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5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Freeport, Maine

Freeport, Maine, is a fisherman’s paradise. The coastal New England village is famous for its oysters, lobster, and clams. It’s also chock full of history, colonial architecture, and opportunities for outdoor adventure.

But the little port town has its quirks, too. If you’ve ever wanted to see a shoe the size of a school bus or a McDonald’s with a working fireplace, Freeport has you covered.

Ready to learn more about this funky Northeastern gem? 

Let’s go!

Close-up of McDonalds outdoor sign. You won't see one like this at the Freeport, Maine, restaurant.
Don’t miss Freeport’s unique McDonald’s in the Gore House mansion

About Freeport, Maine

According to local lore, the decision to create Maine happened at a Freeport tavern toward the end of the 18th century. Despite its small size, this town played a big part in the early days of the U.S.

The picturesque coastal village sits on Casco Bay, a beautiful inlet on the Gulf of Maine. Although many folks live on the mainland, some live on the small offshore islands. It has nearly 40 miles of total shoreline, much of which is perfect for clamming. This area is known for its crisp air, clean water, and fresh seafood.

Freeport has plenty of small-town charm. You can visit dozens of locally owned eateries and shops you won’t find anywhere else. But it also benefits from its proximity to Portland, which is just 20 miles away. Easy access to the big city is always a plus!

Things To Do Near Freeport, Maine

The total population is just under 9,000. While you might assume a place so small is sleepy or dull, it’s anything but.

Let’s look at some of the biggest reasons to visit this idyllic coastal spot.

#1 Desert of Maine

The Desert of Maine is one of the strangest and most fascinating destinations in Freeport. The sandy area formed when its original owners, the Tuttle family, used farming techniques that stripped nutrients from their soil. 

A businessman named Henry Goldrup bought the land and turned it into one of Maine’s biggest tourist attractions.

The Desert is a family-friendly place with tons of activities for kids. Playgrounds, a labyrinth, mini golf, and “fossil digging” areas are just a few of the available offerings. 

Adults can enjoy a self-guided tour of the area and exhibits, including a house once buried by the Desert’s blowing sand.

You can get the most out of the Desert of Maine by reserving one of their many campsites. Water, WiFi, electricity, and showers are available to all campers.

Small towns are often better than the bigger cities: 5 Reasons to Avoid Portland, Maine.

#2 Freeport McDonald’s

A visit to a fast food joint doesn’t exactly scream “vacation.” But a trip to Freeport would honestly be incomplete without seeing its unique McDonald’s.

In 1984, the company wanted to build a location in Freeport. But the town’s strict building codes, put in place to preserve the colonial aesthetic, made it impossible. It got around the rules by converting the historic Gore House mansion into an eatery.

This Mickey D’s has carved chairs, mahogany accents, and functional fireplaces. And even though the company couldn’t build a location from scratch, they did manage to add a drive-through to the side of the Gore House. It’s probably more fun to enjoy your burger and fries inside the mansion, though.

#3 L.L. Bean Flagship Store

If you love the outdoors, you probably love L.L. Bean as well. The retailer is known for its high-quality goods and lifetime warranties on every product it sells.

Freeport, Maine, happens to be home to L.L. Bean’s flagship store and headquarters. Founder Leon Leonwood Bean created the company there in the early 20th century. The flagship store is open 24/7 and hosts frequent events, including seasonal expos and live music during the summer.

Make sure to get a photo with the store’s unofficial mascot, a 17-foot-tall hiking boot that sits by the front entrance.

#4 Seacoast Tours of Freeport

Freeport’s coastal location makes it a destination for all kinds of ocean adventures. Whether you’re a nature lover or a foodie, the town’s seacoast tours are a fun way to learn about the area.

Oyster farm tours are popular from June to October when Casco Bay’s oyster season is at its peak. Sample these tasty mollusks with a drink of your choice while learning more about them!

Between June 15 and Labor Day, you can also tour Eagle Island, a state park that’s only accessible by boat. On your trip, you’ll also see several islands, working lobster boats, and ocean wildlife, such as seals.

Lobstering and wildlife tours are available as well. Local guides demonstrate the lobster trapping process while sailing through nearby islands.

We answered: Can You Go Whale Watching on Maine’s Coast?

#5 Hike the Natural Heritage Trail at Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park

Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park is only ten minutes outside of Freeport. Created in the late 1960s, this park covers 250 acres and is home to countless species of plants and animals.

The Natural Heritage Trail is one of the park’s most interesting features. The path is 1.8 miles from start to finish and allows hikers to observe ferns, hemlock, and mushrooms that aren’t found elsewhere. Birdwatchers can look for osprey and many other bird species. 

The Natural Heritage Trail is moderately difficult, making it an excellent option for explorers of many ages and experience levels.

Wolfe's Neck area of Freeport, Maine
Explore the rugged coastline at Wolfe’s Neck

Best Places to Stay Near Freeport, Maine

Need a place to stay during your visit to Freeport? This peaceful village has dozens of great options for camping, hotels, and B&Bs.

Wolfe’s Neck Oceanfront Camping

The Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment offers oceanfront camping at a range of prices. Choose from different levels of rustic tent camping, RV camping, or cabin rentals at various sites throughout the area. Many campgrounds are in designated quiet zones that are perfect for families.

Explore nature trails and gardens, or rent a bike or kayak for a different kind of adventure. You don’t even have to cook because the on-site Farm Cafe offers a daily menu of snacks and full meals.

Bliss Farm Inn

Bliss Farm Inn isn’t actually in Freeport, but it’s only 15 minutes away. The owners built this charming B&B in Durham in the 1770s. It once operated as a farmhouse and has been preserved remarkably well to retain its charm.

The inn has five guest suites, each with a unique theme. It offers a continental breakfast each morning, plus a hot breakfast selection that changes daily. Rooms start at $175 per night.

Harraseeket Inn

The Dyer-Gray family opened the Harraseeket Inn in 1984. This locally owned hotel has 94 rooms, a tavern, a restaurant, and amenities such as a swimming pool and in-room refrigerators. Many rooms contain jacuzzi tubs and wet bars.

The Harraseeket offers a range of accommodations, from standard hotel rooms to guest houses for large parties. And your reservation includes not just breakfast but afternoon tea as well. Prices vary based on room type, but rates start at $335 per night.

Plan a whole road trip with Frommer’s Maine Coast.

Is a Freeport, Maine, Road Trip Worth It?

The ideal road trip destination has plenty of indoor and outdoor activities, great food, and incredible sightseeing. And Freeport, Maine, checks all those boxes for sure.

The gorgeous village has the charm of a small town and the perks of the nearby big city. Whether you want to shop, eat fresh seafood, or explore the coastal woods, you’ll find plenty of ways to have fun here!

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