20 things to do for under $20 in Maine this time of year

Explore Maine this season on the cheap.

Pemaquid Point Light in Maine. iStock

Maine, the northernmost New England state known for its maritime history, lighthouses, and lobsters, is also a popular destination in the colder months. The state’s beautiful mountains offer all forms of cold-weather fun, including skiing, snowboarding, and sledding. And with nationally recognized restaurants and museums throughout the state, it’s easy to have indoor fun, too.

“I consider Maine to be pretty down to Earth and pretty accommodating to anybody and everybody,” said Chad Cukierski, manager of Big Chicken Barn Books & Antiques in Ellsworth, Maine. “It’s a place where you can be yourself. It’s a welcoming community.”

Best of all, exploring Maine doesn’t have to be expensive. Ahead, check out 20 things to do for under $20 this season in the Pine Tree State.

Food + Drink

Take a tour at Allagash Brewery.


1. Tour and taste the beer at Allagash Brewery in Portland

Allagash Brewery has been making Belgian-inspired beers in Portland since 1995. The brewery offers free tours seven days a week, and each (21+) person gets four 3-ounce pours. (Allagash Brewery, 50 Industrial Way, Portland)

2. Order seafood chowder from Maine Diner in Wells

This diner is no stranger to accolades: It’s been featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, the Today show, and Phantom Gourmet. Order a bowl of the award-winning seafood chowder. “The secret is cooking all the stuff in the same water,” said owner Dick Henry, who bought the diner in 1983, about the chowder full of clams, scallops, shrimp, and lobster. (Maine Diner, Route 1, Wells)

3. Grab a doughnut at Frosty’s in Brunswick

The cake-style doughnuts at this shop, which has served visitors since 1964, are “a little bit of heaven,” according to Travel + Leisure. The shop is currently selling a seasonal carrot doughnut. (Frosty’s Donuts, 54 Main St., Brunswick)

4. Get a croissant at Standard Baking Co. in Portland

It’s no surprise that these pastries were named among the “Best Croissants in America” by Food & Wine magazine, given that Alison Pray, one of the founders, was a semifinalist for a prestigious James Beard award for Outstanding Baker this year. What’s her secret? “Besides using the best ingredients we can find, we’re just baking in the moment all day long,” Pray said. “So things don’t sit around, everything is offered as fresh as possible right out of the oven.” (Standard Baking Co., 75 Commercial St., Portland) 


5. Eat blueberry pancakes at Crissy’s Breakfast & Coffee Bar in Damariscotta

Maine’s official fruit is the wild blueberry, and this spot packs as many of them as possible into its blueberry pancakes. The cakes are topped with organic maple syrup from the Strawberry Hill Farm in Skowhegan. (Crissy’s Breakfast & Coffee Bar, 212 Main St., Damariscotta)

6. Order fries at Duckfat in Portland

This sandwich shop’s classic Belgian fries are made with local Maine potatoes fried in duck fat. The poutine is topped with locally sourced cheese curd, duck gravy, and fresh chives. (Duckfat, 43 Middle St., Portland)

7. Grab a slice at Roma Pizza in Kennebunkport

This pizza has “very special secret ingredients” in its sauce, and the dough is made fresh daily, according to the restaurant’s website. You can only get it Friday through Sunday because the restaurant is closed during the other days of the week. (Roma Pizza, 5 Union St., Kennebunkport)

8. Nab a hot dog at Flo’s in York

Flo’s is a family-owned and operated business that’s been dishing out dogs since 1959. Order one with Flo’s famous relish on top. (Flo’s, 1359 Route 1, Cape Neddick)

Outdoor Activities


9. Go cross country skiing at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester

Pineland Farms offers more than 18 miles of trails for cross-country skiing, sledding, and snowshoeing on 5,000 acres of woodlands. An adult cross-country ski day pass is just $18, or $12 for a half day. Equipment rentals are available, too. (Pineland Farms, 15 Farm View Drive, New Gloucester) 


10. Take a horse-drawn sleigh ride at The Bethel Inn Resort in Bethel

Take a 30-minute horse-drawn sleigh ride through the beautiful fields behind The Bethel Inn Resort. Trips cost $16 for adults. The resort also has a Cross Country Ski & Snowshoe Center, where you can buy a day pass for $18 and explore nearly 25 miles of scenic trails, including 4 miles of snowshoe trails. (The Bethel Inn Resort, 21 Broad St., Bethel)

11. Go tubing at Eaton Mountain in Skowhegan

This family-owned and operated mountain, in business since 1961, offers three-hour tubing sessions for $14. If you are a skier with children, kids 12 and under ski free with a paying adult. (Eaton Mountain, 89 Lambert Road, Skowhegan)

12. Walk the Marginal Way in Ogunquit

If weather permits, it won’t cost you a thing to stroll along the Marginal Way, a 1 1/4-mile coastal path that offers sweeping panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. While dogs are not allowed on the path in the spring and summer, you can bring them along in the offseason from October 1 to March 31. (Marginal Way, Beach St., Ogunquit)

Arts + Entertainment


13. Visit the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath

Learn about the Maine’s maritime history, lobster fishing, and lobster science, or then head over to view historic shipyard photography, more than 140 small boats, and more. (Maine Maritime Museum, 243 Washington St., Bath)

14. Go to the Portland Museum of Art in Portland

The Portland Museum of Art houses American, European, and contemporary art, as well as art from Maine. The museum offers curator talks, tours, and family events. It also shows films and will host several films for the 2017 Maine Jewish Film Festival, taking place March 18-25. The museum is free on Friday nights from 4 to 8 p.m. (Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Square, Portland)


15. Listen to live music at the Piano Bar and Lounge in Ogunquit

Order a cocktail and listen to live music at the Piano Bar and Lounge upstairs at The Front Porch restaurant in Ogunquit, awarded a Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor. Pianists play every Saturday night from 6 p.m. to close. (The Front Porch, 9 Shore Road, Ogunquit)

16. Enjoy a movie — and a cocktail — at the Magic Lantern Theater in Bridgton

This complex includes three theaters and a pub. The theater balcony seats are 21+ and allow alcoholic drinks, as long as you order and pay for the drinks in the pub. A server will deliver the drinks to your seat. An adult movie ticket is $7.50, or $6 for a matinee. (Magic Lantern, 9 Depot St., Bridgton)

17. Visit the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville

Examine sculptures, videos, illustrations, paintings, and more at the Colby College Museum of Art. Bonus: The museum is always free. (Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville)



18. Shop Maine’s largest bookstore, Big Chicken Barn Books & Antiques, in Ellsworth

This store has more 150,000 books, making it the largest book store in the state, and the average book price is $6, according to manager Chad Cukierski. This family-owned spot is a favorite with antique lovers too, who can explore everything from toys to paintings and lamps to jewelry on the first floor. “It’s a huge place to go shopping and look at treasures of the past,” Cukierski said.” (Big Chicken Barn, 1768 Bucksport Road, Ellsworth)

19. Go shopping at Reny’s

Reny’s discount department store, which debuted in 1949, bills itself as a “one-stop shopping adventure”—they have clothes, toys, and toothpaste. The store was named among the Best of Portland, Maine by Yankee magazine. (Reny’s, various locations)


20. Get a deal at Sweet Pea’s Family Consignment Store in Rockland

Boost your wardrobe or stock up on kids’ clothes and toys for a fraction of the price. The used items at this second-hand shop are 30 to 60 percent cheaper than if you purchased them new. In some cases, you can even bargain with consignors for the best price. (Sweet Pea’s Family Consignment Store, 229 Park St., Rockland)