It’s Time to Get Out of the House
It might be hard to believe with this month of rain that we’ve had in Maine, but summer really is just around the corner! There’s no better time of the year to explore the bounty of nature that Vacationland has to offer. Whether you are a self-professed outdoors junkie or more of the homebody type, Maine has enough nature for everyone to discover and enjoy. And, no matter how long you’ve been living in or visiting the state, there is always something new to see. In this post we’ll be going on an adventure in the Greater Portland Area. Have you been to all of these places? Read on to find out!
The Eastern Promenade
A classic spot for downtown Portland residents, the Eastern Prom (as it is lovingly called) is a beautiful destination to go for a walk, picnic, or even lay on the beach. It’s grassy carpet rolls down the hill and wraps around the Eastern end of the downtown Portland peninsula. At the top lies a playground and tennis courts with expansive views of Maine islands dotting the Atlantic Ocean, and at the very bottom there sits a boat launch and small beach. Various trails weave along the coastline and provide opportunities for private oceanside relaxing on rockier portions of the water’s edge. Wherever you are at the Eastern Prom, it’s hard to believe that the bustle of downtown Portland is less than a mile away.
Visible from the Eastern Prom (and vice versa!) is the drive-able Mackworth Island in Falmouth. The only buildings that reside on the island lie at the center and are for the Baxter School for the Deaf, so no matter the time of your visit it is likely to be a peaceful one. On the entire perimeter of the island runs a mile-long trail, peppered with spurs that take you to the various beaches. Mackworth is a special place to explore richly populated tide pools and enjoy the basic pleasures of island life without the hassle of taking a boat to get there.
A mere 25 minute drive north from Portland, Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal is an extremely accessible hike to residents of the Greater Portland Area. Bradbury Mountain itself is not very tall (by mountain standards) at 407 feet, but the trail system offers a myriad of ways to get to the top. The shorter the trail you take to reach the summit, the steeper it will be, but no matter how you get there the views of Casco Bay are gorgeous. If you are looking to spend more than just an afternoon in the park, camping is available.
Back Cove Trail
This 3.6 mile loop around Back Cove takes you on a tour of the Portland skyline. Walking, running, cycling, and dog walking are the most popular ways to travel the mostly flat trail. For many Portland residents, the trail is entrenched into their daily routine. For others, it’s a Saturday morning activity. Truly at the heart of Portland, this trail brings fresh air and beautiful views of the ocean and city.
This crescent-shaped beach, complete with parking, a snack bar, lifeguards, a shaded picnic area, and restrooms lies 20 minutes southeast of Portland in Cape Elizabeth. Contrary to Maine’s reputation for having a rocky coastline, Crescent Beach is one of the exceptions with soft white sand and dunes resting against tall grasses. The location is perfect for snacking under the sun before embarking on a sandcastle mission.
Spending time outdoors has been proven to benefit both our mental and physical health. Who can deny that simply going for a walk clears the mind and lifts the spirits? Maine has such natural diversity – from mountains and rivers to marshes and oceans. These five suggestions are just a few of the opportunities to get outside and enjoy Maine’s beauty in – and in bustling Portland, at that! Take advantage of the resources abounding in the Pine Tree State as the summer weather approaches. There’s a whole world in your backyard waiting to be explored.
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