Maine is the northernmost state in the continental United States and can have some harsh winter weather. It is also a state that is part of a tight group of New England states that are within a few hours of each other. That means living in Maine is living in a part of New England that is accessible by car and boat by other states, giving residents the option to enjoy the best of Maine or visit the best of what other states have to offer.
With that in mind, here are the Five Best Places to Live in Maine.
1. Cape Elizabeth
With a population just under 10,000 Cape Elizabeth located in Cumberland county, is considered one of the best places to live based on its affordability and location. Nine out of 10 people who live in the smallish city are home owners, providing a stable environment for families who are raising children. If you are a renter, you are likely to pay just under $1000 a month, which is reasonable given the price of renting around the rest of the country. Recent statistics show that the number of violent crimes committed in the city was zero. It is an educated city, with more than 60 percent of the residents having some college or an Associate’s degree. With some of the best beaches in New England, it should not surprise anyone the state’s residents rate this among the best places to live.
Like Cape Elizabeth, Yarmouth is a smallish city, and some prefer to call it a town. Also located in Cumberland county, it has about 8500 residents. There are more opportunities for renters in Yarmouth, with the average rent coming in at just over $1000 a month. Many of its residents say it has a suburban feel to living there, so you are not likely to feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. Like its cousin city, it has a very educated population, and its violent and property crime rates are well below the national averages. The city-town is known for its friendly residents and tree-lined streets which make fall a special New England treat.
This is the Portland on the other side of the country. More like a typical city than the first two choices on this list, it is also significantly larger than the two, posting a population of just under 67,000 people. It is also more like a typical city as it has more renters than home owners. Despite the appeal to renters, the average monthly rent is slightly below the national average. Consistent with the other places on this list, it has an educated population, with more than 70 percent having at least some college or an Associate’s degree. Residents love the many shops and restaurants to choose from, with one word that consistently comes up in conversations about the city – opportunity.
Just north of Yarmouth on I-295, this town of 8200 people mirrors Yarmouth in its renter-to-owner ratio. The rents are slightly higher, closer to the national average. Its violent and property crime rates are also similar to Yarmouth. What makes Freemont an interesting place to live is the large number of tourists that come to the town every year, boosting local economies. Some residents say there is not enough public transportation, but that seems odd in a town of just 8200 residents. It is definitely a place for people who love to go hiking or generally enjoy the outdoors.
5. Bar Harbor
Bar Harbor makes the list for a number of very positive reasons. The first is with a population of about 5300 people, it has a close knit community feel about it. Another is its location near to Arcadia National Park, making it perfect for adventurers and the outdoorsy types. There is a nice mix of renters to homeowners (43 percent renters) which keeps rents below the national average. This mix of residents gives you a sense that there is much to do for both singles and families. Younger people tend to feel somewhat isolated out on the island, but older people find it a nice place to retire – if you like the cold weather. The isolation disappears during the summer months as Bar Harbor is a major tourist attraction.
Whichever of these places you choose to consider moving to, remember that all of them have high home values, so you will have to shop around for a good price on a home. Also remember that if you look at the crime statistics, they will likely be inflated because all of these places have a high volume of tourists during the year. The tourist traffic invites property crimes such as theft. When you consider all of the advantages each city and town on this list offers, it is just a matter of personal lifestyle that will help you decide which is best for you.