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best places to retire in Maine

If scenic New England towns and access to fresh seafood seems like a great way to spend your retirement, Maine may be the perfect place for you to spend your golden years. There are a lot of places in the Pine Tree State to choose from though. This guide takes you through the top 10 best places to retire in Maine and explains exactly why each city is a good place for retirees to live. If you want to retire in Maine, it may be a good idea to hire a financial planner to help you get ready. SmartAsset can help you find the right advisor for you with our free financial advisor matching service. We also have a list of the top 10 financial advisor firms in Maine.

How We Determined the Best Places to Retire

A lot of factors went into determining the best places to retire in Maine. Taxes are important to anyone, but they are especially important for retirees who are living off of a fixed income or their retirement savings. For this reason, we looked at the tax burden for retirees in each city. Healthcare is also an important factor for older people, so we calculated the number of medical centers per 1,000 residents. The number of recreation centers and retirement communities per 1,000 residents were also considered, as well as the percentage of each city’s population made up of senior citizens. With all that in mind, here are the top 10 best places to retire in Maine.

1. Kennebunk

Kennebunk is a seaside town with a tax burden of 15.70%, which is the tax rate of every city on this list, making that factor in the cost of living in Maine equal. What sets Kennebunk apart, though, is its 1.78 recreation centers per 1,000 residents, the highest number on this list. It also has 5.52 medical centers per 1,000 residents, the second-highest number on this list. In addition to those top rankings, Kennebunk also has the highest percentage of seniors among the best places to retire in Maine, with seniors accounting for 31.30% of its population. Kennebunk has a number of popular outdoor spaces, including several beaches and the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge. It is also home to the Wedding Cake House, a historic house that’s popular among tourists.

2. Belfast

Located right on the Penobscot Bay, Belfast has the most retirement communities of any town on this list, with 0.75 retirement communities per 1,000 residents. It ranks third on this list for recreation centers, with 1.50 recreation centers per 1000 residents, and sixth for medical centers, with 3.15 per 1,000. The tax burden in Belfast is 15.70%, which is equal to that of every other city on this list. Booklovers who choose to retire in Belfast will like that the town is the home of the Belfast Free Library, a popular library founded in 1887. There is also a public park, the Belfast City Park, which is open for outdoor recreation year round.

3. Rockland

Rockland is another town found on the shores of the Penobscot Bay with a tax burden of 15.70%. It has 1.80 medical centers per 1,00 residents, which is the second-fewest on this list. Where Rockland shines, though, is the percentage of its population made up of seniors. It leads the list in that metric, with a senior population percentage of 24.70%. There are a number of popular local attractions in Rockland, including the Maine Lighthouse Museum and the Maine Lobster Festival, which is held every summer. Get ready for a lot of hungry visitors.

4. Yarmouth

Yarmouth is a coastal town that leads this list with 5.69 medical centers per 1,000 residents. It doesn’t rank as well when it comes to recreation centers, bringing up the rear on this metric with just 0.53 recreation centers per 1,000 residents. It also has the second-fewest retirement communities per 1,000 residents with 0.18. The town is home to an annual clam festival, so any family or friends who love to eat shellfish may find a reason to visit you in July. Yarmouth also has a number of parks and open green spaces, so you’ll have plenty of ways to get exercise and fresh air.

5. Topsham

This town, located north of Portland along the Merrymeeting Bay, has the third-most retirement communities per 1,000 residents on this list, with 0.46. It also has a tax burden of 15.70%, like the rest of the cities here. Topsham doesn’t rate particularly well when it comes to medical centers, with 1.85 medical centers per 1,000 residents. This is the third-fewest medical centers of any city on this list. Each year, Topsham hosts the Topsham Fair, a celebration of agriculture in Maine. There are 4-H displays, harness racing and even Maine’s Highland Games. The fair has been going on for more than 150 years, so there is a lot of history there. Topsham’s proximity to the Androscoggin River also means there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, especially fishing.

best places to retire in Maine

6. Brunswick

Brunswick is a college town, the home of Bowdoin College. It has 3.17 medical centers per 1,000 residents, placing it fifth on the list for that metric. Like the other towns listed here, it has a tax burden of 15.70%. Brunswick finishes in the middle of this list when it comes to recreation centers, with 1.36 per 1,000 residents. Seniors account for 21% of the population, placing the town towards the middle of the list in that metric as well. Bowdoin brings a lot of opportunities for culture and recreation to the town, including an art museum and a picturesque campus. There are also lots of Division III college sports to enjoy.

7. Waterville

Another college town, Waterville is located along the Kennebec River. It is third on this list with 3.63 medical centers per 1,000 residents, and it carries the same 15.70% tax burden as the other cities on our list of the best places to retire in Maine. Waterville has the second-lowest percentage of seniors on the list, as just 18.40% of its population are senior citizens. Brunswick is home to Colby College and Thomas College, so the pluses of living in a college town definitely apply here. Colby College has an art museum and many sports teams that locals can enjoy. The nearby Kennebec River offers plenty of opportunities for recreation, including rafting.

8. Ellsworth

Ellsworth, located among the lakes of eastern Maine, is fourth on this list when it comes to medical centers, with 3.58 per 1,000 residents. It ranks second in terms of recreation centers, with 1.66 per 1,000 residents. Ellsworth brings up the rear in the ranking of retirement communities, though, as it has with 0 per 1,000 residents. On the bright side, the town’s public library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and there is also a Telephone Museum in town, so lovers of books and quirky historic sites will surely want to visit.

9. Augusta

Augusta is not on Maine’s Atlantic Coast, but that doesn’t mean residents who retire here won’t have access to water. The Kennebec River goes right through the town, which has the same 15.70% tax burden as the rest of the cities listed here. Augusta is seventh on this list with 2.60 medical centers per 1,000 residents. The University of Maine satellite campus in Augusta houses the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine. As the state capital, Augusta is home to Maine’s state house.

10. Old Town

best places to retire in Maine

Old Town, found on the banks of Pushaw Lake, concludes this list of the best places to retire in Maine. It also brings up the rear in terms of medical centers, with just 0.78 per 1,000 residents. It fares better in the count of recreation centers, having 1.16 per 1,000 residents. That puts it in sixth on this list. With a senior population percentage of just 14.50%, Old Town is the location on this list that will feel least like a retirement community. Sewall Park, found right next to Perch Pond, is a popular place for locals to visit.

Retirement Tips

  • You’ll need to take steps while you’re working to make sure you can have the Maine retirement of your dreams. The best way to do that is to work with a financial advisor. You can find the right financial advisor for you using SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. You’ll answer a few questions about your financial situation and preferences. Then we will match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. We fully vet all of our advisors and ensure they don’t have any disclosures. From there, each advisor will reach out to you and set up a time to talk.
  • If Maine doesn’t seem like where you want to retire, fret not. Just check out our lists of best places to retire in Michigan, Utah, New Hampshire, Arizona and New Mexico to see if you can find someplace more your speed.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/DenisTangneyJr, ©iStock.com/FatCamera, ©iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

Ben Geier, CEPF® Ben Geier is an experienced financial writer currently serving as a retirement and investing expert at SmartAsset. His work has appeared on Fortune, Mic.com and CNNMoney. Ben is a graduate of Northwestern University and a part-time student at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing and a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®). When he isn’t helping people understand their finances, Ben likes watching hockey, listening to music and experimenting in the kitchen. Originally from Alexandria, VA, he now lives in Brooklyn with his wife.
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