You can rest assured that you made the right choice if you’re going to visit Maine soon. Some of the most beautiful places in the United States (and the world) are in the northeasternmost state.
It may be difficult to choose between all the incredible national parks, cute countryside bridges, bountiful botanical gardens, and looming lighthouses that live along the coastlines.
You can find a lot to experience and explore in Pine State. Doing your research ahead of time will help you make the most of your time there and choose the best time of year to visit.
We’ll help you with that by showing you the best time to visit Portland, Maine, no matter your plans. We’ll give you travel tips, so you can prepare for anything and create the most memorable experience possible. Let us be your guide!
Why You Should Visit Portland, Maine
Visit Portland, Maine for the food, fun, and forests. You can find Portland on a peninsula in southern Maine along the gorgeous Casco Bay coast. Though not a huge city compared to places like Los Angeles or Baltimore, it’s the largest city in Maine.
Tons of excellent restaurants serve mouthwatering dishes like Hot Suppa, Eventide Oyster Co., and Duckfat. If eating out isn’t your style, pack a picnic and head over to the Eastern Promenade for an incredible ocean view.
As for fun, you could hike the Barrier Beach Trail, bike the Cape Elizabeth Loop to see the lighthouses or visit one of the many historical museums downtown. Take a walking tour through Old Port, ride the ferry to Peaks Island, or listen to Yiddish music in the park.
You can also consider golfing, lots of shopping, live bands, art, winter sports, amateur baseball, breweries, and so much more waiting for you! It’ll be easy to find something for everyone in your family in Portland. It may surprise you how much Portland has to offer.
Overall Best Time to Visit Portland, Maine
The best time to visit Portland, Maine, is July through October. September is probably the best month to visit, but that depends on what you want to do.
This time of year offers an excellent balance between good weather, fun activities, and a reasonable price. July is peak summer, which would usually mean sweltering heat and humidity.
That’s fortunately not the case in Portland, thanks to an average high of 78℉. You can hit the beach, take a hike, or pick strawberries, all without breaking a sweat. August is similar to July but even less hot and humid.
It’s the most popular month for tourists, so things will be more crowded but not unreasonable. This month’s also the start of blueberry season and no one does blueberries as Mainers do them. (Did you know they have blueberry milk?)
September’s the perfect month to visit for many reasons. Things are starting to cool down, but there’s still a summer warmth through late September. The average high is only 70℉!
The end of September brings crisp air and even crisper apples. Fresh apple cider, anyone? Kids are back in school, so things are less crowded. Best of all, if you time it right, you can see the leaves change, too.
That would give you the best of both seasons for the price of one vacation. If not, there’s always October. October’s main appeal is the changing leaves.
You’ll see Maine’s gorgeous autumnal landscape if you vacation during October. It looks like the trees are on fire everywhere you look. It’s incredible how resplendent just taking a walk is.
Cheapest Time to Visit Portland, Maine
The cheapest time to visit Portland, Maine, is March through May. Visiting sometime during spring offers you an opportunity to see Portland without breaking the bank.
Flights and hotels are at their lowest prices of the year. And stores are just happy to see someone. As unusual as it may seem, springtime is a slow time for tourism in Maine. Most people prefer to go to the beaches during the summer or hit the ski slopes in winter.
And fall is more appealing to hikers, bikers, and leaf-likers. Spring in Maine is rather cold and rainy compared to other places, so it keeps tourists at (Casco) bay.
The average high temperature during spring is in the mid-60s, while the average low is in the high 20s. That’s still chilly.
You can create a memorable vacation during spring, you just need to come prepared. Bring clothes suitable for cold, warm, and wet weather. Portland is on the coast, so the weather changes frequently and without much warning.
Remember to dress in layers. You may also want to wait and visit during May as it will mean warmer temperatures. Both options will give you a budget visit.
Least Busy Time to Visit Portland, Maine
The least busy time to visit Portland, Maine, is during the shoulder season (between peak and off-peak seasons). In Portland, the shoulder season is during October and May because the peak season is summer.
These are the best months to go if you want to avoid large crowds and exorbitant prices. You can find lower flight, hotel, and food prices because the demand is also lower.
You’ll still have nice weather, fantastic food, and plenty of places to visit. May offers you warmer weather, blooming flowers, and boat rides.
Things are just opening up again after a long winter. October offers you beautiful fall foliage, apple-picking season, and fall festivals. Things are starting to close again in preparation for a long winter.
If your goal is solitude or your destination is relaxation, hit up Portland during the least busy time of year. Make time for a Spruce Woods foot soak while you’re there and take your time with each venue you visit. You’ll walk out feeling calmer and more relaxed than ever before.
Worst Time to Visit Portland, Maine
The worst time to visit Portland, Maine, is during the winter, unless you love to ski. Winter in Maine can be brutal, even for people that have lived there their whole lives.
The average snowfall along the coast is 50-70 inches. January is the snowiest month, with an average of 20 inches. Usually, it doesn’t snow more than an inch at a time, but it’s so cold the snow won’t melt until May.
There will be huge snowbanks in grocery stores’ parking lots from all the snow plowing. This weather is typical Northern United States weather during winter.
If you plan to visit Portland during the winter, bring appropriate, well-made winter clothing. It does make a difference when you’re outside for hours at a time. The average high temperature in Portland during winter is 37℉.
During January – the coldest month – the average high is 31℉, and the average low is 20.7℉. Another thing that people don’t think about is how short the days are during winter. There’s not much to do but stay inside and eat warm food.
Things to Consider
You now have a better idea of the best time to visit Portland, Maine. What else do you need to do to get ready? What else do you need to keep in mind?
Here are some tips to help make your experience the most memorable:
- Know the Busiest Holidays. You can plan your visit around the busiest times of the year. That way, you can save money on flights and hotels and enjoy the absence of crowds.
- Bring the Appropriate Gear. Gear is especially important if you want to visit during the winter months. Bring appropriate clothing whether you plan to ski or stay by the fire.
- The Ocean Water Is Cold Even During Summer. Even after the temperature of the air has risen, the temperature of the water remains cold. The hottest the water gets is only up to the mid-60s in August. That is very cold to swim in. Keep this in mind if you have younger kids.
- Maine’s Winters Are Harsh. The winters are wicked harsh even for lifelong Mainers. If you’ve never spent much time in the cold or around snow, it’s easier than you think to hurt yourself in it. Wear warm clothing and don’t stay out in the cold for too long.
- Maine Operates on a Different Schedule. A good chunk of Portland shuts down during the off-season. If you want to visit outside of peak season, you may want to determine if things are open beforehand. Restaurants, hotels, and stores will completely close for several months.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you still have questions about the best time to visit Portland, let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions below:
What is the best month to go to Maine?
September is the best month to go to Maine; it hits the sweet spot. The weather’s nice, the water’s still warm, there are fewer tourists, and it’s apple season. There’s just as much to do inside as outside with the beginning of fair season and fall.
How many days do you need to visit Portland, Maine?
A long weekend trip should be sufficient for seeing Portland, Maine. Three days gives you enough time to get a taste of Mainer life without going overboard. You can check out all the shops on Fore Street, visit a brewery, eat some delicious lobster, and call it a day.
Is it better to visit Maine in the spring or fall?
As long as you’re just looking for the best possible experience, it’s better to visit Maine in the fall. Spring is an okay time to visit because it’s cheaper, but it’s also cold. Visit Maine during the fall if you want to see the best it has to offer. New England isn’t known for autumn for nothing.
Is it worth visiting Portland, Maine?
The worth of visiting the city will be different for everyone but overall a visit is worth it. You can discover so much in this quaint yet vibrant city that has great small-town energy. You can find museums, lighthouses, breweries, coffee shops, fried chicken, and fun.
What time of the year can you see the northern lights in Maine?
You can occasionally see the Northern Lights in Maine during the fall and spring, but the best time to see them is in winter. That means December through February when the nights are clearer and longer.
What is Portland, Maine, most known for?
Portland, Maine, is well known for several things. The first L.L. Bean was founded there in 1912. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Stephen King, Judd Nelson, and Ian Crocker were all born there. Portland also has the most breweries per capita of any city in the United States.
What food is Portland famous for?
Portland is famous for its lobster, or should we say “lobstah,” and blueberries. You won’t find fresher lobster anywhere else in the United States. You can get lobster made in various creative ways here, too. We won’t even get started on the blueberries.
Why is Portland so popular?
Portland, Maine, is one of the top ten places to live in the United States. It’s hard to say why it’s so popular. It’s the biggest city in Maine but has the energy of a small town.
You can find everything you need there and yet not feel like you’re living in a big city. The people are nice and everywhere feels like a neighborhood where you belong.
Can you do a day trip to Acadia National Park from Portland, Maine?
The drive by car from Portland, Maine, to Acadia National Park is around three hours. So yes, you can take a day trip to Acadia National Park from Portland.
The real question is, do you want to make a day trip to Acadia National Park? Acadia is incredibly beautiful and has so much to offer. You could easily spend a week in Acadia and not get bored.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Portland, Maine?
We have covered a lot of information in this guide, so now we can summarize. The best time to visit Portland, Maine, is from July through October (especially September). You get warm but not hot weather, beautiful beaches, and tons of fun.
The cheapest time to visit Portland is during the spring or March through May. Spring is the off-season for Maine, so flights and hotels are at their lowest rates.
The least crowded time to visit Portland is during the shoulder season, or May and October. There are fewer tourists because there is less to do that interests people. The worst time to visit Portland is during the winter unless you love skiing.
Now that you know more about the best time to visit Portland, Maine, get started planning your trip! Use this guide as a starting point for your best vacation yet. Happy travels!