(20-30 Minutes South). The Southern Coast of Maine from Kennebunkport, to Wells and York, to Kittery and all the way into Portsmouth, NH is rife with restaurants, sandy beaches and cultural attractions.
Indulge your junk food craving at Flo’s legendary hot-dog stand. Ride a roaring wave, laze on a white sand beach or explore the Marginal Way and Perkins Cove in Ogunquit.
Experience the old-time carousel and arcade and watch the making of salt water taffy in York. Pop into numerous antique shops along Route 1 South, then shop ‘til you drop at the Kittery Outlets. Meander the narrow streets of Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s seaport, where you’ll find fantastic restaurants, eclectic boutiques, historical sites and cultural attractions.
On your way down the coast, be sure to stop by Nubble Light in Cape Neddick, arguably the most photographed lighthouse in the country. If you prefer to leave your car behind, the Shoreline Explorer trolley and shuttle system can take you all the way down to York.
(40 Minutes North). A bustling, walkable port, a vibrant arts district and the hippest food scene in New England make Portland a must-see destination for any Maine vacation. Think the look of a mini Boston with the vibe of a mini San Francisco.
A quick trip up Highway 95 will place you in the heart of the Old Port, where cobblestone streets and brownstones comprise a hip shopping district and such a dense concentration of wonderful restaurants that Portland earned the designation "America's Foodiest Small City" from Bon Appetit magazine in 2009.
From kayaking in Casco Bay, to shopping 'til you drop in the Old Port, there is plenty to do and see during a day trip to Portland. Enjoy an afternoon at the theater, a culinary or brewery tour, or just strolling the historic streets. Portland has something for everyone, and everything Maine.
Head to the West End, were there are experimental arts venues and small music stages to exceptional The Portland Museum of Art. Quirky Space promotes art films and emerging artists, Port City Music Hall books rock bands and singer-songwriters within its hip and acoustically perfect walls, and the classic State Theatre features pop singers, musical productions, novelists and other performers on its historic stage.
(50 Minutes North). The home of L.L. Bean and it’s many, MANY outlet stores, Freeport has evolved into quite the shopping mecca -- as well as a spot to explore the outdoors or catch a lovely meal.
From yuppie favorites Banana Republic and The Gap, to sportswear suppliers Patagonia and The North Face, Freeport can’t be beat for outlet deals on seasonal clothing. But Freeport is not your typical outlet mall – it’s a quaint shopping village with over 200 shops gathered around the L.L. Bean flagship store. When you get off the beaten path you’ll discover the beauty of Casco Bay and wonderful tranquil spots to enjoy the scenery. You’ll know you’re almost there when you see the huge carved Indian on the northbound side of Route 1.
Outlet shopping merges with village strolling in Freeport. While the big name in town is L.L. Bean, other Maine-grown businesses like Thomas Moser furniture as well as outlet staples like J Crew and Nine West claim storefronts here. And who can resist grabbing a hot dog and lemonade from one of the streetside carts or a cone from Ben & Jerry’s?
Once you’ve slung your shopping bags into the car, plan an active pursuit. L.L. Bean offers guided tours and courses in kayaking, fishing and other outdoor adventures, while Wolf’s Neck Farm can show you where some of your Maine dining experiences have their origin (if you’ve dined at Bandaloop in Kennebunkport, for example). Also check out:
Cold River Vodka – distillery tours
L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools – kayaking, fishing, outdoor leadership
L.L. Bean Summer in the Park – outdoor concerts and festivals
Wolf’s Neck Farm – sustainable agriculture, farm tours, hiking trails
Desert of Maine – glacier desert tours