Portland, Maine

portland maine tips

Explore some of Portland, Maine’s most picturesque lighthouses, stroll along the cobblestone streets of Portland, and unwind at one of the many craft breweries in under 60 miles. We start in South Portland at Two Lights Lighthouse and end about 45 minutes North of Portland at Eartha, the world’s largest rotating globe.

South Portland

Two Lights State Park | Two Lights Lighthouse

two lights lighthouse maine

two lights state park maine

  • Two Lights Lighthouse is just outside Two Lights State Park. At the Y in the road, veer left to the lighthouse or right to the state park. The lighthouses and surrounding area aren’t open to the public, but you can see the view pictured above from the rocky coast. The Eastern lighthouse is still active, while the Western lighthouse was converted into a private residence in 1924.

Traveling Gingerbread Note: C Salt Gourmet Market is a great stop for lunch only 3 miles from Two Lights Lighthouse and Two Lights State Park. The market offers a selection of Maine themed gifts, wine, a café, and bakery. A market menu offers breakfast, smoothies, sandwiches, quiches, salads, and soups. 

Fort Williams Park | Portland Head Lighthouse

portland head lighthouse maine

Fort William Park Maine

  • Portland Head Lighthouse, Maine’s oldest lighthouse and the United States’ most photographed lighthouse, sits along the jagged shore of Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth. The Museum at Portland Head Light displays the history of the lighthouse through documents, artifacts, and exhibits. The museum occupies the Keeper’s Quarters, a duplex built in 1891 for the head keeper and assistant keepers’ families. 

portland lighthouse

  • There are plenty of activities throughout Fort Williams Park‘s 90 acres. Take a stroll along the Cliff Walk Trail for phenomenal views of the Portland Head Lighthouse (pictured above), grab a bite from a food truck, or step back in time at the Goddard Mansion.

Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse

spring point lighthouse maine

spring point ledge lighthouse maine

  • At the end of a 900 foot breakwater sits Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse. Walk across the breakwater for a closer view of the spark plug shaped lighthouse, but be careful. It’s surprisingly difficult to walk across the unevenly sized and spaced granite boulders, especially when wet.  

Traveling Gingerbread Note: The lighthouse is located at the end of Fort Road in Southern Maine Community College South Portland’s Campus. Nonstudent or staff parking is limited to only a few spaces. 

Bug Light Park

bug light park lighthouse

  • Bug Light State Park, just under 9 acres, is a popular area for picnics, boating, jogging, and fishing. A paved trail takes visitors to Portland Break Water Lighthouse from the Liberty Ship Memorial.
  • The Portland Breakwater Lighthouse was modeled after an ancient Greek monument and is considered one of Maine’s most elegant lighthouses. It earned the name Bug Light due to its small size. 

liberty ship memorial bug light state park

  • The Liberty Ship Memorial honors the many WWII Liberty ships built for the New England Shipbuilding Corporation and South Portland Shipbuilding Corporation in the area. Inside the memorial are informational boards about the area’s history.

Portland

portland maine's smallest shop

  • Nestled in downtown Portland is Old Port, an area in the historic district with cobblestone streets, colorful boutiques, breweries, gourmet and specialty stores, souvenir shops, restaurants, and cocktail bars.
  • Browse the souvenirs at Cool as a Moose, order a grilled cheese from Cheese Louise, for dessert try a Maine blueberry cobbler cone from Captain Sam’s Ice Cream, enjoy a beer from Liquid Riot Bottling Company, and get your seafood fix at Luke’s Lobster Portland Pier. We recommend wandering away from Commercial Street to explore downtown, Munjoy Hill, and the nearby parks.

old port portland maine

mitch in portland

Traveling Gingerbread Note: It can be difficult to find a parking space. We drove through downtown and old port several times before finding an open spot along Commercial Street.

Allagash Brewing Company

allagash brewing company maine

allagash mural

  • Visiting Allagash Brewing Company in early October seating was outdoor only, but there was plenty of picnic tables throughout the lawn and patio. Drafts are available in 8oz or 16oz pours and a small menu is available from the Bite into Maine food truck. We recommend Nocturna, a bourbon barrel aged stout with vanilla bean.

Traveling Gingerbread Note: Across the street are more unique beer and food truck options at Battery Steele Brewing and Definitive Brewing.

>60 Miles North of Portland

Giant’s Stairs and McIntosh Lot Preserve

Giant's Stairs Maine

giant's stairs trail in maine

Giant's Stairs Trail Map

  • The .5 mile trail along Casco Bay provides a dramatic view of the basalt blocks formed when magma was forced to the Earth’s surface through cracks in schist rock. Over the years, erosion created Giant’s Stairs. Parking for the trail is near the end of Washington Ave along the road.

Traveling Gingerbread Note: After visiting the coast of South Portland, we weren’t sure it was worth the drive to hike this quick trial. But, if you’re in the area it’s worth checking out this unique view of Maine’s dramatic coastline.

Androscoggin Swinging Bridge

Androscoggin Swinging Bridge Maine

  • Androscoggin Swinging Bridge is a 330 feet pedestrian suspension bridge built for employees at the Cabot Mill in Brunswick commuting across the Androscoggin River from their homes in Topsham Heights and Topsham. The bridge was designed in 1892 by the same engineers that constructed the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge is quite bouncy near the edges and offers a great view of the river. It’s a quick, fun stop if you are in the area.

Eartha Globe

eartha globe maine

  • Visit the world’s largest globe, Eartha, at DeLorme Dr, Yarmouth, ME 04096. The globe is just over 130 feet around and mimics earth’s rotation on a 23.5 degree axis. It takes about 18 minutes for Eartha to make a full rotation. The atrium is open Monday – Friday 9:00am – 3:00pm, but if you can’t visit during operating hours (like us) the globe is illuminated at night and visible from the parking lot.

coastal map of maine


October 2021

Author: The Traveling Gingerbread

The Traveling Gingerbread is a place for us to share budget travel tips for people with full time jobs, fun facts, itineraries, and where to find the best craft beer. We have been traveling together since 2013. Living and working full-time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we travel as much as our vacation days and finances allow. We cram each adventure with activities, tours, experiences, and local breweries. We can't walk by an Irish pub without stopping in for a pint of Guinness. In 2019, we brewed our first beer and were hooked, although, we have no intentions of brewing more than small batches. We'll continue our self appointed roles of professional testers and creating craft beer trails.

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