From Kennebunk to Bangor, each rink offers something a little different.
If you live in Maine and like to ice skate, or somehow have never tried this affordable, family-friendly activity, there’s no excuse not to.
The state has too many ice skating rinks to count, from free, 24-hour local recreation department setups to oh-so-cool open-air venues to indoor arenas where NHL-sized rinks carve public skating sessions into their hockey-packed schedules.
Ideal natural skating conditions on lakes and ponds are usually fleeting, but some communities and organizations clear and maintain pond ice for skating as weather permits.
We’ve assembled a sampling of skating venues around the state with something for everyone: families, newbies, couples out for a romantic twirl, guys and gals up for a pickup game with a puck and folks on a budget.
Skaters may get the smaller outdoor rinks to themselves. Larger ones offer places to warm up or grab a bite. Head to an indoor skating arena and leave weather worries at the door. Tip: Many rinks increase public skating hours during school vacation week, Feb. 20-24 this year.
51 Main St., Kennebunk, kennebunkmaine.us
Skating is free (no rentals) at this open-sided town rink in the middle of Kennebunk’s quaint downtown. The roof should help keep the ice in good shape, plus the rink has its own Zamboni resurfacing machine run by community members. Check the webcam on the website to see if the rink is crowded. No hockey sticks or pucks allowed. Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. the other days of the week.
THE RINK AT THOMPSON’S POINT
10 Thompson’s Point Road, Portland, (207) 747-9399, therinkatthompsonspoint.com
One of Maine’s premier skating venues, The Rink at Thompson’s Point overlooks the Fore River just off Interstate 295 and is part of a redevelopment project at the former industrial site. The outdoor rink is only in its second season but has already upped its offerings. An impressive two-story, four-lane snow tubing structure was built beside the rink, which was expanded to 80-by-121 feet to provide more room for figure skaters. You don’t need to remove your skates to head over to the warming areas, beer yurt and food trucks. Cost: $8 for a two-hour session (ice is resurfaced between sessions). Open 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. Check the website for special events. Weekend hours all week long during school vacation week in February.
CITY OF PORTLAND RINKS AND SKATING PONDS
Various locations, Department of Recreation, Parks and Facilities, (207) 808-5400, portlandmaine.gov
City-owned William B. Troubh Ice Arena, 225 Park Ave., has daily public skating sessions ($5 adults, $3 children and seniors, $2 skate rentals) and offers pickup hockey. The city clears and maintains ponds for ice skating at Deering Oaks and Payson parks and behind Deering High School, 370 Stevens Ave., and Breakwater School, 856 Brighton Ave. At city-owned Riverside Golf Course, two barrier-free outdoor rinks – one that’s lit at night – sit side-by-side on the North Course, near Riverside Grill restaurant.
FAMILY ICE CENTER
20 Hat Trick Drive, Falmouth, (207) 781-4200, familyice.org
Ice skate indoors or out at this outstanding nonprofit facility. Lovely Lee Twombly Pond has been hailed as one of the best outdoor skating spots in the country. Anchoring the curving 13,600-square-foot “pond” (it’s really refrigerated ice contoured to look like one) is a cabin-style warming house with indoor and outdoor fireplaces and space to stash gear. Skate rentals ($2) are inside the neighboring skating and community center, which has one public skating session most days on its NHL-sized rink and adds more during schools’ winter break. Skating costs $5 (age 5 and under free) for pond and rink, though usually just the pond is open to the public (10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily; pond skating is free for Falmouth residents). You can keep your skates on if heading indoors to the vending machines or snack bar, which opens for events, including figure and speed skating competitions and hockey games. Pond skaters love taking a break to catch some rink action.
High and Marshall streets, Bath, cityofbath.com
This skating pond has a warming hut, concession stand and bathroom and is lighted for night skating – not to mention, it’s close to the shops and restaurants in Bath’s charming downtown. Look for a green sign to mark safe conditions or a red sign if the ice is not safe. Hours: Dawn to 9 p.m. daily; warming hut 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, noon to 9 p.m. weekends.
ANDROSCOGGIN BANK COLISÉE
190 Birch St., Lewiston, (207) 783-2009, thecolisee.com
The name of this hockey and events center attests to Lewiston’s French-Canadian heritage, as does its impressive hockey legacy and the poutine sold at the snack bar. Two current Canadian-born NHL stars, Jonathan Bernier and David Perron, played for the Lewiston MAINEiacs, a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team based here from 2003 to 2011. Opened in 1959 under a different name, the facility’s biggest claim to fame is hosting the boxing rematch between Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali in 1965. The well-maintained 80-foot-by-120-foot arena seats a few thousand and looks much as it did then. Public skating ($5 adults, $3 children; skate rentals $3) and pickup hockey sessions are held several times a month (times vary, check the website), and every day but Sunday of February school break. And when area schools close for snow, public skating is on at the Colisée.
SAWYER ICE ARENA
107 13th St., Bangor, (207) 947-0071, bangorparksandrec.com
Public skating sessions at this city-owned arena have set times but are “subject to change,” notes the website. So, call before heading here, especially if you’re traveling a distance. But with public skates scheduled daily, this NHL-sized, utilitarian rink in the city’s Hayford Park is a good destination for skating enthusiasts. Newbies, not so much, as there are no skate rentals. Weekday sessions from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. are $3; weekend sessions are $5, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. There’s also free outdoor skating in some Bangor parks.
SUGARLOAF OUTDOOR CENTER
Off Route 27, Carrabassett Valley, (207) 237-6830, sugarloaf.com
This NHL-sized outdoor rink is behind a lodge that’s home base for non-Alpine offerings (also cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and winter biking) at Sugarloaf Mountain Resort in western Maine, one of the state’s two big ski resorts. Head inside to warm up at the fireplace or grab a bite at Bull Moose Bakery & Cafe. Rink hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. Fees ($10 adults, $7 children; rentals $7) are good for the day. Pickup hockey is Tuesday and Thursday, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Ray Routhier contributed to this article.