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Scarborough, Maine, a town rich in history, characterized by a diverse climate, and defined by its coastal geography, has evolved from its early days as a colonial settlement to a thriving suburban community. This article explores the deep-rooted history of Scarborough, examines its varied climate patterns, and delves into the geographical features that contribute to its unique identity along the southern coast of Maine.


The history of Scarborough dates back centuries, beginning with its original inhabitants, the Native American tribes of the Abenaki nation. These tribes lived along the shores of present-day Maine, utilizing the rich natural resources of the region for hunting, fishing, and trading. European exploration of the area commenced in the early 1600s, with English and French settlers establishing trading posts and forming alliances with the indigenous peoples.

In 1631, Scarborough was officially settled by English immigrants led by Thomas Cammock, who received a land grant from the Council of Plymouth. The town was named after Scarborough in Yorkshire, England, and quickly became an agricultural and fishing community. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, Scarborough grew slowly but steadily, supported by its fertile farmland and access to the Atlantic Ocean.

During the colonial period, Scarborough was intermittently affected by conflicts between Native American tribes and European settlers, as well as by tensions arising from imperial struggles between England and France. The town's coastal location made it vulnerable to raids and attacks, leading to periods of instability and hardship for its residents.

In the 19th century, Scarborough experienced a shift from agriculture to tourism and summer resort development. The advent of steamships and railroads made coastal Maine more accessible to visitors from urban centers like Boston and New York. Scarborough's sandy beaches and scenic coastline attracted tourists seeking relaxation and recreation, leading to the establishment of hotels, cottages, and amusement parks along its shores.

The 20th century brought further changes to Scarborough, marked by suburbanization and residential development. Improved transportation infrastructure, including the construction of U.S. Route 1 and Interstate 95, facilitated commuting to nearby Portland and attracted new residents seeking suburban living close to the coast. Residential neighborhoods expanded, and commercial areas grew to accommodate the needs of a growing population.

Today, Scarborough is a vibrant community that blends its historical heritage with modern amenities and services. The town has preserved many of its historical landmarks and buildings, such as the Scarborough Historical Society and Museum, which provide insights into its colonial and maritime past. Community events, festivals, and educational programs celebrate Scarborough's history and cultural diversity, ensuring that its heritage remains a cherished part of its identity.


Scarborough, Maine, experiences a humid continental climate, characterized by four distinct seasons: warm summers, cold winters, and transitional periods of spring and fall. This climate type is influenced by Scarborough's coastal location along the Gulf of Maine, which moderates temperature extremes and contributes to variable weather patterns throughout the year.

Summers in Scarborough are generally mild and pleasant, with average high temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit (24-28°C). July is typically the warmest month, with occasional heatwaves pushing temperatures into the 90s Fahrenheit (32-35°C). Summer nights are cool and comfortable, with temperatures dropping into the 50s and 60s Fahrenheit (10-20°C). This season also sees moderate humidity levels and occasional afternoon sea breezes, which provide relief from the heat and contribute to Scarborough's coastal charm.

Autumns in Scarborough are characterized by crisp, cool days and vibrant foliage colors. The average high temperatures in September start in the mid-60s Fahrenheit (18-20°C) and gradually decrease to the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit (4-15°C) by November. The fall season is relatively dry, providing ideal conditions for outdoor activities such as hiking, apple picking, and leaf-peeping. The changing leaves create a picturesque landscape that attracts visitors from near and far.

Winters in Scarborough are cold and snowy, influenced by its coastal location and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Average high temperatures in the winter months range from the mid-20s to low 30s Fahrenheit (-4 to 0°C), while nighttime lows can drop into the teens Fahrenheit (-7 to -12°C). Snowfall is significant, with annual totals averaging around 60 inches (152 cm). Snowstorms and nor'easters are common during the winter months, occasionally causing travel disruptions but also providing opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts.

Spring in Scarborough brings a gradual warming of temperatures and the renewal of plant life. Average high temperatures in the spring range from the mid-40s Fahrenheit (7-9°C) in March to the mid-60s Fahrenheit (18-20°C) by May. This season can be unpredictable, with fluctuations between mild, sunny days and cooler, rainy periods. Springtime precipitation helps to nourish the landscape and prepare it for the summer months, when Scarborough's coastal beauty truly shines.

Overall, Scarborough's climate offers a diverse range of weather conditions that contribute to its natural beauty and seasonal activities. The distinct seasons provide residents and visitors with opportunities to enjoy a variety of outdoor experiences, from beachcombing and sailing in the summer to skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.


Scarborough is located in southern Maine, approximately 7 miles (11 km) south of Portland, along the coast of the Gulf of Maine. The town covers a total area of approximately 55.4 square miles (143.5 km²), of which 47.7 square miles (123.6 km²) is land and 7.7 square miles (19.9 km²) is water. Scarborough's geography is characterized by its extensive coastline, inland forests, and rolling hills.

Scarborough's coastline along the Gulf of Maine is a defining geographical feature, encompassing sandy beaches, rocky shores, and tidal marshes. The town's beaches, including Higgins Beach, Scarborough Beach State Park, and Pine Point Beach, are popular destinations for swimming, sunbathing, and recreational activities. These coastal areas also support diverse ecosystems, providing habitat for shorebirds, marine life, and migratory species.

Inland from the coastline, Scarborough's landscape transitions into wooded areas and rolling hills. The town's topography includes several prominent hills and ridges, such as Black Point Hill and Pleasant Hill, which offer scenic views of the surrounding countryside and coastline. These natural features provide opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and other outdoor pursuits throughout the year.

Scarborough Marsh, located along the Nonesuch River and Scarborough River estuaries, is the largest saltwater marsh in Maine and a significant ecological resource. The marsh supports a variety of plant and animal species, including waterfowl, wading birds, and fish. It is also an important area for recreational activities such as kayaking, canoeing, and birdwatching, offering visitors a chance to explore its tranquil waters and natural beauty.

The Scarborough River flows through the town, connecting Scarborough Marsh to the Gulf of Maine. The river has historically been important for transportation, fishing, and recreation, contributing to Scarborough's maritime heritage and economy. Today, the Scarborough River remains a scenic and recreational asset, providing opportunities for boating, fishing, and waterfront living.

Scarborough's geography has shaped its development as a residential community, recreational destination, and commercial center. The town's coastal location, natural beauty, and proximity to Portland have contributed to its growth and popularity as a place to live and visit. Scarborough continues to balance its natural resources with sustainable development practices, ensuring that its environment remains protected for future generations to enjoy.

In conclusion, Scarborough, Maine, is a town with a rich history, diverse climate, and distinctive geography. From its colonial beginnings to its role as a coastal community and suburban haven, Scarborough has evolved while maintaining its natural beauty and cultural heritage. The town's climate offers a range of seasonal experiences, and its geography provides a backdrop for outdoor activities, ecological conservation, and community life that make Scarborough a cherished place to call home.

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