Eastern Promenade#5 in Best Things To Do in Portland, ME
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Portland's waterfront is at its most picturesque at the Eastern Promenade. Beloved by locals, the Eastern Promenade is a 68-acre waterfront park located on a stretch of land separating Back Cove from the Fore River. The park offers trails, beaches and plenty of grassy areas to simply kick back and unwind. To make the most of your visit, take a stroll along the 2-mile-long Eastern Promenade Trail, which starts in the heart of the Old Port.
Once an old rail line, the Eastern Promenade Trail takes visitors away from the excitement of the city's center to the rocky banks of Fort Allen Park. Once you've gotten your fill of the scenic shoreline, consider a climb up the park's grassy hills for sweeping views of the bay, as well as the islands and boats that dot its deep blue waters. From there, you'll hit the small yet charming East End Beach (Portland's only public beach), where you'll find plenty of locals embarking on bay adventures and soaking up the sun. Those looking to continue their coastal trek can follow the Eastern Promenade Trail and connect directly to the Back Cove Trail, which snakes along Back Cove. There are plenty of other shorter trails and paths located in the park that bring hikers to various points of interest.
Recent visitors raved about the Eastern Promenade. Travelers were taken by the views and the peaceful nature of the park, with many saying the best way to experience the promenade is to simply enjoy the surrounding scenery. Families also enjoyed the on-site amenities: not only are there multiple sports courts but there's also a large playground for little ones. Some recommended visiting at sunrise or sunset for breathtaking views of the horizon. You can find the Eastern Promenade a mile northeast of Old Port. The park doesn't have set hours and is free to explore.
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#1 Casco Bay Islands
Though beaches are few and far between in Portland, shorelines abound in the nearby Casco Bay Islands. The Casco Bay Islands are a group of islands located off the coast of Portland, six of which are accessible by ferry year-round. Each island has its own personality, history, attractions and activities.
Cliff Island, one of the smallest Casco Bay Islands, is home to only 60 residents year-round and is the only year-round island that features unpaved roads and as such, cars are seldom used. Meanwhile, Great Diamond, which was home to historic Fort McKinley, is lauded for its quintessential Maine landscape and boasts shallow, rocky shorelines backed by lush forests. Cars aren't allowed, so walking, biking or getting around on golf carts are the modes of transportation. You'll find plenty of beaches on this isle, specifically the stunning Diamond Cove, as well as a small museum, a bowling alley and tennis courts. You can make a weekend of it and stay at the Inn at Diamond Cove, which has a host of activities and excellent dining options.
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