A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Boston vs. Portland, Maine for Food, Beaches, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Boston or Portland, Maine?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Boston and Portland, Maine. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Boston

Boston is a classic, historic, and traditional classic. As it's a big city, visitors will find plenty to do, too. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. Other popular activities here include food, shopping, and museums.

Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine is a laid-back, scenic, and picturesque coastal town. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for food, beaches, and hiking.

Boston and Portland, Maine: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Big city activities
Cons
  • Less attractive beach
Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less popular at Christmas
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


How is Boston different from Portland, Maine?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Portland, Maine and Boston. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Boston or Portland, Maine better for Food?

Dining out at restaurants in both Boston and Portland, Maine can be an enjoyable experience.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Boston makes for a great culinary experience. Famous local foods include New England Clam Chowder, lobster rolls, and baked beans.

Portland, Maine has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. The town is famous for its seafood, lobster rolls (and whole lobsters!), and Haddock.

Boston
Portland, Maine


Is Boston or Portland, Maine better for Beaches?

Portland, Maine provides a better beach experience than Boston.

Many people visit Portland, Maine for it's beautiful beaches. It has many sandy and calm beaches. The water may be too cold to swim, but the beaches are perfect for flying a kite or hanging out with family.

You can check out the beach in Boston. There are a few urban beaches in the greater Boston area that you can explore on a nice day.

Boston
Portland, Maine

Is Boston or Portland, Maine better for Shopping?

Both Boston and Portland, Maine are good shopping destinations.

Boston is a great destination for shopping. Head to Back Bay for some of the best high end shops.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Portland, Maine. The town has many nice local boutiques to explore.

Boston
Portland, Maine

Is Boston or Portland, Maine better for Christmas?

Boston is usually the more popular destination around Christmas.

Boston is an extremely popular place to visit during the Christmas season. Christmas comes to life in the city with its Christmas Trees, holiday shows, and festivals.

The Christmas holiday can be fun in Portland, Maine. Watch the Christmas tree lighting or listen to the symphony at Christmas time.

Boston
Portland, Maine

Is Boston or Portland, Maine better for Families?

Both Boston and Portland, Maine are family-friendly destinations.

Boston is a very family-friendly place to visit. Popular activities for all ages include the Museum of Science, the New England Aquarium, and exploring the history, gardens, and parks around town.

Portland, Maine is a family-friendly classic. It is a charming town with a number of kid-friendly museums, walks, and waterfront activities.

Boston
Portland, Maine


Is Boston or Portland, Maine better for Couples?

Boston and Portland, Maine both fun destinations for a couple.

Boston is a nice destination for couples. Couples who enjoy history will enjoy exploring the city. Take a swan boat ride in the Public Garden and wander the unique route along the Freedom Trail.

Portland, Maine makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples will enjoy the beautiful waterfront setting, the fine dining restaurants, and everything that the city has to offer.

Boston
Portland, Maine

Is Boston or Portland, Maine better for Public Transit?

While Portland, Maine and Boston both provide public transit, overall the system in Boston is considered to be better.

Visitors in Boston can get around quickly with the extensive public transit system. There's the T, which is the subway, as well as a trolley, bus, and water transportation system.

Public transit is quite limited in Portland, Maine. There is a very basic bus system.

Boston
Portland, Maine

Is Boston or Portland, Maine a more walkable city?

Boston is generally more walkable than Portland, Maine.

It is easy to get around Boston on foot. The many parks and compact neighborhoods are best explored on foot.

Portland, Maine is generally not a very walkable classic. Downtown is very walkable but if you want to travel to other areas you'll need a car.

Boston
Portland, Maine

Should I spend more time in Portland, Maine or Boston?

How long in Boston or Portland, Maine?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Boston and Portland, Maine. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Boston than Portland, Maine.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Boston is 3-5 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Portland, Maine is 2-3 days.


  • How many days in Boston or Portland, Maine? Ideal Length of Stay
    Boston 3-5 
    Portland, Maine 2-3

One day in Boston or Portland, Maine?

Boston is a big city with plenty to do. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. It's no surprise that museums is why people visit. Take your pick from the many activities offered around the area. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Many travelers enjoy the shopping and food when visiting the destination of Portland, Maine. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.


A weekend in Boston or Portland, Maine?

Boston is a big city with plenty to do. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. The entire area has lots to do. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

Portland, Maine is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Boston or Portland, Maine?

Boston is a great place to explore. Visiting the old town is also a must. It's no surprise that museums is why people visit. This classic offers something for everyone. It is common to spend five days here. Five days is often enough time to spend here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Portland, Maine. Most people come for the beaches. Five days may feel like too much time here unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Boston or Portland, Maine?

Many people enjoy the live music and food when visiting Boston. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the picturesque destination of Portland, Maine. This coastal town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Which city is cheaper, Portland, Maine or Boston?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Boston is $203, while the average daily cost in Portland, Maine is $154. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Boston and Portland, Maine in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Boston $132
    Portland, Maine $92
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Boston $264
    Portland, Maine $184
Compare Hotels in Boston and Portland, Maine

Looking for a hotel in Boston or Portland, Maine? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Boston


Hotels in Portland, Maine


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Boston $28
    Portland, Maine $27
Typical Local Transportation prices in Boston

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Boston are as follows:


  • Taxi
    $35
  • Subway Daily Pass
    $9.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Boston

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Boston:

  • Airport Transfer by Private Car Service: $55
  • Arrival Private Transfer Boston Airport BOS to Boston Business or Luxury Vehicle: $67
  • Boston Airport Private Sedan Transfer: $143
  • Boston Airport Transfer Arrival And Departure: $340
  • Boston Logan Airport (BOS) to Boston - Arrival Private Transfer: $71
  • Boston Logan Airport (BOS) to Boston - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $142
  • Boston to Boston Logan Airport (BOS) - Departure Private Transfer: $71
  • Boston Logan International Airport Private Transfer: $68
  • Private Boston International Airport (BOS) Transfer: $112
  • Boston’s Logan International Airport to Providence - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $361
  • Boston’s Logan International Airport to Providence – Arrival Private Transfer: $180
  • Departure Private Transfer Boston to Boston Airport BOS Business-Luxury Vehicle: $67

Is it cheaper to fly into Boston or Portland, Maine?

Prices for flights to both Portland, Maine and Boston change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Boston $40
    Portland, Maine $39

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Boston

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Boston.

  • Boston's North End "Little Italy" Pizza, Cannoli, and Freedom Trail Walking Tour: $49
  • Boston's North End Small-Group Walking Food Tour: $71
  • Fenway Neighborhood Food Tour (Boston): $79
  • Buffet Lunch or Dinner Cruise on Boston Harbor: $81
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Boston North End: $103
  • Spirit of Boston Sunset Dinner Cruise with Buffet: $105
  • Boston Odyssey Dinner Cruise: $118
  • Lunch or Dinner Cruise on the Odyssey: $122
  • North End Neighborhood Food Tour: $150

Typical Food prices in Portland, Maine

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Portland, Maine:


  • Breakfast for 2
    $17
  • Dinner for 2
    $30

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Boston $26
    Portland, Maine $31
Typical Entertainment prices in Boston

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Boston are as follows:


  • Two Tickets to Celtics Game
    $101
  • Duck Tour
    $32

Tours and Activities in Boston

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Boston are as follows:

  • Self-Guided Smartphone Ghost Walking Tour in Boston: $3.95
  • Self-Guided Boston Christmas Tour: $4.50
  • The Great Cannoli Tour: $5.00
  • Boston Harborwalk & Tea Party Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.00
  • Boston's Freedom Trail - Smart Phone guided (GPS) walking tour - go anytime: $5.00
  • The Ghosts of Boston's Past Haunted Self-guided Tour: $5.00
  • Boston's Freedom Trail, 3 tours in 1, Smart Phone Guided Tour (GPS) - go anytime: $7.99
  • Freedom Trail Best Tour (Boston Common to Faneuil Hall): $15
  • Boston Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Freedom Trail Walking Tours: $16
  • Tour of The Freedom Trail: $16
  • Downtown Freedom Trail Walking Tour in Boston: $20

Tours and Activities in Portland, Maine

Here are a few actual costs in Portland, Maine for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Portland: Old Port Culinary Walking Tour: $129
  • Portland: Old Port Seafood Lovers Tour: $142

For more ideas for your next trip, check out Free Things to Do in Boston, Must-See Monuments and Memorials In Boston, and The Best Things To Do in Boston with Kids.


Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Boston $22
    Portland, Maine $19

Sample the Local Flavors in Boston

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Boston:

  • Haunted Boston Ghost and Pub Walking Tour: $27
  • Historic Pub Crawl Tour along the Freedom Trail: $56
  • Sip of Boston Guided Brewery Tour: $90


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Boston and Portland, Maine, we can see that Boston is more expensive. And not only is Portland, Maine much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Portland, Maine would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Portland, Maine and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Boston would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Boston than you might in Portland, Maine.


When is the best time to visit Boston or Portland, Maine?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Boston or Portland, Maine in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Boston and Portland, Maine. The beaches, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Boston this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Portland, Maine for the beaches, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Boston is generally a little warmer than Portland, Maine. Temperatures in Boston average around 73°F (23°C), and Portland, Maine stays around 69°F (20°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Portland, Maine this time of the year. In Boston, it's very sunny this time of the year. Boston usually receives more sunshine than Portland, Maine during summer. At this time of the year, Boston gets 304 hours of sunny skies, while Portland, Maine receives 282 hours of full sun.

In July, Boston usually receives more rain than Portland, Maine. At this time of the year, Boston gets 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain, while Portland, Maine receives 2.6 inches (66 mm) of rain.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Boston 73°F (23°C) 
    Portland, Maine 69°F (20°C)

Should I visit Boston or Portland, Maine in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Boston as well as Portland, Maine. Many travelers come to Boston for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Additionally, many visitors come to Portland, Maine in the autumn for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

Boston is a little warmer than Portland, Maine in the autumn. The temperature in Boston is usually 54°F (12°C) in October, and Portland, Maine stays around 49°F (9°C).

In the autumn, Boston often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Portland, Maine. Boston gets 194 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Portland, Maine receives 196 hours of full sun.

Boston usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Portland, Maine. Boston gets 3.3 inches (84 mm) of rain, while Portland, Maine receives 3.3 inches (84 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Boston 54°F (12°C) 
    Portland, Maine 49°F (9°C)

Should I visit Boston or Portland, Maine in the Winter?

Both Portland, Maine and Boston are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Boston in the winter for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine. Also, most visitors come to Portland, Maine for the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Portland, Maine can be very cold during winter. Boston can get quite cold in the winter. In the winter, Boston is much warmer than Portland, Maine. Typically, the winter temperatures in Boston in January are around 29°F (-2°C), and Portland, Maine is about 21°F (-6°C).

Boston usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Portland, Maine during winter. At this time of the year, Boston gets 153 hours of sunny skies, while Portland, Maine receives 163 hours of full sun.

In January, Boston usually receives around the same amount of rain as Portland, Maine. At this time of the year, Boston gets 3.4 inches (87 mm) of rain, while Portland, Maine receives 3.4 inches (86 mm) of rain.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Boston 29°F (-2°C) 
    Portland, Maine 21°F (-6°C)

Should I visit Boston or Portland, Maine in the Spring?

Both Portland, Maine and Boston during the spring are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Boston for the beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty during these months. Also, the spring months attract visitors to Portland, Maine because of the beaches and the natural beauty.

In April, Boston is generally a little warmer than Portland, Maine. Temperatures in Boston average around 48°F (9°C), and Portland, Maine stays around 43°F (6°C).

In Portland, Maine, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Boston. In the spring, Boston often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Portland, Maine. Boston gets 225 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Portland, Maine receives 212 hours of full sun.

Boston usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Portland, Maine. Boston gets 3.5 inches (89 mm) of rain, while Portland, Maine receives 3.3 inches (85 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Boston 48°F (9°C) 
    Portland, Maine 43°F (6°C)

Typical Weather for Portland, Maine and Boston

Boston Portland, Maine
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 29°F (-2°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 21°F (-6°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm)
Feb 30°F (-1°C) 3.7 inches (94 mm) 24°F (-5°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm)
Mar 38°F (4°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm) 33°F (1°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm)
Apr 48°F (9°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 43°F (6°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
May 58°F (15°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Jun 68°F (20°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 63°F (17°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)
Jul 73°F (23°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 69°F (20°C) 2.6 inches (66 mm)
Aug 72°F (22°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 67°F (20°C) 2.6 inches (66 mm)
Sep 64°F (18°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 59°F (15°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
Oct 54°F (12°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 49°F (9°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Nov 45°F (7°C) 4.3 inches (108 mm) 39°F (4°C) 4.8 inches (123 mm)
Dec 33°F (1°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm) 27°F (-3°C) 4.1 inches (103 mm)


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Boston vs. Portland, Maine Travel Comparison

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