Do you love the idea of retiring on the east coast clamming and eating lobster dinners? How about ocean kayaking, hiking the mountains, or fishing on quiet lakes? If this sounds like the place for you, then Maine is where you will want to retire. Maine is full of small charming towns with all the comforts of country living, including friendly neighbors, so there are many interesting places to retire in Maine.
Plus, because Maine attracts those who love the outdoors, residents here experience a higher quality of life with less noise pollution and fresh air that you can’t find in the big cities.
Maine is full of beautiful outdoor adventures, seafood, lighthouses, and quaint fishing towns. This state has all four seasons, with mild springs, warm summers, crisp falls, and cold winters.
Those who choose to retire to Maine are often fans of spending time outdoors and like staying active year-round, regardless of snow. Maine is great for those who enjoy camping, fishing, hiking, and biking in the summer, along with skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and dog sledding in the winter.
And when you want to take advantage of urban conveniences, the big cities are not that far away. Many towns have trains that head into Boston or New York for a weekend of shopping, shows, and fine dining. But don’t worry, Maine’s larger cities like Portland is full of live entertainment venues, museums, and award-winning restaurants.
Retirees who appreciate excellent restaurants, whether fine dining or causal cafes, will never get bored with restaurants in Maine. There are numerous family-owned eateries, vineyards, and lobster boils, making it hard to stay hungry for long in Maine. And it’s not just lobster, Maine also has a wide array of fresh seafood, delicious blueberries, and local breweries to keep any palate happy.
However, Maine is not the most tax-friendly state for retirees, though it does allow for certain deductions when it comes to pension incomes. And unfortunately, Maine falls into 9th place for states with the highest tax burden. If you’re looking for a more tax-friendly location, consider Wyoming or Delaware.
Yet when comparing just the New England area, Maine has the lowest cost of living.
Where to Retire in Maine:
- Bar Harbor
- Percent of Senior Population: 13.8%
- Overall Population: 66,215
Portland is the biggest city in all of Maine and is partially surrounded by multiple bodies of water, including the Back Cove, Fore River, and the Presumpscot River giving residents plenty of access to water activities. Plus, it still has an active port area that helps the local economy.
The historic downtown area has cobblestone streets giving it a lovely feeling and is full of local boutiques and restaurants perfect for a day out shopping. Art lovers will adore Portland since it is home to the Portland Museum of Art and Maine College of Art, both of which help support the local art district and galleries.
Portland is designed to be both pedestrian and bicycle-friendly, making it very easy to get around without a car. In fact, the city boasts a 30-mile network of walking and biking trails, running through the city as well as along the waterfront.
Portland has several volunteer opportunities for seniors looking to stay active and connected with their community, including Foster Grandparents, which is an organization that helps mentor and act as role models to children with “exceptional needs.” And if that’s not your cup of tea, the Senior Corps has several other volunteer programs available such as:
- Assisting and caring for the elderly
- Supporting relief teams such as when disasters strike
- Assisting veterans to find jobs
- Helping drive individuals to appointments
Because Portland is a larger metropolitan area, it has no shortage when it comes to medical care. It has the Maine Medical Center and Mercy Hospital, which has three locations within city limits. Plus, there are several specialty centers associated with both the MaineHealth network and Mercy Hospital group.
- Percent of Senior Population: 22.6%
- Overall Population: 15,175
Brunswick is a smaller city with the Androscoggin River running through it. The Merrymeeting Bay also joins the river near the edge of town. Brunswick is a college town home to both the Bowdoin College. It also hosts the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, which adds to the overall richness of this historic area.
Though Brunswick was once home to many successful sea captains, its economy is now primarily driven by tourism. Because residents of Brunswick have retained the town’s original colonial seafaring feel, it has attracted a more upscale tourist clientele in the summer months.
And unlike many other tourist areas in Maine, Brunswick does not become a ghost town in the winter thanks to the Bowdoin College, which helps keep the city going. Though the winters in Maine can seem long, they are not as bad along the coast as they are inland.
In addition to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick also has:
- Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum
- Skolfield-Whittier House
- Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum
- Pejepscot History Center
- Harriet Beecher Stowe House
And for when you want to head outdoors and enjoy nature whether watching local wildlife, hiking, biking, or fishing there are plenty of areas you can check out, including:
- Bradbury Mountain State Park
- Doubling Point Lighthouse
- Captain Fitzgerald Recreation and Conservation Area
- Skolfield Shores Preserve
- Hamilton Audubon Sanctuary
Though Brunswick is on the smaller side, it still has 3.16 medical centers per 1,000 residents, including Mid Coast Hospital, a full-service hospital.
- Percent of Senior Population: 22%
- Overall Population: 7,165
Rockland is aptly named for its rocky shoreline and is the ideal coastal town for those of you who are fond of spending time out on the water, whether sailing, fishing, or paddleboarding. Plus, those who love lobster will enjoy the annual Maine Lobster Festival held here every year.
But water activities are not the only outdoor fun to be found in Rockland. Residents here also enjoy Rockland Harbor Trail, Harbor Park, and Sandy Beach Trail. Plus, there are a few nearby state parks too, perfect for exploring. These include Owls Head State Park, Birch Point Beach State Park, and Camden Hills State Park.
Rockland is also home to some great museums and art galleries like:
- Harbor Square Gallery
- Landing Gallery
- Clarke Gallery
- Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA)
- Farnsworth Art Museum
- Maine Lighthouse Museum
- Sail Power and Steam Museum
And Rockland has the Coastal Senior College program located right in town, which is part of the Maine Senior College network. This program allows residents 50+ to continue their education as well as take part in a variety of activities and learning events.
Rockland may be on the smaller size, but they do host the Pen Bay Medical Center complete with Emergency room and have 1.8 medical centers per 1,000 residents.
- Percent of Senior Population: 18.7%
- Overall Population: 5,559
Bar Harbor is one of the smaller towns on the list, but it is full of beauty and fun outdoor activities. This town’s economy is driven by tourism and can be a bit busy on the weekends in the summer. However, it is also a very walkable town, so even on the busy days, you won’t have to worry too much about traffic.
Bar Harbor is full of cute boutiques and waterfront restaurants. It has everything from award-winning fancy restaurants to lobster boils that you can enjoy at a picnic table. Plus, when you want to go shopping, they have a variety of colorful and fun stores, including kitchen goods, pet boutiques, clothes, and galleries.
Plus, they have boats venturing out for whale watching, fishing, and lobster boat tours. And when you want to get out for outdoor adventures like mountain biking, hiking, or camping, you can check out these parks:
- Acadia National Park
- Otter Cliff
- Champlain Mountain
- Azalea Garden
- Gorham Mountain Trail
- Bubble Rock Overlook
- Wild Gardens of Acadia
Or grab a kayak and explore Frenchman’s Bay, Jordan Pond, or Somes Sound.
When you are ready to relax you can make a reservation at one of the many upscale spas in the area like:
- The Spa at Bar Harbor Maine
- Tree of Life Spa
- Harborside Hotel Spa and Marina
If you have friends and family coming to visit, the Bangor International airport is just over an hour’s drive north. And since Bar Harbor is a tourist town, there is no end to places they can stay, including high-end resorts, VRBOs, hotels, and motels.
Plus, Bar Harbor hosts the MDI Hospital, a full-service hospital that has a variety of specialty clinics like Cardiac Rehabilitation, Oncology and Hematology, and the Emergency Department.
- Percent of Senior Population: 37.6%
- Overall Population: 3,442
Camden is the smallest town on the list but has the most significant senior population, just shy of 40%. Camden is a beautiful city with its Colonial New England architecture, giving it a historical bayside appeal.
Many retirees that find themselves here enjoy taking advantage of the bay, spending their retirement out on their boat. And Camden is like other Maine towns with plenty of places to go hiking and camping, such as Camden Hills State Park, Mount Battie, and Moose Park.
If you like winter activities, Camden has plenty of outdoor things to do to stay active such as skiing or tobogganing at The Camden Snow Bowl. The Camden area has excellent snowshoeing and cross country ski areas too.
Camden, like many of the coastal towns, is a tourist town and can get fairly busy in the summer months. But the city is very pedestrian and bicycle-friendly, eliminating the need for cars. Camden’s downtown area is full of fun shops, including specialty stores like Stonewall Kitchen.
Though it may sound odd, one of the largest attractions in Camden is its award-winning library. The library hosts several different events and guest speakers, including famous authors, book fairs, and even concerts in their amphitheater.
Unfortunately, Camden does not have a hospital in town. However, Camden is located near Portland and Rockland, both of which have hospitals.