice, but don't eat in a restaurant there. Eventhough the scenery of the lake and mountain is quite beautiful, the food is terrible. However, you can stop by there for tea and popovers (local muffins) - absolutely delicious. Lobstershack Two Lights Road (Cape Elizabeth) is great place to have a lobster picnic and Old Port Sea Grill in Portland was my best culinary experience in Maine – very New York level!

    • twohandtouch profile image


      10 years ago from Everywhere!

      Joe's Boathouse Springpoint Dr. (South Portland)

      Fore St. on Fore St. (Old Port)

      All of those are pretty nice places (including my previous comment and p.s. made a mistake... the Old Port Sea Grill in the above comment is on Commercial St., not Congress)


      Silly's on Washington Ave has really good home made food (jerk chicken, falafel, cheeseburgers) with bizarre and fun decor with an interesting staff. Bonus, they have a million different flavors of milkshakes.

      Granny's Burritos Fore St. EXCELLENT burritos, fresh and homemade.... hippyish vibe.


      Becky's Dinah, Nothin Finah... Commercial St. classic, New England greasy spoon.

      Something a lot nicer and very yummy is Joe's Boathouse (see above)


      Sapporo on Commercial St.

      Tourist Destination Not To Miss....

      Lobstershack Two Lights Road (Cape Elizabeth) The food is basically fired sea food, not the best, but nothing, NOTHING beats the scenery... bring your own bottle of wine!

      Tourist Destination To SKIP

      Demillo's Floating Restaurant, Commercial St. The draw is that the restaurant is on a giant boat, the drawback is the food is terrible.


      Check out the Old Port Candy Co. on Fore St.... best candy shop on earth. Tell Anna, the owner, who's usually there, Rebecca says hi!

    • twohandtouch profile image


      10 years ago from Everywhere!

      hey all.. I lived in Portland for the past 7 years and leaving was truly the hardest thing I've EVER had to do. Maybe growing up there is different but being a single, professional, outdoorsy, snowboarding type who likes to put her elbows up at a dive bar and drink beers, there's just nothing like Maine.

      The place has charm, characters and BEAUTY!

      I would agree with all of the above advice, but I would also HIGHLY recommend Acadia National Park up North and Sugarloaf for skiing/snowboarding in the winter or golfing and hiking in all the other seasons.

      As for good places to eat, here are some of my favorites (please note, I left the country a year ago so ownership and chefs may have changed, but these recommendations have been great for years.....)

      Old Port Sea Grill on Congress St. (Old Port)

      Salt Water Grill Front St. (South Portland)

      actually.. got to run... be back in a few with more suggestions! I've got lots of 'em!

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      10 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      yum my fav...and looks like a very nice place to visit...if I ever get close I shall definatly visit..Thanks for the great hub G-Ma :o) hugs

    • Wanderlust profile image


      10 years ago from New York City

      Thank you for a very informative answer. Old port in Portland sounds like a great place to visit. I will try to get there for a festival. And certainly the main reason to go to Main for me is to enjoy Main lobster !

    • John Chancellor profile image

      John Chancellor 

      10 years ago from Tennessee

      Very interesting and informative.


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