Updated: Feb 3
If Lighthouses and lighthouse tours are your thing. There is a great lighthouse tour by Viator that we highly recommend. This tour is narrated by a local lobsterman in Portland, and includes stops in the downtown area and visitation of three lighthouses, including the historic Portland Head Light. The tour is usually limited to less than 15 people.
Downtown Portland has a nice atmosphere with Pubs and eateries around every corner. It is a little different in that the sidewalks and some of the roads are all made of pavers or bricks. You can walk to everything in downtown Portland, but be careful as some of these pavers are uneven and create a potential trip hazard. Portland has a mixture of the typical Seaside town and a mid-size metropolitan area.
If you are looking for free overnight RV parking near Portland Maine, there is a Cabela's at exit 32 that has water and a dump station, a nearby Walmart, and a free RV Parking lot in Freeport just 15 minutes north of Portland for dry camping. If you are only visiting Portland for the day and plan on visiting downtown Portland, I would not recommend driving your class A, 5th wheels and long travel trailer RV's downtown. I would only recommend class B and some shorter (24' or less) class C motorhomes in downtown Portland area. We were able to park our class B RV downtown Portland with no issues (See Picture Above).
There are many restaurants within walking distance of the Cabela's Parking lot, including the Portland Pie Company, which had excellent pizza. Downtown Portland also has many local eateries and pubs, as well as dock side seafood restaurants. The best donuts on the east coast can be found in downtown Portland at "The Holy Donut". See our pictures and Video below:
Tips for a Great Experience
For the best Portland experience, plan on staying at least a day. Personally I would recommend a day and a half if you are making you way north towards Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Our formula for the best day and a half visit, was the arrive at the Cabelas in the late afternoon, eat locally in that area and rest from your driving trip. The next morning get and have breakfast at "The Holy Donut" and then prepare for your paid tour (www.viator.com) of downtown Portland and the lighthouses. Once your tour is complete, visit the local pubs and have dinner before heading back. The next morning I would recommend doing any other activities on your personal list, and then driving to Freeport. Freeport would be about an 6 hour day and you can park your RV for free there too. See our blog "Free Things in Freeport" for things to do there.
Overall, Portland (Capital of Maine) is a very nice city and is about 3 hrs south of Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. If you plan to go to Bar Harbor you need to add Portland as a stop to visit the lighthouses and Atlantic Ocean landscape, and to top it off there is free RV parking nearby. While visiting check out the lighthouse tours, sunset tours, great downtown local pubs and eateries, and don't forget to try the "The Holy Donut" store closes at 5pm, so plan accordingly.