Maine is a beautiful state known for its stunning landscapes, picturesque coastal towns, and rich history. While there are plenty of paid attractions and activities to enjoy, there are also many free things to do in Maine that will allow you to fully experience the beauty and culture of the state without breaking the bank.
From exploring iconic landmarks to immersing yourself in the art scene, Maine offers a wide range of free activities for visitors and residents to enjoy.
In this blog, we have compiled a list of 23 free things to do in Maine this weekend. Whether you’re looking to take in breathtaking views, immerse yourself in nature, or explore the vibrant art scene, there’s something for everyone on this list. So grab your friends and family, pack a picnic, and get ready to make some unforgettable memories in the beautiful state of Maine.
1. Visit the Iconic Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth
One of the must-visit landmarks in Maine is the iconic Portland Head Light located in Cape Elizabeth. This historic lighthouse is situated on the rugged Maine coastline and offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the oldest lighthouse in the state and has been guiding ships since 1791.
Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking to admire the beauty of the ocean, a visit to the Portland Head Light is a must. Take a stroll along the rocky shore, snap some pictures of the picturesque lighthouse, or simply relax and soak in the peaceful atmosphere of this beautiful place.
2. Walk Along the Beautiful Marginal Way, Ogunquit
If you’re a nature lover, a walk along the Marginal Way in Ogunquit is a must. This scenic trail stretches for 1.5 miles along the Atlantic Ocean and offers stunning views of the coastline. The trail starts at Shore Road in Ogunquit and ends at Perkins Cove. As you walk along the path, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the ocean, rocky cliffs, and sandy beaches.
The Marginal Way is a popular spot for photographers, walkers, and nature enthusiasts looking to enjoy the beauty of Southern Maine. Whether you’re visiting during the summer or the winter, a walk along the Marginal Way is a must-see experience.
3. Experience the Art Scene at First Friday Art Walk, Portland
For art lovers, the First Friday Art Walk in Portland is a must-visit event. On the first Friday of every month, numerous art galleries and museums in Portland stay open until 8 p.m. for visitors to enjoy for free.
You can explore a wide range of artistic styles and mediums, from paintings and sculptures to photography and mixed media. Many galleries offer complimentary wine and snacks, making it a perfect night out for art enthusiasts.
In addition to the art galleries, you’ll also find street artists and performers showcasing their talents throughout the city. Live music performances add to the vibrant atmosphere, making the First Friday Art Walk a must-visit event for anyone interested in the arts.
4. Enjoy a Day at Old Orchard Beach, Old Orchard Beach
If you’re looking for a classic beach day experience, head to Old Orchard Beach. Known for its pristine sandy beaches and lively boardwalk, Old Orchard Beach offers something for everyone. Spend the day lounging under the sun, swimming in the cool Atlantic waters, or building sandcastles with your family.
The beach is free to access, and you can even bring a picnic and enjoy a meal with a view. In addition to the beach, Old Orchard Beach is famous for its free concerts on the pier during the summer months. Grab a blanket or beach chair and enjoy live music performances by local and national artists. Old Orchard Beach is the perfect destination for a fun-filled day of sun, sand, and entertainment.
5. Explore the Rich History of Old Port, Portland
Step back in time and explore the rich history of Old Port in Portland. This waterfront district is filled with charming cobblestone streets, historic brick buildings, and a plethora of fascinating historical sites. Take a stroll through the area and admire the well-preserved architecture that dates back to the 19th century.
Explore the historic wharves, visit museums and galleries housed in historic buildings, and learn about the city’s maritime heritage. Old Port is a treasure trove of history, offering visitors a glimpse into the past and the opportunity to learn about Portland’s vibrant history. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply appreciate the charm of old-world architecture, a visit to Old Port is a must.
6. Discover Natural Wonders at Grafton Notch State Park, Newry
Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will find paradise at Grafton Notch State Park in Newry. This stunning park is home to numerous hiking trails that wind through rugged mountains, pristine forests, and breathtaking waterfalls.
Lace up your hiking boots and embark on an adventure to discover the natural wonders of Grafton Notch. From the challenging hike up Old Speck Mountain, one of Maine’s tallest peaks, to the more leisurely walks along the Screw Auger Falls trail, there’s something for hikers of all skill levels.
Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and take in the awe-inspiring beauty of this natural oasis. Grafton Notch State Park is the perfect place to reconnect with nature and enjoy the tranquility of the great outdoors.
7. Picnic at Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth
For a relaxing day outdoors, pack a picnic and head to Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth. This picturesque park is home to the iconic Portland Head Light, Maine’s most photographed lighthouse.
Set up a picnic blanket on the expansive lawn overlooking the ocean and enjoy a meal with a view. After your picnic, take a stroll along the park’s walking trails or explore the historic remains of the former fort.
Fort Williams Park is also a popular spot for family gatherings, kite flying, and outdoor games. With its stunning views and serene atmosphere, Fort Williams Park is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the beauty of nature.
8. Hike the Libby Hill Trails, Gray
If you’re looking for a scenic hiking spot, check out the Libby Hill Trails in Gray. This hidden gem offers eight miles of groomed trails that wind through forests, meadows, and wetlands.
The trails are suitable for both beginners and experienced hikers, making it a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels. As you hike through the trails, keep an eye out for wildlife and enjoy the peaceful serenity of nature.
Libby Hill Trails is also home to Discovery Park, where you can learn about the local ecosystem and participate in educational programs. Whether you’re looking for adventure or a peaceful escape into nature, the Libby Hill Trails will not disappoint.
9. Attend the Maine Potato Blossom Festival, Fort Fairfield
Every summer, Fort Fairfield becomes the hub of excitement as it hosts the Maine Potato Blossom Festival. This nine-day event celebrates the rich agricultural heritage of the region and is a must-visit for locals and visitors alike.
The festival offers a wide range of activities and entertainment, from live music performances and parades to agricultural exhibits and food vendors.
Attendees can enjoy free events and attractions, making it the perfect opportunity to experience the charm and hospitality of Fort Fairfield. Whether you’re interested in learning about potato farming or simply looking to enjoy some family-friendly fun, the Maine Potato Blossom Festival is a highlight of the summer season.
10. Canoeing at Saco River, Fryeburg
For a fun-filled day of outdoor adventure, grab your canoe and head to Saco River in Fryeburg. The river offers miles of crystal-clear waters perfect for canoeing and kayaking. Spend the day paddling along the river, taking in the beautiful scenery, and enjoying the serenity of nature.
Saco River is also a popular spot for tubing, swimming, and fishing, making it a versatile destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re an experienced paddler or a beginner looking to try something new, Saco River provides the perfect setting for an unforgettable day on the water.
11. Join the Old Port Pub Run, Portland
Looking for a unique way to explore the vibrant nightlife of Portland? Join the Old Port Pub Run! This informal running group meets weekly year-round for a run through downtown Portland before ending at one of the many pubs in the area.
The runs average between three and five miles, but you can choose to run as much or as little as you want. After the run, stick around for some trivia night fun and enjoy a well-deserved drink. The Old Port Pub Run is a great opportunity to stay active, socialize with like-minded individuals, and discover the hidden gems of Portland’s bar scene.
12. Experience Nature at Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island
While not entirely free due to the admission fee for certain attractions, Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island offers plenty of free activities to enjoy.
Take a nature walk along the park’s numerous trails and immerse yourself in the stunning beauty of the Maine coast. From scenic overlooks and rocky shorelines to breathtaking mountain views, Acadia National Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
While some parts of the park require an admission fee, many trails and areas are free to access. Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or a stroll, Acadia National Park is the perfect place to connect with nature and experience the beauty of New England.
13. Visit the Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville
For a dose of cultural enrichment, visit the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville. This outstanding art museum is home to a vast collection of over 9,000 pieces of art, ranging from classical to contemporary.
The museum features works by renowned artists such as Winslow Homer, Robert Henri, Vincent van Gogh, and more. With its diverse collection and rotating exhibitions, the Colby College Museum of Art offers visitors a unique cultural experience.
The museum is free to the public and open Tuesday through Saturday, making it a perfect destination for art enthusiasts and those looking to expand their artistic horizons.
14. Experience the L.L. Bean Free Summer Concerts, Freeport
Every summer, L.L. Bean in Freeport hosts free concerts at Discovery Park on their campus. From July to September, visitors can bring their chairs or blankets and enjoy performances by local and national musicians. The concerts cover a wide range of musical genres, from folk and country to rock and pop.
Previous performers include Frankie Ballard, Grace Potter, and Ben Rector. The L.L. Bean Free Summer Concerts are a great way to experience live music in a beautiful outdoor setting. So grab your friends and family, pack some snacks, and get ready for a night of free entertainment under the stars.
15. Visit Eastern Promenade Trail, Portland
For a scenic walk or bike ride with stunning views of Casco Bay, head to the Eastern Promenade Trail in Portland. This waterfront trail offers a stroll along the coast, with breathtaking views of the ocean, historic forts, and picturesque islands.
The trail stretches for 2.1 miles and is perfect for both leisurely walks and more active pursuits. Whether you’re looking to take in the beautiful scenery, enjoy a picnic with a view, or get some exercise in a peaceful outdoor setting, the Eastern Promenade Trail is a must-visit destination in Portland.
16. Check out Walker’s Point, Kennebunkport
If you’re in the Kennebunkport area, be sure to check out Walker’s Point. This scenic spot offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and is home to the Bush family compound. While you can’t visit the compound, you can drive by on Ocean Avenue and enjoy the stunning coastal scenery.
As you drive along, you’ll pass by beautiful beaches, picturesque homes, and charming New England landscapes. Walker’s Point is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, offering a glimpse into the coastal beauty and charm of Kennebunkport.
17. Explore the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, Wells
Nature enthusiasts will find paradise at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells. This expansive nature reserve spans 50 miles of coastline in York and Cumberland counties and is dedicated to the preservation of salt marshes and estuaries for migratory birds. Visitors can explore the refuge’s numerous trails and observe a diverse range of wildlife, including birds, mammals, and amphibians.
The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge also offers educational programs and interpretive exhibits, allowing visitors to learn about the importance of environmental conservation. Whether you’re interested in bird-watching, hiking, or simply enjoying the peace and serenity of nature, a visit to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge is a must.
18. Visit the Footbridge Beach, Ogunquit
If you’re looking for a family-friendly beach day, head to Footbridge Beach in Ogunquit. As the name suggests, this beach is accessible via a footbridge, which adds to its unique charm. Spend the day building sandcastles, swimming in the clear waters, or simply lounging under the sun.
Footbridge Beach offers a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, making it the perfect spot for a leisurely beach day with your loved ones. Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen, beach toys, and a picnic to enjoy a day of fun in the sun.
19. Discover the Short Sands Beach, York
For a quintessential New England beach experience, visit Short Sands Beach in York. This picturesque beach is located in the heart of downtown York and offers stunning views of the rocky coastline. Take a stroll along the sandy shores, collect seashells, or simply relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
Short Sands Beach is also home to various shops, restaurants, and attractions, making it a perfect destination for a day of family fun. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, take a refreshing swim, or simply enjoy the beauty of the coastal town, Short Sands Beach is a must-visit spot in York.
20. Discover the Peaceful Back Cove, Portland
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and discover the peaceful beauty of Back Cove in Portland. This serene environment offers a scenic jogging trail that winds around the picturesque cove, offering breathtaking views of the city skyline and surrounding nature.
Lace up your running shoes or simply take a stroll along the trail and enjoy the tranquility of this hidden gem. Back Cove is a popular destination for both locals and visitors, offering a peaceful retreat from the busy city streets. Whether you’re looking for a calm and quiet spot for meditation or a beautiful backdrop for a jog, Back Cove is the perfect place to unwind and reconnect with nature.
21. Visit the Trendy Thompson’s Point, Portland
If you’re looking for a trendy spot in Portland, make sure to visit Thompson’s Point. This local hub offers a unique mix of art, entertainment, and dining options, all housed in a former warehouse complex.
Explore the various galleries and studios that showcase works by local artists, catch a live performance at the State Theatre, or enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants and food trucks.
Thompson’s Point is a vibrant and lively destination, offering something for everyone. Whether you’re an art enthusiast, music lover, or foodie, you’re sure to find something to enjoy at Thompson’s Point.
22. Explore South Portland’s Historical Sites
Delve into the rich history of South Portland by exploring its numerous historical sites. Take a step back in time at the Spring Point Ledge Light, a historic lighthouse that dates back to 1897.
Explore Fort Preble, a former military fortification that played a crucial role in defending the coast during the 19th and 20th centuries. Visit Bug Light Park and learn about the area’s maritime history while enjoying stunning views of Casco Bay.
South Portland offers a unique educational experience, allowing visitors to learn about Maine’s history and its significance in shaping the region. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply looking to explore the past, South Portland’s historical sites are a must-visit.
23. Take a Stroll in Outer Portland’s Parks
One of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of Outer Portland is by taking a stroll in its parks. Deering Oaks Park is a favorite among locals and visitors, offering an expansive green space, beautiful walking trails, and a picturesque pond. Payson Park is another gem, featuring rolling hills, scenic views, and well-maintained paths for walking.
Riverton Trolley Park offers a unique outdoor experience, with its historic trolley shelter and tranquil surroundings. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or simply want to enjoy a leisurely walk, the parks of Outer Portland provide a serene environment in which to relax and rejuvenate.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Time to Visit Maine?
The best time to visit Maine is during the warmer months, particularly in the summer. This is when you can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and exploring the beautiful coastline. The summer days offer the perfect weather for outdoor adventures and beach days.
What are Some Local Foods to Try in Maine?
Some local foods to try in Maine include lobster, a staple of the state’s cuisine. Maine is also known for its fresh seafood, blueberries, and whoopie pies. Exploring the culinary scene in Maine is a must for any food lover.
What are some of the best outdoor activities to enjoy in Maine for free?
Maine offers a wealth of free outdoor activities, including hiking in its many scenic trails, canoeing on its rivers and lakes, and attending free events such as festivals and concerts. Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature without spending a dime.
Can any of these free activities be enjoyed during the winter months?
Yes, some of these free activities can be enjoyed during the winter months in Maine. Ice skating is a popular winter activity, with many outdoor rinks available for public use. Winter hiking and cross-country skiing are also great options for enjoying the beauty of Maine in the colder months.
Are there any hidden costs or fees associated with these free activities?
While most of the activities listed in this blog are free to enjoy, it’s always good to be prepared for any potential hidden costs or fees. Some parks may charge for parking, and certain attractions within parks may have admission fees. It’s a good idea to do some research and plan accordingly to ensure a budget-friendly experience.
Are these free activities suitable for families with children?
Yes, the free activities listed in this blog are suitable for families with children. Many of the parks and beaches mentioned offer family-friendly amenities, such as playgrounds and picnic areas. Additionally, the festivals and events mentioned often have entertainment and activities specifically designed for children.
In conclusion, Maine offers a plethora of free activities and attractions that allow you to make the most of your weekend without breaking the bank. From exploring the historic sites of Portland to experiencing the natural wonders of Acadia National Park, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you prefer hiking, beachcombing, or diving into the vibrant art scene, Maine has it all.
So gather your friends and family and embark on an adventure to discover the beauty of this charming state. Don’t forget to share your favorite free things to do in Maine in the comments below!
Ferona Jose is a passionate travel writer and blogger at Travelistia. She has traveled throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. Her writing focuses on cheap travel destinations, travel experiences, cultural insights, and travel hacks.