Things to Do in Portland
An inlet on Maine’s southern coast, Casco Bay is a rich maritime area spotted with lighthouses, historic forts, and seven small islands. Calm conditions make Casco Bay an ideal spot for boating, sailing, and kayaking, while the islands each have their own unique communities to explore.
Dating back to the 18th century, the Portland Head Light watches over the rocky coastline of Maine as the state’s oldest lighthouse. Its picturesque location also makes it the most photographed lighthouse in the United States. And the surrounding Fort Williams Park is a popular beach and hiking destination.
With granite walls that appear to rise straight up from the surface of Portland Harbor, this abandoned military fort was built on a small island during the Civil War. Only accessible by boat, today it’s a reminder of Maine's military past and a curiosity for passing harbor cruises or intrepid kayakers.
Stretching for several miles along Portland’s East End, this scenic trail connects the city’s cobblestoned Old Port with Fort Allen Park, East End Beach, and beyond. Along the way, sweeping views of Casco Bay and its islands provide a picturesque backdrop for joggers, cyclists, and picnickers enjoying this easy-to-access greenway.
Whether its whiskey, rum or gin you’re after, New England Distilling produces some of the finest in the region. Each is created using raw materials by a family who has been distilling for many generations – New England Distilling’s roots go as far back as the 1850s. Today the facilities include a combination of traditional and modern equipment.
Local ingredients are used in recipes from around the world to create premium small-batch spirits by hand. At the distillery, you can see the traditional copper pot still, which lends a bit of history to the process. The whiskey and gin are produced with grains from New England and the Midwest, while the rum is made from Caribbean molasses. The spirits are fermented with yeast from Maine Beer Company. Tastings on site allow visitors to experience all three.
Rising Tide Brewing Company serves up one of Portland, Maine's most beloved beers alongside live music and food trucks. The lively tasting room features artisan craft beers produced by the small-scale, family-owned brewing company, which has since grown to be one of the area's top brewers. There's a local feel to the taproom, and a long bar for tastings that looks into the production area.
Try four different beers on a tour of the brewery, or make an outing out of your visit on a craft drink tour through the city.
Dating back to 1755, Portland, Maine's Tate House Museum is the only existing example of pre-revolutionary architecture open to the public. In its heyday, it was the residence of Captain George Tate, a senior mast agent in the British Royal Navy, though it's now a museum, complete with period furnishings, an herb garden, and a gift shop.