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Portland Travel Guide

Sports and the Outdoors

When the weather's good, everyone in Portland heads outside. There are also many green spaces nearby Portland, including Fort Williams Park, home to Portland Head Light; Crescent Beach State Park; and Two Lights State Park. All are on the coast south of the city in suburban Cape Elizabeth and offer walking trails, picnic facilities, and water access. Bradbury Mountain State Park, in Pownal, has incredible vistas from its easily climbed peak. In Freeport is Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park, where you can take a guided nature walk and see nesting ospreys. Both are north of Portland.

Bicycling

Bicycle Coalition of Maine. For state bike trail maps, club and tour listings, or hints on safety, contact the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. Maps are available at the group's headquarters in the Arts District. 34 Preble St., Portland, ME, 04112. 207/623–4511. www.bikemaine.org.

Cycle Mania. Rent bikes downtown at Cycle Mania. The $25 rate includes a helmet and lock. 59 Federal St., Portland, ME, 04101. 207/774–2933. www.cyclemania1.com.

Gorham Bike and Ski. You can rent several types of bikes, including hybrid and tandem models, starting at $25 per day. 693 Congress St., Portland, ME, 04102. 207/773–1700. www.gorhambike.com.

Portland Trails. For local biking information, contact Portland Trails. The staff can tell you about designated paved routes that wind along the water, through parks, and beyond. 305 Commercial St., Portland, ME, 04101. 207/775–2411. www.trails.org.

Boating

Various Portland-based skippers offer whale-, dolphin-, and seal-watching cruises; excursions to lighthouses and islands; and fishing and lobstering trips. Board the ferry to see the nearby islands. Self-navigators can rent kayaks or canoes.

Casco Bay Lines. Casco Bay Lines operates the ferry service to the seven bay islands with year-round populations. Summer offerings include music cruises, lighthouse excursions, and a trip to Bailey Island with a stopover for lunch. Maine State Pier, 56 Commercial St., Portland, ME, 04101. 207/774–7871. www.cascobaylines.com.

Lucky Catch Cruises. You'll set sail in a real lobster boat: this company give you the genuine experience, which includes hauling traps and the chance to purchase the catch. Long Wharf, 170 Commercial St., Portland, ME, 04101. 207/761–0941. www.luckycatch.com.

Odyssey Whale Watch. From mid-May to mid-October, Odyssey Whale Watch leads whale-watching and deep-sea-fishing excursions. Long Wharf, 170 Commercial St., Portland, ME, 04101. 207/775–0727. www.odysseywhalewatch.com.

Portland Discovery Land & Sea Tours. For tours of the harbor and Casco Bay, including an up-close look at several lighthouses, try Portland Discovery Land & Sea Tours. Long Wharf, 170 Commercial St., Portland, ME, 04101. 207/774–0808. www.portlanddiscovery.com.

Portland Paddle. Run by a young pair of Registered Maine Guides, Portland Paddle leads introductory sea kayaking clinics along with guided trips between the Casco Bay islands. Two-hour sunset paddles ($35) are a fave, but the most unique offering involves a four-hour paddle to the abandoned island military installation of Ft. Gorges ($55), where you'll enjoy a short acoustic concert before heading back. Kayak and paddleboard rentals are available. Eastern Promenade, East End Beach, off Cutter St., Portland, ME, 04101. 207/370–9730. www.portlandpaddle.net. Closed Nov.–May., appointment only in Oct.

Portland Schooner Co.. This company offers daily windjammer cruises aboard the vintage schooners Bagheera and Wendameen. You can also arrange overnight trips. Tours are offered May to October. Maine State Pier, 56 Commercial St., Portland, ME, 04101. 207/766–2500. www.portlandschooner.com.

Hot-Air Balloon Rides

Hot Fun First Class Balloon Flights. Hot Fun First Class Balloon Flights flies mainly sunrise trips and can accommodate up to three people. The price of $300 per person includes a post-flight champagne toast, snacks, and shuttle to the lift-off site. Portland, ME. 207/799–0193. www.hotfunballoons.com.

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