For families, the Children's Museum of Maine will provide an afternoon of entertainment and wonder only a few city blocks from the hotel. Next, take a ride on Portland's Narrow Gauge Railroad with hourly trips on historic train cars around the city's East End.
Explore Portland's rich history all over the city: the Victoria Mansion has preserved the unique architecture and interior design of the pre-Civil War era and the Portland Observatory, a National Historic Landmark, will let you see the city from above and imagine looking out on an 1800s Portland Harbor. Stroll up Congress Street and be inspired at the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, where celebrated poet Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow grew up.
For a fun tour of Portland, visit Portland Discovery Land & Sea Tours. Two of their most popular tours include a 90-minute Portland trolley tour which focuses on the Observatory, Victoria Mansion, Longfellow House and a 15 minute stop at Portland Head Light or a 90-minute narrated Lighthouse Lovers Cruise that features up to 7 lighthouses and island/harbor history.
For more of Maine's maritime history, drive across the Casco Bay Bridge and see five nearby lighthouses: Bug Light and Spring Point Ledge Light in South Portland, and Cape Elizabeth's Two Lights (with twin lighthouses) and Portland Head Light, where you'll get spectacular views of Casco Bay and hear dramatic waves crashing against the cliffs.
Back in Portland, if you find the sea calling to you, simply walk along Commercial Street and Portland's working waterfront to see Portland's famous Whaling Wall—a mural at the Maine State Pier featuring life-size mammals that will surely enchant you. Next door, you'll find Casco Bay Lines ferry terminal. Embark on an adventure to one of Casco Bay's many islands (try Peaks Island, Great Diamond Island, or Long Island) for an afternoon, or take a scenic sunset sail on a historic schooner to enjoy Portland's beautiful skyline from the water.
If lounging in the sunshine or playing in the waves seems more appealing, many of Maine's famous beaches are just a short drive away. Crescent Beach in Cape Elizabeth or Higgins and Scarborough Beaches in Scarborough have more than enough sand to wiggle your toes and soothing waves to lull you into relaxation.
If you're looking for a more active visit to Portland, in the summer, rent a kayak from Maine Island Kayak Company on Peaks Island and spend the day paddling around Casco Bay. LL Bean's Outdoor Discovery Schools in Freeport also offers many day- or weekend-long outdoor adventures for kayakers, fishermen, cyclists, and of course, novices. Drive an hour or two outside of the city if you're in the mood for a hike up some of New England's most beautiful mountains or canoeing through the state's many lakes and rivers.
Sports fans will enjoy watching future Red Sox players at Hadlock Field, where the Portland Sea Dogs play baseball from April to September. For basketball enthusiasts, Portland's new Red Claws, part of the NBA D-League, will begin playing in November at the Portland Expo next door to Hadlock Field. Also during the winter months, walk a few blocks from Portland Harbor Hotel to the Cumberland County Civic Center, which plays host to the Portland Pirates hockey team.