Experience Maine: Freeport

French's Point
Published July 19th, 2012

The coastal town of Freeport is synonymous with the iconic outdoor retailer L.L. Bean, which anchors the downtown. But there are plenty of other attractions here that make Freeport an ideal day trip, including beautiful nature trails, tons of cultural events, especially during the summer, and, of course, plenty of great discount designer outlets.

Driving from Portland, you’ll approach Freeport heading north on I-295. Get off at Desert Road, Exit 20, take a right at the end of the ramp and bear left at the fork to follow the signs into the village. You’ll know you’re headed the right way because almost immediately you’ll notice the dense collection of more than 200 restaurants and shops that the downtown is known for. Park for free in one of the lots (clearly marked by signs along Main Street) and start your wandering. For a great guide to what’s available in Freeport, check out the website of the Freeport Merchants Association, Freeport U.S.A. , for info on shopping, dining, lodging, outdoor attractions, and special events.

Most of Freeport’s stores are within walking distance from one another – one of the reasons Yankee Magazine named it the best shopping destination in New England. Here you’ll find factory outlets for favorites like The Gap, Banana Republic, Patagonia, J. Crew, Polo Ralph Lauren, and a host of others. For L.L. Bean, I recommend you orient yourself by stopping first at the flagship store at 95 Main Street before poking around the nearby hunting and fishing outlet; the bike, boat, and ski outlet; or the discount outlet. For more on L.L. Bean, check out our recent blog post on the store.

Sometimes you need to balance a bout of shopping with some time with nature, so head over to Bradbury Mountain State Park in nearby Pownal. Head northeast on Main Street toward Bow Street, take a left onto ME-125 N, left on Durham Rd, right onto Pownal Rd, then right onto ME-9. The park will be on your left. Bradbury Mountain is a small mountain – less than 500 feet – that is great for families and picnics. Even though it’s short, there’s a nice view at the top and you really feel like you’re away from civilization. Park admission is $4.50 for adults, $1 for kids under 12. Pack a sandwich, bring the dog, and head on up the mountain with your new L.L. Bean gear. I can’t recommend it enough!