Best Places To Live In Maryland: Top 5 Communities Most Recommended By Locals

If you’re thinking of moving to the mid-Atlantic, Maryland is a great place to consider. America’s seventh state is known for its rich history and thriving harborside communities like Annapolis and Baltimore. Plus, the Old Line State boasts many beautiful waterways and fishing areas. As the birthplace of the savory spicy seasoning, Old Bay, trying some fresh Maryland crabs from the Chesapeake Bay is a must and rite of passage for anyone who grows up in the state. Some of the best places to live in Maryland range from living on the beach to amidst the hustle and bustle of a lively downtown atmosphere. 

If you prefer city life, many communities in Maryland are near Washington D.C., which can be ideal for commuters. Plus, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor area is a fun spot for dining, museums and sporting events. Maryland truly has something for everyone. These are things to consider among the many factors that go into deciding where to live. For many Americans, figuring out personal finances for a home purchase can be a daunting task. According to a recent survey of home buyers, respondents believe the top items needed to secure a home loan are money (52%), a steady job (49%), and good credit (48%).

However, the survey also uncovers some of the most common home-buying myths. Many believe they need a near-perfect credit score (30%) — while the average respondent erroneously believes they have to make a down payment of at least 25 percent to purchase a home. Another finding? Nearly half of homeowners (46%) wish they had bought their homes earlier, but 59 percent felt the process was a rushed experience. Meanwhile, most parents surveyed shared that they needed to buy a home so their kids can inherit it and be comfortable later in life (59%).

Heading to the East Coast? Maryland is a great spot for people of all ages and StudyFinds is here to help. We’ve narrowed down the top five areas, from ten expert websites to find the best places to live in Maryland. As always, we’d like to see your own recommendations in the comments below! 

Annapolis, Maryland
Annapolis, Maryland (Photo by Mac Glassford on Unsplash)

The List: Best Places to Live in Maryland, According to Locals

1. Columbia

Located in Howard County, this pricey Maryland suburb is great for families, as well as commuters. “There are parks, lakes, and trails for nature lovers and a great downtown with restaurants and shops. The city is also conveniently located mid-way between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., making access to both major cities under an hour by car,” according to House Digest

“From boating at Lake Kittamaqundi, taking an art class at Columbia’s Art Centre, soaking up history at the African Art Museum of Maryland, admiring street art, or enjoying sushi at Sushi Sono, there is a plethora of activities to enjoy here,” notes Nomad Lawyer.

Livability points out, “Columbia has 10 individual neighborhoods that are little communities in themselves — some have middle and high schools. Streets in Columbia are named for famous works of art and literature, and recreational facilities include a sports park and 25 public swimming pools.”

The obvious downside? It’s quite expensive to live in Columbia. According to PayScale, the “cost of living is 38% higher than the national average.”

2. Rockville

This city in Montgomery County, Maryland, “is at the core of the I-270 Technology Corridor which is home to numerous software and biotechnology companies and federal government institutions,” notes HomeSnacks.

“Situated a short jaunt away from DC, residents have the best of both worlds with easy access to the city alongside the comfort of living in the suburbs. Housing prices sit just below $600,000, with apartments averaging at $2,100,” adds World Atlas.

Plus, Maryland Recommendations points out, “with a population of under 70,000, it’s home to several upscale shopping centers like the Rockville Town Square, where shops and restaurants surround a beautiful ice skating rink in the winter.”

3. Gaithersburg

Also located in Montgomery County, this area has plenty of amenities for families with kids. Orchard notes Gaithersburg “boasts easy access to D.C. and top tier schools. A variety of neighborhoods here, including some that are planned, mean that there are options for families who can’t necessarily spring for that large property just yet. Even if you opt for an area with row houses or condos, you’ll have access to everything you need.” 

The Crazy Tourist adds, “the bustling nightlife, coupled with employment opportunities and affordable cost of living, explain why the area also appeals to millennials immensely.”

“In February 2023, the median listing home price in Gaithersburg, MD was $498K, trending up 8.5% year-over-year. The median listing home price per square foot was $246. The median home sold price was $495.5K,” according to

4. Annapolis

This charming dockside town is also Maryland’s state capital and is located in Anne Arundel County. “Founded in 1649, it’s known for its historical brick homes and sprawling waterfront near the U.S. Naval Academy. If your idea of living in Maryland includes being close to the calm waters of the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis is absolutely one of the best places to live in Maryland,” notes Maryland Recommendations.

Annapolis's harbor
Annapolis’s harbor (Photo by Vikram Deshmukh on Unsplash)

If you are a retiree, Annapolis has a lot to offer. “Seniors will fall in love with this historically significant city, with its views of the Chesapeake Bay, cozy taverns, fresh seafood, and emphasis on waterfront activities. Take a boat out, see a free concert, visit the Naval Academy, or just lounge at home enjoying the vista,” according to Orchard.

“As Maryland’s capital city, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure and possibilities. The median home costs sit around $601,000, while apartments rent for approximately $2,200,” adds World Atlas.

5. Havre de Grace

This city of about 15,000 people is located in Harford County. This Chesapeake Bay community sits at the mouth of the Susquehanna River. “In February 2023, the median listing home price in Havre de Grace, MD was $395K, trending up 5.3% year-over-year. The median listing home price per square foot was $186. The median home sold price was $402.9K,” according to

A lighthouse in Havre de Grace, Maryland
A lighthouse in Havre de Grace, Maryland (Photo by David Adorno on Unsplash)

HomeSnacks points out, “if you choose to call Havre de Grace home, you will find friendly people, great schools (Havre de Grace High School is a National Blue Ribbon School), and a citywide desire to keep residents happy, healthy, and protected.”

However, this area does get a lot of visitors. “Its location on Chesapeake Bay means it witnesses its fair share of tourists each year, and one of its biggest attractions includes the historic Skipjack Martha Lewis, what was once part of the Chesapeake Bay oyster fleet and one of its few remaining working dredge boats,” adds The Crazy Tourist.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.  

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About the Author

Melissa Kraus

Melissa is a freelance writer, based out of New Jersey. She has over two-decades of writing, editing, and producing experience for Radio, TV, and Digital Media.

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  1. To each his own, there are far better “gems” to live in (IMHO) that the first three on your list…but I will keep them secret so they aren’t “spoiled!”

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