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A waterfront home in Hampden, Maine, sits atop a rocky outcrop beside lush woodlands.

Thinking of Retiring in Maine? Here’s the “Maine” Info You Need To Know

Retirement Maine

by Matt Lyons Posted on November 30, 2023

Want to retire on the East Coast in one of the most affordable states in the region? Then you may want to seriously consider Maine. From benefits to budgeting, pros and even cons, here’s the info you need to know before you go. 

Ready to enjoy your golden years in Maine? Start by getting a moving quote from PODS.

Is Maine a good place to retire? Oh yeah. In addition to enjoying a cost of living below the national average, retirees looking to experience each season will certainly get that in Maine. Winter brings beautiful snow-capped mountains, and summer brings temperate days — perfect for spending some time outdoors hiking, swimming, fishing, and more. 

A woman is snowshoeing through deep snow in Auburn, Maine, on a clear winter day.

Retiring in Maine – Pros and Cons

While Maine offers some of the best amenities for a retired lifestyle, there are always drawbacks to consider — as there is anywhere you decide to live. Here are some of the major pros and cons to keep in mind when considering retiring in the Pine Tree State. 

Pro: Beautiful Landscapes Throughout the Seasons

Over 200 miles of coastline, forest, islands, and mountains can be found in Maine, and you can expect to enjoy lots of raw beauty, from bright flowers in the warmer weather to the fiery foliage in the fall. Acadia National Park, in particular, should certainly be at the top of your list of places to explore when you move to Maine. 

Con: Cold Weather 

Because of Maine’s location in the Northeast, winters will get pretty chilly, and you can expect to experience lots of snowfall. And we mean lots. It might seem nice at first, but the cold can certainly get old fast.

Pro: Low Cost of Living 

Maine has a cost of living that’s lower than the national average, which ultimately means you’ll be able to stretch that retirement income a bit further. Healthcare services and transportation are among the top amenities for retirees that are much more affordable in Maine versus the national average. 

Con: Higher Housing Prices in Certain Areas 

Portland and Brunswick are among the most popular places to live in Maine, which ultimately come with housing prices that can get quite expensive. Luckily, there are still lots of affordable places that are perfect for retirees all throughout the state.

Pro: Attractions and Activities for All Ages 

Major cities in Maine, like the capital of Augusta, offer incredible art scenes, with galleries, museums, and other events, where you can check out some fantastic art and engage with the local artists. In fact, communities all throughout Maine are known for their abundance of outdoor attractions, museums, local events, and more. 

Con: Touristy Areas

The best places to retire throughout Maine, like Camden, Bar Harbor, and Kennebunk, attract many tourists throughout the year (particularly in the summertime) who come to explore the beauty, attractions, and seafood restaurants that Maine has to offer. Dealing with a higher population of tourists can provide certain hassles to local residents, such as more traffic on the roads and more crowded shops and restaurants. 

A split-screen image showing a town in Maine on the left, then a beach in Florida, a city in New Mexico, and a desert scene in Arizona.

Retiring in Maine vs. Florida, New Mexico, and Arizona

Compared to other popular retirement destinations like Florida, New Mexico, and Arizona, Maine has the second lowest cost of living behind New Mexico. 

  • New Mexico’s cost of living: 88.4
  • Maine’s cost of living: 97
  • Florida’s cost of living: 103.1
  • Arizona’s cost of living: 106.4

There are lots of great healthcare facilities for retirees in Florida, New Mexico, and Arizona. However, Maine is renowned for its excellent healthcare system with high-quality providers. MaineHealth ensures both expert medical and behavioral healthcare throughout the state.

Another one of the main differences you will encounter living in Maine versus states with warmer climates is the change in weather. While Maine is characterized by warm summers and cold winters, Florida, New Mexico, and Arizona experience warm weather year round. 
Q: Is Maine a good place for retirement?
A:
Absolutely! Also known as the “Pine Tree State”, retiring in Maine not only offers the most breathtaking natural beauty, but it also offers a variety of ways for retirees to get out and about and explore the state’s endless attractions! 

How Much Money Do You Need To Retire in Maine?

How much money you need depends on several factors, such as how much you’ve already saved up for retirement and your specific lifestyle. One thing’s for sure, though: Taxes play a big part when it comes to retirement and money. 

The marginal state tax rate in Maine is 5.8 percent, and public/private pension income and withdrawals from retirement accounts are partially taxed. However, social security income is not taxed. Other states in the northeast region, like Vermont, come with higher costs of living and are not as tax friendly toward retirees. Social security income is partially taxed in Vermont, and public/private pension incomes, along with withdrawals from retirement accounts, are fully taxed at a rate ranging from 3.35 percent to 8.75 percent.

Q: Is it better to retire in Maine or Vermont?
A:
Because there are more tax-friendly options and a lower cost of living in Maine for retirees, Maine may be the better option for your golden years. 

The Best Places To Retire in Maine 

Wondering where to retire in Maine, specifically? From vibrant downtown areas to plenty of ways to explore the outdoors, here are some of our favorite places to retire in Maine that will perfectly fulfill this next chapter of your life.

Several boats are moored in the harbor in Camden, Maine. Beyond the harbor, the city can be seen beneath a clear blue sky.

Camden, Maine

1. Camden, ME

Full of 19th century classic charm, Camden is a popular summer town in Maine that’s currently ranked as the best place to retire in the entire state by Niche. You can find a variety of beautiful houses in Camden, along with a quaint downtown area to fulfill lots of your shopping needs. 

Enjoying reading a good book in your spare time? Camden is home to an award-winning public library, where famous authors often come to give lectures! Book readings, fairs, and even concerts are available at the library’s very own amphitheater, as well. Art festivals are also popular in Camden, including Christmas By the Sea

2. Hallowell, ME

Located on the Kennebec River's banks, the town of Hallowell is known for its charming atmosphere and diverse outdoor recreation options, great for retirees trying to maintain an active lifestyle. Some of these options include hiking and biking trails, historic sites, and parks.

The downtown area of the town follows the Kennebec's contours, and Front Street edges right along the river. There you can find cafes, music, and lots of bookstores. And Augusta, the state's capital, is only a couple miles away.

Fun Fact: Vaughan Woods, also called Hobbitland, is a privately owned woodland that’s popular to visit in the area and features stone bridges, streams, and trails open to the public. 

Aerial view of Bar Harbor in Maine. There is a large marina along the coast. The city is small but dense and is surrounded by forests and low mountains.

3. Bar Harbor, ME

Often considered one of the most charming towns on the entire coast, the town of Bar Harbor is situated on Mount Desert Island along the gorgeous mid-coast of Maine. Retirees living in Bar Harbor are just outside of the magnificent Acadia National Park, full of lakes and trails for outdoor recreation. Bar Harbor’s downtown area is a must-see, as well, as it’s full of exciting shops, bookstores, art galleries, and more. And Bar Harbor is home to some of the best eateries in the state, ranging from lobster roll shacks to five-star restaurants. Thirsty Whale Tavern and LUNCH are some of the most popular eateries within the area. 
Q: Why are retirees moving to Maine?
A:
Along with enjoying a cost of living below the national average, retired residents in Maine can find lots of ways to remain active and get involved in the local community, and there is always a fun attraction to explore, no matter what part of the state you live in.

4. Kennebunk, ME

Located in York County, Kennebunk is a small town with a lot of fun attractions to offer residents, particularly among the older population — making it one of the best small towns in Maine to retire. Some of the main attractions include the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, The Kennebunk Inn, and the Brick Store Museum. There are also many acres of blueberry fields and nature trails that are fun to explore with the grandkids!

A large waterfront home and property in Belfast, Maine. The home sits far back from the shoreline and features an incredible view of the areas surrounding the water.

Belfast, Maine
(Source: Legacy Properties Sotheby's International Realty via Facebook)

5. Belfast, ME

Belfast is the best place to retire in Maine if you’re looking to easily get around by foot, as it’s one of the most walkable towns in Maine. It’s also surrounded by communities that offer various retirement support services and the Waldo County General Hospital, a top-ranked local hospital.

One of the most popular events is the Arts in the Park, a juried art show that takes place within the city. Other activities, such as live music, are regularly scheduled throughout the year that truly bring the community together.

6. Rockland, ME

Referred to as “The Art Capital of Maine,” retirees relocating to the state looking to reside in a tight-knit and active community should consider the city of Rockland, known for its maritime heritage, festivals, and, of course, art scene.

Aside from the famous Maine Lobster Festival and the Farnsworth Art Museum, other events such as First Friday Art Walks are also popular in this area. 

Best Places To Retire in Maine on a Budget 

While there is an assortment of places to retire to within Maine, sometimes the higher housing prices and costs of living associated with those cities and towns are simply not manageable. And since you’ll likely be living on a fixed income, here are some more affordable options that are still among the best places to retire in Maine.  

1. Calais, ME

With both a cost of living and average home price lower than the state and national average, Calais is the town you want to live in if you're trying to stretch out those retirement savings. Located in northern Maine, Calais is a very small yet vibrant town with lots of ways to get involved outdoors and in the community. Devil’s Head Conservation Area and the Calais Walkway both have five-star ratings on Google. 

A two-story home with a large porch on the waterfront in Hampden, Maine. The home sits atop a rocky outcrop, jutting out from a heavily wooded area. The water surrounding the property is dark and placid.

Hampden, Maine
(Source: For The Love Of Old Houses via Facebook)

2. Hampden, ME

Located in the beautiful banks of Penobscot Bay lies the small town of Hampden, with a low cost of living below the state and national average, along with more affordable housing costs than most other areas throughout Maine. A highlight of Hampden is the close-knit community spirit and fun local events, which are great to bring the grandkids to. The Hampden Children’s Day and the annual Hampden HalloweenFest, for example, are perfect for guests of all ages!

3. Phippsburg, ME

Located in Sagadahoc County, the town of Phippsburg is on the Kennebec River's west side and also has a lower cost of living than the state and national average. It’s a popular destination for retirees due to its various outdoor attractions, such as the Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area and Fort Popham State Historic Site. It’s also home to Fort Baldwin, which overlooks Popham Beach State Park, as well as the Pond Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Q: Where does Maine rank for retirees?
A:
According to WalletHub, Maine is ranked No. 29 among the 50 U.S. states to retire.

A mature couple is loading the last of their boxes into the PODS portable storage container that sits in their driveway. They’re making a move to Maine, where they’ll spend their retirement years.

Retiring in Maine: Making the Move 

Once you’ve made the decision about where you’ll relocate in the Pine Tree State, PODS can help with the not-so-fun part: the moving process. They will provide you with your very own portable moving container to pack and load at your own pace, and can also refer you to local packing and loading help if the move requires additional assistance. And the best part? Every rental automatically comes with a month of storage built in!  

Editor’s note: For ease of reading, monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25 and home values were rounded to the nearest $100.

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