View of downtown Ellsworth, a city in Hancock County, Maine

7 Best Small Towns In Maine For Retirees

Maine, situated on the picturesque coast in the eastern corner of New England, offers a healthy combination of natural and captivating experiences. From its iconic historic lighthouses to the breathtaking autumn foliage, this state is a treasure trove of wonders waiting to be explored.

Moreover, Maine boasts a rich cultural scene, a thriving economy, and an abundance of delectable seafood. These attributes make it an immensely appealing choice for retirees.  Beyond its scenic allure and cultural vibrancy, Maine is known for providing an ideal setting for retirement. The state is dotted with charming small towns where retirees can savor a tranquil and harmonious lifestyle amidst stunning natural landscapes. These towns are not just serene, but they also offer a range of amenities and facilities tailored to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable retirement.


View of buildings in Kennebunkport, a coastal town in York County, Maine
View of buildings in Kennebunkport, a coastal town in York County, Maine, via EQRoy /

In Kennebunk, where nearly 35% of the population is aged 65 and above, you'll discover a welcoming community of peers to share your retirement journey. Whether your preferences lean towards the local beaches or the vibrant town center, you'll rarely be without companions. For outdoor enthusiasts, Cape Porpoise offers an opportunity to stay active and youthful. A beloved spot for senior citizens, you can observe the local fishermen and even try your hand at fishing, thanks to the abundance of game fish that make trout dinners a common delight. Seeking a more leisurely retirement experience? The Kennebunkport Beaches are a must-visit. With their range of picturesque vistas, featuring crystal-clear waters and pristine white sands, they provide a stunning backdrop for day-long sunbathing. After a day by the shore, a visit to Dock Square allows you to explore bustling streets and make new friends. Cafes, boutiques, and galleries adorn the thoroughfares, offering endless entertainment. For instance, you can immerse yourself in art at the Maine Art Hall or enjoy a delightful drink with friends at Old Vines Wine Bar. No matter your interests, Kennebunk has something to offer every retiree.

Aerial view of the harbor in Kennebunkport, Maine
Aerial view of the harbor in Kennebunk, Maine

Prospective retirees in Kennebunk will find the town to be an ideal retirement destination. In addition to its large senior population, Kennebunk boasts over 5 medical centers per 1,000 residents, including state-of-the-art facilities such as the SMHC Health Center, ensuring access to top-notch healthcare. This means you can focus on enjoying the best retirement possible. Furthermore, Kennebunk enjoys excellent road connectivity through the I-95, US 1, and Route 9A, making travel convenient when necessary.


Autumn in Auburn, Maine
Autumn in Auburn, Maine

Adjacent to Lewiston, the sister city of Auburn serves as the county seat of Androscoggin County and offers a lively environment for those seeking an engaging retirement experience. A leisurely stroll through Auburn reveals a charming array of shops, restaurants, and unique establishments lining its streets. In search of entertainment, you can catch a play at the Community Little Theatre or cheer for your favorite team at the Norway Savings Bank Hockey Arena. These venues consistently exude vibrant energy, creating opportunities to meet new people and enjoy the company of fellow attendees. Following an enjoyable outing, your appetite is sure to be piqued from exploring the town. Cyndi’s Dockside Restaurant provides the perfect solution, offering delectable food, a selection of beer, and lively conversations.

Auburn extends its appeal to the outdoors, with enticing natural spots where you can maintain your fitness and well-being during retirement. The Auburn Riverwalk is a local gem, offering picturesque surroundings and the soothing presence of flowing waters. Whether you prefer a peaceful solitary walk or an excursion with friends and family, it serves as an excellent means of relaxation. Notably, Auburn boasts one of the lowest violent crime rates in the region, ensuring a sense of security. With the convenience of the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport and close proximity to Lewiston, Auburn stands out as an ideal location for settling down in retirement.


Waterville downtown landscape in Maine
Waterville downtown landscape in Maine, via Feng Cheng /

While it might not be teeming with senior citizens, the charming town of Waterville is a haven for art enthusiasts. With a population of 15,900, this delightful community is renowned for its vibrant arts scene, which is evident wherever you turn. One highlight is the breathtaking Colby College Museum of Art, a true haven for art lovers. Housing a staggering collection of over 7,000 artworks, including paintings, sculptures, prints, and more, it's a veritable treasure trove of creative expression.

Beautiful street view in Waterville, Maine
Beautiful street view in Waterville, Maine

For those seeking a different kind of artistic experience, the Waterville Opera House is known for its iconic performances, providing an opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of live theater and music. So, if retirement is sparking your creative side, Waterville may be just the place to explore your artistic passions.

And when you need a break from artistic pursuits, you can enjoy peaceful walks along the Quarry Road Trails, where you'll be treated to idyllic views of the picturesque Messalonskee Stream, adding a touch of nature's beauty to the town's artistic allure.


Picturesque New England fishing village waterfront and harbor in Stonington, Maine
Picturesque New England fishing village waterfront and harbor in Stonington, Maine

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and discover tranquility in the hidden gem of Stonington. This picturesque fishing village provides the perfect setting for a peaceful retirement, with its population of less than 1,000 ensuring you'll always have a friendly face to share your days with. Despite its small size, Stonington is brimming with an array of delightful attractions that will keep you engaged.For instance, you can spend your day at the Stonington Opera House, where you can immerse yourself in an enchanting play or a mesmerizing concert.

If you prefer the great outdoors, explore the forested trails of Barred Island for a rejuvenating hike. And of course, no visit to Stonington is complete without some quality time on its stunning sandy beaches, where the sun's orange rays create a truly hypnotic ambiance, ideal for reminiscing or enjoying a drink with friends.Strolling through Stonington's charming streets, you'll be enchanted by the colorful houses and inviting eateries, making every walk an experience in itself.

After a bit of exercise, reward yourself with a visit to the renowned Stonington Ice Cream Company, where you can indulge in one of their 16 delectable ice cream flavors.If this sounds like your kind of paradise, you'll be pleased to know that Stonington boasts a median age of 56, making it a sought-after destination for retirees seeking a peaceful and vibrant community to call home.


View of downtown Ellsworth, a city in Hancock County, Maine
View of downtown Ellsworth, a city in Hancock County, Maine

Misguided by the misconception that it offers little, many travelers unknowingly pass by the hidden gem of Ellsworth, Maine, on their way to Acadia National Park. Yet, Ellsworth, a small town with around 8,800 residents, is teeming with tourist attractions that could easily divert your attention from your Acadia National Park plans.  Once one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, Ellsworth exudes a delightful vitality. Its streets are lined with quintessential New England-style brick buildings, offering a glimpse into the region's architectural charm. But what truly sets Ellsworth apart is its tantalizing culinary scene, sure to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.

Attractions in Ellsworth extend to the exquisite 180-acre Woodlawn, a historic mansion nestled in downtown Ellsworth, and the Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary, a meticulously preserved natural oasis en route to Bar Harbor. And not to be overlooked, there's The Grand, an arts center that has been an integral part of the town's cultural tapestry since 1938.  What makes Ellsworth a fantastic choice for retirement is its blend of small-town charm and access to a wealth of cultural and natural attractions. With a welcoming community, beautiful historic sites, and an enviable culinary landscape, Ellsworth provides a fulfilling and vibrant retirement experience for those seeking a harmonious blend of cultural and natural delights.

Winter Harbor

Winter Harbor waterfront view in Maine
Winter Harbor waterfront view in Maine, via File:2021-07-27 01 Winter Harbor, Maine USA.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Inbetween the magnificent Mount Desert Island to the west and the captivating Schoodic Peninsula to the east, Winter Harbor is situated just a half-hour ferry ride away from the bustling hub of Bar Harbor, Winter Harbor is often hailed as the coastal cousin of this well-known destination, which retains a unique charm that sets it apart from other regional towns.

Winter Harbor's appeal lies in its small yet charming array of locally-owned shops, creating a welcoming and friendly atmosphere that feels like poetry come to life. Amid this picturesque backdrop, you'll discover favorite attractions like Serendipity, a delightful thrift store that many consider the go-to clothing shop for miles. And for art enthusiasts, the whopaints Gallery and Studio promises a visual feast that will leave you inspired and captivated.

What makes Winter Harbor an exceptional spot for retirement is its proximity to Acadia National Park, which graces the eastern edge of the state. This national treasure offers a bounty of heartwarming natural attractions, ensuring that retirees have ample opportunities for outdoor adventures and serene moments in nature. With its coastal beauty and a rich blend of cultural and natural attractions, Winter Harbor is truly a gem among Maine's retirement destinations.

These towns truly serve as the retirement epicenters of Maine, providing a wide range of entertainment options and essential services. What's even more appealing is that retirees can relish these advantages without breaking the bank, thanks to the affordable housing rates prevalent in most of these small communities. When you consider all these factors, it becomes clear why Maine is an excellent state for retirees to establish their new home.

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