Throughout all the years that I lived in Maine and visited once I moved away, I’ve grown to appreciate the state more and more. From the picturesque snowy winter to its flourishing summer season, there’s not a time in Maine that disappoints. It’s also the place that I’ve found clears my head and calms any stress about daily life.
Maine is commonly associated with its visually astounding views, and of course – delicious seafood. However, the state is reputable for so many things beyond lobster rolls and snow, especially during its peak warm seasons! Portland, the largest city in Maine, and its surrounding towns are some of my favorite places to spend time in the summer, and each of my visits I find new things to see and do that I haven’t experienced before.
While Brunswick is one of the smallest towns on coastal Maine, it packs a punch for itself. The historic downtown welcomes guests from all-over with open arms, and Brunswick’s primarily local businesses are constantly bustling with activity during the summertime.
Aside from the charming downtown area, Brunswick is home to several hiking trails, farms, and the reputable Bradbury Mountain. Additionally, because of the famous Bowdoin College located in the center of town, Brunswick has brought it more art and culture in the last several years.
My favorite thing about spending time in Brunswick was getting to enjoy its surrounding beauty. Brunswick is surrounded by marine bays, forest trails, and plenty of unique areas to sightsee. I found it to be one of the most peaceful towns I’ve been to, and the locals are very friendly.
Best places to shop + eat in Brunswick:
- Brunswick Farmers Market
- Cool as a Moose
- Cabot Mill Antiques
- Little Tokyo
- Richard’s Restaurant
- Cameron’s Lobster House
Things to do outdoors in Brunswick
Thomas Point Beach
Androscoggin Swinging Bridge
Freeport is one of the places you need to be spending summertime in Maine. It’s only a 15 minute drive from Brunswick, and 20 minutes from Portland. Freeport also isn’t quite as touristy as some other coastal towns such as Bar Harbor, making it a relaxing, yet entertaining place to go.
Freeport is one of the places I always look forward to going back to. Mainers associate the town with its premium outlets, giant L.L. Bean Store, and amazingly delicious seafood restaurants. Freeport consists of a few stretched roads that are flooded with shops, bookstores, restaurants, and theaters. All of the stores look like big homes, creating a village-type of effect. Even the Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store appears like a big lodge rather than the store’s typical sleek exterior. During the Christmas season, the town puts up an ice skating rink, Christmas light shows, and a gigantic tree that remains all season long.
Best places to shop + eat in Freeport:
- Freeport Outlets
- Mangy Moose
- Rustic Arrow
- L.L. Bean
- British Goods
- Maine Wicked Goods Mercantile
- Tuscan Brick Oven Bistro
- Buck’s Naked BBQ
- Linda Bean’s Maine Kitchen & Topside Tavern
- Broad Arrow Tavern
Things to do outdoors in Freeport
Winslow Memorial Park Camping + Public Beach
Portland/South Portland, Maine
Portland is the biggest city in Maine, with a population of about 67,000. Over the years, Portland has become increasingly popular and more attractive to business owners. While the city still radiates Maine’s character, its urban and eccentric nature is becoming more prominent. In Portland, you can spend the day fishing and enjoying a lobster roll, or get a tattoo and explore the Museum of Cryptozoology.
I found Portland to be super eccentric, very entertaining, and more lively than other parts of the state. Despite the fact that there aren’t a ton of outdoor recreation options here, you could spend days in Portland without ever getting bored. The local boutiques are some of my favorite shops I’ve ever visited, and I loved how kind the people were in the city as well. Portland highly values ethical consumerism, so most items are ethically sourced. Most of the stores in Portland are extremely aesthetically appealing, especially the home decor, and spa + bath businesses.
Best places to shop + eat in Portland:
- Rough + Tumble
- Blanche + Miimi
- Simply Scandinavian
- Campfire Studios
- Salt Cellar
- Fore Street
- Crispy Gai
Things to do outdoors in Portland:
Columbia River and Mt. Hood Tour from Portland
Cruise + Lunch Through Portland
Other Incredible Things to Experience in Maine this Summer
White water rafting
Maine may not be your standard beach destination, but its lakes and rivers are unlike any other.
White water rafting is both a scenic and adrenaline-triggering experience. One of the best spots for white water rafting in Maine is along the Kennebec River – you can book a spot here.
Acadia National Park
One of the most picturesque locations in Maine, Acadia National Park is an exceptional summer destination.
Climb Cadillac Mountain, go kayaking, or tour one of Maine’s various lighthouses.
Baxter State Park
If you’re willing to travel a little further North, Millinocket’s Baxter State Park is well-worth the visit. Its jaw-dropping lake views perfectly represent Maine; a photographer’s dream come true.
Feel free to camp out, hike the trails, or have a bonfire at Baxter during your stay. Cabins and lodges are distributed among the park as well.