Stuff to do in Portland, Maine that’s Free, Cheap & FUN! – We LOVE Cheap Thrills

We found a TON of family fun things to do for very little dough over the month that we were there and are super excited to share our favorite spots we explored!

Portland Maine has a ton to offer and sure, you can go overboard with the fancy pants restaurants and spending, but why do that when you can keep those dollars in your pocket? We are new to the full time RV lifestyle and budgeting your time and money is super duper important. We have to make sure we aren’t always in the vacation mindset. After the unfortunate incident on Old Orchard Beach where Shane Ruptured his achilles, we posted up at a KOA about an hour outside of Portland. We want to make the best of it and enjoy everything the city has to offer without the feeling of lack. Here’s some of our top food and fun things we personally did and a few honorable mentions that we may still get to do, but haven’t actually done them yet.

  1. Sign up for B. Good App. They’re a local farm fresh burger and salad place with amazing hand cut fries and smoothies. We were going to be in the city on Shane’s birthday so he signed up for their app and emails and received a FREE burger and FREE hand cut sweet potato fries! We got a kid’s smoothie for $2.99 and walked out of there with a bill of $3 and change. Coolest part is they sent us MORE coupons so we went back for a BOGO smoothie (BOGO smoothie day ended up being $6 since the bigger smoothies are a little pricier, but oh sooo yummy!)….it wasn’t as cool as a free birthday burger, but still a pretty awesome deal as their seasonal peach and cherry smoothie was ridiculously amazing.
  2. We’ve gotten pretty good at packing lunches for drive days and also anytime we aren’t sure where we will be exploring for the day. You don’t want to end up having to get a gas station snack or worse, an over priced lack luster meal. There are a ton of BEAUTIFUL lighthouses in Maine, part of what Maine is known for. Just outside the main city of Portland you’ll find a few that we visited. Two Lights State Park and Portland Head Light at Fort Williams. Both were just as stunning and (during two separate visits) we had a beautiful picnic lunch at each. If you want to go into the museum part of Two Head Lights it was only $2 per person, but we skipped that as it was beautiful outside and we just wanted to be on the water.
  3. Playground – there are plenty parks and playgrounds to explore, but our favorite was the Eastern Promenade as it was huge, there were a ton of other kids for Ella Jo to play with and it was on the water. Right next to it was the community garden featured in the video…’re not supposed to pick the veggies but one of the farmers gave us some tomatoes, so you might luck out!
  4. Breweries: there are several right inside & outside of Portland where you can get a flight to taste the goods for fairly reasonable prices (most are $2 for a 5oz pour), however just 20 mins outside of Portland you will find the Allagash brewery that offers FREE flights of beer (and free brewery tours!)….yah, you read that right. No, it’s not all you can drink, but if tasting is your thing, you may want to pop in for the freebie. We may or may not have visited several other times while in Maine, since the rotation changed daily.
  5. Wait for it…The Holy Donut. It’s as good as it sounds….maybe better. We went in and tried two of their most popular flavors. A Dark Chocolate Sea Salt donut and a Triple Berry donut and not only were they HUGE, the total with tax came out to $5! Take them to go and bring your own coffee with you or grab a cup and enjoy inside one of their Portland locations.
  6. FREE Museum day! On Fridays you can get into the Portland Museum of Art (4-8pm) for FREE! There’s ample street parking which is a whopping $1.25 an hour (2 hour max is the only kicker…we don’t last that long with a 3 year old anyway.) Side note: the Children’s Museum and Theater is right next door and they have a $2 entry day on the first Friday of the month from 5-8pm…we made the trip back on that day and had a great time exploring their several floors of interactive amazingness!
  7. Dinner was going to be a big deal. We were on the hunt for the most amazing and cheapest food we could find. We had heard about this speakeasy called Lincoln’s where everything is $5….nice poured drinks and food. After realizing they only served chili Mac n cheese (which sounds amazing, but not what we wanted) we decided to skip it and hunt for something else. I stumbled across a noodle bar, Mi Sen. I scoped their menu online ahead of time and saw they had some delicious noodle soup bowls with protein for $8.88 and if you ordered the smaller portion it was $3 cheaper. We decided to give it a shot…turns out they don’t do the cheaper small portions anymore and Shane decided he wanted the red curry which was a pricier dish, but where we really won was Ella’s meal. A side of noodles was $2 and a decent portion of chicken for $2. All in all our bill was $26. I wanted it cheaper, but it was filling and delicious. What I noticed walking the streets of Portland is that most places have a pretty amazing sounding happy hour! Next trip in the city we will be hitting up a few high rated places at that 5pm hour for $5 drinks and appetizers!
  8. We finished our lovely day in the city at Congress Square Park which had a band playing some serious salsa music! It was full of families dancing and having a fantastic time. There was even a food truck in the corner, but since we had just partaken in Mi Sen, we skipped that and shook it for a few songs before calling it a night. Side note: I grabbed a flyer and they have fun free stuff all the time! Different bands, arts & crafts days, tai chi and they even have free wifi!

That was only ONE day…we stayed here about a month and discovered some other fun, cheap or free things…here’s a few things that made the list, but not the video…

Right next to Allagash brewing are several other amazing breweries like Foundation Brewing and Austin Street Brewery, so we visited a few others to taste their fare….$2 for 5oz at most. There’s a great atmosphere and a lot have a food truck parked outside.

Bramhall was also on a different day and we just stopped in for happy hour apps…..$3 for three different items on their menu (featured in video) and $6 for an Allagash draft (not that cheap, but I wanted a cold one)
Another delicious food place worth mentioning is Po’Boys & Pickles…most sandwiches were only $7 and were AMAZING! My favorite part if they make homemade pickles and pickled veggies and you can get a side for only $3!! <—-put this place on the list!

Just outside of Portland are many home farms and we spent a day exploring those and grabbing cheap & fresh veggies, eggs, apples and blueberries! Try $1 a lb for most apple orchards and $2 a lb for blueberries! Try Crabtree’s Blueberries in Sebago Maine and next door is a meat and eggs farm and Mayberry’s farm right past that with all the freshest veggies you could want!
We also stumbled across the Maine Wildlife Park which is a little outside of Portland but for only $7.50 for an adult entry (3 year olds are free!) it was a no brainer!

We hope you enjoyed watching and reading and we hope you have an amazing time during your trip to Portland, Maine! If you found something else you’d like to share, please comment below!

Happy Travels!

~The Simple Nomads