Though South Portland is home to the Maine Mall, the largest shopping mall in the state, the city offers a great deal of other things to do in the summer. From cozy cafes and scenic ocean spots, check out a few of my favorite places outside of the commercial hub of Maine.
158 Pickett Street Cafe
Located near Southern Maine Community College (SMCC)'s campus, 158 Pickett Street Cafe has delicious bagels and coffee. We visited during the hottest weekend so they were serving a "too hot to cook" menu. That was okay though, as we came looking for some iced coffees and a bite to eat for breakfast.
At first glance it looks like a little shack, but don't let appearances fool you.158 Cafe has some great food and coffee, and unique outdoor seating. Tucked in the cafe's backyard is plenty of picnic tables under the shade of a huge tree. I was in heaven on earth while eating my honey walnut bagel: a sesame bagel topped with honey and candied walnuts. Although a messy dish, I definitely recommending ordering this if you have a sweet tooth!
Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse
You have to drive through SMCC's campus to get here, but Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse is available for anyone to visit. The small lighthouse is posted at the end of a 900-foot jetty and makes a perfect backdrop for photos.
You can make your way out onto the rocky path towards the lighthouse or simply enjoy the scenic views around you at the small beach nearby. In the distance, you are able to see the Portland Harbor, the Casco Bay Islands, and some historic forts.
Scratch Baking Co.
Scratch Baking Co. is a small neighborhood bakery that is known for their scrumptious bread and baked treats. You might have a hard time deciding what to get since everything displayed in their cases looks mouth-watering, but I promise you won't go wrong with a bagel or a cookie the size of your head. Serving local coffee from Coffee by Design, Speckled Ax, and Rwanda Bean Co., you can always count on a good cup of joe to go with your baked treat.
If you’re headed to Portland Headlight then Scratch is an essential stop you have to make along the way. Or grab your goodies and head down the street to eat them at Willard Beach, a short 2-minute drive away.
Scratch has a second location called the "Toast Bar" dedicated to their famous bread and bagels. With a wide array of toppings including homemade jams and jellies, flavored cream cheeses, and Casco Bay Butter, there's something for everyone. Read more about my visit to the Toast Bar here!
Nestled in a private neighborhood, Willard Beach is a local go-to for a stress free beach visit off the beaten path. While many tourists are distracted with the popular beaches in Southern Maine such as Old Orchard or Pine Point, you can find usually find less people and free parking at South Portland's Willard Beach.
With a glimpse of the Portland Headlight and Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse in the distance, Willard Beach also has some of the prettiest views. If you are looking for a spot to cool off this summer, this is the perfect place to take a dip in the water or to enjoy the ocean breeze.
Thanks for reading!