12 Best Places to Live in Maine (By Quality of Life)

by Jem
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Maine is more than just a state; it’s a lifestyle. From its rugged coastlines to its charming small towns and vibrant cities, the Pine Tree State offers a variety of living experiences set against stunning natural backdrops. But with its diverse offerings, finding your ideal Maine haven can be a bit overwhelming. Thƒat’s why I’ve crafted this guide to help you discover the best places to live in Maine.

I’ve roamed Maine from top to bottom, and I can vouch for its incredible diversity and allure. From the rocky shores of Acadia National Park to the tranquil lakes of the North Woods, and from the bustling streets of Portland to the laid-back vibes of coastal towns like Camden, Maine’s range of experiences is truly unparalleled. Whether you’re captivated by the call of the sea, the charm of quaint villages, or the bustling energy of urban centers like Portland, there’s a slice of Maine that feels tailor-made for you.

So, where should you begin? The perfect spot depends on individual preferences. Some may prioritize proximity to the ocean, others may seek out excellent schools, and for many, the cost of living will be the ultimate deciding factor.

Let’s get started as I delve into the top cities and towns to call home, based on what matters most to you. Having explored the many faces of Maine, I’m here to guide you through its best living options. I’ve poured over research, analyzed statistics, and conversed with locals to assemble a list that accommodates every lifestyle and budget. So, let’s dive right in!

The top places to live in Maine for all

The Best Places to Live in Maine

Eager to explore the most enchanting places in Maine? Situated in the northeastern corner of the U.S., Maine offers something for everyone. Continue reading to uncover the top places to live in this captivating state.

Searching where to live in Maine? No matter what you have in mind, Maine has a place that fits the bill.

  • Best for government and history: Augusta
  • Best for university life: Bangor
  • Best for seaside charm: Bar Harbor
  • Best for arts and culture: Belfast
  • Best for college town atmosphere: Brunswick
  • Best for sailing and sophistication: Camden
  • Best for suburban living: Cape Elizabeth
  • Best for families and education: Falmouth
  • Best for small-town feel near the city: Gorham
  • Best for quiet coastal life: Kennebunk
  • Best for urban vibes and coastal views: Portland
  • Best for arts and harbor: Rockland

Here are the must-know spots to consider for your new Maine residence:

1. Augusta

Imagine living in a place where history and modernity coalesce. Welcome to Augusta, Maine’s capital city, where you can stroll along the Kennebec River or visit the Maine State Museum. It’s a city that offers a blend of cultural experiences, from historical landmarks to contemporary art galleries.

Augusta isn’t just a political hub; it’s also a community where families thrive. Excellent schools and numerous parks make it one of the best places to live in Maine. The city’s cost of living is reasonable, making it accessible for various income levels.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find Augusta to be a playground. The Kennebec River offers opportunities for kayaking and fishing, while the Pine Tree State Arboretum is perfect for hiking and bird-watching. It’s the best city to live in Maine if you’re into a balanced lifestyle that offers both urban and natural experiences.

Augusta is a city that promises a rich living experience. It’s a place where you can enjoy the perks of city life without losing touch with nature. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor adventurer, or someone looking for a family-friendly environment, Augusta has got you covered.

Visit the Maine State Museum in Augusta, one of the best places to live in Maine.
Visit the Maine State Museum in Augusta, one of the best places to live in Maine.

2. Bangor

Step into a world where the arts flourish and history is preserved. Bangor, a city that’s more than just Stephen King’s hometown, offers a rich cultural scene. From the Bangor Symphony Orchestra to the Maine Discovery Museum, this city is a haven for the creatively inclined.

What sets Bangor apart is its community spirit. Local events like the American Folk Festival bring people together, making it one of the coolest places to live in Maine. The city also boasts a variety of dining options, from gourmet to comfort food, satisfying the palate of every resident.

For those who crave outdoor adventure, Bangor doesn’t disappoint. The Bangor City Forest is your go-to for hiking, mountain biking, and even cross-country skiing in the winter. Truly, it’s Maine’s best city to live for those who want a mix of urban and natural settings.

In essence, Bangor offers a lifestyle that’s both vibrant and relaxed. It’s a city that invites you to be part of a community while giving you the space to pursue your own interests. Whether you’re an artist, a foodie, or an adventurer, Bangor is a city that promises a fulfilling life.

Beyond being Stephen King's hometown, Bangor has a thriving arts and culture scene.
Beyond being Stephen King’s hometown, Bangor has a thriving arts and culture scene.

3. Bar Harbor

Picture this: waking up to the smell of saltwater and the sound of seagulls. Bar Harbor, a coastal town in Maine, offers just that and much more. Famous for its proximity to Acadia National Park, this town has a lot of lake house rentals. This makes it a dream come true for nature lovers.

Bar Harbor isn’t just a tourist destination; it’s a lifestyle. With its stunning ocean views and vibrant local culture, it’s easily one of the best places in Maine to live. The town offers a range of activities, from whale-watching tours to exploring the local art scene.

For the gastronomically adventurous, Bar Harbor is a seafood haven. Fresh catches of the day are a regular feature in local restaurants. It’s a nice city to live in Maine if you’re a foodie who appreciates the finer things in life.

To sum it up, Bar Harbor offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural richness. It’s a place where you can enjoy the ocean’s serenity while indulging in the local culture. From outdoor activities to culinary delights, Bar Harbor has something for everyone.

Maine's Bar Harbor is a seaside community that provides all of that and more.
Maine’s Bar Harbor is a seaside community that provides all of that and more.

4. Belfast

Envision a town where the past and present harmoniously coexist. That’s Belfast for you, a charming harbor town that’s steeped in history. From its 19th-century architecture to its modern art galleries, Belfast offers a unique blend of old and new.

Don’t let its small size fool you; Belfast is a hub of activity. With its thriving arts scene and local farmers’ markets, it’s one of the best places to live in Maine. The town’s waterfront is a bustling area with shops, restaurants, and even a footbridge that offers stunning views of the harbor.

Outdoor activities? Belfast has you covered. From kayaking in the bay to hiking in the nearby hills, it’s an adventurer’s paradise. It’s undoubtedly one of Maine’s best places to live if you’re someone who loves both culture and nature.

Belfast is a pretty harbor town. It’s a community that celebrates its history while embracing the new. Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a history buff, or an outdoor adventurer, Belfast offers a rich and fulfilling lifestyle.

Belfast is a picturesque, historically rich harbor town, one of the best places to live in Maine.
Belfast is a picturesque, historically rich harbor town, one of the best places to live in Maine.

5. Brunswick

Step back in time without leaving the comforts of modern life. Welcome to Brunswick, a town that perfectly marries its rich history with contemporary living. Home to Bowdoin College, this town is a hub of intellectual and cultural activities.

Brunswick is a college town and a community that values diversity and inclusion. With its various festivals and community events, it’s one of the good places to live in Maine. The town is also home to several parks and nature reserves, offering plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.

Foodies will find themselves at home in Brunswick. From gourmet restaurants to cozy cafes, the town offers a variety of dining options that cater to all tastes. One of the best Maine cities to live in if you appreciate good food and a vibrant community spirit.

In summary, Brunswick offers a lifestyle that’s both intellectually stimulating and relaxed. It’s a town that invites you to be part of a community while giving you the space to pursue your own interests. Whether you’re a student, a young professional, or a family, Brunswick promises a fulfilling life.

Brunswick is a town that successfully combines modern living with its historical heritage.
Brunswick is a town that successfully combines modern living with its historical heritage.

6. Camden

Imagine a place where the mountains meet the sea, creating a landscape that’s nothing short of breathtaking. That’s Camden for you, a coastal town that’s as picturesque as it is vibrant. Known for its sailing community, Camden is a haven for those who love the water.

What sets Camden apart is its sophisticated charm. With its upscale boutiques and gourmet restaurants, it’s one of the best areas to live in Maine. The town also boasts a thriving arts scene, featuring galleries, theaters, and even an opera house.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Camden Hills State Park offers hiking trails with panoramic views of the ocean. It’s one of the nice parts of Maine to live if you’re someone who appreciates both natural beauty and cultural richness.

To sum it up, Camden offers a unique blend of natural beauty and upscale living. It’s a town that allows you to enjoy the finer things in life while staying connected to nature. From sailing to shopping, Camden offers a diverse range of activities that promise a fulfilling lifestyle.

Camden is a bustling, picture-perfect coastal town.
Camden is a bustling, picture-perfect coastal town.

7. Cape Elizabeth

Picture yourself living in a place where elegance meets the rugged beauty of the Maine coastline. Cape Elizabeth is that dream realized, a town that’s home to the iconic Portland Head Light and stunning oceanfront properties. It’s a place where you can enjoy the serenity of the sea while still being close to the amenities of Portland.

Cape Elizabeth isn’t just about scenic beauty; it’s a community that values quality of life. With its excellent schools and low crime rates, it’s a great place to live in Maine. The town also offers a range of recreational activities, from hiking in Fort Williams Park to enjoying a day at Crescent Beach State Park.

For those who appreciate the finer things in life, Cape Elizabeth is home to some of the state’s most luxurious real estate. Oceanfront mansions and historic homes dot the landscape, making it a where is the best place to live in Maine for those with a taste for elegance.

Ready to make Cape Elizabeth your home? With its blend of natural beauty and upscale living, it’s a place that promises a life of fulfillment and luxury.

Cape Elizabeth, a community with breathtaking coastal homes and the famous Portland Head Light, is that ideal come true.
Cape Elizabeth, a community with breathtaking coastal homes and the famous Portland Head Light, is that ideal come true.

8. Falmouth

Envision a life where you’re close to the city but far enough to enjoy peace and tranquility. That’s Falmouth for you, a suburban town just north of Portland that offers the best of both worlds. With its top-rated schools and beautiful landscapes, it’s a community that’s perfect for families and professionals alike.

Falmouth is a suburb. A community that values education and outdoor living. With its excellent public schools and numerous parks, it’s one of the best Maine towns to live in. The town is also home to the Portland Yacht Club and several golf courses, offering plenty of opportunities for recreation.

For those who love to shop, Falmouth offers a range of options from local boutiques to well-known retail stores. It’s among the perfect places to move in Maine if you’re someone who enjoys a bit of retail therapy along with outdoor activities.

Ready to make the move? Falmouth’s blend of suburban peace and city-like amenities makes it a compelling choice for those looking to relocate.

Boasting the best of both worlds, Falmouth is a suburban town located north of Portland.
Boasting the best of both worlds, Falmouth is a suburban town located north of Portland.

9. Gorham

Imagine living in a town that’s both charming and conveniently located. Welcome to Gorham, situated just a short drive from Portland and the Maine coastline. Known for its historic sites like the Baxter House and the University of Southern Maine campus, Gorham offers a blend of educational and cultural experiences.

What sets Gorham apart is its community-focused lifestyle. With its local farmers’ markets and community events, it’s one of the top cities in Maine to live in. The town also offers a variety of outdoor activities, from hiking trails to fishing spots, making it a haven for nature lovers.

For food enthusiasts, Gorham has a burgeoning food scene. From farm-to-table restaurants to cozy cafes, the town offers a range of dining options that cater to all tastes. It’s one of the best Maine cities to live in if you appreciate a community that values both its history and its future.

Thinking about making Gorham your next home? Its ideal location near both natural wonders and urban conveniences makes it a standout choice for a well-rounded life.

Envision residing in a quaint village that is also ideally situated. Gorham is one of the best places to live in Maine.
Envision residing in a quaint village that is also ideally situated. Gorham is one of the best places to live in Maine.

10. Kennebunk

Picture yourself in a coastal town where the pace is relaxed but the lifestyle is anything but ordinary. That’s Kennebunk for you, a town that’s as famous for its sandy beaches as it is for its vibrant arts scene. From the Kennebunkport Festival to the numerous art galleries, this town is a haven for the creatively inclined.

Kennebunk isn’t just a summer destination; it’s a year-round community. With its excellent schools and low crime rates, it’s one of the best cities to live in Maine. The town also offers a range of recreational activities, from sailing to hiking, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

For those who appreciate fine dining, Kennebunk is home to some of the state’s best restaurants. Fresh seafood is a staple, and you’ll find a range of options from casual eateries to upscale dining experiences. It’s a what are the best places to live in Maine if you’re a foodie who appreciates the finer things in life.

Considering making Kennebunk your next home? The town’s blend of natural beauty and cultural richness makes it a compelling choice for those seeking a fulfilling coastal lifestyle.

The town of Kennebunk is well-known for both its thriving arts scene and its sandy beaches.
The town of Kennebunk is well-known for both its thriving arts scene and its sandy beaches.

11. Portland

Step into a city that’s as diverse as it is picturesque. Welcome to Portland, Maine’s largest city, known for its bustling arts scene, historic Old Port, and stunning coastal views. From the Portland Museum of Art to the Eastern Promenade, this city offers a rich tapestry of experiences.

Portland is a melting pot of cultures. With its various ethnic restaurants and cultural festivals, it’s one of the best towns to live in Maine. The city also offers a range of cozy log cabins, and outdoor activities, from kayaking in Casco Bay to hiking in the nearby mountains.

For those who love the nightlife, Portland has a vibrant scene. Craft breweries, live music venues, and trendy bars make it a place to live in ME for those who enjoy a lively evening out.

Thinking about making Portland your forever city? Its blend of urban excitement and natural beauty makes it a top choice for those seeking a dynamic yet scenic lifestyle.

Portland is well-known for its vibrant arts community, picturesque coastline, and Old Port.
Portland is well-known for its vibrant arts community, picturesque coastline, and Old Port.

12. Rockland

Unleash your creativity in a harbor town where art and culture are as abundant as the fresh sea air. Rockland stands as a beacon for artists and creatives, celebrated for its Farnsworth Art Museum and the iconic Maine Lobster Festival. It’s a locale where maritime traditions and cultural richness coalesce into a unique lifestyle.

Rockland isn’t just for artists; it’s a community that values its maritime heritage. With its working waterfront and historic lighthouses, it’s one of the top cities in Maine to live in. The town also offers a variety of outdoor activities, from sailing to hiking, making it a haven for nature lovers.

For food enthusiasts, Rockland is a seafood paradise. Fresh catches of the day are a regular feature in local restaurants that makes it the best Maine cities to live in if you’re a foodie who appreciates the ocean’s bounty.

Considering making Rockland your next creative haven? The town’s blend of artistic flair and maritime traditions makes it a compelling choice for those seeking a life less ordinary.

For creatives and artists, Rockland is a shining example.
For creatives and artists, Rockland is a shining example.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Places to Live in Maine

Looking to expand your knowledge about the best places to live in Maine? Here are some common questions I get a lot about the best Maine places to live in.

What city to move to in Maine?

Deciding on a city to move to in Maine depends on your lifestyle and preferences. If you’re looking for a bustling urban environment with a rich arts scene, Portland is a top choice. For those who prefer a more suburban setting with excellent schools, Falmouth is ideal. If you’re drawn to coastal charm and outdoor activities, Camden and Bar Harbor are excellent options. Brunswick offers a blend of intellectual and cultural activities, thanks to the presence of Bowdoin College. Each city has its unique offerings, making them some of the most livable cities in Maine.

What are the best parts about living in Maine?

Living in Maine comes with a plethora of benefits that cater to a variety of lifestyles. One of the most notable aspects is the state’s natural beauty, from its rugged coastlines to its scenic forests and mountains. Outdoor enthusiasts will find a haven in Maine, with activities ranging from hiking and skiing to sailing and fishing. The state also offers a strong sense of community, whether you’re in a bustling city like Portland or a smaller town like Camden. Maine is known for its fresh seafood, particularly lobster and clams, making it a nice city to live in Maine for foodies. Additionally, the state has a relatively low crime rate, adding to its appeal as a best place to live in Maine for families or anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of larger cities.

What are the best parts about living in Maine?

  • Natural Beauty: Maine offers a diverse range of landscapes, from rugged coastlines to scenic forests and mountains.
  • Outdoor Activities: Whether it’s hiking, skiing, sailing, or fishing, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy.
  • Strong Sense of Community: Whether you’re in a bustling city like Portland or a smaller town like Camden, the community vibe is strong.
  • Fresh Seafood: Known for its lobster and clams, Maine is a paradise for foodies.
  • Low Crime Rate: The state’s relatively low crime rate makes it a best place to live in Maine for families or those looking for a safer environment.
  • Cultural Richness: With numerous museums, art galleries, and festivals, Maine offers a rich cultural experience.
Maine has everything to offer everyone, from a vibrant metropolis to charming seaside villages and breathtaking rural vistas.
Maine has a vibrant metropolis, charming seaside villages, and breathtaking rural vistas.

Is it a good idea to move to Maine?

Moving to Maine can be a fantastic idea for several reasons. The state offers a high quality of life, with a focus on community and outdoor living. Its natural beauty is unparalleled, offering residents a chance to connect with nature in a meaningful way. Maine also has a lower cost of living compared to other New England states, making it among the good places to live in Maine for those looking to stretch their dollar further. Additionally, the state has a burgeoning job market, particularly in sectors like healthcare, education, and tourism. Whether you’re a young professional, a family, or a retiree, Maine offers a balanced lifestyle that combines the best of urban and rural living.

Is Maine a good place to live for families?

Absolutely, Maine is an excellent place for families for a variety of reasons:

  • Quality Education: Maine is known for its strong public and private schools, making it a best area to live in Maine for families prioritizing education.
  • Safety: With one of the lowest crime rates in the country, parents can have peace of mind.
  • Outdoor Activities: From hiking to sailing, families have a plethora of options for outdoor fun.
  • Community Involvement: Many towns and cities in Maine have a strong sense of community with various family-friendly events and activities.
  • Work-Life Balance: The state’s focus on community and quality of life makes it easier for parents to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Is Maine expensive to live in?

The cost of living in Maine is relatively moderate and can vary depending on the area. Cities like Portland tend to be more expensive, particularly when it comes to housing and dining out. However, compared to other New England states and major cities across the U.S., Maine is generally more affordable. Groceries and healthcare are close to the national average, making it a great place to live in Maine if you’re budget-conscious. Smaller towns and rural areas offer even more affordability, especially for those willing to commute a bit for work or amenities. Overall, Maine provides a range of options to suit different budgets, making it a where is the best place to live in Maine for both high and low-income earners.

What is a good salary in Maine?

A good salary in Maine can vary widely depending on your lifestyle and the area where you choose to live. In more urban areas like Portland, a household income of around $60,000 to $80,000 can provide a comfortable lifestyle. In smaller towns and rural areas, you might find that $50,000 to $70,000 is sufficient. These figures can cover housing, utilities, groceries, healthcare, and some leisure activities, making it among the places to move in Maine for those who are budget-conscious. However, if you’re looking for a more luxurious lifestyle, including frequent dining out, travel, and high-end amenities, you might aim for a salary above $100,000. Overall, Maine offers a range of lifestyle options that can fit various income levels, making it one of the nice parts of Maine to consider for relocation.

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Live in Maine

Maine is a state that offers something for everyone, from bustling cities to quaint coastal towns and scenic rural landscapes. Its diverse range of locales makes it a top destination for people from all walks of life. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a foodie, or someone looking for a strong sense of community, Maine has a place for you. Each city and town we’ve explored offers its unique blend of lifestyle options, making them some of the best Maine towns to live.

While the cost of living can vary, Maine generally offers a more affordable lifestyle compared to other New England states. Its focus on community and quality of life makes it an ideal place for families, young professionals, and retirees alike. The state’s burgeoning job market in sectors like healthcare, education, and tourism adds to its appeal, making it a practical choice for those looking to start or advance their careers.

If you’re contemplating a move, Maine is more than just a place to live; it’s a place to thrive. Its natural beauty, cultural richness, and community spirit make it a compelling choice for anyone looking to improve their quality of life. So why wait? Start planning your move to one of Maine’s incredible cities or towns today and experience firsthand what makes it such a unique and fulfilling place to call home.

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