Maine is known for its scenic beauty, charming small towns, and friendly people. With its rugged coastline, picturesque lighthouses, and quaint fishing villages, it’s no wonder that Maine is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
But Maine is more than just a vacation spot – it’s also a great place to live.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet country town, a bustling city, or something in between, Maine has something to offer everyone.
At the end of this post we’ll discuss some of the most popular activities that make Maine great. But to start, here are 12 of the best places to live in Maine:
Portland is Maine’s largest city and one of its most popular destinations.
Located on Casco Bay, Portland offers a vibrant arts scene, great restaurants, and easy access to the coast. The city has a bustling downtown area with plenty of shopping and nightlife, as well as numerous parks and green spaces.
Portland is also home to several colleges and universities such as The University of Southern Maine, making it a great place for students and young professionals.
The Old Port area of Portland is the most well known part of town, with its hip vibes and cobblestoned streets leading down to the waterfront. Some of the best bars and restaurants in Maine are located in this neighborhood.
Located toward the southern part of Maine’s midcoast region, Brunswick is a charming college town with a rich history. It is home to Bowdoin College, one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country, as well as several museums and cultural institutions.
Brunswick also has a thriving downtown area with great restaurants and shops, as well as easy access to nearby beaches and hiking trails.
3. Bar Harbor
When you ask people what towns in Maine they know, Bar Harbor is always near the top of the list.
Bar Harbor is a picturesque coastal town located on Mount Desert Island. It is home to the extremely famous Acadia National Park, one of the most popular national parks in the country, as well as numerous restaurants, shops, and art galleries.
Bar Harbor is a popular tourist destination in the summer months, but it also offers a great quality of life year-round and the surrounding communities on Mount Desert Island (MDI) are home to some of the countries most well known biomedical research labs.
Camden is a quintessential New England town located on Penobscot Bay.
It is known for its beautiful harbor, charming downtown area, and outdoor recreation opportunities. Camden is a popular destination for sailors and boaters, and it also offers great hiking, skiing, and other outdoor activities.
There are many lobster boat and other harbor tours departing from Camden in the summer, making it a very popular tourist destinations.
Be sure to take a hike or drive up Mount Battie for the best views of Camden, and the surrounding coastline and islands. It’s truly stunning.
Kennebunkport is a coastal town located in southern Maine.
It is known for its beautiful beaches, historic homes, and vibrant arts scene. Kennebunkport is a popular summer destination, but it also offers a great quality of life year-round, with great schools, cultural events, and outdoor recreation opportunities.
Located only 36 minutes drive from Portland, you can easily be in Maine’s largest city for dinner or entertainment.
Bangor is a city located in central Maine. It is close by to the town of Orono, home to the University of Maine, as well as numerous museums, theaters, and cultural institutions.
Bangor also offers easy access to outdoor recreation opportunities, including hiking, skiing, boating, and fishing. The city is also home to one of the largest malls in Maine.
Rockland is a coastal town located in the midcoast region of Maine. It is known for its vibrant arts scene, great restaurants, and stunning views of Penobscot Bay. Rockland is also home to several museums and cultural institutions, including the Farnsworth Art Museum.
The photo above is of the Rockland Breakwater — a 4,000 foot long walkway built in the 1890s that leads to a lighthouse.
This breakwater was built from local granite and exists to shelter ships in the nearby harbor from coastal storms.
Ogunquit is a small coastal town located in southern Maine.
It is known for its beautiful beaches, quaint shops, and great restaurants. Ogunquit is a popular destination in the summer months, but it also offers a great quality of life year-round.
Bath is a small city located on the Kennebec River. It is known for its historic architecture, great restaurants, and vibrant arts scene.
Bath is also home to Bath Iron Works, a major defense contractor shipyard located on the Kennebec River. The company was founded in 1884 as has been making warships ever since.
In March 2022, DownEast magazine voted Belfast as the best town to live in Maine.
Belfast is a small coastal town located in midcoast Maine. It is known for its beautiful harbor, quaint downtown area, and historic architecture.
Belfast is a popular destination for artists, writers, and musicians, and it also offers great restaurants, shops, and outdoor recreation opportunities with a beachfront public park and pool. There’s also an arts center which offers classes and activities for children and adults of all ages.
Belfast is also known for it’s yearly Celtic Festival and a variety of live music in the streets events.
This region of Maine is very well known for its lobster and lobster rolls, so be sure not to miss out!
Scarborough is a town located in southern Maine. It is known for its beautiful beaches, great schools, and easy access to Portland. The town lies only 6 miles from Portland, but still offers more outdoor activities and a relaxed vibe. Many families enjoy living in Scarborough.
Augusta is the capital city of Maine.
It is located on the Kennebec River and is known for its historic architecture, great restaurants, and cultural institutions.
Augusta is also within a short driving distance of several colleges and universities, making it a great place for students and young professionals. Augusta is only about an hours drive from Bangor, or a 55 minute drive from Portland, giving you plenty of options for things to do.
Why live in Maine?
Now that we’ve reached the end of our list, let’s talk about some of the reasons you might want to consider Maine in the first place:
Lifestyle & Activities in Maine
Beyond the picturesque landscapes and friendly neighborhoods, Maine offers a plethora of activities tailored for every individual.
The vast coastline invites water enthusiasts for boating, kayaking, and fishing.
Winter in Maine is equally enticing, with ski resorts like Sugarloaf, snowshoeing trails, and ice fishing hubs springing to life on the frozen lakes and ponds (be sure to check the thickness of the ice!)
The state’s rich arts and culture scene is evident in its local music festivals, art galleries, and theaters.
And for the gourmand, Maine’s seafood, especially its world-renowned lobsters, offers a culinary experience like no other.
Maine’s storied past is another reason that makes it a fascinating place to live.
The state played pivotal roles in early American history, with many towns boasting historical forts (check out Fort Knox), well-preserved mansions, and museums that chronicle the area’s rich heritage.
From Native American history to pivotal battles, the echoes of the past are present in every corner of Maine.
Events & Festivals
Maine’s vibrant spirit is most evident in its numerous events and festivals.
The state celebrates everything, from its seafood heritage with Lobster Festivals to its artistic soul with local Craft Fairs.
Anyone up for the New Year’s Polar Plunge?
These gatherings are not just a testament to Maine’s rich culture but also a wonderful opportunity for community bonding.
Here’s a great list of 70 annual Maine Festivals from VisitMaine.
So, where will it be?
Maine is a state full of beautiful places to live.
From charming coastal towns to bustling cities, Maine has something to offer everyone.
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retirement or a vibrant community, you’re sure to find it in one of these 12 best places to live in Maine.
The best places to live in Maine:
- Bar Harbor