Two Casco Bay Ferries in the harbor of Portland Maine. The Ferries are steel-hulled diesel-powered vessels with high-tech navigation systems
Maine, Portland, Passenger ferry crossing by historic fort.
Maine Office of Tourism
There certainly are other ways to while away a summer day in Greater Portland, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better experience than island-hopping aboard a Casco Bay Lines ferry. Sure, you can simply ride out to an island for a look-about and return, or enjoy a sunrise, sunset, or moonlight cruise. But for a real immersion, consider the Mailboat Run. You’ll be among islanders, visitors, pets, and freight to-ing and fro-ing between Little Diamond, Great Diamond, Long, Cliff, and Chebeague islands. The 2½-to-3½-hour working cruise is offered twice daily year-round; bring your own picnic lunch on the morning run or snacks for the afternoon one.
Peaks Island and the Casco Bay Lines
The locals you see on the streets of Portland aren’t all mainlanders. Many live on the islands along the coast and commute to the city via the ferries of the Casco Bay Lines. Peaks Island, formerly a summer resort area of hotels and arcades and theaters and now a year-round town, is a fun day trip—even if just for a short walk and an ice cream cone. The Fifth Maine Regiment Museum has, among displays about the island’s past, a tattered battle flag carried by the regiment throughout the Civil War on view.
The Casco Bay Ferry offers a myriad of ways to see the Maine islands and coastline from the water. Choose from scenic cruises, a sunset run, or their most popular Mailboat run. Peaks Island is a quick 17 minutes away. On the island you can hike, enjoy the beach, or have a nice meal at one of the waterfront restaurants. Scenic cruises vary in length from 1.5 to 3.5 hours with stops along the way and chances to see the sun rise or set. Whatever you choose, it is a magical way to see the area from the water and the perfect way to enjoy a picnic of some of the fantastic local ingredients available in Portland.