If you’re looking for a state that combines low crime rates with excellent job prospects, a first-class school system, and some of the most stunning stretches of coastline in the country, you’ll struggle to find better than Maine. Its thousands of lakes, vast forests, and meandering rivers make it one of the number one hotspot’s for nature lovers, while its safe, attractive towns and cities make for some of the most family-friendly spots in the US. Find out which rank as the best of the best with our guide to the 20 best places to live in Maine.
20. Falmouth Foreside
Falmouth Foreside is unquestionably one of the best places to live in Maine. Its tiny population of 1,542 is so confident of their town’s desirability, they’re happy to fix a whopping $579,300 price tag to their properties. If you’ve got what it takes to move in, you can expect next to no crime, a median income of $96,250, and incredibly easy access to nearby Portland.
19. Bar Harbor
Situated on the little island of Mount Desert, Bar Harbor is unquestionably one of the prettiest places to live in all of Maine. Coupling scenic views with an almost nonexistent crime rate, a reasonable median salary of $53,053, and an abundance of dining opportunities and recreational pursuits, it’s a strong addition to our list, even if some may find the seasonal peaks and troughs of the tourist trade a little challenging.
With a 20,000 strong population, Brunswick straddles the divide between a city that’s large enough to always have something going on, and small enough to never lose its close-knit sense of community. As Crazy Tourist notes, most clubs and bars shut up shop at around 1 am, but there’s enough of a social scene to keep you entertained regardless. Property here is among the most affordable of all our entries, coming in at just $219,100 for a decently sized family home. The median income, meanwhile, may not reach the dizzying heights of some of our later additions, but it’s still respectably above the national average at $58,125.
Fancy moving into the town with the lowest unemployment rate in the state? Then make your way to Saco, a tourist hotspot that manages to combine affordable housing (expect to pay no more than $228,700 for a prime piece of real estate) with some great local attractions (its amusement parks, Ferry Beach State Park, and proximity to Old Orchard Beach are of particular merit), a low crime rate, great schools, and an above-average median income of $63,750.
Located within spitting distance of the big city attractions of Portland is the attractive city of Scarborough. Its thriving community is warm, welcoming, and apparently very, very happy to call Scarborough home, at least if the reviewers on Niche are anything to go by. “Scarborough is an amazing town in which nearly everyone can fit in. There are many different sections of town, you have multiple beautiful beaches, hiking trails, storefronts, and many other attractions nearby. The location is amazing, being just a short drive away from the shopping center of South Portland and the historic Old Port. The school system is one of the best in the state, and the whole town is very family-friendly,” enthuses one, while another comments, ‘I have lived here my entire life, and I have loved it a lot.”
If you’re in the market for an affordable, friendly town to raise your family, you may want to consider the little town of Brewer. As Live Snacks notes, the crime rate is among the lowest in the state, with only one incident of violent crime reported last year. The unemployment rate is similarly low, while the schools are among the best-funded in Maine. The real draw, however, is the property price: for just $159,900, you can net a more than decent family home with 4 bedrooms and a good-sized garden.
If you want to be able to get to Portland and Brunswick in less than a one-hour drive, while still enjoying a peaceful, idyllic piece of prime Maine countryside, you’ll struggle to do better than Falmouth. Property here might cost you a hefty $409,100, but considering the almost nonexistent crime rate, superlative local state schools, median household income of $108,547, and excellent commuting access, few would feel short-changed.
Hallowell makes our list thanks to an exceptionally low unemployment rate and a first-class school system. The frankly glowing reviews on Home Snacks don’t harm matters either, with one reviewer enthusing “Hallowell is indeed a great place to live! Most of the residents of Hallowell work in Augusta, as state workers/administrators, or in some role connected to the State. I know of some who work in Portland resulting in a 50 mile or so commute - but I'd that would be more than balanced by those who work in Augusta! Personally, my commute is 1.5 miles!”
Oakdale is a suburb of St. Paul with a population of 27,972, a low crime rate, good public services, an above-average median household income of $69,525, exceptional grade schools, a host of restaurants, bars and shops, and some of the most affordable housing in Maine. If you’ve set your cap on moving into the neighborhood, you should be able to do so for just a smidgen above $200,000.
For those who aren’t prepared to sacrifice the city lights for a sliver of the rural dream, Portland represents a highly attractive proposition. While its crime rate may be slightly higher than some of our other entries, its sizable population of 630,331 makes this almost inevitable. In the last decade or so, the city has grown exponentially and is now home to more attractions, amenities, and recreational facilities than the good city folk know what to do with. House prices have grown in proportion to its increasingly desirable status, and you’ll now find yourself with little change from $352,700 for a property. Fortunately, there are plenty of jobs on offer to support the cost of living, with the average salary coming in at a healthy $61,532.
10. North Yarmouth
Like its sistering neighborhood of Yarmouth, North Yarmouth benefits from beautiful natural surrounds, a great school system, low crime, and a relaxed (some might say downright sleepy) atmosphere. Property tends to be more affordable here than in Yarmouth ($299,900 should get you a very comfortable family home with a decent-sized garden) while the median income is even higher at $93,961. The only thing stopping it enjoying quite such a high position as its counterpart is the fewer number of things to see and do: if you’re looking for an abundance of activities and amenities, you may need to look slightly further afield.
9. Back Cove
As one of the best neighborhoods in Portland, Back Cove is home to a small population of 4,656, most of whom are more than a little proud to call themselves Back Coveians (at least if the reviews on Niche are anything to go by). “Loved living there. Quiet family-friendly neighborhood close to everything. Walking distance to bars and restaurants and only a short Uber ride to the old port,” says one. “There are so many options for good food here. Within walking distance, there are Italian, Mexican and Irish pubs and restaurants. The need for suitable foodstuffs isn't lacking here,’ adds another.
8. North Deering
If you fancy making the Portland neighborhood of North Deering your next home, you’ll be in good company. 15,914 residents have chosen to do exactly the same, attracted no doubt by the excellent range of public amenities and services, first-class schools, low crime rate, outstanding job prospects, median income of $92,765, and a booming property market that allows residents to happily advertise their homes for the princely sum of $313,242.
7. West End
A quick glance at some of the stats on West End will leave readers in little doubt as to why this small Portland neighborhood ranks so highly. 1. It has some of the best schools in the city. 2. It’s within easy commuting distance of the business hub of Portland. 3. Its crime rate is one of the lowest in Portland. 4. Its population of 7,523 residents is noted for their friendliness and diversity. 5. It offers all the amenities of the big city is a family-friendly, safe environment.
Enjoying many of the perks of higher-ranking towns, Cumberland is an ideal retreat for anyone in search of the quiet life. While the average house price is a considerable $364,400, its wealthy residents enjoy a good enough salary ($112,604 compared to the national average of $55,322) to afford it. With excellent schools, a perpetually low crime rate, friendly neighborhoods, and a relaxed atmosphere, the only thing stopping Cumberland climbing further up our list is the distantly sleepy air that might leave some wishing for a little more va-va voom.
If you’re looking for a vibrant nightlife, you’ll probably want to skip Yarmouth and move swiftly on. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to enjoy a slice of the quiet life in a suburban neighborhood that offers easy access to the rugged coastlines and stunning scenery for which Maine is so renowned, you’ll struggle to do better. The median home price of $351,600 is by no means cheap, but with most residents averaging a median income of $77,695, you’re unlikely to hear too many complaints about the cost of living. Great schools, accessible, well maintained public parks, an abundance of local businesses and an excellent infrastructure work to complete the very pretty picture.
Ranked as the best neighborhood to raise a family in Portland by Niche, few could question Rosemont’s appeal. Its population of 4,514 takes home an average income of $73,139 ($17,817 above the national average) while the average cost of a property is just $299,511 for an outright purchase or $1273 for a rental. Crime is virtually unheard of, while the schools are among the best in Portland. Last but by no means least (and as you’d expect of a neighborhood in Maine’s most populous city), access to public services and local amenities is exceptional.
3. Cumberland Centre
Home to just 2,664 people, Cumberland Centre is a dream come true for families looking for a safe, friendly community in which to raise their brood. The wealth of amenities on offer and a vast range of outdoor pursuits will leave even the hardest to please city slicker struggling to find a fault, while the great school system, median household income of $109,048, excellent health care services, and affordable housing makes it a very worthy addition to our list.
2. East End
Despite the high price of property in East End (the average is a substantial $390,657), 72% of the town’s 10,013 residents are prepared to bite the bullet and part with the cash. The decision is no doubt helped along by the fact the town offers an abundance of amenities, access to some of the best outdoor attractions in Maine, an incredibly low crime rate, a vibrant atmosphere, and is, all in all, the perfect place to raise a family.
1. Cape Elizabeth
In at number one is the stunning town of Cape Elizabeth. Safe, friendly, and just 5 minutes from the ocean, the town offers easy access to all the trails, beaches, and playgrounds needed to keep its population of 9,235 well and truly entertained. Add to that an excellent public-school system, consistently low crime rates, and a median household income of $106,157, and you can understand why the average property in this highly desirable enclave fetches the kingly sum of $388,200
Written by Liz Flynn
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