Monday 9 August 2021

Exploring Southern Maine | a guest post

Hi everyone! My name is Alexis from Cafe Beauty, and I’m here today to talk about southern Maine as a travel destination. Thank you so much to Katy for letting me share my travels with everyone in this guest post! I recently visited the area again and I wanted to share more about this part of the state with everyone.

Some Background about Maine

If you aren’t from the United States, you may not know that Maine is the furthest northern state out of the 48 continental states. It’s a very snowy place in the winter, but can get decently hot as well. When I went in July, the temperatures were in the mid-70s to mid-80s. Like most New England states, the weather changes pretty rapidly with the seasons. If you want to go when it’s the hottest, early-to-mid July is your best bet.

I also recommend going in the winter if you want a true, snowy New England experience!

Hotels and Camping in Southern Maine

There’s a lot of places to stay in southern Maine, both in terms of hotels and camping. There’s also some vacation rentals, cabins, cottages, etc. in the area. For hotels, there’s your typical chains like the Marriott and Holiday Inn, but there’s a lot of different options besides chains. Something to note is that the majority of hotels are on the coast in the east, and the border to NH in the west. The more central, inland area of southern Maine is reserved mostly for camping because it’s quite woodsy and rural.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels

As for camping, you can go either the scenic ocean route on the coast, or in the more forest-heavy rural areas. Both are great, depending on what you’re looking for. Woodsy areas are nice for peaceful stays and a typical camping environment, but coastal camping has beautiful ocean views and is usually closer to cities and activities. A lot of campgrounds have cabin rentals, and a few even have RV rentals with everything automatically set up for you on their sites. It’s a great way to test out RV life without having to invest in a camper.

Something to note about camping in New England is that there’s different types of campgrounds. Any names with things like “resort”, “holiday'' or KOA in them usually mean they have a lot of extra amenities, and are overall bigger, but usually more expensive. They’re great destinations for families with kids, since they have daily schedules of activities and lots of sports areas. Basically, it’s an upgraded campground.

Getting to Know Southern Maine

Here are some main cities and locations in southern Maine and nearby areas:


Portland is a popular destination in southern Maine. The heart of the city contains a lot of small, local shops, seafood, and lots of nearby islands. This is a great place if you want a great overall feel of Maine with a lot of activities around you. The city is also very historic with museums, old brick buildings and plenty of signage to help you imagine the history of Portland. Just don’t get it confused with Portland, Oregon- that’s a very different place!


Portsmouth is Portland’s little sister. It’s very similar in terms of local, small shops and bustling city area. Maybe not as historic, but features some boat rides, lots of restaurants and an overall coastal feeling. It’s actually located near the border of New Hampshire (NH) and Maine, so it’s actually considered part of NH. It’s a great place if you are looking for seafood!


Kittery another location close to Portsmouth, it’s home to a very big outlet center. Seriously, this outlet place stretches on down a main road with a plentiful amount of shops to choose from, no matter what your budget is.

Other great local locations:

✨ York - another coastal town that has a mixed bag worth of things to do
✨ Rochester, NH - an urban-heavy city with lots of shops and food options
✨ Ogunquit - a typical, lovely coastal Maine town with lots of beaches and lighthouses

Things to do in Southern Maine

There’s loads of things to do in southern Maine and nearby areas from beaches, to shopping, museums, skydiving, and much more.

As for shopping, there’s a ton of name brand stores in the Kittery outlets, as well as some Maine-specific tourist shops sprinkled in. Some stores include: Nike, Adidas, Loft, American Eagle, Hans, Famous Footwear and other similar stores. As mentioned before, Portsmouth and Portland are home to a lot of local small businesses. There’s also local malls and shopping strips, such as one in Portsmouth off the highway. I loved going to the Kittery outlets!

Photo by Kaboom Pics on Pexels

There’s also a lot of historical places you can visit such as Portland’s Museum of Art, Seashore Trolley Museum and more. In Southern Maine, you can find a lot of lighthouses which Maine is known for along the coast, as well as a bunch of beaches. There’s a variety of beaches: whether you are looking for a small, private beach or big wide-spread spot with lots of nearby stores, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Some kid-friendly options include: York’s Wild Kingdom which is a popular zoo and amusement park all-in-one. There’s also Palace Playland, which is an arcade and amusement park right on the beach in Old Orchard Beach. You can find a decent amount of kid-friendly places, but you’ll have to go pretty close to the coast in order to find them. In general, the closer you are to the coast, the more things there are to do.

Places to Eat in Southern Maine

I don’t know about you, but food is an important part for me on any trip. Luckily, southern Maine has a lot of options. I’ll list out a few of my favorites that I’ve enjoyed in different categories.

Bakeries and Snacks

💛 Elephantine Bakery - a lovely, aesthetically pleasing bakery in Portsmouth, NH
💛 Popovers on the Square - a bakery and lunch location in Portsmouth, NH
💛 Standard Baking Co. - a bread and pastry-focused bakery in Portland
💛 Bayside American Cafe - a lovely cafe located in Portland
💛 Peace, Love & Waffles - a cute, cosy breakfast place in Dover

Photo by Brett Jordan

Lunch and Dinner

💜 Morrison's Lobsters- one of my lobster pounds in Portsmouth, NH
💜 Bob's Clam Hut- a small restaurant next to the outlets in Kittery
💜 Pat's Pizza Dover-Foxcroft- a great pizza restaurant in Dover-Foxcroft
💜 When Pigs Fly Restaurant & Pizzeria- a popular pizza place near the outlets in Kittery
💜 Robert's Maine Grill- a seafood restaurant in Kittery
💜 Richard's Seafood Restaurant- another amazing seafood option in Wells

I hope you found this guide interesting and useful!

Thanks again to Katy for letting me guest post on her blog, it was super fun to relive memories and research again about the area. If you want more content from me, make sure to check out my blog. Otherwise, leave Katy some comments about your favorite travel destinations.

Huge thank you to Alexis for writing this guest post for The Lilac Scrapbook - Maine is now definitely on my travel bucket list...

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