5 Fall Foliage Day Trips to Take From Portland, Maine

Rangeley Lake in Autumn
••• Franz-Marc Frei/Getty Images

Nothing compares to Maine in the fall. Set out from Maine's largest city to explore the state's autumn delights! Here are suggested fall day trips from Portland, Maine.

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    Rangeley Lake Maine
    ••• Maine's Rangeley Lake is a spectacular destination for a drive in the fall. Danita Delimont / Getty Images

    Drive one of Maine's most spectacular scenic routes for an unforgettable view of the state's legendary fall foliage. Follow this driving tour from Portland to Maine's Rangeley Lake Region. Enjoy sparkling lakes framed in fall splendor, mountain vistas, rivers edged with the reds and golds of autumn, covered bridges and more.

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    L.L. Bean Freeport Flagship Store
    ••• L.L. Bean's flagship store in Freeport, Maine, is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. © 2005 Kim Knox Beckius

    With dozens of big-name factory outlets, boutiques, bed and breakfast inns and restaurants, Freeport is a shopper's paradise. Best known for L.L. Bean, the leader in outdoor clothing and equipment, this quaint coastal Maine town also boasts outlets for many of the name-brand stores where America loves to shop, as well as wonderful places to enjoy the crisp fall weather and changing fall foliage.

    Freeport is a quick, 20-minute drive up Interstate-95 from Portland, but to get the best look at the foliage, try this route instead.

    Other nearby attractions worth visiting include Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park, with easy wooded hiking trails along Casco Bay and the Harraseeket River; Bradbury Mountain State Park, where a short, 1/4-mile hike to the summit will reward you with spectacular views of the surrounding fall foliage and of Casco Bay and the White Mountains; and the Desert of Maine, a natural phenomenon of giant sand dunes, open through mid-October.

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    Day Trip to Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village
    ••• A glimpse of a simpler life awaits on a day trip to Maine's Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village. © 2006 Kim Knox Beckius

    Step back in time at the last surviving active Shaker community in the world, where six of the 18 structures are open to the public through mid-October. Located at the edge of beautiful Sabbathday Lake, only 25 miles from Portland, this oasis of simple living feels like a world away. Take a guided tour, visit the museum, browse in the library, or stop by the Shaker store. Return to Portland via the back roads, and enjoy the fall foliage.

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    Georgetown Maine - Reid State Park
    ••• Reid State Park is a must-visit spot on the island of Georgetown, Maine. © 2015 Kim Knox Beckius

    Stick to Route 1, and you'll miss some of Maine's most spectacular scenery and most authentic fishing villages, plus hidden-away restaurants that serve seafood with a view. Just 10 minutes off Route 1 near Bath, the island of Georgetown has all of this and more. See it in its autumn finery, set against the blue waters of ocean and rivers. It's one of the best places to see fall foliage in Midcoast Maine.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05
    USA, Maine, Wells, Antique gas station
    ••• Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

    Maine is one of the best places in the country for antique shopping. Nearly every back road has one or more antique shops tucked away in old barns and farmhouses, so you're likely to find a number of them on any fall foliage drive. There are 23 antique shops to visit along the Maine Antique Trail in the southern part of the state.

    A particularly noteworthy antiquing destination in southern Maine is Wells, a town filled with antique shops, flea markets and rare book dealers. Cattail Farm Antiques in Wells is a multi-dealer shop in a 10,000-square-foot barn. You'll find dozens of others as you travel down Route 1 from Portland to Kittery, including Centervale Farm Antiques in Scarborough—one of Maine's largest single-owner antique shops—and Antiques USA on Route 1 in Arundel.

    For scenic views of quaint coastal towns, take Route 1A at Cape Neddick through the towns of York Beach, York Village and York Harbor. In Kittery, you can look for antique shops or visit some of the...MORE many outlet stores.