80 Fun & Interesting Facts About Maine, USA

When most people think of Maine, forests, lobsters, or lighthouses come to mind. Have you ever wondered what else the “Vacation State” is known for?

Find out below with these educational and fun facts about Maine, including general, random interesting, and finally, historical Maine facts!

General Maine Facts

  • Maine is in the northeastern United States. The region is also known as New England and includes Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
  • Maine has a total land area of 35,385 mi2 (91,646 km2) making it the 12th smallest state in the US.
  • Maine is by far the largest of the New England states, covering nearly as much area the other 5 combined.
  • If Maine were a country, it would be similar in size to Portugal.
  • Maine is the only state in the nation that borders just one US state, which is New Hampshire.
  • Maine also borders the Gulf of Maine on the Atlantic Ocean and the Canadian provinces Quebec and New Brunswick.
  • The first place in the US to receive morning sunshine is Eastport, Maine, which is the easternmost city in the nation. It lies on an archipelago of the same name.
Riverfront scene in Augusta, the capital city of Maine
Pretty Augusta on the Kennebec River
  • The population of Maine is 1.38 million, making Maine the 9th least populated and 13th least densely populated of all the states.
  • Augusta is the capital city of Maine. With a population of 19,000, it is the not even in the top 150 cities in New England by population size.
  • Augusta is the 3rd least populous of any state capital, after the capitals of Vermont and South Dakota.
  • Portland is the largest city in Maine (not to be confused with Portland, Oregon). With a metropolitan population of 550,000, nearly half of the state’s population lives in the Greater Portland Area, including the historical and popular summer resort town of York.   
  • Maine is nicknamed the “Pine Tree State,” as it has the highest percentage of forest cover in any state, with 89.46% of the state being covered with trees.
A large bay with forested hills all around it in Maine
Most of Maine is covered in forests.
  • The state motto of Maine is “Dirigo“, which is Latin for “I lead” or “I direct”.
  • The true origins of the state’s name aren’t truly known, but it’s believed that the state was named after Maine in France.
  • Nicknames of Maine include Vacationland or Vacation State. Because of its many forests, beaches, lakes, mountains, and so on, it is a very popular vacation spot among skiers, campers, fishermen, and so on.  
  • People from Maine are called Mainers or Down Easters.
  • The state acronym of Maine is ME. Don’t confuse it with MN (Minnesota!)
  • The moose is the state mammal of Maine. It is the only Eastern state with a sizeable population of them. The moose is also the state mammal of Alaska and appears on Ontario’s coat of arms.
The Maine state flag
The flag of Maine
  • Maine’s flag has a blue background with a shield in the center that features a pine tree and moose. A seaman and farmer stand on each side of the shield. There’s a small star at the top, in the center, with the state motto written across the star.
  • Maine is one of two states that has a second flag as an ensign (the other being Massachusetts). Maine’s ensign features a pine tree on a white background with an anchor and the words Dirigi Maine.

Random Interesting Facts About Maine

  • Maine is the whitest state in the US. 94.4% of its population are of European descent.
  • Maine is the only state out of all 50 states in the US that has only one syllable.
  • Mainers tend to not pronounce the letter “R”.
A splash of water in a rocky bay on the coast of Maine
Maine’s rugged coast has countless bays.
  • Maine beats California and Texas when it comes to total coastline, with 3,478 mi (5597 km) of it (not even counting Maine’s 3000+ islands!) While Maine has a much shorter “general coastline” than the above two, if its coast were totally straightened out, it would be 15 times longer than its general coastline.
  • 3.58% of all land in Maine is protected in state and national parks, the 10th highest in the US.
  • Acadia refers to the traditional homeland of the Acadian people, French speakers who traditionally inhabited Maine and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and small part of Quebec. It is derived from a word in the Mi’kmaq language.  
Changing colors of leaves in fall at Acadia National Park in Maine
Typical scenery of Acadia National Park
  • The state is also home to 30 state parks, 6,000 lakes and ponds, and 5000 streams.
  • Kennebunkport, Maine is home to the Seashore Trolley Museum, the world’s oldest and largest museum of mass transit.
  • One of the most iconic lighthouses in the world is the Portland Head Light, which was commissioned by President George Washington.
Portland Head Light lighthouse in Maine
Portland Head Light is the most photographed lighthouse in the US.
  • The historic Wadsworth-Longfellow House in Portland is the oldest house on the Portland Peninsula. It was built in 1786, during the American Revolutionary War, and was later home to the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  
  • The highest point in Maine is Mount Katahdin, at 5,269 ft (1,606 m). Mount Katahdin was named by the Penobscot people and the name means “The Greatest Mountain”. The mountain is located at the center of Baxter State Park.
  • Maine has the 4th lowest average annual temperature in the US, 43.09°F (6.16°C). Only Alaska, North Dakota, and Minnesota are colder.
  • On 16 January 2009, the lowest temperature ever recorded in Maine was in Big Black River, about four miles from the border or Canada. It was -50°F (-45.5°C).
  • The hottest temperature ever recorded in Maine was on July 4 and 10, 1911 in North Bridgton. It was 105°F (40.5°C).
A plate with a Maine lobster roll on it
Maine lobster roll, a classic local dish
  • Maine produces 90% of the entire nation’s lobster supply. A red lobster is featured on one of the state’s many license plate design options.
  • Maine also used to produce 95% of the supply of toothpicks in the US and was dubbed the “toothpick capital of the world.”
  • Maine is also a top producer of broccoli and potatoes.
  • Cherryfield is considered the blueberry capital of the world, and it’s no surprise, as Maine is responsible for 99% of the blueberry produce in the US.
  • Maine has the highest number of breweries per capita in the US, and Portland, Maine is the highest of any city, with 36 breweries per 100,000 people.
Cartons full of Maine blueberries
Maine produces a huge amount of blueberries.
  • Maine is rich when it comes to mining, with their biggest deposits being zinc and copper. In addition, they have garnet, amethyst, tourmaline, and topaz.
  • Stephen King, the famed horror author, was born in Portland, Maine. Two of his three houses today are in Maine.
  • Two of King’s works that were turned into films were shot in Maine: Pet Sematary and Graveyard Shift.
  • The most popular poet of the 19th century was born in Portland- Henry Wadsworth Longdellow. He wrote the poems “Paul Revere’s Ride” and “The Song of Hiawatha”.
  • Joan Benoit Samuelson of Maine made history by becoming the first woman to win the marathon at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games. In 2000, she was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame in Maine.
Walker's Point Estate, a mansion on the coast of Maine
Walker’s Point Estate is the summer retreat of the Bush family.
  • Other famous people from Maine include poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, board game creator Milton Bradley, actress Anna Kendrick, former US VP Nelson Rockefeller, and director John Ford.
  • Walker’s Point Estate in Maine is the summer retreat of the Bush family.
  • Margaret Knight of York, Maine invented the machine that’s used to produce the flat-bottomed paper bags that are used for shopping and other purposes.
  • Charles H. Best of Maine was a physiologist and the co-discoverer of insulin.
  • According to an old law that isn’t enforced, if you leave your Christmas decorations up after January 14 in Maine, you can be charged a fine.
  • In Maine, there’s actually a law saying that you can’t step out from a plane while it’s in flight.
A lighthouse on the coast of Maine decorated with Christmas lights
Christmas lights on Nubble Light, Maine
  • If you decide to play the violin while walking down the street in Augusta, you’ll also be breaking the law.
  • It’s technically prohibited to blow your nose in public if you’re in Waterville.
  • No matter how mad you are at your landlord, if you’re a resident of Rumford, make sure not to bite your landlord; that’s also illegal.
  • It’s against the law in Maine to keep an armadillo as a pet.

Historical Facts About Maine

  • Over the last 12,000 years, the Maine region was inhabited by four Native American tribes that were collectively known as the “Wabanaki”, or “People of the Dawnland”. They were the Penobscot, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, and the Mi’kmaq.
  • Some believe that the Vikings may have reached Maine 1000 years ago, but there’s no conclusive evidence such as the Viking settlement in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
The coast of St. Croix Island in Maine
Saint Croix, site of the first European settlement in Maine
  • It’s also believed that John Cabot sailed along the coast of Maine in 1498. However, permanent English settlements were only established over a century later, in 1623.
  • The first confirmed European to explore Maine was Italian Giovanni Da Verranzano in 1524.
  • The first European colony in Maine was established in 1604 by Pierre du Guast Sieur de Monts of France, on the island of Saint Croix. After that, he went on to establish the first European settlement in Canada.
  • The regions that are now known as Maine and New Hampshire had their land rights granted to Sir Ferdinando Gorges and John Mason in 1622. It’s believed that Sir Ferdinando was the first person to title the region “Maine”.
  • In 1623, the first sawmill in America was opened in Maine.
Old houses in York, Maine
York, the first incorporated city in Maine and the US
  • The first chartered city in the US was York, Maine in 1641. In 1642, York went on to become the first incorporated city in the nation.
  • In 1658, the Province of Maine, was absorbed by Massachusetts, one of the 13 Colonies of England.
  • In 1775, the first naval battle of the American Revolutionary War took place off the coast of Maine.
  • Maine’s first newspaper was published in 1785 with the purpose of promoting its separation from Massachusetts. The newspaper was called the Falmouth Gazette.
  • In 1759, Madam Wood (Sally Sayward Barrell) was the first female novelist in the US. She was born in York.
  • The North American continent’s first pile bridge was built in York in 1761.
A brass lion's head on a column at Bowdoin College in Maine
Brass lion’s head at Bowdoin College, the oldest in Maine
  • In 1794, Bowdoin College, the oldest stunning running college in Maine, was founded.
  • Maine separated from Massachusetts in 1812.
  • Maine became the 23rd state of the US as part of the Missouri Compromise on March 15, 1820.
  • On 2 June, 1851, Maine became the first state to enact a law that prohibited alcohol.
  • A native of Maine, Melville W. Fuller, became the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court in 1888.
  • 1947 became known as “the year Maine burned” due to the long stretch of drought and the subsequent fires that destroyed over 200,000 acres of land.
Boats in a habor in Portland, Maine
A harbor in Portland
  • In 1974, James Longley was elected governor of Maine, becoming the first popularly elected independent governor in the US.
  • In 2010, Prospect Harbor Sardine Cannery in Maine closed down. It was the last one in the US.
  • Maine became the first state in the US to enact ranked-choice voting for statewide elections in 2016. This includes elections for Congress, governor, and state legislature.
  • In 2020, Maine changed several racist island names, including some that had been illegal for 20 years.