25 Things to Do in Portland, Maine with Kids

Wondering about top things to do in Portland Maine with kids? Portland, Maine is a popular destination amongst families like yours, because it is right on the edge of the water. This makes it easy to find numerous things to do in Portland, whether it is near the water or in the bustling downtown area. If you have never been to this part of the country before, you may be wondering, “What is Portland, Maine known for?”. Well, Portland is known for its port history, as well as being a city with quite a unique vibe.

The weather in Portland, Maine changes with the season. The summers are warm and sunny, while the winters are bitter cold and full of wind. The spring and fall are the times when the temperatures are in the middle, as it gets slightly warmer closer to spring and slightly cooler as the fall season approaches.

25 Things to Do in Portland, Maine with Kids

1. Take a Train Ride on the Promenade

The Promenade is over by Fore Street and you can take a train ride with the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad. The warmer months will have you riding in open-air train cars, while the colder months bring the closed in cars. The entire ride lasts about a half hour and goes along the edge of Casco Bay. Afterwards, you can wander through the museum. This railroad is only open between May and October, but they do hold special events at other times of the year.

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

2. Take a Day Trip to Boston

You can easily take many day trips to and from Portland, Maine. It is possible to get from Boston to Portland, Maine in less than two hours. This means you can experience a larger city and compare the differences between these two cities in different states.

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3. Spend the Day at Old Orchard Beach

While you can spend the entire day on the sand at Old Orchard Beach, there is so much to do in this area in Portland, Maine. This is actually one of the best places to spend an entire weekend, because there are so many things to do. In addition to the sand, you will find an amusement park, arcade, shops, and restaurants.

4. Take a Ferry Ride to Peaks Island

There is no reason why you must stay in Portland for the entire length of your vacation. One of the fun things to in Portland, Maine is taking the ferry over to Peaks Island. You can bike ride around the island, or simply walk around as you explore all the old tunnels.

Peaks Island - Portland, Maine with Kids
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

5. Venture Out on a Land and Sea Tour

Portland Discovery offers one of the best things to do in Portland. A tour with this company will have you beginning your journey in Long Wharf on an open-air trolley. You will take a tour of the city before boarding a boat to go out into the bay to see the forts, lighthouses, and marine life. This is an excellent way to see a lot of the city of Portland, Maine, while having a blast at the same time.

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6. Go Shopping

There are many excellent places to go shopping in Portland, ME, but a good place to start is over on Fore Street and Commercial Street. You will find many unique boutiques on those streets, as well as a lot of the well-known stores you love.

7. Visit the Portland Museum of Art

One of the Portland, Maine things to do is visiting the Portland Museum of Art. Younger children will not appreciate this museum, but older kids should tolerate looking at the many works of art by famous artists. A few of the artists’ work of art that you will see include Renoir, Monet, and Degas. There are many kids’ activities at this museum, and no one will be able to resist the café and gift shop. This is also one of the free things to do in Portland, Maine on Friday nights, because the museum offers free admission between four in the afternoon and eight o’clock in the evening.

Portland Museum of Art
Credits: Joe Turgeon, Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

8. Ride on a Fire Truck

No child is ever going to say no to riding on a fire truck, so book a seat on the antique fire truck that gives tours. Portland Fire Engine Co will take you out for an hour-long tour and even stops for photo ops along the way. These tours leave from Commercial Street and go from April through October.

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9. Wander Around Eastern Cemetery

While some kids won’t want to wander around a cemetery, some will be thrilled to see this important piece of history. This cemetery might be over three hundred years old, but it has been completely restored. The best time to visit is around Halloween, because storytellers are scattered around the cemetery sharing scary tales.

10. Visit the LL Bean Flagship Store

If you are considering making a couple day trips from Portland, Maine, you can always choose to go visit the LL Bean Flagship Store. This store is located in Freeport and it won’t take you too long to drive there. In addition to the flagship store, you can shop at the numerous LL Bean Outlets that are located in the same complex.

LL Bean Flagship Store - Portland, Maine with Kids
Credits: Bex Walton, Flickr CC BY 2.0

11. Venture Out to the Infamous Maine Lighthouse

There are quite a few lighthouses in Portland, ME, which isn’t surprising since it has long been known as a port town. However, the most famous lighthouse in Portland, Maine is the Portland Head Light. This lighthouse is next to Fort Williams Park and it is one of the best things to do in Portland with kids. You can begin by exploring the lighthouse and museum, but make sure you leave a little time to hike along the walking trails. You can also eat a picnic lunch and allow the kids to play on the nearby playground.

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12. Catch a Few Lobsters for Dinner

The freshest dinner you will eat in Portland, Maine will include lobsters that you catch! Simply reserve your spot on a lobster boat to go out into Casco Bay. You will learn how to bait and haul traps. At the end of your trip, you can purchase the lobsters you caught at a discounted price.

13. Visit the Maine Wildlife Park

The Main Wildlife Park is over in Gray, which is approximately forty minutes from Portland, ME. This is another excellent day trip, especially if your family loves animals. All the animals at this park cannot be returned to the wild. You will have the chance to see bald eagles, moose, coyotes, bobcats, and fox. We recommend taking a few quarters with you, so you can purchase food to feed the animals during your visit.

bobcat - Portland, Maine with Kids

14. Catch a Performance on Stage

There are many theaters in the state of Maine, but Portland is lucky to have three different groups performing on different stages. Over on Portland Stage, seven different shows are performed annually. The Portland Players are the oldest community theater company in the state, and they perform musicals, dramas, and comedies. If you are visiting Portland, ME during the summer, you can catch a performance over at the John Lane’s Ogunquit Playhouse.

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15. Visit Maine’s Maritime Museum

If your kids love boats, then the Maine Maritime Museum is a must-see destination that should be on your list of things to do in Portland. There are many different ships and boats at this museum to see and explore. You can also take a cruise for an even better experience.

16. Visit the World’s Largest Revolving Globe

One of the free things to do in Portland, Maine is actually just outside of Portland. The world’s largest revolving globe is over in Yarmouth in the lobby of Garmin. This globe is actually a Guinness World Record Holder, so you get a bonus without spending a dime!

World’s Largest Revolving Globe - Portland, Maine with Kids
Credits: sporst, Flickr CC BY 2.0

17. Walk Along Any of the Portland Trails

The Portland Trails organization maintains seventy miles of trails throughout the city. Walking along any of them is one of the best free things to do in Portland with kids. The trail on Mackworth Island is one mile long, but the Eastern Promenade Trail near Casco Bay is one of the most popular.

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18. Take a Tour of the Portland Observatory

Another one of the free things to do in Portland this weekend is touring the Portland Observatory. Touring this last maritime signal tower in the country does not cost anything. At the top, you will see gorgeous views of the surrounding area. Before you leave, you must take the time to check out the museum and grab a souvenir or two.

19. Take a Tour of Allagash Brewery

Your kids might not be of drinking age, but that doesn’t mean they cannot join you for a tour of the Allagash Brewery! The best part is all kids take this tour at no charge, so it almost fits into the free things to do in Portland with kids’ category. The tour is approximately an hour in length and during that time, you will learn how the beer is made. All the adults will get to try some of the Belgian inspired beer at the end. The all-time favorite is the Allagash White, but you never know which one might be your favorite.

Allagash Brewery - Portland, Maine with Kids
Credits: Allagash Brewing, Flickr CC BY 2.0

20. Visit a Giant Chocolate Moose

If you don’t get to see a real moose when you are visiting Portland, Maine, you don’t have to leave without seeing a slightly different version. Over at Len Libby Shops, you can see a massive seventeen-hundred-pound moose. This moose is outside their store and since it is made from chocolate, it is quite edible. Just don’t take a bite out of it please!

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21. Visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

There are times when kids must work off a little extra energy and one of the best places to do that in Portland is the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. There are multiple pathways leading to all the gardens here, so your kids can walk until they are worn out. All kids will love the Fairy House Village, as well as the Bibby and Harold Alfond Children’s Garden. You will have fun with them, but you may prefer to pay close attention to the sculptures and stonework while the kids are playing.

22. Go Digging for Clams

You can go digging for clams almost anywhere on the shoreline in Maine. All you need to do is wait until the tide is low and your entire family can get dirty while searching for these little creatures.


23. Have Fun at the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine

One of the fun things to do in Portland, Maine with kids is going to the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine. There are tons of interactive things to do at this museum. Your kids will want to spend hours at the realistic farmer’s market, ranger station, lobster boat, and space shuttle. There is even a tidepool touch tank where everyone can learn more about certain animals. If you have younger children, you won’t need to worry, because there are areas specifically for toddlers too.

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24. Purchase a Few Eco-Friendly Toys at Treehouse Toys

Eco-friendly toys are available at Treehouse Toys. They have all types of toys, so your kids can choose from options that will allow them to pretend, create, learn, and grow while playing at the same time.

25. Relax Over at Bug Light Park

Bug Light Park is where you will find the Bug Light, which is a unique lighthouse that was constructed in 1875 to look like a monument over in Athens. After visiting the lighthouse, you can walk around the pathway on the coast or enjoy a picnic lunch or snack.

Bug Light Park - Portland, Maine with Kids
Credits: Bernt Rostad, Flickr CC BY 2.0

These are the twenty-five best things to do in Portland, Maine. You can easily do quite a few of these things to do in Portland, Maine this weekend, but you may need a few extra days to check all these items off your list.

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