As Mainers, we probably all agree that just about any place in our state is better than living anywhere else in the country. Whether you cling to the coast or prefer the serenity of Maine’s inland forests and rural roads, Vacationland has the perfect town for you. The list is in no particular order, but we’ve made sure to give you a reason for why it’s been included. Also, most importantly, please know that we wish this list could be four times as long. Having to choose just ONE coastal town was nearly impossible.
1. Best for Amenities: Portland
With a list of restaurants, bakeries, bars and concert venues that's a mile long, you can't pick a better place for amenities. It's not the peaceful woods, but if you need a hospital, hair cut or hair-of-the-dog to get you through the day you'll want to head straight to Portland. The city's also made appearances on top-city lists from Men's Journal, Money and Outside Magazine to name a few.
2. Best for Cost of Living: Millinocket
It might not be the first on a list of places people from out-of-state consider, but maybe they should. The Penobscot County town of 4,500 people was once known for its forest industry. Though the mills have since closed, residents can still live relatively comfortably on a lower than average income. What makes it even better is its proximity to Baxter and Acadia with incredible views in just about every direction. The town also has low crime rates and high graduation rates.
3. Best for Cost of Living: Van Buren
Unsurprisingly, Maine has more than one town that scores highly for cost of living. If you'd like to live comfortably and prefer speaking The County, little Van Buren is the town for you. Located close to the border of Canada you're likely to find more French speakers here than English. In Van Buren you'll also find low crime rates and a lovely, small downtown decorated with lights for Christmas.
4. Best for Cost of Living: Limestone
And, lastly, Limestone. This small town of about 2,300 people is big on heart. In addition to a low cost of living, you'll also find a great Fourth of July celebration in the summer and incredible town pride the rest of the time. Limestone is also the home of the Maine School of Science and Mathematics, consistently ranked as one of the top magnet schools in the entire country. The former Loring Air Force base was located here and after its closure it was the site of three hugely attended Phish shows.
5. Best for Low Crime: Pittsfield
Home of the Central Maine Egg Festival and the notable Maine Central Institute boarding school, this town of about 4,200 people will keep you feeling nice and safe. Located in Somerset County, it's far enough away from the coast to be affordable but still within driving distance of larger towns. You might consider moving here if you've got political aspirations - 3 past governors of Maine have come from Pittsfield!
6. Best for Education: Gorham
Gorham is home to the University of Southern Maine, but also boasts a great school system from pre-k through high school. Graduation rates are 12% higher than the state of Maine's overall average and the student to teacher ratio is 15:1, giving kids more attention than they'd find in most of the rest of the state.
7. Best for Employment: Cumberland
If you're looking for employment opportunities, Cumberland is for you. Due, in part, to being a part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford region, Cumberland offers more employment opportunities than many other areas of the state. It also boasts a fairly stable housing market, higher-than-average income and high graduation rates. Also ranked highly were South Eliot, Cousins Island and Hampden.
8. Best for Stable Housing Market: Yarmouth
While one of the more expensive areas to live, Yarmouth's housing market has been less volatile than others. You'll also find a great education system here along with low crime rates.
9. Best for Retirement: Waterville
Let's face it - just about anywhere would make for a lovely retirement, but when faced with choosing just one, Waterville topped the list. With both Colby and Thomas College, the town offers much in the way of continuing education. With two colleges, you'll also find more than enough places for coffee, drinks and food. When the students head home for the summer, you'll have the town to yourself for the Maine International Film Festival held in July.
10. Best Coastal Town: Bar Harbor
If it's quaint, coastal and "on-the-map" you're craving, you'll want to head to Bar Harbor. Hardly a surprise to anyone, this town made the list for its scenic nature and local shopping scene. It's also picked up some national acclaim after being listed as one of Outside Magazines "Best Places to Live" in 2015.
What town do YOU think is the best in which to live? We’d love to hear your thoughts!