The Best Small Towns in Maine

Maine is the northernmost state on the Eastern Seaboard. Like much of New England, Maine is known for seasons, particularly the fall, when trees are a riot of warm colors. But Maine is also known for its rugged coastlines, delicious seafood, and scenic small towns.

Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor is a small town of just 5,000 residents, but it’s famous throughout the United States as a beautiful seaside resort. Its location on Mount Desert Island on Frenchman Bay makes it the gateway into Acadia National Park, which is perfect for hiking and climbing. Alluring fog often rolls through the bay, between the many yachts and lobster boats.


This small Maine town of almost 7,000 people is situated about halfway between Portland and Boston. Its deep harbor in Penobscot Bay has made it an epicenter in the lobster fishing industry. Hundreds of coves and inlets around the area are great for tidepooling and boating. Don’t miss its scenic main street of restaurants with waterfront views and the Breakwater Lighthouse.


If you love small town scenery and history, don’t miss York, Maine. This resort town of around 13,000 residents was founded in 1624. Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Maine, it boasts four sandy beaches that are great to enjoy in the summer months. York is also a great place to golf, with three courses.


If you like oysters, you’ve got to visit the oyster capital of New England. Damariscotta has just over 2,000 residents and is rated one of the best places to live and retire in Maine. Don’t miss a historic walking tour of the downtown, and then be sure to pop into one of its charming secondhand book shops. 


This small town of 3,600 people was known for its shipbuilding and one of its most famous residents: former president G.H. Bush. But it’s also known for its long sandy beaches like Goose Rock Beach. Take a ride (not literally) at the Seashore Trolley Museum and don’t miss walking out to Saint Anne’s Episcopal Church by the Sea and the Goat Island Lighthouse.

As you might have noticed, many of these seaside towns have historic lighthouses. Indeed, these lighthouses themselves can become the main attraction of a road trip along Maine’s rugged coast. Check out some of the small town charm of Main Street USA on the other side of the country with the Best Small Towns in California.