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The 20 Best Places to Live in Maryland

Mount AIry

A few quick facts about Maryland: it’s known affectionately as Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State; it was named after the wife of King Charles I, Queen Henrietta Maria; it has twenty-three counties, sixteen of which border the Chesapeake Bay estuary and its tributaries; it’s got more than 4,000 miles of shoreline; it has some of the highest numbers of historic landmarks per capita; its largest city is Baltimore, and its capital city is Annapolis; only one of those two cities ranks as being one of the best cities in Maryland.

To find out the answer to that last little fact, read on to discover the top 20 most desirable places to live in Maryland.

20. Towson

Want to live in the kind of place that manages to have more than 58,766 residents but almost zero crime? Then consider Towson, one of the best examples of Maryland’s safe, community-led cities.

Along with the low, low crime rate, Towson adds to its family-friendly appeal with some of the best schools in the area, a host of amenities, excellent public services and the kind of vibrant, buzzing atmosphere that comes from being home to a large population of college students.

19. Hampstead

If you want a town with first-class schools, a low crime rate, a minuscule unemployment rate of 5.3%, an even tinier poverty rate of 4.1%, and where the residents can expect to earn an average salary of $78,157, you may want to consider the pretty town of Hampstead.

Despite the excellent standard of living, housing is surprisingly affordable, with the average single-family home selling for $239,400 and the average rental property going for around $908 per month.

18. Annapolis

We couldn’t neglect to mention the state capital on our rundown. While Annapolis’ crime rate is slightly higher than in other parts of the state, it’s still got a safe, family-friendly feel that leaves residents more than happy to sing its praises… as does the excellent range of parks (not least of which is the 340-acre Quiet Waters Park, which comes well equipped with water access, a playground area, six miles of paved trails, an ice skating rink, and a dog beach), the abundance of theaters, museums and other centers of culture, and the extensive range of restaurants, bars and nightspots.

The lucky residents of Annapolis can expect a higher than average median income of $81,143…. If that sounds appealing, you’d better start saving; the average property price is a whopping $395,900.

17. Walkersville

Make the move to Walkersville and you’re guaranteed good times ahead. Its booming job market has managed to reduce unemployment to one of the lowest rates in the state (just 4.5%), while its poverty rate is an equally impressive 9%.

A close-knit community, median household income of $83,438, a low crime rate, and an excellent range of amenities complete the attractive picture… just be aware that like most highly desirable areas, the property comes with a significant price, with the average single-family home going for around $83,438.

16. La Plata

Cultural activities and community events abound in the city of La Plata, as do extravagantly high property prices. As House Snacks notes, don’t expect to see much change from $337,000 if you decide to buy a house here… although don’t worry too much; given the booming job market, you’ll probably be earning around $92,738 once you do.

15. Bowie

Fancy living in the fourth richest city in Maryland? With excellent schools, a median income of $108,637 (which stands at almost double the national average), excellent commuting access, and a great range of public amenities and recreational facilities, who wouldn’t?

Unfortunately, you’ll need to have some pretty hefty savings behind you before you even consider it. With the average single-family home selling for $315,900 and most rental properties going for around $1871, this is a town for the fabulously wealthy only.

14. Chesapeake Beach

Small (the current population stands at just 5930), friendly, with low unemployment and a good, old fashioned sense of community, Chesapeake Beach is the king of place you dream of retiring too… as, indeed, many do.

Which isn’t to say it’s not an equally attractive proposition to young families or single professionals either: with a water park, marinas, piers, charter boat fishing, and a huge range of restaurants and bars, there’s something for everyone in this Calvert County town.

Move-in and you can expect to join the ranks of those earning an average salary of $102,679 and charging a typical price of $313,600 for their homes.

13. Forest Glen

The Forest Glen neighborhood of Washington D.C., offers great amenities, first-rate schools, a crime rate that is well below the national average, a diverse, welcoming community, a job market that guarantees a median income of $102,415, and a booming property market that supports an average home value of $425,300.

12. Rockville

See an A+ on Niche, and you know the city in question is pretty special. Thanks to its prime position on the Interstate 270 Technology Corridor, Rockville is a boomtown, giving residents easy access to some extremely highly paid jobs in the software, biotechnology and government sectors (which may explain why the typical resident enjoys a household income of $100,436).

In addition to the excellent job market, Rockville is replete with every kind of amenity and public service you could wish for, including several very upscale shopping centers. The price for such luxurious living? An average home value of $498,200.

11. Mount Airy

The delightful Mount Airy offers its residents one of the best lifestyles in Maryland: its schools are some of the best in the state, it’s got an abundance of shops, bars, and restaurants, the community is friendly and welcoming to newcomers, while the local job market is strong enough to support an average median income of a mammoth $112,955, one of the highest in the state.

Property prices, as you’d expect, are on the higher side, with the average single-family home retailing for around $361,500.

10. Columbia

If you’re looking for one of the best places in Maryland to either raise a family or start one, you’ll find few better places to do it than Columbia. Safe, with excellent schools and a great range of amenities and services, there’s a very valid reason it’s been voted the 5th best place in the entire US to raise a family by Niche.

Check out some of its reviews if you need any more convincing: “The city is absolutely gorgeous. There are many options of places to dine at, activities to kids and parks/ paths to walk around. It is situated in the Howard County Public School System, which is the best public schools in the entire states, therefore your children will receive an excellent education.

This city gives you the vibes of city life without being overcrowded and dirty as it has a cozier feel and more plants that surround the city. Overall, Columbia is the best city to consider moving to!”

9. Chevy Chase

Not to be confused with a certain legendary actor, Chevy Chase is a neighborhood of Washington DC that boasts 20,461 residents, an exceptionally low crime rate, a massive median household income of $170,511 and a frankly alarming median home value of $1,053,271. If you want to rub shoulders with Maryland’s elite, this is the place to do it.

8. Ellicott City

You wouldn’t think a suburb with a population of 71,737 residents could have the kind of close-knit community you’d expect of a much smaller town, but in the case of Ellicott City, you’d be surprised. Despite its cosmopolitan vibe, there’s a distinct sense of community here that’s a welcome contrast to the very different atmosphere of Washington DC itself.

House prices are, as you’d expect of such a desirable location, high (expect to pay around $522,700 on average) but it’s a price many are willing to pay for the abundance of first-rate amenities, jobs, medical centers, schools and recreational facilities on offer.

7. Poolesville

Poolesville holds the thrilling title of the richest city in Maryland, a status that comes thanks to its tiny unemployment level of just 4.9%, a barely-there poverty rate of 1.6%, and a booming job market that keeps residents in $154,107 salaries. Given its highly desirable status, the property is at a premium: expect to pay around $397,800 for a single-family home, or $1851 in rent.

6. Potomac

The house prices at Potomac may be rocketing (don’t expect much change from $893,600) but the living standards are just as high.

If you choose to make this suburb of Washington, D.C. your next home, you can expect some of the best amenities and services the state has to offer: excellent schools, first-class shopping, plenty of wining and dining opportunities, a low crime rate, a citizenship where 51% of the population has a master’s degree, and a median income which, at $187,568, is over $130,000 the national average.

5. Bethesda

Upscale shopping centers, live cultural events, numerous art galleries, excellent medical centers, first-rate schools, a thriving, friendly community…. if there was a checklist for everything you could want from your dream town, Bethesda would check every box.

Factor in a booming job market, a supremely low crime rate, a median household income of $154,559, and the kind of highly desirable status that allows residents to charge a whopping $877,300 for the courtesy of allowing newcomers to move in, and you’re looking at one seriously attractive town, indeed.

4. South Kensington

If you’ve got a spare $718,000 hanging around, you may want to put it to good use by investing in a property in the exclusive South Kensington suburb of Washington.

As well as allowing you to rub shoulders with some of Maryland’s richest residents, it’ll also give you the benefit of a world-class school system, a job market that’s strong enough to support a median household income of $160,303, a practically non-existent crime rate, and some extremely educated neighbors (34% of the districts 8684 residents have a bachelor’s degree, while 44% have a master’s degree or higher).

3. Garrett Park

Want to earn $173,889? If you answered with a resounding “yes”, you may want to consider a move to the tiny little suburb of Garrett Park. With just 1,020 residents, it might be one of the smallest additions to our list, but it’s punching far above its weight when it comes to things like schools, amenities, jobs, infrastructure, crime, and unemployment rates.

As you’d expect of such a diminutive place, it’s also got a great sense of community… although whether having neighbors that say hello to you is worth the astronomical median home value of $810,000 is perhaps a question for another day.

2. North Bethesda

The large Washington suburb of North Bethesda has the kind of stellar infrastructure, abundant range of recreational and leisure facilities, and excellent job market you’d expect of a place that supports 50,056 very happy residents. It also has a tiny poverty rate of 6.9%, an even smaller unemployment rate of 4.5%, and an average median income of a huge $103,194.

As you’d expect, those kinds of benefits don’t come for free, with the average single-family home selling for just over $550,000, and the average rental property going for a huge $1,868 (almost twice the national average).

1. North Potomac

Primly located just 3 miles from Gaithersburg and 20 miles from Washington, DC, North Potomac enjoys an almost unending list of benefits: great schools (Winston Churchill High School, Thomas S Wootton High School, Quince Orchard High School, Northwest High School, and Wayside Elementary School all enjoy the rare distinction of an A+ rating on Niche; a booming job market; an median income of a massive $161,553; low crime; and the kind of desirability that allows local residents to attach a huge price tag of $656,900 to their properties.

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Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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