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Have you wondered about the pros and cons of living in Maine?
This northeastern state is an outdoor lover’s paradise, offering both a rugged mountain terrain and a stunning coastline for you to enjoy.
Maine might be known as the setting for most of Stephen King’s novels. But don’t let that deter you – Maine is one of the safest places to live in the country! Not to mention it offers fresh seafood year-round, a ton of festivals, and a laid-back way of life you won’t find anywhere else.
As someone who’s lived in over 20 cities, the lifestyle and culture of where you choose to live can make or break your decision to stay.
Let’s dive in and find out if living in Maine is perfect for you!
🛫 Planning to move to Maine? Check this search engine for affordable flights.
1. Pro: Beautiful Scenery
Maine’s nickname is “The Pine Tree State” because trees cover 90% of the land. It’s said to have more trees than people!
You can explore the rugged South Coast complete with lighthouses, abundant marine life, and Acadia National Park.
Then spend time hiking in Baxter State Park, taking in the sights of Mount Katahdin (the end of the Appalachian Trail), and getting up close and personal with all the local Moose.
You’re sure to find a secluded spot in any direction since you’ll be living in one of the least densely populated areas in New England.
2. Con: Harsh Winters
The winters in Maine are long.
For about 5 months of the year, you’re going to be clearing snow from your driveway. Depending on where you choose to live in Maine, you could see an average annual snowfall of 184 cm (72 inches).
You can make the most of the winter though by taking up a new sport. One of the best reasons to live in Maine is the number of outdoor activities you can do year-round.
Skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking, snowmobiling, and even a Christmas by the Sea festival will get you out of those winter blues.
The coastal regions always have less snow and milder temperatures, so take that into account when looking at places to live.
If you’re from Canada like I am, a bit of snow isn’t going to scare you away from living in Maine!
3. Pro: Fantastic Summers
As much as cold winters might not be your thing, the summers in Maine are perfect!
Temperatures peak in July and average about 21°C (70°F) during the day, while at night you’ll find yourself having a comfortable sleep when it cools down. Most Mainers have air conditioners but rarely use them because opening a window works well enough.
The coastal breezes also help you stay cool during any heat waves.
One of the best reasons to live in Maine is the way all the towns perk up during the summer months. Tourists flock to enjoy surfing, rafting, lobster excursions, hiking, and sailing.
There’s something for everyone here!
4. Con: Not a lot of Nightlife
The one drawback is the missing club scene.
Although there’s usually a lot happening during the summer to fill your nights, the winter months can get a tad boring.
There are local restaurants and bars to spend a night out, but you might want to save these for the warmer months since the winter freeze keeps most people inside.
5. Pro: Vibrant Arts Community
The art scene in Maine has become more prominent in recent years, but there has always been an artsy side to this state.
Along the coast, you’ll find many art schools and artist residencies that have inspired some of the great American painters of our time. You can view these works by following the Maine Art Museum Trail.
If painting isn’t your style, there are dance festivals, furniture craftsmanship centers, ceramic art studios, and performance halls for music and plays.
6. Con: Older Adult Population
44 is the median age of Maine residents. It’s often joked that younger newcomers are starting retirement early.
Most people living in Maine have been in the same town that their parents and grandparents grew up in.
A lot of locals have left during their 20s and 30s, only to come back to Maine after they’ve experienced the hustle and bustle of city life.
There are a lot of senior activity centers. If you’re studying gerontology or want to work in the medical field, jobs in eldercare are plentiful.
7. Pro: Maine Takes Pride in its History
Maine became its own state in 1820 and was the 23rd state in the United States.
One of the benefits of living in Maine is never running out of learning experiences. There are museums and cultural centers everywhere you look.
From Maine’s Native peoples, the Wabanaki, to the first French settlers, each has its own dedicated museums and festivals.
Maritime history also runs deep in Maine. You can find artifacts dating back thousands of years and learn how Maine’s heritage has been shaped by the ocean.
When looking for a place to live, you’re sure to find that century home you’ve been dreaming of. A lot of buildings are over 200 years old!
8. Con: Little Population Diversity
Maine has a population of almost 1.4 million. The state is growing and welcoming new cultures to the area. Still, a lot of families have been here for generations and there’s room for a bit of catching up with diversity.
Nearly 94% of the population identifies as white, with 1.39% identifying as Black or African American.
📱Want to meet new faces in Maine? Join Meetups today!
9. Pro: Fresh Seafood and Produce Year-Round
Maine is so much more than lobster! Although they do provide 82% of the nation’s lobster supply.
The people in Maine are very self-sufficient; you’ll find plenty of locally grown food and restaurants that know how to use it!
The restaurants in Portland are excellent and have even won awards. In March, it’s Restaurant Week. Restaurants feature smaller portions so you can sample your way through their menu.
Oyster bars and lobster shacks can be found everywhere. Prices are competitive and well worth it for the freshness you’re getting. You can even go to the docks and buy fish right from the boat.
Being so close to the ocean is a huge advantage of living in Maine.
I know the availability of lobster is a big draw for me after living in Nova Scotia for so long.
10. Con: No Variety of Ethnic Food Options
Maine is one of the least ethnically diverse states in the country.
If you’re looking for Thai or Jamaican food, you’re not likely to find it here.
New people are coming to Maine every day though and the bigger cities are learning to embrace different cultures.
11. Pro: Good Education Opportunities
One of the advantages of living in Maine is the great schools.
The state has worked hard to improve its education system and there are now schools of all levels that have high rankings.
World-class liberal arts schools like Bowdoin, Bates, and Colby are here, as well as the University of Maine. The University of New England offers the state’s only medical and dental programs.
In Portland, there’s one street that houses preschools, elementary schools, middle and secondary schools, and a university!
12. Con: Limited Job Choices
The fact that Maine has one of the lower unemployment rates in the country, 3.8%, doesn’t mean that there’s a huge wealth of job opportunities available.
Most of the openings are in the trades and the medical field. Outside of these, the jobs are mainly going to be minimum wage and they don’t offer much room for career advancement.
Although, the minimum wage in Maine is considerably higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 USD. Employees in Maine can expect to earn $13.80 USD per hour.
Being a remote worker or freelancer in Maine is ideal. You can make a good living and enjoy the amazing nature right outside your door.
If you are thinking of living in Maine, the best advice is to secure a job for yourself before committing to the move.
👩🏻💻Looking for a job in Maine? Check out this platform and find your dream job here!
13. Pro: Low Crime Rates
Maine is one of the safest places in the entire country.
It has the lowest violent crime rate of any state! Maine ranks in the top 10 lowest states for property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft).
Most Mainers will tell you that they don’t even bother locking their doors because they feel so safe here.
14. Con: Higher Cost of Living
Maine is ranked 12th out of all the states for a higher cost of living. Prices average about 15% higher here than in the rest of the country.
The highest cost is the housing market, with the average house price sitting at $344,000 USD. But fear not, realtors in Maine are predicting a more stabilized market for the future with an increase in housing assistance programs.
Expect to pay more for homes in big cities like Portland and less in rural areas in the Northern part of the state.
15. Pro: Laid Back Way of Life
They say that Mainers are the “live and let live” type of people. They don’t bother with gossip and they are very self-sufficient.
Most people know how to work hard, but they also know how to rest.
People here aren’t in a rush to get things done and you’ll find that hustle isn’t a thing. In Portland, you’re more likely to see a faster pace of life, but it still won’t be anything compared to big cities like New York or Toronto.
16. Con: Slow Internet Speed
Although the older homes are charming, the older infrastructure creates a problem for some people living in rural areas.
About 15% of Mainers lack access to basic internet and those who do have it are relying on the speed capacity of an older copper wire phone network.
The state is working on upgrading the wires to a fiber optic network, but they need funding from the government and time to complete the transfer.
If you work remotely and need faster internet, living in a larger city center like Portland will increase your speed and reliability substantially.
17. Pro: Lots of Festivals
Maine is not the most diverse place, but they do a great job celebrating the cultures they do have.
You can learn about Maine’s people in different museums around the state and celebrate their heritage at numerous festivals throughout the year.
- Native American Festival
- Acadian Festival
- Maine Celtic Celebration
- Maine Jewish Film Festival
- Midsommar Festival (hosted by the Swedish community)
- Greek Festival
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. There are food festivals, summer festivals, film festivals, music festivals, and arts and crafts festivals.
18. Con: Lack of Public Transport
Outside of city centers, there aren’t a lot of options for public transit. Transit routes are improving in Maine and new rural services are being added.
The trick is getting Mainers, who are typically very independent, to try the bus and see how enjoyable public transit can be.
In Portland, Bangor, and some coastal towns, you can find fixed bus routes operating year-round. The buses run on a decent schedule and will easily get you around the city.
There is also an Amtrak train that runs between Boston and Portland. The Portland airport provides interstate and international flights. You can even take a ferry from Maine to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick!
🚗 You’ll have to take the car a lot in Maine, so book your rental here!
19. Pro: Virtually No Traffic
Maine is one of the least densely populated states and you’ll find that traffic here is nothing compared to what you might’ve experienced in bigger cities.
The number of cars on the road increases significantly in Portland, but you won’t find yourself stuck in a rush-hour traffic jam.
Even in the summer when the population grows with tourists, it is still relatively easy to get around, and more importantly, find a parking spot.
🚗Looking for an affordable rental car in Maine? Check this platform now.
20. Con: Everybody Knows Everybody
One of the things about Maine is to be considered a “local” you have to have about three generations of the family born in Maine.
Mainers won’t go out of their way to strike up a conversation with you, and newcomers might feel that they are being given the cold shoulder. It’s just how people here are. They keep to themselves.
People are skeptical of newcomers because they like their town and the life they have; they’re waiting to see if the new people are coming in to change things.
If you move to Maine it’s going to take a while before you feel like part of the community. There are plenty of clubs and ways to meet people, but you might have that “new girl” label for a bit.
📱Want to meet new people in Maine? Join Meetups now!
21. Pro: Everybody Knows Everybody
One of the best reasons to live in Maine is because of the fact that everybody will know you.
Mainers are good, thoughtful people and are always willing to help you out if needed. They might not wave at you walking down the street, but if your car got stuck in a snow drift they’ll be the first ones to help you on your way.
They’re witty and natural storytellers. You’ll find that when you make a friend in Maine, they’re a friend you can count on.
📱Want to meet new people in Maine? Join Meetups now!
Wrap-Up: Pros and Cons of Living in Maine
Has the idea of living in Maine captured your attention yet?
With its promise of rest over hustle, the ocean at your doorstep, and more outdoor activities than you can shake a ski pole at, it’s the ideal state to reset and recharge.
There are definitely advantages and disadvantages of moving to Maine, but use this as a starting point to begin your journey. You just might realize the welcome sign is right.
“Maine: The way life should be”.
🛫 Find the most affordable booking flights here for your move to Maine!
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Living Abroad Travel Planning Guide
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🌎 What is the best country to live in as an expat?
It depends – the best country to live in as an expat will depend on your unique needs. I developed this free quiz to help you figure out where is right for you!
📍 How do I pick a country to live abroad?
It depends – picking a country to live in is hard. That’s why I developed this $7 course to share all of the steps I’ve taken when deciding to move to 20+ different countries, and how I handle homesickness when I get there.
Ultimately, making the choice of where to move is going to be hard. But the hardest thing is deciding to move abroad at all!
💼 How do I get a job as an expat?
You can find work abroad via local job boards or temp agencies. My favourite way to work is remotely, so I always look for jobs on FlexJobs.com when I live abroad. They hire for 100% remote roles only.
If you’re looking to teach English abroad, Premier TEFL has the best online course to get you great work!
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Wise.com offers free global accounts, and the cheapest money transfers. Since it can be a headache to open bank accounts in different countries (it took me 2 months in the UK!), Wise.com is a great solution.
I actually use it as my primary bank now worldwide due to the multi-currency debit card. (Read more)
👯♀️ How do you make friends abroad?
Meetup.com – Meet likeminded people who share a similar hobby with Meetup! It’s free to join, but some activities may cost money, like if you go to a cafe and get a coffee.
🙀 I don’t speak the language. Can I still live abroad?
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💻 Do I need a VPN?
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🧳 What’s the best luggage for living abroad?
🏡 How do I tell my friends and family I want to live abroad?
Take this $7 course and learn the exact script I used to tell my family I was moving abroad … and then when I did it again. I even include tips for prepping your family, and for how to handle family who aren’t supportive.
✈️ What’s the best site to buy cheap flights?
🏨 What’s the best site to find cheap hotels?
Or stay for free with Trusted Housesitters!
🚗 What’s the best site to rent cars abroad?
To find cheap rental cars, I recommend Discover Cars.
🚗 What’s the best site to find tours?
To find epic tours, I recommend Viator.