Jump on board the Downeaster train and take a trip along Maine’s rugged and beautiful coast to some of the state’s most interesting and scenic towns and cities. The train runs 145 miles between North Station in Boston and Brunswick, Maine with ten intermediate stops, six of which are in Maine. Once you cross the border into Maine, your first three stops are Wells, Saco, and Old Orchard Beach, all in the beaches region. Next, you’ll stop in Maine’s largest city, Portland, and nearby Freeport before continuing on to Brunswick in the MidCoast & Islands region.
When you cross over the border into Maine, the first stop will be in Wells, a pristine seaside community with sprawling sand beaches. Head over to the Wells Reserve at Laudholm and spend the morning exploring. The reserve encompasses 2,250 acres of salt marsh, freshwater wetlands, beaches, dunes, forests, and fields. The reserve’s numerous trails all have informative signs that help you learn about the native flora and fauna, as well as local history.
After exploring the reserve, stop by the Maine Diner, unquestionably one of the state’s most iconic greasy spoons. Since it opened its doors in 1983, this family-run establishment has served over six million hungry customers and been featured on the “Today Show” and the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.”
The station in Saco is conveniently located in the heart of downtown. Step out of the train and explore the town or take a short walk to neighboring Biddeford and the Pepperell Mill, which houses over 90 businesses, including some amazing local shops and restaurants.
The final stop in the beaches region is Old Orchard Beach. This seaside community is a continuous family-friendly party in the summer. Walk the pier and enjoy fried dough from one of the many food vendors, spend a day relaxing on a sandy beach and swimming in the ocean, go on a ride at the amusement park, or watch the weekly fireworks display, while enjoying fresh, local seafood on the patio at Joseph’s By The Sea.
The next stop on the train is Maine’s largest city, Portland. The station is located on Thompson’s Point, an area of the city that has recently been revitalized. The area is slightly outside of the city, but the large converted warehouses have plenty of interesting businesses to fill an afternoon of exploring. Stop by Cellardoor Winery at The Point, for a tasting of their local wine, made two hours up the coast in Lincolnville.
If you are in the mood for shopping, Freeport is the stop for you. The downtown is packed with big name outlets, and of course the L.L. Bean flagship campus, which boasts an outdoor concert venue, a 3,500 gallon fish tank, and an enormous boot — size 410.
With all the shopping ahead, you will need a good meal to keep your energy up. Stop byAntonia’s Pizzeria, Bar & Grill for a delicious pizza or authentic Greek cuisine.
The final stop on the Downeaster train is in Brunswick. The train drops you right in the heart of downtown. Walk along Maine Street and visit some of the town’s amazing galleries, shops, and award-winning restaurants. A community staple at the end of Maine Street is The Great Impasta, a delicious Italian restaurant with a comfortable atmosphere. Sit on their patio and enjoy a glass of wine and one of their authentic pasta dishes.
Jump off at any of the Maine stations along the Downeaster route and you are sure to find something fun to do, interesting to see, and delicious to eat. And the best part is you get to explore each of the towns and cities along the route without having to battle through summer traffic. Sit back, grab a snack and a drink, relax, and ride the train to your beautiful Maine coastal destination.