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Bridgton Day Trip
Activities: Walking, sightseeing, dining, shopping, hiking, museums, beaches, birdwatching, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, drive-in theaters. Family-friendly, great for a day trip.
Region: Maine’s Lakes and Mountains
The town of Bridgton combines picturesque lakes and mountains with charming downtown culture and amenities making for an ideal all-season day trip. With the scenic White Mountains in the distance and 33 lakes and ponds nearby, there are plenty of ways to embrace the outdoors. The downtown’s eclectic local businesses, passion for the arts, and community projects fuel a fun and creative culture.
Whether experiencing the thrill of Bridgton’s diverse watersport offerings or skiing downhill and cross country, there’s something to experience here every season.
Spring and Fall
During the milder months of blooms and leaf-peeping, pick one of these trails, parks or preserves to enjoy solo, with others or with your leashed, furry friend. Some of these also allow winter activities like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing:
- Pondicherry Park: 66 acres of woodlands, fields, streams and wetlands with leisurely walking trails. The park features a wooded pathway, boardwalks and an educational amphitheater.
- Bald Pate Mountain Trails: a moderate 3.3-mile loop trail featuring wildflowers, bird watching opportunities and cross-country skiing in the winter.
- Pleasant Mountain via Bald Peak Trail: a 4.6-mile out-and-back trail offering scenic views for hikers, runners and snowshoers.
- Holt Pond Preserve: a 4.5-mile, easy loop trail spanning a mix of wetland and upland habitats, accessible year-round for walking, hiking, birdwatching or snowshoeing.
- Highland Research Forest: a 2-mile, easy loop trail leading to Highland Lake.
Summertime in Bridgton means fully enjoying the lakes and beaches. The area is home to three interconnected bodies of water stretching over 35,000 acres: Sebago Lake, Long Lake and Brandy Pond. This allows for ample water recreation activities, from peaceful kayaking to water skiing.
If you’re looking for some guidance or rentals, IPS Surf is a fantastic option, offering instruction for a variety of watersports, including wake surfing, wakeboarding, water skiing and tubing. They cater to all ages, experience levels and group sizes. After a day of adventure, fire up the grill at public park Highland Lake Beach (public grills, picnic tables and public restrooms available).
Craving some off-beach fun? Get out on the green for a game of golf or tennis, complemented by mountain views, at Bridgton Highlands Country Club.
In the winter, you can head to Shawnee Peak Ski Area, the longest operating Maine ski resort with over 40 trails, seven glades, three terrain parks and snowmaking on 98% of their land. Or for cross-country skiing you can visit Five Fields Farm, an apple orchard located at an elevation of 850 feet, with groomed trails and a back-country trek leading to a view of Mount Washington, conditions permitting.
Artsy Downtown and Close-to-Town Fun
Bridgton’s downtown, lined with shops and galleries, showcases its love for the arts. Gallery 302, an artist co-op showcasing more than 40 exhibiting artists in a variety of mediums, will inspire and delight, while the Rufus Porter Museum of Art and Ingenuity promotes the life and legacy of Rufus Porter—artist, inventor and writer.
After perusing the galleries and shops, pop in for a bite to eat at one of these restaurants:
- The Black Horse Tavern: equestrian-themed restaurant featuring burgers, seafood, soups and more.
- Vivo’s Country Italian Kitchen & Bar: classic and mouthwatering rustic Italian cuisine.
- Morning Glory Diner: family-owned diner specializing in homestyle breakfast, lunches and dinner.
- Beth’s Kitchen Café: offering all-day breakfast, gourmet sandwiches, pizzas, made-from-scratch desserts and more.
- Campfire Grille: American Cuisine featuring creative comfort food, on-tap, local beers and cocktails.
- Standard Gastropub: burgers, street fare and an impressive selection of beers located in a renovated gas station.
End your day with a vintage twist: catch a movie (or two!) at the Bridgton Twin Drive-In Theatre. There are old classics, new films and a snack stand for late-night cravings.
From Ellsworth: 167 miles
From Bangor: 141 miles
From Lewiston/Auburn: 34 miles
From Portland: 39 miles