Maine has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) throughout the state with warm, humid summers and cold winters. It is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast, Canadian provinces New Brunswick and Quebec to the north, and New Hampshire to the west. Maine is the easternmost contiguous state of all American states, which borders exactly one American state, New Hampshire, and is the northernmost and coldest state in New England.
Maine, the Pine Tree State, is the most forested state in America, with 83% of its land under forest cover. The state is home to temperate broadleaf and mixed forests, including mixed oaks of the northeastern coasts and the New England Acadian forests. The hinterland consists of lakes, rivers, forests, and mountains, while the rock-bound shores have numerous fishing villages, beaches, and thousands of offshore islands. The 230-mile coastline consists of uneven terrain of rocks and cliffs with many bays and inlets.
Maine summers are one of the most comfortable statewide in the United States, with average high temperatures of 70°F (21.1°C) in the peak of July. Nights are temperate during the summer season. Winters are cold with average low temperatures of 12°F (-11.1°C) in January with abundant snowfall throughout the state. Spring is a little rainy with warm temperatures, while autumn is colder than the summer and full of bright colors. The average annual precipitation in the state is 76" (1930.4mm). Snowfall averages to the tune of 75" (1905mm) during the winter, mainly from November to February. Coastal areas rarely have 15 to 20 annual days where the snowfall exceeds 1" (25.4mm), although a typical Northeaster storm may deposit more than 10" (254mm) of snow in a day.
Maine records an average of 203 sunny days in a year. Northern and western Maine is usually colder during the winter than the coastal parts of the state due to the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean, while the coasts are generally colder than the interiors during the summer. Precipitation is evenly distributed throughout the year in most parts of the state, while coastal Maine usually has dry summers.
Tornadoes, cyclones, and thunderstorms are rare and mostly occur in the southern part of the state. Maine's record high temperature is 105°F (40.6°C), set at North Bridgton on July 1911, while the record low temperature is -50°F (-45.6°C), set at Big Black River in January 2009.
The best time to visit Maine
The best time to visit Maine is during summer from June to August, which is the peak tourist season, with pleasant temperatures, mainly in the coastal areas of the state. Throughout the state, the summer sun is in the temperate zone as high temperatures occasionally cross 80°F (26.7°C). Far away from the coast, the hinterlands and the mountains experience brilliant fall foliage in September and October during the autumn due to the variety of trees and vast forest cover. For winter sports lovers who do not mind the cold weather, November to May brings joy in the ski season.
The worst time to visit Maine
November to February, during the winter, is generally the worst time to visit Maine. The night temperatures often drop to 0°F (-17.8°C) and sometimes even below, while the day temperatures are around the freezing 32°F (0°C) during the peak of the cold season. Maine winters are cold even during the day as the sun disappears for long hours, sometimes even for days. However, the ski season gains from the vast snow accumulation, and it is a fun time for ski enthusiasts. Most of the hotels close during the winter, and the off-season rings discounts for a few tourists who brave the cold weather.
Maine sees numerous cold storms during the winter season. Northeasters, the storms that occur during the winter in the northeastern part of the United States, bringing freezing rain and large deposits of snow - sometimes above 10" (254mm) in the space of one day. Visibility is highly reduced, and the roads are treacherous to travel due to the accumulation of snow and black ice. Fog is a hazard during the cold season - on the roads as well as for the ships that sail near the coastal areas.
Weather in January
January is the coldest month of the year in Maine, as the daily high temperatures are regularly below freezing. Day high temperatures even in coastal areas like Portland average cold 31°F (-0.6°C), while the nightly lows are approximately 13°F (-10.6°C). The lake areas like Moosehead Lake and Chesuncook Lake in the north freeze during the winter with average low temperatures of -1°F (-18.3°C). Many parts of the state see temperatures below 0°F (-17.8°C) regularly in January as the sunshine reduces to an average of 4 hours a day, and the sun is visible only for 15 days during the month. January sees a drop in humidity to 70% as the rainfall averages 4" (101.6mm) in Maine; it is also the snowiest month with many places accumulating north of 20" (508mm), the lake areas, particularly gathering more snow. Few visitors step in Maine during the winter - the arctic cold mandates layers of winter clothing such as gloves, warm coats, caps, and shoes. Watch out for Moose crossings when driving automobiles as these animals casually walk across the roads!
Weather in February
February is a chilly winter month in Maine with the average low temperatures in the cold -3°F (-19.4°C) to 15°F (-9.4°C) zone and the average high temperatures in the chilly 26°F (-3.3°C) to 35°F (1.7°C) range across different areas of the state. Augusta, the capital of the state, which lies in Central Maine, has average temperatures in the 15°F (-9.4°C) to 32°F (0°C) range. Coastal areas such as Kennebunkport average 14°F (-10°C) to 35°F (1.7°C), while Millinocket in the north is between 5°F (-15°C) to 28°F (-2.2°C). Snowfall is to the tune of 12" (304.8mm) to 15" (381mm), while rain registers 2" (50.8mm) to 3" (76.2mm) in different parts of the state. Sunshine improves to an average of 5.5 hours in February, but there is a high probability of cold storms in this period with large deposits of snow. Fog is common, and people frequently face an issue while handling automobiles due to the dreary cold - it is an excellent idea to remote start the vehicle and warm it up before embarking on a journey! Watch out for the slippery and icy conditions.
Weather in March
March is cold even though it is the end of the winter and begins the spring season in Maine. The average low temperatures are still well below freezing, while the average high temperatures are chilly 34°F (1.1°C) to 42°F (5.6°C). The start of the spring sees an increase in the sunshine up to a daily average of 7 hours, but the rain is persistent and averages 4" (101.6mm) to 5" (127mm) in the state. There is no let down in the snowfall as most of the areas, including those near the coast, gather 10" (254mm) to 15" (381mm). Humidity is more in the morning and decreases post noon when the skies tend to be clearer. Early spring tends to be a cold period in Maine that asks for protection from rain, cold, and snow. By the end of the month, the conditions become favorable for the numerous fishing and canoeing enthusiasts who gather in search of thrilling adventures.
Weather in April
April sees a rise in temperatures with the average high temperatures in the 47°F (8.3°C) to 53°F (11.7°C) range, while the average low temperatures are in the 26°F (-3.3°C) to 36°F (2.2°C) zone. The amount of snowfall drops substantially and is approximately 5" (127mm) in most regions in Maine. However, April is wet with 4" (101.6mm) to 5" (127mm) in the majority of the state amid regular overcast conditions. Although daily sunshine averages 7 hours, sunny days are few and far between cloudy and partly sunny conditions. By mid-April, spring starts to spread its wings across the beautiful and rough landscape as the lakes and rivers are full of freshwater from the rain and melting snow - no wonder fishing activities take a front seat during this time! Maine starts to register tourist numbers by late-April as spring conditions make for a lovely atmosphere. By the end of April, a majority of ski lovers return as the snow melts down on the lower mountain slopes with the advance of spring.
Weather in May
May sees temperatures on the warmer side in Maine as the nightly lows rise above the freezing point. Throughout the state, the average temperatures are 37°F (2.8°C) to 65°F (18.3°C), as the cold and rain decrease substantially. Snowfall is almost nonexistent by May except a few places on the mountaintops. Rain registers 3" (76.2mm) in many parts of the state, but the sun has to break the persistent cloud cover to average 8 hours of daily sunshine. Brunswick, on the coast, has warm temperatures in the 45°F (7.2°C) to 65°F (18.3°C) range, while Bangor in Central Maine is slightly lower between 42°F (5.6°C) to 64°F (17.8°C). Even Fort Kent, which is usually one of the coldest places in the north, registers a comfortable average high temperature of 61°F (16.1°C). Tourists enjoy Maine visits in May as the crowds are less compared to the summer and there are many discounts on hotels! Be sure to wear layered clothing and carry an umbrella or raincoat for protection from the rain.
Weather in June
June begins summer in Maine and with it the tourist season due to its temperature conditions that are rare in most parts of the United States. Across the state, average high temperatures are in the warm 50°F (10°C) to 75°F (23.9°C) range with rare extremities in temperature. The average humidity in June is the least across the state, with the coastal areas usually more humid than the interior lands. Maine sees rain throughout the year, and June is no exception as the rain gauge accumulates an average of 4" (101.6mm) across the state. However, there are many sunny days, and the daily sunshine is 8 to 9 hours. The weather is refreshing in the least as the day temperatures rarely soar due to the slanting rays of the sun. The conditions in Maine warrant carrying rain protection for the majority of the year and in most parts of the state. The rocky shoreline does not make for great beaches, and the ocean waters are cold even in summer.
Weather in July
July is the hottest month of the year in Maine and is the peak of the tourist season. Tourists flock to attractions like the Acadia National Park, the only national park in New England where temperatures are in a pleasantly warm range of 59°F (15°C) to 79°F (26.1°C). The warmth of the temperate sun nourishes the conditions as the daily sunshine averages 9 to 10 hours across the state. Rain averages 2" (50.8mm) to 3" (76.2mm) over most parts of Maine as the humidity levels drop in July. Green mountains, freshwater lakes, swelling rivers, and mesmerizing landscapes make a great vacation in the warmth of the soothing sun rays. The beaches are not exactly enthralling as those in the other parts of America, and the ocean water temperatures rarely cross 65°F (18.3°C) even in the peak of summer. For swimming or surfing, the southeast part of Maine, such as Portland or Kennebunkport, offer warmer waters.
Weather in August
August is a typically warm month during the summer of Maine with average temperatures in the warm range of 51°F (10.6°C) to 79°F (26.1°C). Newcastle on the coast is between 58°F (14.4°C) to 76°F (24.4°C), while Presque Isle in northern Maine averages 54°F (12.2°C) to 77°F (25°C). It is a little wet with 3" (76.2mm) of rain across the state, but the precipitation is not usually strong to affect travel plans, and the sun appears in the sky for extended periods. Daily sunshine averages roughly 9 hours - the warmth of the August sun is refreshing for the soul. August is an excellent time for excursions to the offshore islands that lie in proximity to the coast as the conditions are beautiful, and the ocean is peaceful. Summer in Maine is like spring in many parts of the country, a little rainy with moderate temperatures with lots of fresh air, greenery, and an abundance of freshwater. Layered clothing gives comfort, particularly in the evenings.
Weather in September
September starts the beautiful autumn season with the average high temperatures around the 70°F (21.1°C) mark. While the day temperatures rarely touch 80°F (26.7°C), the nights are in 45°F (7.2°C) to 50°F (10°C) range. Rain does not fall short of expectations and is to the tune of 4" (101.6mm), so it is always advisable to have some rain protection. Thunderstorms are not entirely unknown, bring rain, and a drop in temperatures. However, the weather is usually perfect for walking, biking, kayaking, and other activities. Northern Maine has many mountain trails, and the fall season is ideal for exploring them. Visitors gather from all over the country to witness the fall foliage, which is spectacular and surpasses almost all the places in the country. The hunting season is in full swing in September, so be sure to wear colorful clothing that is visible from long distances, such as blazing orange to avoid any misadventure!
Weather in October
October is in the middle of the wonderful autumn in Maine with temperate days and mildly cold nights. Temperatures throughout the state are in the average range of 33°F (0.6°C) to 58°F (14.4°C), which make it slightly on the cold side compared to early fall. Rainfall registers up to 5" (127mm) in many parts of the state, and the conditions are wet but interspersed with sunny periods - daily sunshine lasts for 7.5 hours as the sun and clouds play hide and seek with each other. Fall evenings in October see cozy fires lit in fireplaces of inns and lodges as the temperatures start to drop. Maine weather during this time is a combination of sunny, windy, rolling thunderstorms, or even snowstorms - all of which may happen in the space of a few hours or different parts of the state. Tourists flock to the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia to watch the beautiful sunrise and sunset. Many visitors traverse the rivers to enjoy the brilliant fall foliage and majestic scenery in the backdrop of mountains from a distance.
Weather in November
November ends the autumn and starts the transition to the cold weather in Maine. Many parts of the state see average low temperatures dropping to the range of 22°F (-5.6°C) to 25°F (-3.9°C). Average high temperatures in November are 40°F (4.4°C) to 48°F (8.9°C) that makes the days feel cold, especially when the wind speeds rise above normal. Central Maine regions like Dover-Foxcroft average 25°F (-3.9°C) to 43°F (6.1°C), while Lewiston harbors a cold 29°F (-1.7°C) to 44°F (6.7°C). Port Clyde along the coast is a little warmer than the central and northern regions with average temperatures in the 35°F (1.7°C) to 47°F (8.3°C). Rain is omnipresent and register 5" (127mm) to 7" (177.8mm) in many regions with a higher incidence along the coast. Snow is regular in November with an average of 8" (203.2mm) to 9" (228.6mm) in the northern parts and more in the highlands and mountaintops. Days start to become shorter with the advent of winter, and the average sunshine drops to 5 hours. The ski season usually starts in November as many enthusiasts gather on the mountains, unaware of what to expect - beautiful sunshine, glistening snow, or a snowstorm!
Weather in December
December is a cold winter month in Maine that usually experiences temperatures below freezing for most of the day. In northern Maine, such as Fort Kent, the average high temperatures are 25°F (-3.9°C), while the average low temperatures are around a freezing 6°F (-14.4°C). The coastal areas are a little warmer than the north with average temperatures in Eastport between 21°F (-6.1°C) to 36°F (2.2°C). Cold winds from the Arctic exacerbate the freezing conditions. Daily sunshine is an average of 4 hours as the sun remains on the horizon for nearly 15 days in December. Snowfall averages 10" (254mm) to 20" (508mm) in the state as Rangeley in Central Maine registers one of the highest amounts of snow at 30" (762mm). Rain is generally a little higher in the coastal areas than the rest of the state where it averages 2" (50.8mm) to 3" (76.2mm). December is an avoidable time to visit Maine except for ski lovers and tourists who want to enjoy White Christmas.