15 Best Places to Live in Maine

Written by Darren Griffiths
Updated on
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Maine is the northeasternmost of the fifty US states. A versatile and vibrant landscape home to 1.3 million people. With an impressive 3500 miles of coastline to enjoy, you are never far from the sandy shores in Maine. The Atlantic coast is rugged and raw; waves crash against the rocks, and the lighthouses stand proud above the choppy waters below.

When we said Maine offers a versatile landscape, we weren’t kidding. Maine has a desert! Almost unheard of in a state that is so very coastal. Outside the town of Freeport lies 40 acres of smooth, sandy desert, becoming an evermore popular attraction for both domestic and international visitors.

Maine is a keen fishing state, and in 2014 it produced nearly 90% of the United State’s lobster yield. For those who are fans of seafood, you will feel right at home here in Maine.

Looking at this state as a potential place to live, you’re already onto a winner with easy access to outstanding natural beauty. We appreciate that proximity to the wild isn’t the be-all and end-all, so in our list of 15 best places to live in Maine, we have considered the quality of public schools, job opportunities, and general amenities.

1. Cape Elizabeth

Cape Elizabeth, MaineSource: Joe Dube / shutterstock
Cape Elizabeth

Along the shore or Casco Bay, you’ll find Cape Elizabeth, one of Maine’s best places to live. Cape Elizabeth has a rich history, lighthouses, and parks near the shore.

One of the best ways to get around Cape Elizabeth is to travel by bike. While coastal rides are popular among its residents, commuters can also travel over Casco Bay Bridge to South Portland.

Cape Elizabeth is also home to three famous lighthouses: Portland Head Lighthouse, Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse, and the Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse. While venturing around town, you’ll also come across Fort Williams Park, a great place to enjoy a picnic, explore the Arboretum trails, and socialize with friends.

With its alluring beauty of coastal waves crashing among boulders, it’s no wonder some are wanting to call Cape Elizabeth home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Cape Elizabeth are:

  • Fort Williams Park
  • Crescent Beach State Park
  • Goddard Mansion
  • Portland Head Lighthouse
  • Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse
  • Two Lights State Park
  • Richmond Island
  • Peak’s Island
  • Sea Fishing
  • Spurwink Church
  • Great Pond Trail
  • Winnick Woods
  • Alewives Brook Farm
  • C-Salt Gourmet Market
  • Seaglass Restaurant

2. Cumberland

Cumberland, MaineSource: InAweofGod'sCreation / Flickr

Located in southern Maine, the small town of Cumberland has been ranked as one of the best places to live in Maine. With around eight thousand residents, Cumberland is known for its charming atmosphere and local amenities.

While living in Cumberland, you’ll find that they’re are many outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, biking, outdoor fishing, and camping. You’ll also find many nature parks and historical landmarks like the Nonesuch River Wildlife Sanctuary.

If you consider calling Cumberland home, you’ll enjoy its tight-knit community where neighbors look after one another. Cumberland is one of the best places in Maine with natural beauty and to raise a family.

Cumberland’s cost of living is around twenty-five percent higher than the national average but well worth the move.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Cumberland are:

  • Cumberland Historical Society
  • Greely Institute
  • Prince Memorial Library
  • Twin Brook Recreation Area
  • Royal River Park
  • Beth Condon Pathway
  • William Merrill Monument
  • Lucinda’s Day Spa
  • Broad Cove Reserve
  • Fishing
  • Peak’s Island
  • Eartha
  • Louie’s Grille

3. Falmouth

Falmouth, MaineSource: InAweofGod'sCreation / Flickr

Located just north of Portland, you’ll find the town of Falmouth with an estimated twelve thousand residents. Falmouth has some of the best schools in Maine that provide educational services for grades K-12.

In this vibrant town, residents can rest easy knowing they don’t need to travel far to find what they want. Around town, you can find local attractions such as indoor and outdoor skating, shopping, nature parks, recreational facilities, and three golf courses.

In Falmouth, the cost of living is around thirty-six percent higher than the national average, but its to be expected living on the northern coast. In addition, Falmouth’s unemployment rate sits around three percent, lower than the national average.

If you’re considering moving to this historic coastal town, you won’t be disappointed with its waterfront beauty.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Falmouth are:

  • Orchid Thai Restaurant
  • Bernies Foreside
  • Footlights Theater
  • Gisland Farm Audubon Center
  • Mackworth Island
  • Presumpscot Falls Park
  • Falmouth Memorial Library
  • Maine State Ballet
  • Falmouth Nature Preserve
  • Portland Museum of Art
  • The Portland Observatory
  • Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine

4. Cumberland Center

Cumberland Center, MaineSource: InAweofGod'sCreation / Flickr
Cumberland Center

Cumberland Center in Cumberland County is home to 2,664 people. The majority of residents live in owned homes, 86%. The median monthly rent in Cumberland Center is consistent with the national average.

House prices here are not only some of the most affordable in all of Maine but also the best value for money. For a little above average, you can invest in a 4-bedroom, 4-bathroom family home with a spacious garden for the children to play and a private driveway.

The low crime rates in the area make Cumberland Center the best place to raise a family in Maine, as well as access outstanding schools. When you add proximity to outdoor activities and provisions of health services in the area, it is hard to find fault with this neighborhood.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Cumberland Center are:

  • Brook Recreation Area
  • Knight’s Pond Reserve
  • Siblings Bakery
  • Broad Cove Reserve
  • Annual Cumberland Fair
  • Sunflower Farm
  • Dara Bistro
  • Cumberland Farmers Market

5. Falmouth Foreside

Falmouth ForesideSource: wikipedia.org
Falmouth Foreside

Falmouth Foreside is one of the most desirable areas to live in Maine, but the steep house prices make this suburb an exclusive area. With dozens of properties boasting sea views, you are spoilt for choice in Falmouth Foreside if your budget can stretch.

There are some absolute bargains out there if you look hard enough. In some instances, you won’t get any change for $1m, but along other streets in the neighborhood, you can invest in a 3-bed, 3-bathroom family home with breathtaking views of the bay for half a million.

If you want to live in this beautiful neighborhood, home to 1,702 people, it is worth keeping a close eye on what properties are on the market.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Falmouth Foreside are:

  • River Point Conservation Area
  • Pine Grove Reserve
  • Falmouth Community Park
  • Walton Park

6. Yarmouth

Yarmouth, MaineSource: Dougtone / Flickr

Situated between Portland and Freeport, you’ll find the town of Yarmouth, one of Maine’s finest towns that people love to call home. This quiet town is located near the coastline and has gorgeous homes that look like they’ve been pulled right from a postcard!

Yarmouth has an excellent school system, which continues to attract families from all over the United States. One of the best things about Yarmouth is its convenient location within walking distance of local shops and restaurants.

With most residential homes only twenty minutes from downtown Portland, Yarmouth is one of the best places to live with its easy commute!

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Yarmouth are:

  • Yarmouth Historic Center
  • Cousins Island
  • Sandy Point Beach
  • Royal River Park
  • Grist Mill Park
  • Littlejohn Island Preserve
  • Beth Condon Pathway
  • Spear Farm Estuary Preserve
  • Chebeague Island
  • Pratt’s Brook Park
  • Camp Hammond
  • Toddy Brook Golf Course
  • West Side Trail Trailhead
  • Muddy Rudder Restaurant

7. North Yarmouth

 North YarmouthSource: InAweofGod'sCreation / Flickr
North Yarmouth

Yarmouth…North Yarmouth…it may be a case of which house takes your fancy when choosing between these two neighborhoods. Very little difference exists between amenities, house prices, schooling, or resident satisfaction. North Yarmouth has a more rural feel and is a little more sparsely populated.

Local people say that they can trust their neighbors and the area is clean and safe. The parks in the neighborhood are perfect for exercising or dog walking, a great place to let the kids go and run.

Most houses on the market are stand-alone, detached family homes with generous gardens encompassed by trees for added privacy. Typically American in design, you can choose from ample family homes in North Yarmouth.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in North Yarmouth are:

  • Toddy Brook Golf Course
  • Grist Mill Park
  • Royal River Grill House
  • Pineland Farms
  • Katherine Tinker Preserve
  • Old Town House Park
  • Sandy Point Beach

8. Scarborough

Scarborough, MaineSource: Daniel Zuckerkandel / shutterstock
Scarborough, Maine

With its gorgeous ocean views, sandy beaches, and convenient transportation access, Scarborough is one of Maine’s best places to live. Scarborough thrives with its twenty-one thousand residents, over sixteen thousand jobs, and over one thousand businesses.

Scarborough Maine remains a vibrant town to live in and provides many recreational opportunities for residents of all ages. The town has many diverse businesses, scenic neighborhoods, and natural landscapes.

With some of the best beaches on the coast of Maine, budget-friendly attractions, and a peaceful atmosphere, Scarborough is one of the best places in Maine to call home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Scarborough are:

  • Scarborough Marsh Nature Center
  • Pine Point Beach
  • Higgins Beach
  • Ferry Beach
  • Beech Ridge Motor Speedway
  • Maine Indoor Karting
  • Memorial Park
  • Fuller Farm Trail
  • Scarborough Downs
  • Scarborough Beach State Park
  • Prouts Neck Cliff Walk
  • Winslow Home Studio
  • Len Libby
  • Bayley’s Seafood Restaurant
  • Broadturn Farm

9. Freeport

Freeport, MaineSource: E.J.Johnson Photography / shutterstock

Freeport is home to many outlet stores so people trek from all around to visit the purveyors of the area. Freeport has a very rural feel, a small town home to eight thousand residents.

 Schools in the area come highly praised by local people who have been more than satisfied by the education received by their children.

Freeport has become one of Maine’s most popular vacation destinations and one of the best places to live in Maine. Located on the coastline of Casco Bag, Freeport is best known for its shopping, unique boutiques, mouthwatering restaurants, festivals, shoreline camping, and much more.

Many residents love living in Freeport for its scenic beauty, farm fields, architecture, and small-town feel that it offers. With a friendly and loving community and relaxed environment, it’s no wonder more people are beginning to call Freeport home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Freeport are:

  • Freeport Historical Society
  • Pettengill Farm
  • Casco Castle
  • Winslow Park
  • Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park & Center
  • Bradbury Mountain State Park
  • Desert of Maine
  • Leon Gorman Park
  • Maine Audubon
  • Porterfield Cider
  • Hedgehog Mountain Trail
  • Maine Beer Company

10. Farmington

Farmington, MaineSource: Wesley Fryer / Flickr

If you’re looking for a place with a small-town feel, unique experience, various amenities, and a peaceful atmosphere, you won’t be disappointed with Farmington as it’s one of the best places to live in Maine. Farmington has nature parks, hiking trails, art galleries, historic muezzins, and movie theaters.

Farmington’s local economy thrives from its small businesses, agriculture, and many job opportunities. Residents enjoy living in this tight-knit community of loving neighbors that make it easy to make friends.

In addition to its friendly community, Farmington has an abundance of outdoor recreation for residents of all ages, including hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and snowboarding.

The cost of living in Farmington is around eighteen percent lower than the national average, making it a great town to start and raise a family.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Farmington are:

  • The Nordica Homestead Museum
  • UMF Art Gallery
  • Farmington Fair
  • Farmington Underground
  • Wilson Lake
  • Maine State Museum
  • Fort Western
  • State Capitol
  • Sonny’s Museum
  • Skowhegan Riverwalk
  • Skowhegan Indian Monument

11. Portland

Portland, MaineSource: James Mattil / shutterstock

Standing strong and proud on the peninsula of Casco Bay, we find the city of Portland, Maine. The Old Port area has become very popular for affluent Maineiacs to invest in the converted warehouse apartments.

Portland is one of the state’s largest cities and one of the best places to live in Maine. This charming coastal town is a hot spot for tourists during the summer and has easy access to its beaches, forests, and other gorgeous landscapes in Maine.

Despite its small-town feel, Portland offers waterfront communities, coastal lighthouses, award-winning restaurants, art shops, and much more! The most popular beaches in Portland are Old Orchard Beach, Crescent Beach, and Willard Beach.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Portland are:

  • Portland Head Light
  • Peaks Island
  • Portland Arts District
  • Rockin’ Horse Stables
  • Lucky Catch Cruises
  • Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
  • Eastern Promenade

12. Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor, MaineSource: Miro Vrlik Photography / shutterstock
Bar Harbor

The island of Mount Desert that houses Bar Harbor is connected to the mainland by Highway 3. This is one of the most picturesque places to live in Maine and ideal for anyone who wants to be at one with the landscape and enjoy island life.

Known as the largest town on Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor is filled with natural beauty, historical landmarks, and its Maine Lobster. Bar Harbor has become a famous destination for tourists and residents in this quaint coastal town.

While walking around Bar Harbor, you’ll find plenty to explore, including walking across West Street and viewing Millionaires Row of luxury homes.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Bar Harbor are:

  • Acadia National Park
  • Cadillac Mountain
  • Abbe Museum
  • Bar Harbor Town Pier
  • Agamont Park
  • Jordan Pond
  • Criterion Theatre

13. Brunswick

Brunswick, MaineSource: edella / shutterstock

Slow and steady Brunswick readily welcomes newcomers to the area. Right on the bay, there is a strong community homey atmosphere here, despite twenty thousand residents calling it home.

Public schools in Brunswick are in no short supply, and although only Brunswick High School has an A rating, all the other sixteen schools in the area are performing at above-satisfactory levels.

There are some excellent local restaurants to enjoy for dinner and with brunch becoming a global phenomenon, why not brunch overlooking the bay? Most bars close at 1 am so there are no long and wild nights here but a social life to indulge in.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Brunswick are:

  • Harriet Beecher Stowe House
  • Bowdoin College
  • Thomas Point Beach
  • Brunswick Golf Club
  • Maine Bass Fishing Guide Service
  • Wyler Gallery

14. Kennebunk

Kennebunk, MaineSource: EQRoy / shutterstock

Kennebunk is a small town on Highway 95. There is a strong local community with many people born and bred in the town. The area is very safe and has a suburban aesthetic, but Kennebunk has a rural feel.

Many properties are on the market at any given time, and many have a classic wooden design. Almost all properties are on their plot of land, detached from any other homes. For half a million you can invest in an impressive 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom single-family home.

Median household income is a little over average to give you an idea of the status of residents here; happy, hardworking, salt of the earth Americans.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Kennebunk are:

  • Walker’s Point
  • Gooch’s Beach
  • Kennebunk Beach
  • Seashore Trolley Museum
  • The Spa at Rivers Edge
  • Brick Store Museum

15. Gorham

Gorham, MaineSource: Dougtone / Flickr

Gorham is rounding off our list of the best places to live in Maine. In Gorham, you can escape the hustle and bustle of city life and have everything you need all in one place. Gorham is located only twenty minutes from Portland and offers extra job opportunities for its residents.

While exploring Gorham, you’ll find out the town is home to the University of Southern Maine. Gorham is also known for its variety of historical landmarks and its historic districts that is home to various restaurants, shopping opportunities, and historic homes.

While living in Gorham, you’ll get to enjoy the gorgeous natural landscapes it offers and it’s welcoming residents.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Gorham are:

  • Baxter Memorial Library
  • Baxter House Museum
  • Gambo Preserve & Shaw Park
  • Mountain Division Trail
  • Little River Preserve
  • Gorham Country Club
  • Babb’s Covered Bridge
  • Orchard Ridge Farm
  • Little Sebago Lake
  • Sebago Brewing Company
  • Ocean Gardens Restaurant

15 Best Places to Live in Maine:

  • Cape Elizabeth
  • Cumberland
  • Falmouth
  • Cumberland Center
  • Falmouth Foreside
  • Yarmouth
  • North Yarmouth
  • Scarborough
  • Freeport
  • Farmington
  • Portland
  • Bar Harbor
  • Brunswick
  • Kennebunk
  • Gorham