Portland, which is situated on Maine’s scenic Casco Bay, offers plenty for visitors to do. You can explore the coastal city by strolling the brick sidewalks and cobblestone streets of the Old Port district, dining on fresh lobster at one of the city’s many highly rated restaurants, checking out the offshore islands or navigating the coastline on bikes. Intrigued? Here’s everything you need to know about getting there!
How to Get There
• Plane: Portland International Jetport is served by seven airlines including JetBlue, Delta and United. METRO bus route #5 travels from the airport to downtown Portland for a $1.50 (exact change only) one-way fare. Taxis are also available outside of baggage claim.
• Train: The Amtrak Downeaster, which originates from Boston’s North Station, makes a stop at the Portland Transportation Center.
• Car: I-295 passes through Portland and is the most direct and fastest auto route to the city. Coastal Route 1 skirts the downtown, while Route 1A brings travelers to the city’s waterfront district.
• Bus: Concord Coach Lines has daily direct service to Portland from Boston’s Logan Airport and South Station.
Photo courtesy of Concord Coach Lines bus.
Getting Around Town
• Bus: The Greater Portland Transit District METRO bus system (which runs on clean natural gas) has eight routes between the airport area and the downtown peninsula. The one-way, exact-change fare is $1.50, 75¢ for seniors. Day passes are $5.
• Taxi: Hotels throughout the city are the best places to catch a taxi at any time of day. During the evening, cabs can be easily hailed along Congress Street, Fore Street and Commercial Street, where restaurants and bars are plentiful.
• Pedicab: Old Port Pedicab plans to start operations in the city this July.
• On Foot: Many stores and hotels provide walking maps of Portland’s peninsula, which is only 3 miles from end to end. Many visitors find walking the city’s Old Port district’s cobblestone side streets to be the best way to get the lay of the land.
• Ferry: The Casco Bay islands off the coast of Portland are fun to explore—or simply cruise by—on one of Casco Bay Line’s ferries.
Photo courtesy of Casca Bay Lines Ferry.
Where to Stay
Centrally Located: Residence Inn by Marriott Portland Downtown/Waterfront
This all-suites Residence Inn is located in the heart of the historic Old Port district. You’ll be steps away from Casco Bay Lines, The Cat Ferry, Merrill Auditorium, Cumberland Civic Center and Portland Museum of Art. The hotel also features an indoor pool, whirlpool and a fitness center. Standard room rates start at $249 per night. 145 Fore Street; marriott.com
Romantic: Courtyard by Marriott Portland Airport
Guests at this Courtyard location can enjoy a variety of luxurious treatments—including body scrubs, massages and facials—at the on-site Maryse Joyal spa. Looking for a little more activity? Scarborough Beach is only 7 miles away, or you can check out one of the four nearby golf courses, jogging and bike trails or kayaking locations. When it’s time to grab a bite and try out a local brew, Sebago Brewing Company Restaurant is just across the street. Standard room rates start at $134 per night. 100 Southborough Drive; marriott.com
Cozy Bed & Breakfast: Morrill Mansion Bed & Breakfast
Set in an 1800s-era townhouse, this elegant B&B is located in Portland’s Historic West End district, which is steps away from the gallery- and restaurant-filled Art District. The B&B’s seven cozy rooms are all equipped with TVs, DVD players, free WiFi and mini-fridges stocked with bottles of water. Guests can also snack on the afternoon cookies and tea that are provided each day in the living room. Standard room rates start at $149 per night. 249 Vaughn Street; MorrillMansion.com
Family-Friendly: Residence Inn by Marriott Portland Scarborough
Kids will love this hotel’s indoor pool and multipurpose sport court for basketball, volleyball and tennis. Other nearby children’s activities include Funtown USA, Story Land, York’s Wild Kingdom and the Children’s Museum of Maine. It’s easy to accommodate large groups here: All of the hotel’s suites have a full-size sofabed in the living area, and two-bedroom suites are also available. Standard room rates start at $159 per night. 800 Roundwood Drive; marriott.com