Maine is one of the most beautiful states in the U.S.. The coastline is legendary, the air is crisp, and the seafood is unforgettable. The forests of Maine are littered with crystal clear lakes set on scenic mountain backdrops. Big name ski resorts like Sunday River, Sugarloaf, and Saddleback provide a winter playground for people of all skill levels and ages. Maine is one of the most desirable places to live and the people are friendly and welcoming. Travel nurses love Maine for its unique New England charm and for the over 200 miles of coastline (over 3,000 miles if you count all the tidal coastlines!)
Where to Live: Best Places for Travel Nursing in Maine
Southern Maine (all within 1 hour of each other)
Portland: Portland is the largest city in Maine, with a population of just over 66,000 people. It’s a port city set on a gorgeous waterfront lined by wharfs and old warehouses that have been converted into trendy restaurants and bars. The residents of Portland love living there. The rocky coastline of the Atlantic with a view of the mountains behind Portland makes this city one of the most desired places to live in the country.
Westbrook, Saco, Biddeford: These towns are suburbs of Portland that have their own culture and communities. Visit Mast Landing Brewing Company in Westbrook for some tasty craft beers. Saco is the oldest recorded settlement in Maine and is home to the Saco river headwaters. The Saco river is one of the best rivers in New England for tubing, canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding adventures.
Sanford: Halfway between Portsmouth, NH and Portland, ME, Sanford sits on the Mousam River and is home to many lakes and wooded areas within the city limits. It is located in the foothills of the White Mountains and is Maine’s newest city. There are plenty of restaurants and shops, and the city is growing rapidly.
Bath/Boothbay: Bath has a population of less than 10,000 people and offers a true New England small town feel. Take a trip to one of the oldest lighthouses in the country on Seguin Island, visit the Bath Farmer’s Market, pop into the Chocolate Church (named for its color), or wander through the galleries and shops while sipping hot cocoa. Boothbay, ME is a 30 minute drive from Bath and is full of tidal pools, coastlines, and a charming harbor town.
Rockport- North (Belfast): Located farther north in mid coast Maine, Rockport is popular tourist destination due to its enchanting coastlines, mouth watering seafood stops, and charming shops. It is only a 2 hour scenic drive from Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor.
Cost of Living in Maine
The cost of living in Maine depends on where you live. The more centrally located towns will be a bit more expensive, versus living in a more rural area. According to Zumper, 50% of residents in Portland rent, and the median cost of rent is $1300 per month. Rockport may see more expensive rents, but mostly in the summer. The rent in the suburbs of Portland varies depending on time of year.
There is a huge benefit for traveling to Maine in the off-season (winter)- housing will most definitely be cheaper than the summer. And, you still get to experience the beauty of Maine!!
Travel Nursing Hospitals in Maine
MaineHealth -This is the largest health system in Maine and their facilities are located statewide. They have over 12 acute care facilities, and countless clinics and outpatient offices. Their hospitals vary in acuity, but all are known for outstanding patient care and innovative technologies.
Maine Medical Center– This acute care hospital is the largest campus in the state at 637 beds. They are a level 1 trauma center, level III/IV NICU, and serve as a touchstone for healthcare for all of Maine and eastern New Hampshire. They have a burn unit and their own flight program. Maine Med is a highly regarded hospital nationwide due to their reputation of excellent care, research, and collaboration throughout the Northeastern U.S..
Spring Harbor Hospital– A behavioral health facility located in Westbrook, less than one hour from Portland, Spring Harbor is Maine’s only nonprofit, private psychiatric hospital. There are 100 beds, set on a beautiful 50 acre property. They provide 24 hour referrals and offer voluntary and involuntary hospitalization.
Pen Bay Medical Center– This hospital is in Rockport and Maine’s largest community hospital. Pen Bay has over 1500 employees to meet the routine and specialty care needs of mid-northern coastal Maine. The campus is beautiful and set right on the Atlantic Ocean. Smell the sea breeze while you take your break at work!
Southern Maine Health– The medical center for the Southern Maine Health system is located in Sanford, about 45 minutes southwest of Portland. There is a 24/7 emergency room attached to the 150 bed hospital. The facility serves the outer suburbs of Portland and was formerly known as Goodall Hospital.
MaineHealth Care at Home– Based out of Saco, this is MaineHealth’s home care service. MaineHealth provides home care throughout the state to help better meet the need of their patients. Their innovative telehealth and care at home programs are among the top in the country. And, they are always in need of travel nurses.
Travel Nurse Pay Rates in Maine
Current pay for travel nursing jobs in Maine ranges from $1400- $3200 per week. Pay will depend on location and specialty. If you can claim a permanent tax home, you are eligible for a portion of your pay to become tax free for housing and meals stipends.
Maine Things to Do
Maine is a top tourist destination year round. The mountains, lakes, rivers, coastlines, and adorable towns draw people in, and there is not another state quite like Maine. Check out these sites across the state of Maine:
Top Maine Ski Resorts
Sugarloaf: This mountain resort is active year round and offers tons of outdoor activities. It’s located 2.5 hours northwest of Portland, nestled in the heart of the Carrabassett Valley. It’s Maine’s second largest mountain, and they get over 200 inches of snow per year. Summer and fall seasons offer hiking, golfing, and mountain biking. In the winter, they offer the only lift service on the east coast that allows riders to ski above the tree line. They are already testing their snowmakers!! Search travel nurse jobs in Maine now to make it up there for the winter!!
Saddleback Mountain: Also located about 3 hours northwest of Portland, this gem has some awesome winter skiing, and superb summer hiking. The mountain recently installed a brand new high speed quad lift for skiing. They also run a program that makes skiing accessible to every child in the Rangely school district to encourage outdoor time versus just staring at a screen all day. One of the many reasons to love Maine….
Sunday River: This ski resort has been pumping out snow 1973. Sunday river has ski runs that connect eight peaks, and is renowned for its epic trail grooming. 15 lifts spread out skiers and ensure social distancing naturally. Skiers and snowboarders rave about the conditions at this resort, even when the snow elsewhere is questionable.
Shawnee Peak: Closest to Portland, Shawnee offers the most night skiing trails in New England and is Maine’s oldest ski resort. It’s just over an hour from Portland and offers tubing for the non skiers/snowboarders out there!
Hikes and Fun Day Trips in Maine
Moxie Falls: This short “hike” can be part of a mountain exploration adventure. The mostly flat 2 mile round trip hike will wander you through woods, ending at a stepped waterfall. The area where this hike is located is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.
Pineland Farms: A 5,000 acre working farm, this farm encourages a healthy lifestyle through their business, community education, and recreation. Summer allows for hiking, biking, tennis, and disc golf. But, Pineland Farms really shines in the winter. They offer loads of cross country skiing and snowshoes trails, sledding, skating, and fat tire biking. Just 30 minutes north of Portland, the farm makes for a nice day trip for enjoying a winter wonderland.
Ice fishing: Maine has 6000 lakes. And they are ALL gorgeous! Ice fishing is a widely popular sport in Maine. The season runs from January 1 through March 31. There are properties for rent on popular ice fishing lakes, or you can hire a guide that will provide you with everything you need- all you need to do is dress warm. New England Outdoor Center offers full or half day ice fishing trips!
Snowmobiling: There are over 280 snowmobile clubs in Maine- reflecting how popular the sport is there. You can snowmobile all the way to the Canadian border. You can rent a snowmobile and all of the gear with any of the various outfitters throughout Maine.
Acadia National Park: Often called the “Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast”, people often think Acadia is only fun in the summer, but in the winter the park is uniquely beautiful and far less crowded. Winter hiking requires ice grippers or cleats for good traction, and possibly poles for balance. The carriage roads are perfect for exploring snowy landscapes and appreciating the silence of the forest. You can snowmobile the park loop road, and up Cadillac Mountain (amazing views!!). The usual grey Atlantic looks bright blue next to fresh snow, and the town of Bar Harbor stays open year round to serve up local cuisine and tasty treats!
Baxter State Park: The state park is over 200,000 acres and Mt. Katahdin is located within its boundaries. Mt. Katahdin is kind of like the Angel’s Landing of the East Coast and is the terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Narrow ridges and rocky climbs demand that you are an experienced hiker to complete this hike. Mt. Katahdin can be hiked year round, but for those with less experience, summer is probably safest.
Holiday Season Delights
L.L. Bean: The flagship store for this outdoor company is located in Freeport, Maine. The location is worth a visit year round, but is extra special around the holidays. L.L. Bean becomes a fairy land of snow, lights, holiday cheer, and dozens of locally sourced evergreen trees. The L.L. Bean Northern Lights Celebration coincides with the Sparkle Celebration for the town of Freeport. The celebrations usually start the week before Thanksgiving and run until New Year’s Eve.
Harbor Lights Festival: Held in BoothBay annually, the festival is held starting the week before Thanksgiving up until the week before Christmas. Mr. and Mrs. Clause arrive by boat, and there is a lighted boat parade in mid-December. Keep checking back for updates as the holidays get closer!
Maine Foodie Spots
Maine is renowned for the freshest Atlantic seafood in the U.S.. The sweet taste of lobsters, clams, mussels, scallops, and all the fish is best enjoyed on the coast. While the seafood is amazing, Maine also packs in some great breweries and fusion foodie spots that serve up some unique beer and food options.
Hot Suppa: The southern style brunch at this popular Portland restaurant serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week. If you aren’t familiar with the Maine accents- “Hot Suppa”- translates to Hot Supper 😊 The biscuits and gravy alongside a mouthwatering side of homemade corned beef hash shouldn’t be missed.
Bite Into Maine: If you are looking for lobstah roll options this is the spot. Located in Cape Elizabeth (near a lofty lighthouse!), this gem is just 15 minutes from Portland. The crew here serves traditional lobster rolls and some with a twist, but all are under $20.
Bissell Brothers Brewing: This top brewery has some crave worthy craft beers along with some traditional pours. They have locations in Portland and Three Rivers, but the Three Rivers location has limited hours so check the website before you go. Whether you like a hazy IPA or a dark lager, these guys know what they are doing with beers.
The Portland Hunt and Alpine Club: Bravo to these folks for setting up a heated outdoor patio for the winter season to keep their patrons safe! Small plates like Swedish meatballs, gravlax, and other Scandinavian specialties will keep you warm while you sip on one of their specialty cocktails. This place has an awesome vibe and is located near Old Port.
Nina June: This Mediterranean-Maine fusion restaurant is found midcoast in Rockport. The owner was born in Camden, Maine but was raised in Italy, Spain, and Lebanon. Prior to opening Nina June she ran multiple restaurants in New York City. Don’t miss this small town spot that is sure to go above your expectations.
Day Trips for Exploring Maine and New England
Maine is a great place to start an adventure. The state of Maine is filled with tons of things to see, but it is also convenient to explore the states of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. From Portland, you can reach Cape Cod in less than 3 hours, or Boston in less than 2 hours. New York City is just over a 5 hour drive. Burlington, Vermont can be reached in 4 hours.
Visit New Hampshire: A sister state to Maine, New Hampshire has tons to offer. The small but beautiful coastline of New Hampshire is small compared to Maine’s, but holds lots of charm, and is also the only seacoast highway that you can just pull over and park for free. In just over 2 hours (from Portland) you can be cruising the Kancamagus Highway and splashing in the roadside rapids, or flying down the slopes of one of the White Mountain ski resorts.
BONUS BREWERY TRIP:
Portland is stacked with breweries but, if you really love craft beer, you owe it to yourself to drive the 2.5 hours (from Portland) to Tree House Brewing Company in Charlton, Massachusetts. This famed brewery is celebrated in craft beer culture across the world. Their brews are unique and availability is always changing. But why drive all the way there? Because it is not available anywhere else. They do not sell it for retail and it is not available in any restaurants. Midweek midday is the best time to go to avoid long lines.
Southern and mid-coast Maine have a few public transport options, but that service tends to get spottier the further north you go. The system is mainly buses between counties and seasonal ferries for the coast. Greater Portland Metro is the major public transport presence in Portland. These buses run in Portland proper, as well as provide service to the suburbs.
Weather and Best Time to Take a Travel Nurse Job in Maine
Maine is gorgeous year-round and each season offers a unique experience. Average spring/summer temperatures in Portland range from 42-80 F for highs, and 25-60 F for lows. Winter and Fall are typically colder, with temperatures from 13-50 F. The more northern parts of Maine will see greater fluctuations in temperature and typically are colder with more snow. Precipitation falls an average of 10 days a month throughout the year.
Winter is a very special time in Maine and travel nurses are in high demand! The pristine snow, the silence of the wooded forests, majestic mountains, and glorious coastline make Maine a top travel nurse destination for the season!