When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.
But not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of Maine.
But where exactly in Maine? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.
To that end, we have tried to identify the places in Maine that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.
What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Yarmouth don’t mind us spreading the word.
Here are our top ten places in the Pine Tree State to retire for 2018:
- Yarmouth (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Caribou (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Rockland (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Belfast (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Ellsworth (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Orono (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Kennebunk (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Brunswick (Homes For Sale)
- Topsham (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Presque Isle (Photos | Homes For Sale)
How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Pine Tree State
To create our list of the best places in Maine to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Pine Tree State with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’t townships.
This left us with 28 places from across the state.
For these 28, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:
- Low cost of living as measured by rent
- Low crime
- Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
- Nice weather
- Distance to the closest international airport
- Other retirees (High median age)
We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 28, with the lowest number being the best.
Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Yarmouth, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.
Population: 5,709Median Rent: $1,001
Distance to Closest Airport: 12 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,278
More on Yarmouth: Homes For Sale | Data
Traces of human occupation in the Yarmouth area date to about 2,000 BC. During the years prior to the arrival of the Europeans, many Native American cultures existed in the area.
Population: 7,902Median Rent: $623
Distance to Closest Airport: 84 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,695
More on Caribou: Homes For Sale | Data
Lumbermen and trappers first set up camps in the area in the 1810s. The first settlers came to what is now Caribou in the 1820s. Between 1838 and 1840, the undeclared Aroostook War flared between the United States and Canada, and the Battle of Caribou occurred in December 1838. The dispute over the international boundary delayed settlement of the area until after the signing of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty in 1842. With peace restored, European settlers arrived in gradually-increasing numbers beginning in 1843. From Eaton Plantation and part of half-township H, Caribou was incorporated in 1859 as the town of Lyndon on April 5. In 1869, it annexed Eaton, Sheridan and Forestville plantations. On February 26 of that year its name was changed to Caribou, only to revert to Lyndon on March 9. On February 8, 1877, Caribou was finally confirmed as the town’s permanent name. Two enduring mysteries are the reason for the original name of Lyndon, and the reasons for the town’s name being subsequently changed back and forth between Lyndon and Caribou. Caribou was the ‘jumping off’ point for a large influx of settlers who immigrated directly from Sweden in 1870-1871, and settled the nearby ‘Swedish colony.’ The small town grew throughout the late 19th century, and with the coming of the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad in the 1890s, agricultural exports exploded. This began a boom period which lasted well into the 1960s. Caribou became the largest potato shipping hub in the world, and had many related industries.
Population: 7,220Median Rent: $706
Distance to Closest Airport: 49 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,216
More on Rockland: Homes For Sale | Data
Abenaki Indians called it Catawamteak, meaning ‘great landing place.’ In 1767, John Lermond and his two brothers from Warren built a camp to produce oak staves and pine lumber. Thereafter known as Lermond’s Cove, it was first settled about 1769. When in 1777 Thomaston was incorporated, Lermond’s Cove became a district called Shore village. On July 28, 1848, it was set off as the town of East Thomaston. Renamed Rockland in 1850, it was chartered as a city in 1854.
Population: 6,641Median Rent: $764
Distance to Closest Airport: 28 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,942
More on Belfast: Homes For Sale | Data
The area was once territory of the Penobscot tribe of Abenaki Native Americans, which each summer visited the seashore to hunt for fish, shellfish and seafowl. In 1630, it became part of the Muscongus Patent, which granted rights for English trading posts with the Native Americans, especially for the lucrative fur trade. About 1720, General Samuel Waldo of Boston bought the Muscongus Patent, which had evolved into outright ownership of the land, and was thereafter known as the Waldo Patent.
Population: 7,879Median Rent: $721
Distance to Closest Airport: 23 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,147
More on Ellsworth: Homes For Sale | Data
According to the history of the Passamaquoddy Indians, the Ellsworth area was originally inhabited by members of the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes: ‘Both groups speak closely related Algonquian languages, although anthropologists generally group the Passamaquoddies linguistically with the Maliseets and the Penobscots with the Abenakis.’
Population: 5,579Median Rent: $944
Distance to Closest Airport: 21 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,666
More on Kennebunk: Homes For Sale | Data
First settled in 1621, the town developed as a trading and, later, shipbuilding and shipping center with light manufacturing. It was part of the town of Wells until 1820, when it incorporated as a separate town. ‘Kennebunk, the only village in the world so named,’ was featured on a large locally famous sign attached to the Kesslen Shoe Mill on Route One. To the Abenaki Indians, Kennebunk meant ‘the long cut bank,’ presumably the long bank behind Kennebunk Beach. Kennebunk’s coastline is divided into three major sections. Mother’s Beach, Middle Beach or Rocky Beach, and Gooch’s Beach or Long Beach. Separate from Kennebunk Beach is secluded Parson’s Beach, a quiet alternative to the summer crowds. Note there is some local controversy regarding the ‘Mother’s Beach’ moniker, (nickname). According to many local residents, the smaller of the three main beaches – at the intersection of Beach Ave and Ridge Ave – is officially Kennebunk Beach or, alternatively, Boothby Beach. The term Boothby beach was from the mid-1730s when a Mabel Littlefield married Richard Boothby and settled on land near what came to be known as Boothby Beach.The information about the Boothbys was taken from ‘Old News From Southern Maine’ article on Mable and Richard Boothby, by Sharon Cummins. Many natives today may not remember it being called Boothby Beach and over the years the beach came to be known as Kennebunk Beach or Mothers Beach. Older residents also recall the name Dipsy Bath Beach, a reference to the baths once located there. The term Mother’s Beach didn’t come into widespread use until the mid ’80s; Although other native residents will dispute that date and say they remember it being called ‘Mothers Beach’ as far back as the late 1950s. The name likely evolved due to its small size and generally calmer water, due to the rocks under and above the ocean, thus making it a natural made harbor of refuge that is safer for swimming and which makes it popular with mothers keeping a watchful eye on their progeny, (children). The name is clearly descriptive rather than official, in spite of the recent installation of road signs pointing the way to ‘Mother’s Beach’. Contradicting the above beach naming is the Town’s website listing ‘Permits are valid for Gooch?s Beach, Kennebunk Beach (Middle Beach) and Mother?s Beach.’ Additionally without public parking access both Libbys and Crescent beaches are in Kennebunk between Parson’s beach and Mother’s beach.
Population: 15,564Median Rent: $760
Distance to Closest Airport: 23 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,396
More on Brunswick: Homes For Sale | Data
Settled in 1628 by Thomas Purchase and other fishermen, the area was called by its Indian name, Pejepscot, meaning ‘the long, rocky rapids part [of the river]’. In 1639, Purchase placed his settlement under protection of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. During King Philip’s War in 1676, Pejepscot was burned and abandoned, although a garrison called Fort Andros was built on the ruins during King William’s War. During the war, in Major Benjamin Church’s second expedition a year later, he arrived on 11 September 1690 with 300 men at Casco Bay. He went up the Androscoggin River to the English Fort Pejepscot (present day Brunswick, Maine). From there he went 40 miles up-river and attacked a native village. Three or four native men were shot in retreat; when Church discovered 5 English captives in the wigwams, six or seven prisoners were butchered as an example; and nine prisoners were taken. A few days later, in retaliation, the natives attacked Church at Cape Elizabeth on Purpooduc Point, killing 7 of his men and wounding 24 others. On September 26, Church returned to Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Population: 6,436Median Rent: $862
Distance to Closest Airport: 28 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,584
More on Topsham: Homes For Sale | Data
Called Sawacook, the area was territory of the Pejepscot Abenaki Indians, a subtribe of the Anasagunticooks (now Androscoggins), who controlled the Androscoggin River. They lived and fished at Pejepscot Falls. But a plague, probably smallpox brought by Europeans, decimated the tribe’s population in 1615?1616. On June 16, 1632, the area was granted by the Plymouth Council to Thomas Purchase and George Way, later acquired by Richard Wharton and then, in 1714, by the Pejepscot Company.
10. Presque Isle
Population: 9,298Median Rent: $646
Distance to Closest Airport: 40 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,946
More on Presque Isle: Homes For Sale | Data
The first European settlers were British Loyalists who reached the area in 1819 hoping to obtain land for lumber. Border disputes between the United States and the United Kingdom over the area, however, made it impossible for pioneers to gain title to the land. In response, the government of the neighboring British colony of New Brunswick (now a Canadian province) gave out patents for pioneers to live on the land but not claim ownership or sell it. By 1825, surveyors traveling along the Aroostook river noted that twenty families lived along it and noted that while agriculture was present, all of the families employed most of their time towards wood production.
Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire Yet…
So there you have it, the best place to retire in Maine goes to Yarmouth.
If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:
For more Maine reading , check out:
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Maine
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Maine
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Maine
Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In Maine
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