Top 10 Things to Check Off Your Maine Bucket List

Top 10 Things to Check Off Your Maine Bucket List

10 things to check off your Maine Bucketlist in 2024

Maine is a place unlike any other – and it’s called Vacationland for good reason. There’s so many exclusive adventures to be had in Greater Portland (and beyond). Explore rugged coastlines, taste-test Maine lobster, embark on a whale watch or Lobstering tour – the Pine Tree State offers a treasure trove of must-do activities sure to make your bucket list complete.

Don’t get FOMO, just go to Maine.

Join us as we discover the top 10 things to check off your Maine bucket list and create memories that will last a lifetime.


1. Visit one of Portland’s Calendar Islands

Casco Bay Lines Commuter Ferry Docking on Island, Photo Credit: CFW Photography
Casco Bay Lines Commuter Ferry Docking on Island, Photo Credit: CFW Photography

Embark on a ferry adventure to one of Portland’s Islands out on Casco Bay, where time seems to stand still. Called the Calendar Islands because it was once said by locals you could visit an island 365 days of the year and never run out of new experiences. Explore the pristine shores, picturesque towns, and hidden coves of islands. Casco Bay Lines provides year-round service to six islands, Peaks IslandLittle Diamond IslandGreat Diamond IslandLong IslandChebeague Island and Cliff Island.

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2. Take a Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Kotzschmar Organ; Photo Credit: Lauren Peters at Visit Portland
Kotzschmar Organ; Photo Credit: Lauren Peters at Visit Portland

Step into the world of music history with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Kotzschmar Organ, one of the largest and most historic pipe organs in the United States. It’s built for Merrill Auditorium, so it’s a site you can’t recreate anywhere else. Learn about the organ’s fascinating history and craftsmanship while marveling at its majestic sound and intricate design. Step inside the organ itself on a behind-the-scenes tour or visit for one of their many events downtown.

You can explore more of what Greater Portland has to offer with guided tours and cruises. Everything from walking tours to trolley tours to biking along the coast. Glimpse the magic of the past with rotating exhibits and classic art and history weaved throughout the region.

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3. Explore the Rocky Coast and Visit Maine’s Lighthouses

Portland head light and coastline header. Photo Courtesy of @MarriottBonvoy
Portland head light and coastline header. Photo Courtesy of @MarriottBonvoy

Embark on a coastal adventure along Maine’s rugged shoreline, where majestic lighthouses stand as beacons of maritime tradition. Discover iconic larger-than-life landmarks like Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth. Visit Maine’s oldest lighthouse commissioned by George Washington, and immerse yourself in the rich maritime heritage of the region.

In South Portland, you can walk the stones out to the water to get a closer look at Spring Point Ledge Light or visit the extensive grounds of Bug Light Park to see Portland Breakwater Light (otherwise known as Bug Light for its small but mighty size of 26 feet tall.

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4. Visit the L.L.Bean Flagship Store in Freeport

L.L.Bean Boot, Photo Credit: Capshore Photography
L.L.Bean Boot, Photo Credit: Capshore Photography

Just 30 minutes north of Portland you can experience the outdoor enthusiast’s paradise at the L.L.Bean flagship store in Freeport. Round the clock you can shop til you drop for outdoor gear, apparel, and accessories, because the store is open 24/7. For more high-octane adventure embark on an outdoor discovery school adventure like archery or skate skiing in the Winter. Don’t forget to snap a photo with the giant Bean Boot outside before you explore the surrounding outdoor recreation area.

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5. Maine Lobster Bake/Lobstering Tour

Lobster roll header Photo Courtesy of @MarriottBonvoy
Lobster roll header Photo Courtesy of @MarriottBonvoy

Indulge in the ultimate Maine culinary experience with a lobster dinner, lobsterbake, or lobstering tour on the water. Maine lobster is the sweetest, most flavorful – just ask anyone who’s tried it. Join a public lobsterbake with Island Lobster Co (on Peaks island) or head over to one of our seafood restaurants to crack into a twin lobster dinner.

Want an even more immersive experience? Join a guided lobster tour to learn about the lobstering industry firsthand and feast on freshly caught crustaceans. On a Lucky Catch or Rocky Bottom tour you can catch your own lobster and have it prepared for you with all the fixings at a waterfront restaurant.

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6. Taste Test Maine Blueberries

Did you know Maine produces 99% of the country’s blueberries? There’s nothing like picking them straight off the bush or taste-testing them in local pies and baked goods. Delight your taste buds with the sweet and tangy flavor of Maine blueberries throughout the state. Many Blueberry Festivals around the state celebrate the super fruit in late Summer. Enjoy the harvest with locals as they delight in festive bake-offs, pie-eating contests, farm tours, and all the fresh blueberries.

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7. See a Moose in the Wild

Moose in Lake in High Grass, Photo Credit: Maine Office Tourism
Moose in Lake in High Grass, Photo Credit: Maine Office Tourism

Embark on a wilderness adventure to spot Maine’s iconic moose in their natural habitat. Explore remote regions like Baxter State Park or the Moosehead Lake area, where moose sightings are common, and immerse yourself in the beauty of Maine’s untamed wilderness. Check out some of the other Maine regions for more.

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8. Dine at a James Beard Award Winner or Chopped Champion Restaurant

Seafood. Photo Credit: Capshore Photography
Seafood. Photo Credit: Capshore Photography

Being named Foodie City of the Year by Bon Appetit a few years ago was the catalyst for foodie excellence in Maine. In Greater Portland, you’ll find a high bar being maintained by local restaurants, bars, and breweries/wineries/distilleries. James Beard award-winners and Chopped champions as well as both casual dining and prix fix upscale experiences. Whatever your taste-buds are craving can be conquered in Maine. Indulge in innovative dishes and local fare crafted by talented chefs while savoring the flavors of Maine’s local ingredients.

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9. Experience the Working Waterfront in Portland

Working Waterfront, Photo Credits; Serena Folding
Working Waterfront, Photo Credits; Serena Folding

Discover the bustling energy of Portland’s working waterfront, where fishing boats, cargo ships, and ferries mingle with waterfront restaurants, shops, and galleries. Take a stroll along the waterfront, watch the boats come and go, and immerse yourself in the maritime culture of Maine’s largest city. Visit Eastern Promenade and watch the tall ships go by on a backdrop of historic forts, lighthouses, and coastal islands.

LAY OF THE LAND


10. View a Famous Painting or Experience an Art Walk

Couple Art Walk, Photo Credit: Knack Factory
Couple Art Walk, Photo Credit: Knack Factory

Immerse yourself in the world of art + culture in Greater Portland with exhibits you can’t see anywhere else. View a masterpiece at Portland Museum of Art, home to an impressive collection of famous works by renowned artists. Admire work by Picasso, Winslow Homer, and Maine’s own contemporary artists. You can step back into historic and visit history creators and poets homes like Winslow Homer or Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow.

If you want to see as much as possible while in town take a leisurely walk along the Arts District on the first Friday of every month for First Friday Art Walk. At First Friday Art Walk discover the vibrant arts scene of Portland. First Friday is an event held by Creative Portland where museums, galleries, and artists line the streets and open their doors for a full night of complimentary art. You can also buy souvenirs from makers and enjoy the festive atmosphere of musicians and locals coming together in the Arts District. Creative Portland has an app that allows you to take an art tour at anytime. Go on a self-guided public art tour, explore our bus shelter initiative, or just get a lay of the cultural landscape.

MORE ART + ENTERTAINMENT


Portland Cityscape Drone at Night, Photography by Peter G. Morneau
Portland Cityscape Drone at Night, Photography by Peter G. Morneau

Embark on your Maine adventure today and start checking off these unforgettable experiences from your bucket list. Whether you’re exploring rugged coastlines, savoring local delicacies, or immersing yourself in arts and culture, Maine offers something for every traveler. Plan your trip today and create memories that will last a lifetime. Visit our Plan Your Trip page for more information and start planning your Maine getaway now.

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