Thinking about moving to Maine? If the name conjures up images of waves crashing over rocky outcroppings, lobster traps, blueberries and clam bakes, it’s no wonder since they’re engrained in the experience. From its abundant natural wonders and thriving arts scene to its comfortably paced, laid-back lifestyle and economic prosperity, the Pine Tree State has plenty going for it. And when you factor in its picturesque coastal towns, villages and lighthouses and some of the best seafood available anywhere in the U.S., finding your home in Maine could be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.
Maine at a Glance
With just under 1.4 million residents and a total area of 33,215 square miles, Maine is larger than the other five New England states combined. Given there’s a low population density of 44.2 people per square mile, there is plenty of wide-open space, making it a great option for those who love to roam — both now and in the future since the population grew by just 2.6% over the last decade.
Wherever you look, Maine’s natural beauty is a feast for the eyes. There are 17 million acres of forests, 3,478 miles of Atlantic coastline, 65 of the world’s most painted and photographed lighthouses and a fall foliage season full of breathtaking colors. And let’s not forget one of the nation’s most visited national parks, as well as the 92-mile Allagash Wilderness Waterway, a mecca for canoers and kayakers.
But beyond hiking, kayaking and sightseeing, Maine also offers an impressive selection of restaurants, a bustling arts scene and a host of other recreational options to enrich your free time. Whether you’re looking to ski down the mountain at Sugarloaf USA, hike on the state’s 160 miles of trails, take in an exhibit at Farnsworth Art Museum or set sail on a whale-watching expedition, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy.
Considering a move to Maine? Read on to learn more about what Maine has to offer — and how we can simplify and streamline your relocation.
Advantages of Moving to Maine
If you’re a nature lover, Maine has so much to offer you. Close to 90% of Maine consists of forested land, complete with 32 state parks and its crown jewel, Acadia National Park.
While hovering around 10 points above the national average, Maine’s cost of living is low compared to most other New England states. And with some of the lowest crime rates in the nation. U.S. States News & World Report recently ranked Maine as the safest state to live.
According to the Maine Association of Realtors, in August 2022 the median sales price of a single-family home in Maine was $340,000 — less than the regional and national median sales price ($396,300) for existing homes in the same period. Some of the state’s top employers include MaineHealth, Canada – based J.D. Irving, L.L. Bean, Walmart, Idexx Laboratories and Hannaford Supermarkets.
Recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics show that unemployment rate currently stands at around 3%, which bodes well for one’s quality of life. And if you’ll be in the market for a new career, you’ll appreciate that Maine has launched a state program called Live and Work in Maine, which helps future residents network and land a job.
Weathering the Move to Maine
Maine is called Vacationland for a good reason since it offers the very best of four-season living. The temperature rarely goes above 80℉ during the summer. However, it’s not uncommon to experience temperatures as low as 13℉ during the months of December through January.
Of course, summer is when the Pine Tree State is in its full glory, with plenty of sunshine to beckon you outdoors. Meanwhile, fall brings fantastic foliage across the state and winter and spring are the perfect times to get cozy by a fireside, enjoy winter sports or attend seasonal festivals.
Wondering about the best time of year to move to Maine? Summertime is your best choice since the temperatures are warm and pleasant, with fewer weather-related challenges or delays.
Best Places to live in Maine
With nearly 20% of the state’s population, the Greater Portland metro region is the most populated part of Maine. Portland, the state’s largest city, added 2,300 new residents over the past decade. It’s no wonder that U.S. News and World Report named it one of the top ten best places to live in the U.S, for two years running. In addition to major employers such as TD Bank and the Maine Medical Center, the city has a vibrant nightlife and a thriving music and arts scene that makes living there something special. It’s also no surprise that the median sale price of a home in Portland has jumped 11% from August 2021. Head uptown for the wine and jazz bars or downtown to the Old Port for comedy clubs and galleries. There’s also the Portland Museum of Art with exhibits, programs and events for culture vultures of all ages and interests.
Less than 20 miles north is Scarborough, called the “land of many grasses” by Native Americans. The city has a more suburban feel than its neighbor to the south, along with great restaurants like Scarborough Fish & Lobster and major employers such as NorDX Laboratories and the Hannaford Corporation — not to mention some of the state’s best schools. On average, a single-family home will sell for $625,034.
Also located in the Portland-metro region, Cumberland regularly tops the “best of Maine” lists for its school system, abundance of parks and a reputation for being one of the state’s safest places to live. Cumberland home prices are up 13.6% compared to last year, selling for a median price of $662,700.
Wells, located in York County on Maine’s southern coast, is the third oldest town in the state and is affectionately known as “the friendliest town” in Maine. In addition to its beautiful beaches, Wells is known for antique shops, historic theatres and incredibly scenic views. As you might expect, this has made Wells one of Maine’s most desirable towns – and its population has increased by 18% since 2010. Real estate goes for a premium as well. As of July 2022, the median home price of a single-family home in Wells was $460,000.
Maine’s second largest city, Lewiston, benefits from a diverse economy that includes world-class health care facilities/providers; major financial institutions; and a growing presence in technology and telecommunications. It’s also the hometown of nationally ranked Bates College.
Just outside of Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor has a friendly, relaxed vibe. Right now, it’s also experiencing a buyer’s market when it comes to housing. As a tourist destination, things can get quite lively — even a bit crowded — during the summer months; however, its scenic beauty and strong, year-round core community more than make up for this.
With a population of just 4800, Camden, the smallest town on our list, also deserves a shout out. Perched above Penobscot Bay, the town is quaint, picturesque and a magnet for artists. The harbor is bustling with fishing boats, which supply the town’s foodie-friendly restaurants with incredibly fresh seafood. And if you feel like hiking? There’s no better place than Camden Hills State Park, which offers incredible views of the bay and its surrounding islands.
If you’re exploring Maine, check out our road trip playlist!
Things You Can Only See and Do in Maine
If you find yourself near Freeport, make it a point to visit L.L. Bean’s flagship location — a must-see for nearly three million visitors each year. In addition to apparel, it features a 3,500-gallon aquarium, cafe, ever-changing exhibits and free horse-drawn wagon rides. L.L. Bean also offers outdoor discovery programs for those interested in day trips, kayaking, fly-fishing and other outdoorsy activities.
One of the most-visited national parks in the country, Acadia, has everything from pristine beaches to rugged mountains, forests and breathtaking cliffside views of the Atlantic Ocean. Check out the Cadillac Mountain North and South Ridge hiking trails to quicken your pulse or spend the day kayaking, swimming and birdwatching. If all this activity makes you hungry, stop by the on-site Jordan Pond House Restaurant for some popover bread and tea. Feel like camping out in style? Head over to the Terramor Outdoor Resort just four miles north. It’s one of the top glamping resorts in the U.S., according to U.S. News and World Report.
Looking for a day trip or weekend getaway? Monhegan Island — accessible only by boat from Port Clyde, New Harbor and Boothbay Harbor — features nine miles of cliffside hiking trails, a small village with shops and restaurants, a lighthouse and an art museum. There are also inns and bed and breakfasts if you want to extend your visit overnight.
While the Pine Tree State lacks professional sports teams, whale watching is one of Maine’s most popular spectator activities. There are dozens of companies that charter tours up and down the coast. Note that the best time for whale watching in Maine is mid- to-late May through early autumn.
Any list of Maine must-dos must include lobster. The first weekend in August kicks off the annual five-day Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland, a celebration of all things seafood. In addition to approximately 20,000 pounds of lobster served up in every conceivable fashion, the event features live music, arts and crafts, vendors, a 5K race, seafood cooking contests, and one of Maine’s largest parades.
Where Mainers Eat
Maine’s well-established seafaring tradition has made the state famous for all types of seafood, especially lobster. However, that’s just the beginning of its culinary appeal. From blueberries to fiddleheads, there’s a world of other flavors to explore. Below are just a few of the state’s signature dishes — and where you can find them.
Served in buttered and toasted hot dog buns, lobster rolls are one of Maine’s most iconic eats. Typically, you have two options: served warm and filled with buttered lobster or served cold and swathed in mayonnaise. Kennebunk’s famous Clam Shack on the riverfront right next to the bridge does a combination of both.
The most traditional way to serve Maine seafood is at a clambake— incredible concoction of lobster, clams, corn and potatoes steamed over seaweed, with a slice or two of blueberry pie for dessert. For an unforgettable treat, hop on the Bennie Alice at Boothbay Harbor and head out to Cabbage Island for a feast prepared for you by the Moore family at Cabbage Island Clambakes.
Maine is a great state for foragers, too. Fiddleheads — young fern leaves that have not yet unfurled — are only available during the few weeks between April and the beginning of June. They grow wild and near streams and bodies of fresh water and are usually cooked at home. However, if you want to try a gourmet version, check out Fuel Restaurant in Lewiston, where fiddleheads are prepared in a white-wine reduction with smoked bacon. By all accounts, they’re divine.
Oh, and did you know that Maine produces 99% of America’s blueberries? Wild blueberries are the state’s official berry and one of the best ways to enjoy them is baked into a mouthwatering pie. Helen’s Restaurant in Machias has been making some of the best slices around for more than 70 years. Be sure to ask for a healthy dollop of fresh whipped cream on top.
Last but certainly not least is Moxie, the official soft drink of Maine. Available in grocery stores all over the state, it’s flavored with gentian root and was the first carbonated beverage made in the United States.
Moving to Maine Soon? Let Mayflower Get You There
If you’ve decided to make the move to Maine but aren’t sure where to start, Mayflower movers can help you get there.
We have dedicated long-distance movers who are ready to help you move to Maine. Moving locally? Our interstate agents are prepared to assist you with your local move under their own business and names.
To help you stay organized and on track during your move, check out our handy moving checklist.
Why move with Mayflower? Moving with a professional company can give you peace of mind, knowing that your belongings are being handled with care. To start planning your move to Maine, contact Mayflower today to get a quote.