With just 18 miles between them Freeport is a quick, 20-minute drive up Interstate-95 (I-95) from Portland, Maine. These two cities sit on Casco Bay and many visitors often visit both on a trip up to Maine. As the state capital, Portland is the larger city, but Freeport still offers activities visitors may be interested in, such as outlet shops and hiking trails. Accommodation-wise, Freeport tends to be more affordable than Portland and since the cities are not so far apart, it's easy to book a hotel in Freeport and travel back and forth to and from Portland.
If you have your own car, driving is the easiest way to get between the two cities quickly and efficiently. It also gives you the option of taking the scenic route, which is especially nice during the fall when Maine's autumnal foliage is at its most colorful. If you don't have a car or you'd rather do public transportation, either the bus or train will take about 30 minutes and costs the same amount. The only difference is that you're unlikely to hit traffic if you take the train.
Overall, having a car during your trip to Maine will allow you more freedom to experience and explore state's natural beauty. Acadia National Park, especially, is worth a trip—but keep in mind that it's 170 miles from Portland and takes about three hours to drive to. For a park closer to Portland or Freeport, consider Sebago Lake or Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park.
How to Get from Portland to Freeport
- Train: 30 minutes, $3
- Bus: 30 minutes, $3
- Car: 20 minutes, 18 miles
To take the train from Portland to Freeport, you'll want to hop aboard the Amtrak Downeaster. Trains leave from Portland's Union Station about 5 times per day, which doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room to go as you please. Also, the earliest train to Freeport typically doesn't leave until 11:40 a.m., so take this into consideration if you want to get to Freeport early.
However, if you are starting your journey in Freeport, trains depart to Portland as early as 4:40 a.m., because the route is popular with commuters. From Freeport Station, it's easy to walk to the city center, where you'll find the main thoroughfare of shops and restaurants.
If you need a more flexible schedule, the bus serves the Greater Portland Area and leaves about once per hour from 6 a.m. to 9:20 p.m. You can catch the Metro Breeze from any of its stops including the Portland Transportation Center, Maine Medical Center, Congress Square, Monument Square, or India Street. It only takes about 30 minutes to reach Freeport, but the ride offers complimentary Wi-Fi and power outlets.
Once you arrive in Freeport, you can get off at Canco Road, right next to the L.L. Bean Headquarters, Town Hall, or Freeport Village. For more information, visit the METRO Pulse Facility on Elm Street in Portland.
If you're just looking for the quickest way to get to Freeport, get on I-298 and drive North until you reach Exit 22. Take the exit and you'll arrive in Freeport. If there's no traffic, it shouldn't take you longer than 30 minutes.
If you've got time, try taking the scenic route to Freeport and see some of Maine's beautiful scenery as you go. The following directions cover 25 miles on the route between Portland and Freeport. If you follow these instructions to a tee, you should only spend an hour on the road:
- Leaving Portland via I-295 North, take the exit for Route 1 after crossing Tukey's Bridge. Near Falmouth Foreside, veer right onto Route 88. Take time to admire the stately homes, the elegant old maples and oaks in their autumn finery and the glimpses of Casco Bay through the trees in Maine's wealthiest community.
- Just after the marina at Lower Falls Landing on the Royal River in Yarmouth (stop for a bite or a drink at Royal River Grill House if time allows), and after passing under the I-95 overpass, take the first left up Marina Road. Bear left at the next intersection onto Main Street, where you'll pass several old white churches with steeples framed by the flaming colors of graceful old maple trees in the fall. After you see the North Yarmouth Academy, a college prep school established in 1814, on your left, turn right onto York Street, and merge onto Route 1.
- Just before the big Indian statue in South Freeport, turn right onto South Freeport Road and proceed to the Town Wharf off Main Street, where you can enjoy vibrant fall colors and spy on sea birds. Here, you can also feast on chowder, fried seafood, clamburgers, and homemade desserts at Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster Company, where the lobster pound also cooks up fresh whole lobsters, crabs, and clams.
- On your return, follow the signs to Winslow Memorial Park and Campground, South Freeport's fine sandy beach and shaded picnic spot.
- Return to Route 1 and continue on to Freeport, turning right at the light at the intersection near the Citgo station to reach the L.L. Bean Flagship Store on Main Street and factory outlets including favorites like Vineyard Vines, Patagonia, Calvin Klein, and Gap.
What to See in Freeport
While Freeport, Maine, is best known for shopping, attractions worth visiting include the Desert of Maine, Cold River Distillery, and Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park. It's also home the L.L. Bean Headquarters and there's a huge flagship store in the center of town, where events and outdoor skills classes are held.
If you want to keep driving, Georgetown, Maine is just 25 miles farther up the road. Here you'll find some extremely photogenic sights like the Seguin Island Lighthouse and Robinhood Cove.