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L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Programs
Location: Freeport and other communities
Region: Greater Portland & Casco Bay
Activities: Classes and workshops in outdoor skills including fly casting, shooting sports, paddle sports, mountain biking, etc.
Your shotgun gathers dust in the closet, your flyrod hangs unused in the attic and your kayak is lonesome in the garage. Maybe it’s time you learned how to use the darned things.
L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Programs are here to help. Since 1979, Bean’s classes, workshops, trips and private lessons have introduced folks to new outdoor skills and encouraged them to brush up on old ones. In 2019, a record number of people—over 225,000—participated.
Bean’s Discovery Series remains the programs’ most popular. For $29.95, students spend an hour and a half answering existential questions about some select outdoor endeavors, such as ‘Can I really hit that flying thingy with this shotgun?’ (Sporting-clays shooting), ‘Can people really navigate this way?’ (Map & Compass) or ‘Am I going to hit that tree?’ (Mountain Biking). The Discovery Series also offers intro courses in kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, fly casting and archery. The series is fun not only for grown-ups but for kids as well, since classes are brief, inexpensive and lead them to sports that might last a lifetime.
Folks who find a new outdoor passion, or want to revive an old one, can take longer courses or programs, such as private classes in fly casting, fishing trips on the Androscoggin River or more detailed introductions to shotgun sports. There’re even days-long courses in outdoor specialties like Wilderness First Responder as well as overnight trips. Many courses are in Freeport, Bean’s headquarters, while others are scattered throughout Maine and in other states.
Warm-weather programs generally run into autumn. Check for schedules and locations.
From Bangor: 114 miles
From Lewiston / Auburn: 20 miles
From Portland: 17 miles