Ultimate Guide to Fourth of July in Greater Portland, Maine

Ultimate Guide to Fourth of July in Greater Portland, Maine

Week of Fourth of July Summer Fun for the Whole Family

July 2-5, 2024

Celebrate Independence Day In Greater Portland, Maine, where history, charm, and coastal beauty come together for an unforgettable vacation. Whether you’re traveling solo, with your significant other, or bringing along the whole fam—this itinerary is packed with events and adventures for all ages.  From parades and fireworks to excursions and seasonal surprises, you’re sure to create core memories.

Sailboats on a sunny day, Photo Credits: Serena Folding

Photo Credits: Serena Folding

Day 1


Arrival + Settling-in Downtown

Arrive in Portland, Maine by plane, train, bus, or car. Just a two hour drive from Boston and four from New York City. Amtrak Downeaster makes it easy to get around, offering year-round rail service Boston-Brunswick. Portland International Jetport also offers direct flights from major cities both nationally and internationally.  Learn more.

Amtrak Downeaster

Sit back and relax. Car-free connection to a variety of destinations with round-trips daily between Boston & Portland.

Portland International Jetport

The airport offers nonstop flights to over a dozen cities across the U.S. and Canada as well as worldwide connections.

Once you seamlessly arrive in our thriving seaport you can start exploring the historic cobblestone streets or walk along our Working Waterfront to stretch your legs. Stay at one of Portland’s charming hotels where you’ll find modern marvels mix alongside restored historic landmarks. Find a beachside oasis or an island escape—travel to one of our area towns to get a glimpse of even more of what our region has to offer.  Learn more.


Outdoor Dining + Waterfront Eats in Portland

For lunch, indulge in the culinary delights of Portland’s foodie scene. Find waterfront restaurants in the Old Port where sustainability and sourcing ingredients locally is a priority. Restaurants utilize daily fresh-caught seafood straight from the Bay. Many also using their early morning to hit-up Portland’s Farmer’s Markets making sure their menu is farm and ocean fresh. Learn more.

Taste test New England clam chowder or a fresh lobster roll, both showcasing the best of Maine’s seafood while supporting local fishermen and farmers. The commitment to quality and sustainability is evident in every bite, making your dining experience not only delicious but also environmentally conscious.

Gilbert’s Chowder House is famous for their heaping serving of fresh scallops, lobster, and haddock in their fish and seafood chowder. What’s better than that? How about it served piping hot on the patio in a bread bowl. 

Gilbert's Chowder House

A quaint New England style restaurant overlooking Casco Bay offering five delicious types of chowder.

Luke’s Lobster has stunning views indoors and outdoors, located right on Portland Pier. Enjoy a traditional Maine lobster dinner or sample their seasonal specials while taking in the stunning harbor views. 

Luke’s Lobster Portland Pier

Serve the best tasting traceable, sustainable seafood, right on the waterfront overlooking Casco Bay.

Get out on a Rocky Bottom Fisheries tour while you’re on the Pier afterwards for a high octane lobstering adventure. Put yourself in the middle of the action—and the middle of Casco Bay—while catching lobsters and checking traps with the whole family. 

Rocky Bottom Tours

A day in the life of a lobsterman from pulling traps and setting traps to examining sea life and selling the catch.


Sunset Sail + Upscale dining

Have you been on a schooner? There’s no bigger thrill than being on a windjammer on a Casco Bay sunset cruise. Rocky coast and Casco Bay islands sprawling out in every direction. Find wine + beer tours catered to your favorite beverages or join a narrated sightseeing cruise aimed at pointing out marine life, forts, and lighthouses dotting the horizon. Learn More.

Once you’ve arrived back onshore—celebrate the close of your first day in Maine with one of the elevated dining experiences that set our region apart. Did I mention Portland is known for its James Beard award-winners and Chopped Champions nestled in neighborhood restaurants? Chef’s tables. Prix fixe menus. Open kitchens. They are ready to delight from every corner of the world. Find international eats, vegetarian/vegan dining, gluten-free items all along the way, so you’re sure to find something to temp your palette. Learn more.

Day 2

Early Morning

Nature Walk + Picnic in the Park

Begin your day with a leisurely stroll to get a lay of the land. Rent a bike at Lighthouse Bikes to explore more of our charming seaside towns or area lighthouses. Visit Eastern Promenade. Fort Allen Park has panoramic views of Casco Bay. Complete with a gazebo, floral displays, and sprawling views of historic forts and sailing schooners. Playgrounds for kids and plenty of green space for picnics. Learn more.

Get-in on a guided biking tour with Summer Feet Cycling Adventures where you can learn the dynamics of the region alongside a local. All while taste-testing local coffees or craft brew (depending on the tour). You’ll also get a chance to get a closer look at local landmarks like Portland Head Light, Maine’s oldest lighthouse—commissioned by George Washington. A perfect nod to your Fourth of July celebration. Learn more.

Summer Feet Cycling Adventures

For 20 years we have been offering cycling, walking, and multi-sport vacations in the most beautiful places in Maine.


Local Exhibits + Landmarks

Immerse yourself in Portland’s rich history. Begin at the Maine Historical Society, where exhibits vividly depict Maine’s role in American history, from statehood to significant national contributions. Right next door is childhood home of American Poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Gain insights into his life and discover the inspirations behind famous poems like “Paul Revere’s Ride,” resonating with the spirit of American independence. Learn more.

Maine Historical Society

3rd oldest historical society in U.S. comprised of the Longfellow House, the Brown Library, the Museum & Shop.

Victoria Mansion

One of the country’s historic homes of the mid-Victorian period, open May through October and the holiday season for tours.

The Victoria Mansion is a famous home—and a 19th century architectural marvel. Admire its opulent rooms adorned with intricate designs that reflect the Morse family’s prosperity and aspirations. Viewing these landmarks deepen your appreciation of Portland’s historical fabric ahead of the holiday weekend. Learn more.


Performing Arts + Entertainment

Enjoy a touring company or local talent showcase at one of our historic venues like Merrill Auditorium or Portland Stage Company, known for their diverse range of productions. Enjoy outdoor concerts in the Summer at Thompson’s Point or indoors at the historic State theater—where you’ll find headlining concerts like Counting Crows and Brandie Carlisle. Learn more.

Thompson's Point

We are where the action is with ongoing events, outdoor concerts, skating rink, arts & entertainment.

State Theatre

In the Arts District is the State Theatre, an event space designed in a beautiful semi-Atmospheric/Spanish style.

If you haven’t gotten your seafood fill yet, why not hit up a raw bar or order a seafood tower. Local seafood restaurants often have their own spins on classics with lobster like—lobster tacos, lobster grilled cheese, etc. So, when in Rome as they say? It’s a perfect bite after a show. Learn more.

Looking for a nightcap? Grab some craft cocktails, local spirits, or a kombucha out on the town. Check out what local beverages have on tap or hit up a rooftop bar to soak in that sea breeze from the top floor. Learn more.

Day 3


Fourth of July Festivities

Start your day with the annual Fourth of July Parade, a festive celebration featuring colorful floats, marching bands, and local performers. The parade typically begins in the morning and travels through downtown Portland. Hop aboard the Narrow Gauge train just outside the Ocean Gateway Visitor Information Center for a scenic 45-minute trip around the Eastern Promenade.

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company + Museum

Scenic train ride along beautiful Casco Bay. Activities, historic railroad cars & exhibits.


Best Beaches in New England

It’s time to embrace the quintessential New England coastal experience with a trip to one of the area’s beautiful beaches. Pack your beach gear and head to one of our area towns. Scarborough, South Portland, and Cape Elizabeth all offering sensational sandy shores within a 10-15 minute drive.

If you’re feeling adventurous, Crescent Beach offers excellent opportunities for kayaking or paddleboarding. Rentals are available nearby, allowing you to explore the tranquil waters and get a unique perspective of the stunning coastline. For those who prefer to stay on land, the park also features scenic walking trails that meander through the dunes and offer beautiful views of the ocean.

Other nearby beaches to explore include Willard Beach in South Portland and Ferry Beach in Scarborough. Each offers unique charms and stunning views, making them perfect for a relaxing afternoon. Learn more.


Fireworks + Food Trucks

End your day with the spectacular Fourth of July fireworks over Portland Harbor. The show typically begins at dusk, and the Eastern Promenade is one of the best spots to watch the dazzling display. Arrive early to secure a prime viewing location and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

Indulge in delicious offerings from various food trucks stationed in the Cutter Street lot. Savor local favorites like lobster rolls, clam chowder, and sweet treats as you await the fireworks. Bring comfortable outdoor chairs or lay out a blanket for a cozy picnic under the stars. As the sky darkens, get ready to be amazed by the brilliant fireworks lighting up the night, creating a perfect end to your day in Portland. Learn more.

Day 4

Morning + Afternoon

Daytrip to Freeport

You can’t visit Portland without exploring our charming New England area towns. Just 30 minutes from Portland, Freeport is a shopping destination and waterfront oasis. Be sure to check out the 24/7 L.L.Bean flagship store, where you’ll love seeing the campus and the larger-than-life Bean Boot outside. It’s the perfect place to experience everything Maine has to offer in one spot.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the L.L.Bean Discovery School offers sessions on fly fishing, kayaking, archery, and more. Take your favorite sport or activity to the next level with tips and tricks from local experts, ensuring an unforgettable adventure. Learn more.


Farewells + Departures

Pick-up any last minute bites, brews, or souvenirs before you get your travel plans in gear. If you haven’t gotten any shopping done yet, now’s the time to pop-in to our neighborhood boutiques. Find homemade candies, chocolates, jewelry, and clothing. You’ll want something to take back with you to keep your memories of Greater Portland close. You won’t forget the four days you spent celebrating Independence Day on the coat of Maine. Learn more.