Popular Coastal Destinations for 5 Days in Maine

There are so many amazing coastal towns in Maine I have the hardest time telling people where to go on their first visit to Maine!

It depends on so many factors but it’s especially important to decide if you prefer the popular tourist route or more off-the-beaten-path destinations. 

Read More: Best Itineraries for 5 Days in Maine Off-the-Beaten-Path

There are pros and cons of going to the popular places in Maine. Here’s a breakdown of the top ones below. 

Pros of Popular DestinationsCons of Popular Destinations
They are often popular for a reason – they are great!

They have tons of delicious places to eat nearby

There are plenty of activities to keep you entertained

They have the most accommodation options
Tend to be busiest areas in Maine

Can be more expensive, especially during peak summer months July and August

May not live up to the hype in your mind

Wait times for restaurants, activities, and attractions may be long

If you want to stick with the more popular destinations then I hope you consider the options below! 

Tips for 5 Days in Maine

If you only have 5 days to visit Maine, here are a few of my tips after living here for 30+ years!

  1. Rent a car. If you are visiting anywhere outside of Portland, Maine it is easiest to rent a car. Maine isn’t known for our public transportation, sadly. 
  2. Pick one town as a homebase and do day trips. 
  3. Choose when to visit wisely.
    1. Summer will have the best weather, but with crowds and higher prices. July and August will be the busiest. 
    2. Fall will feature beautiful foliage and chillier temps. September is my favorite by foliage may not occur until early October. 
    3. Winter is best for those who love winter activities like ice fishing, skiing, and snowmobiling or for budget travelers. Consider visiting in December. 
    4. Spring is best for those hoping to avoid the summer crowds. I suggest visiting in May before Memorial Day. 
  4. Save money by choosing free or inexpensive activities. For ideas, check out my list of 40+ Budget-Friendly Activities in Maine. 

Coastal Maine Destinations Perfect for 5 Days

I’ll be sharing my favorite Maine coastal towns you should consider for your next trip! I’ve included both really popular destinations (Kennebunkport, Freeport, Cape Elizabeth) and slightly less popular (Brunswick, Georgetown, Scarborough).

Brunswick – Bath – Georgetown

For 5 days on Maine’s midcoast, consider the Brunswick – Bath – Georgetown region

This region is full of Maine islands and peninsulas worth exploring. You could take day trips to nearby Bath, Brunswick, Boothbay, and Phippsburg. 

Check out Maritime Museum in Bath, local eats in Brunswick, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, and Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg, Maine. 

Georgetown, Maine

Located less than an hour northwest of Portland, Maine, here you’ll find Reid State Park, one of the best beaches in midcoast Maine. 

While you’re visiting Georgetown, we suggest visiting Five Island Lobster Co for local Maine seafood and yummy ice cream!

And if you get a chance to get onto the water, take it! Consider going kayaking, SUP, or sailing.

While most travelers will recommend a town like Camden for the midcoast Maine region, I prefer the underrated and relaxing quality Georgetown offers. Plus you can always visit Camden for the day since it’s less than an hour and half away. 

Five Island Lobster Co

Brunswick & Bath, Maine

Fun fact, I grew up in Brunswick, Maine! 

It’s changed so much in the last few years for the better and has greatly increased the number of restaurants and shops downtown. 

Check out Wild Oats Bakery, Little Tokyo, and Gelato Fiasco are our favorites!

Brunswick and Bath are great for folks who love museums and culture. Visit Maine Maritime Museum, Bowdoin College of Art, and the Maine State Theater. 

The Brunswick/Bath region is also a great base for day trips. You can easily reach Camden within an hour and half and Portland in under 45 minutes. 

Freeport, Maine

Freeport, Maine is a great spot to make your homebase, especially if you love outlet shopping and a small town feel. 

It seems there are more and more shops in Freeport, it’s exploded over the last few years. 

Also be sure to check out the popular LL Bean flagship store. Pro Tip: Before going to the main LL Bean building, visit the Outlet store within the Freeport Village Station to see if you can snag any good deals!

Isabella’s Cafe, Freeport, Maine

My favorite part of Freeport is the outdoor recreation nearby including Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park and Winslow Park. 

Read More: Top 15 Best Things To Do in Freeport, Maine

Scarborough & Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Scarborough and Old Orchard make a great homebase for those wanting to visit Maine’s rocky beaches. 

Be sure to check out Pine Point Beach, Scarborough Beach State Park, and Old Orchard Beach. 

Pine Point Beach, Scarborough, Maine

For those who are seeking a more relaxing atmosphere – consider Scarborough. 

Alternatively, families or those seeking nightlife options may prefer Old Orchard which offers an amusement park, mini golf courses, and local pier. 

If you’re planning to camp or RV, check out Wild Duck Adult Campground for a relaxing getaway. 

Read More: 21 Things To Do in Scarborough, Maine You’ll Love 

Cape Elizabeth, Maine

If you love state parks you’ll definitely want to check out Cape Elizabeth, Maine. 

Be sure to check out the famous Portland Head Light located within Fort Williams Park.

There is a beautiful 1.0 mile loop trail and tons of parking. But even still, get here early. Even in the off season, this place can get crowded. 

Once you’ve gotten your fill of lighthouse views, you can walk the trail from Crescent Beach State Park to Kettle Cove State Park. 

Two Lights State Park, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

You also won’t want to miss Two Lights State Park for great views of Maine’s rocky coastline, a 1 mile loop, and plenty of picnic tables for a lunch date. 

Before you leave Cape Elizabeth, be sure to check out The Cookie Jar, for the most delicious donuts!

Read More: Best Outdoor Activities in Cape Elizabeth You’ll Love 

Kennebunk & Kennebunkport, Maine

If you’re considering a trip to Maine and love the idea of shopping or whale watching, look no further than Kennebunk & Kennebunkport. 

If visiting Kennebunkport during the summer you can enjoy whale watching with New England Eco Adventures, beautiful coastal dining at Boathouse Restaurant, a day at Gooch’s Beach. 

Downtown Kennebunkport, Maine

We had a wonderful experience with New England Eco Tours on their 2 hour whale watching tour. We were lucky enough to see multiple Northern Right Whales. 

If you’re looking for shopping, take a stroll along the downtowns of Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. Each features adorable shops, restaurants, and small businesses. 

Be sure to also check out the delicious bakery, Boulangerie for delightful treats!

Read More: How to Spend One Winter Day in Kennebunkport, Maine

I will warn you, both Kennebunk and Kennebunkport will get incredibly busy in the summertime. Even when we visited in March you could feel tourists starting to flock to the area. 

Although that’s not a reason to stay away! Just be sure to get out early in the mornings or visit during shoulder seasons of spring and fall. 

Epic One Week Maine Coast Itinerary

In case you have longer to explore Maine I wanted to include one of the more popular itineraries for a week long adventure. 

This path is recommended for those who have a week or longer as there is a lot of driving involved. 

Kennebunkport – Camden – Bar Harbor

For those seeking a visit to Maine that includes whale watching, adorable downtown shopping, and Acadia National Park, this is a great itinerary for you. 

  • Kennebunkport – 2 nights
  • Camden – 2 nights
  • Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park – 2 nights
View from Mount Battie, Camden, Maine During the Fall Season

Plan to fly into Portland, Maine and head to Kennebunkport, Maine for 2 nights. 

Then drive 2 hours north to Camden, Maine for another few nights before heading to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park for another 2 nights. 

You can choose to fly out of Bangor, Maine or drive back to Portland, Maine. 

As you saw above, there is a ton to do in Kennebunk!

While in Camden, you can choose between a day exploring nearby Camden Hills State Park to see the views from Mount Battie or you could take part in a popular sailing experience. 

And finally, during your trip to Bar Harbor, you can spend your time exploring Acadia National Park and the adorable downtown. 

Read More: Our Favorite Places in Maine You Need to Know About 

Epic Two Week Maine Coast Itinerary

If you have even longer to explore Maine and can get two weeks off, you can add a few more stops. 

  • Kennebunkport/Kennebunk – 2 nights
  • Cape Elizabeth – 2 nights
  • Portland – 3 nights
  • Brunswick/Bath/Georgetown – 2 nights
  • Camden – 2 nights
  • Bar Harbor/Acadia National park – 3 nights

Slower Travel Maine Itinerary – 2 Weeks

Personally, we prefer to travel slower, visiting fewer places, but feeling more relaxed during our adventures. Here’s what we recommend below for 2 weeks of slow traveling in Maine. 

I’d combine a few of the surrounding towns and not worry so much which town you choose. 

Having a few home bases and taking day trips is a more relaxing way of traveling for us. But do what’s best for you!

  • Old Orchard/Scarborough – 3 nights
  • Cape Elizabeth/South Portland/Portland – 4 nights
  • Freeport/Brunswick/Bath/Georgetown – 3 nights
  • Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park – 4 nights
Precipice Trail, Acadia National Park

Final Thoughts

I have no doubts you’ll absolutely love your 5 day trip to Maine. Stick to any of these itinerary ideas and be sure to take lots of pictures!