Living in Maine: Pros and Cons (Costs, Risks, Etc.)

As the easternmost state in the USA, Maine is famous for its lobster and other seafood and its beautiful coastline. You might also have heard of and seen the beautiful fall foliage typical of New England that delights tourists and residents alike. But what if you’re considering living in Maine?

What is living in Maine like, and what are the pros and cons of relocating there? Also, where is the best place to live in Maine, and what should you know about retiring to the Pine Tree State?

We cover the pros and cons of living in Maine and some of the best and worst facts about this state.

Pros of Living in Maine

Portland, Maine Lighthouse

Some of these are probably well-known, like the excellent food for seafood lovers and the beautiful coastline. But did you know about the official state cat or the very safe roads and living communities? Here are some pros of living in Maine.

One of the Safest Places to Live In the US

Maine is one of those places with a slower pace of life where everyone tends to know everyone else, and communities really help each other out. Therefore, Maine ends up being the state with the lowest rate of violent crime and a very welcoming, safe environment.

Maine’s Outdoors Is Hard to Beat

Not only is Maine ideally situated for sea lovers, but it also has beautiful geography. 90% of the state is still covered in pine forests, thanks to its low population (1.3 million people). This means that you’ll never have a hard time going out for fresh air and enjoying some lovely state parks. Living in Portland, Maine, would be the furthest you can get from the great outdoors, but even there, the love of nature is evident, and you’re never far from somewhere green.

As for the coastline, you’ll have access to over 5,000 miles of it, as well as to off-shore islands. Maine’s famous lobsters are obviously on the menu by the coast, and if you’re a seafood lover, you’ll be delighted. Maine is also a great place to live if you’re into sailing or just visiting the beach.

Charm and a Warm Welcome

As we’ve already mentioned, living in Maine means you’re almost going back in time to a simpler, friendlier time where your neighbors will always be on hand to help you out. Maine’s small communities and its low population density mean people are generally quite laid back and relaxed.

At the same time, the warm welcome and slow pace of life are dictated by Maine’s population’s average age being typically higher than in other states. That’s because many people favor retiring in Maine, so expect to see quite a few older folks in your new neighborhood.

It’s a Cat-Loving State

From the state emblem – the Maine Coon – to the fact that Maine has the most households with a cat living there, this state is clearly a great place to live if you own a cat or like them. There are also more no-kill shelters in Maine than anywhere else in the country.

Proximity to Some Great Cities

Living in Portland, Maine, is excellent for city amenities, but it doesn’t offer the same feel of a truly big city like Boston. However, you can live in Maine and even commute to Boston if you need to; it’s that close.

Additionally, living in Bangor, Maine, you can get into Canada easily, in around a 5-hour drive to either Montreal or Quebec City.

No Rush Hour

Given its low population numbers and relatively high number of retirees, you will not often encounter rush hours like the outskirts of New York City or Chicago if you’re living in Maine. Getting home from work is almost always without delays, making it easy to potentially consider commuting to a big city like Boston if you’re not able to find employment doing what you love where you live.

Summers Make Up for Harsh Winters

There’s no denying that Maine has cold winters – it is, after all, a northeast location where this can be expected (and it features in the list of cons below). However, one of the best things about living in Maine is the pleasant summers. If you don’t love hot weather, you’ll enjoy the great temperatures that never get oppressive, while humidity doesn’t become as much of a problem as further inland, thanks to the coastal breeze.

Cons of Living in Maine

Winter Snowstorm in Portland, Maine

There are countless great reasons to move to Maine if you like the outdoors and want a quiet, relaxed living environment while not being afraid of winter weather. However, what are the worst things about living in Maine? Read on to find out.

Average Home Values

Maine has more expensive housing by about $40,000 more than the national average compared to the rest of the country. Living in Augusta, Maine is the most value for money you can get from rentals, with prices around $600 a month. However, given the high number of retired people and the average age being higher in Maine, you’ll find it difficult to buy a home here for cheap.

Moreover, the cost of living in Maine does seem to be considered low in general by its own residents, so there is an upside to how expensive housing can be.

The Job Market

Probably because so many people living in Maine are retired, the job market here isn’t very dynamic. You may find blue-collar or highly specialized work or minimum wage gigs, so not many residents under 35 as a result (which naturally impacts the nightlife and entertainment scene as well).

On the other hand, we’ve seen that you can commute into Boston relatively easily if living in Maine is your priority (although you would need to limit yourself to areas south of Portland).

Harsh Winters

While Maine has mild summers, winters here can be hard to live through. Parts of the state have average lows of 13 degrees in winter, and there are often severe storms and snowfalls causing you to become stranded in your community. Living in Bar Harbor, Maine, you can face months of fog and darkness, while the summer would have made you believe that is one of the best places to live in the state (and it is generally considered that way, actually).

At the same time, if you love snow and going out cross-country skiing or snowmobiling, there are so many fantastic options in Maine. You’ll just need to research the area thoroughly to ensure you don’t end up in a city without snow but with dreary, horrible winters.

It’s a Slow Place to Live

If you enjoy a fast-paced, active lifestyle, Maine is not the state for you. Thanks to its relaxed, quiet suburban neighborhoods, this is a place where no one is ever in a rush, and you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve traveled back in time. Internet speeds are notoriously slow (which makes it difficult to set up your own business working from home), and there seems to be a general preference for what you could call “vanilla” living: less ethnic cuisine, not much variety in entertainment options, and a generally “old” feel.

Of course, that’s different if you’re living in Portland, Maine, a much more diverse and active place overall. But, of course, not everyone can live in the city – especially given the pricing of real estate!

Be Ready for Some Strange Laws

This is more of an entertainment point than one of the cons of living in Maine, but the state does boast some unusual laws, such as making it illegal to leave your Christmas lights out after January 14 (or you face a fine). There are also laws prohibiting the ownership of a pet armadillo. Living in Augusta, Maine means you cannot walk down the street playing a violin.

Finally, you can’t go skydiving in Maine, as it’s illegal to step out of a plane in flight.

As you can imagine, these are quite obscure points that you’re unlikely to actually be fined for, but they do make living in Maine somewhat more “interesting.”

Living in Maine Pros and Cons

Maine Lobster

If the idea of living in Maine appeals to you thanks to the beautiful scenery and magnificent seafood, friendly locals, and quaint surroundings, then don’t forget to check what the job market looks like for your area of expertise and whether you’ll be able to put up with the state’s harsh winters. One of the risks of living in Maine is ending up feeling isolated, either by the low population density and harsh, cold, dark days in winter, or simply because you’ll have a hard time socializing with younger people in most towns and rural areas.

As with every destination, there are pros and cons of living in Maine, but it might just be ideal for your goals as long as you’ve done your research on what you can expect and are sure it suits you and your family.

Kris Peter

A positive individual enjoying the journey, and always searching for adventure. I created Sunlight Living to help my parents (and eventually myself) prepare for retirement. About Kris

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