Renowned for being the northeastern-most state bordering the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec, Maine also shares its western border with New Hampshire. It features a rugged coastline, and dense forests, that meets the start of the Appalachian Mountain Range on its western border. Maine is one of the states that constitute the identity of New England and is revered for its education facilities, with 30 higher educational institutions that are nationally and internationally recognized. Maine is the 9th least populous state in the United States, with a population of 1,328,361 residents. Despite being the 13th least densely populated state, Maine covers a total area of 91,646 sq. km, making it the 12th smallest US State by land mass. Regarding the organization of the 16 counties, there are 483 incorporated municipalities, further broken down into 23 incorporated cities, 430 towns, and 30 plantations.
1. Portland – 68,850
Portland is situated on a peninsula in southern Maine, along the shores of Casco Bay and the Gulf of Maine. It is the largest city and a busy metropolitan area and is ranked as the 104th largest metro city in the US. Widely regarded for its scenic coastline and Port of Portland, the thriving tourist economy draws many to Portland each year with many attractions, historic sites, and restaurants to boost. As for the weather, summer is the best time to visit, with a crisp oceanic breeze ideal for wandering among the many food festivals. Sports are popular, with minor leagues like the Portland Seas Dogs (Double-A baseball), a call-up team for the Boston Red Socks, and the Maine Celtics (NBA G-League Basketball) with affiliations to the Boston Celtics, and the GPS Portland Phoenix (USL League Two Soccer).
2. Lewiston – 37,227
The second-largest city in Maine, Lewiston, is home to the largest French-speaking community by population. Lewiston is situated in south-central Maine on the Androscoggin River, and being located close to the other major cities like Augusta and Portland, it serves as a popular stopover. Lewiston has a rich history, culture, and economic diversification, paired with gorgeous historical neighborhoods that signal clues to Lewiston's past. Among the historic buildings, Lewiston houses the only basilica found in Maine, which was initially established for the French-speaking population in 1938.
3. Bangor – 26,798
An old and intriguing logging and shipbuilding community dotted with Greek Revival homes and Victorian Mansion, Bangor, situated in central Maine on the Penobscot River, is a sprawling tourism and retail center. With a humid continental climate, locals and visitors alike can enjoy many outdoor activities such as hiking, sailing, canoeing, fishing, hunting, skiing, snowshoeing, and skating. The outdoor recreations have some historic ties, with the Penobscot Salmon Club sending the first caught salmon to the President and the white water Kenduskeag Canoe Race occurring annually. But if the outdoors are not to one's preference, have a look at the Bangor Race track for harness racing or the Hollywood Casino. Perhaps live performances are to one's fancy, with options at the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, Penobscot Theatre Company, and Collins Center for the Arts.
4. South Portland – 22,552
South Portland is a picturesque seafront community on the opposite side of the Fore River from Portland, in southern Maine. The city is revered for its views of the Port of Portland and the Casco Islands, many lighthouses, expansive green spaces, and beaches. The surrounding water to the east offers the Gulf of Maine, which teases the presence of the Atlantic Ocean and further boasts its natural appeal to visitors and locals alike. With four seasons, there is much to do to keep one occupied from fishing, picnicking, hiking, swimming, photography, and shopping. South Portland is a retail hub center easily accessible by air, land, and sea.
5. Auburn – 24,263
Located in Androscoggin County in south-central Maine is Lewiston's sister city of Auburn, which is also effectively known as the Lewiston – Auburn Area (L-A). Whether a visitor or a local, what stands out in Auburn is the number of preserved historic buildings and neighborhoods that present a sense of the 18th and 19th centuries. Upon visiting Auburn, one may notice the City's seal that depicts a spindle with shoes, which is a nod to the city's rich history of being a top-tier shoe manufacturing destination. Once supplying 75% of the world's canvas shoes, it is a distinction that Auburn prides itself on.
6. Biddeford – 22,808
A major economic hub with a few resort communities to brag about, Biddeford is located in York County in southern Maine. On a national scale, the University of New England is a renowned nationally and internationally recognized academic facility. Downtown continues to magnetize many for its two historic districts that showcase a few of the National Historic sites. Visitors are drawn to the resort communities of Fortunes Rocks and Biddeford Pool for their wildlife and seascape, serenity, and overall hassle-free tone. Each year, Biddeford pays homage to its French heritage with La Kermesse Franco-Americaine Festival, which is a spectacle to see.
8. Westbrook – 20,982
Westbrook is a tranquil community in Cumberland County of southern Maine, set along the Presumpscot River and the pretty cascades of the Coggin and Saccarappa Falls. Stroll through the red brick building downtown and ogle at the small water ripples from the river's edge. Although quaint, Westbrook has a thriving nightlife on Main Street with many bars, restaurants, and breweries that come alive in the evening. With four seasons, Westbrook offers many indoor and outdoor activities from skating, hiking, swimming, and boating. But regardless of where one roams within the city limits, always have a camera ready for the historical buildings and awe-worthy waterways.
7. Sanford – 22,135
A favorite for outdoor recreation for its plentiful abundance of wooded lakes and foothills of the White Mountains, Sanford appeals to both visitors and locals. It is found in York County in southern Maine on the banks of the Mousam River. A hidden gem for arts and culture, since 2014, the Sanford International Film Festival has been displaying various genres like horror, documentary, and mixed categories. A day in Sanford is incomplete without a trip to the scenic and quaint village of Springvale, the newest town to be incorporated into Sanford.
9. Saco – 20,761
Found on the north banks of the Saco River is the twin city of Biddeford and Saco. With favorable summer weather, Saco is a beloved location for a day out with the family, for attractions, Saco Bay, and seven miles of beaches. Visitors will know they have arrived in Saco at the sights of Ferry Beach State Park, Funtown Splashtown USA, and Old Orchard Beach. Main Street is a well-known spot for both visitors and locals and features dining, shopping, art, parks, and access to the Saco River. Take a cruise down some city streets and check out the architecture of York Manufacturing Co., the prestigious Thornton Academy, Masonic Hall, or Saco City Hall. Also, visit the centuries-old neighborhood that depicts various Georgian, Greek Revival, Federal and Victorian homes.
10. August – 18,851
Last but not least is the capital city of Augusta, situated in Kennebec County along the Kennebec River. Having a population of just over 18,000, Augusta is the third least populated capital city in the US. Accredited and revered throughout the US is the University of Maine in Augusta, which sees many graduates each year. The best way to experience the capital is through its history, art, and culture. Attractions in Augusta include the Maine State Museum, Western Fort, the castle-like Post Office, and the domed State Capitol Building, which offers tours to the public.
Although Maine is among the least populated and least densely populated among the US states, much of the state's population is assembled in its southern portion. Androscoggin, Cumberland, Penobscot, Kennebec, and York counties have the most densely populated areas. Furthermore, towards the north of Maine, cities become less populated and more spread out, opening up to untouched pine-filled forests and rugged coastline. But, regardless of which county one is in, they all have unique identities and amazing cultures and histories waiting to be told.
30 Biggest Cities In Maine
|Old Orchard Beach