11 Pros and Cons of Living in Maryland

Will Maryland’s beautiful scenery, crab cakes, and job opportunities be enough to outweigh its drawbacks? Here are the pros and cons!
Written by Brittni Brinn
Reviewed by Christelle Agustin
Living in Maryland comes with a lot of perks: a rich history, plenty of outdoor activities, and job opportunities. But as with any state, there are cons, including the high cost of living, traffic congestion, and rampant crime in some areas.
Maryland can seem alluring from afar, but is it the right place to settle down? As with any place, there are going to be benefits and drawbacks to moving to the Old Line State. And your priorities are going to affect how you view Maryland as well—if you’re looking to buy a home in
Bel Air
, for example, you’re going to be looking at different factors than if you want to rent an apartment in
Whether you’re trying to decide if you should move to Maryland or if you’re curious about what this East Coast state has to offer, we’ve compiled a list of pros and cons to give you a better idea of what Maryland is all about!
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Pro: East Coast living and the great outdoors

Located next to the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay, Maryland is famous for its East Coast culture and outdoor splendor. The state’s culture is diverse, with elements of Southern hospitality and authentic coastal influences. Maryland is sometimes called “America in Miniature,” referencing the fascinating culture and natural beauty that personifies the state.
Speaking of natural beauty, Maryland is full of sand beaches, islands, marshland, and creeks to explore with the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountain ranges towering over the state. Trees cover over 40% of Maryland, most of which are protected by state and national parks. Plus, water-based activities like boating, fishing, and swimming are almost always available thanks to the ocean and bay.
Here are some of Maryland’s outdoor highlights:
  • Thurmont: A small town of 6,000 people between
    Catoctin Mountain Park
    and Cunningham Falls State Park. There are plenty of hiking trails to explore and the largest waterfall in Maryland.
  • Assateague
    : This island is home to a herd of wild horses. You can camp, kayak, or simply admire the horses from a safe distance on this beautiful remote island.
  • Ocean City: For something a little closer to civilization, Ocean City is the place to be if you’re craving sandy beaches and salt-water taffy. It also features a boardwalk, plenty of live music, and is known as the White Marlin Capital of the World.

Pro: Rich history, culture, and iconic food

As one of the original colonies, Maryland has a long and rich history. Founded in 1729, Baltimore is one of the oldest cities in the United States, with a port that was vital to trade and commerce in the early days of America—and don’t forget that “The Star-Spangled Banner” was written in Maryland! History and culture buffs will also enjoy Maryland’s excellent museums and science centers like the
National Aquarium
, the
Walters Art Museum
, and the
And we can’t talk about Maryland’s cultural offerings without mentioning its iconic food! From fresh seafood to oysters on the half-shell, there’s no shortage of coastal foods to indulge in. Not to mention, the lobster rolls and crab cakes are top-tier! But Maryland isn’t limited to crustacean-inspired cuisine—breweries and restaurants offering all kinds of dining experiences are abundant as well!
MORE: How to check for Maryland road closures

Con: High cost of living

Unfortunately, we’ve got to put a reality check here—Maryland is an expensive place to live. Maryland is home to one of the highest concentrations of millionaires in America—as many as one in twelve households are worth over $1 million. Because Maryland is one of the wealthiest states, it also has one of the highest costs of living. 
For a one-bedroom apartment, you can expect rent to cost over $1,500, while rent for a house averages over $1,600 a month. Choosing to live in a rural community instead of a big city like Baltimore can help cut down your monthly living expenses, but it still may cost more than you’re used to paying.
According to the
Living Wage Calculator
, a single adult with no children needs to make $19.74 an hour to live comfortably in Maryland. However, with minimum wage at $12.50, making ends meet may be a challenge.
Car ownership can be a huge expense in Maryland as well. The state’s gas tax holiday passed early in 2022 has expired, adding a gas tax increase of over six cents a gallon. How high your gas prices are in Maryland will depend on where exactly you’re located, but fuel costs can be prohibitive in some parts of the state.
And Maryland’s high population density and highway traffic doesn’t make
car insurance
cheap, either.

Pro: Moderate climate that still has all four seasons

For the splendor of all the seasons without the extremes, Maryland is the place to be. The summers are humid and moderately warm, with higher humidity in the east and south parts of the state. You’ll also see a fair amount of snow in the winter (20.6 inches on average, ranging from 10 inches to 110 inches depending on where you are), but won’t have to deal with frigid cold temperatures.
Here are the high and low points of Maryland’s temperature on average:
  • Warmest month: July, average temperatures in the mid to upper 80s
  • Coldest month: January, average temperatures in the low to mid-20s
These relatively comfortable temperatures year-round make outdoor festivals extremely popular. Check out the spring tulips in Sherwood Gardens, Baltimore’s summer
, or the Miracle on 34th Street festival of lights in the winter!
However, you will have to watch out for Maryland’s wind speeds. It’s not
, but the wind coming off the ocean can be pretty strong!
MORE: Which natural disasters does homeowners insurance cover in Maryland?

Con: Traffic congestion

With its proximity to DC and other major cities on the Eastern Seaboard, Maryland commutes can be a drag. Commuting outside of the city can take over an hour and a half due to gridlock and traffic jams. And the worst part is, rush hour can last all day, with so many people trying to reach destinations that are 30 minutes to a couple of hours away on a daily basis.
If you have to cross the Bay Bridge, you may be dealing with an even longer drive—especially for folks driving from DC and Baltimore to smaller towns like Ocean City. Trying to get over the Bay can be a nightmare on the weekends. 
And once you add all of the summer tourist traffic? Good luck!

Pro: Employment opportunities

Maryland has a few unique qualities that open up tons of job opportunities. For one thing, DC is under an hour away from Baltimore, which allows many to easily take on government jobs. Maryland is also a prime location for the aerospace industry, creating a fair number of jobs for residents. 
While Maryland is often a state of opportunity—it is one of risk as well. People living in Maryland have an average household income above $70,000 per year, which is well above the national average! Like many other states, though, rising unemployment rates and homelessness are major concerns for Maryland.
MORE: Top moving companies in Baltimore

Pro: Relatively close to other major cities on the Eastern seaboard

Weekend road trip, anyone? Maryland is pretty close to DC, but there are plenty of other points of interest you can drive to. Here’s a quick list including driving times from Baltimore (assuming a 10 am start time):

Con: Crime is increasing

A major stat to be aware of when moving anywhere in Maryland is the crime rate. Baltimore is one of the top three most dangerous cities in America, with high instances of homicide, violence, and drug-related crime. 
However, your ZIP code is going to make a difference when it comes to crime rates—your neighborhood may be much safer than the state average. Let’s take a look at the areas of Maryland that are considered the safest:
You can be proactive by staying alert in unfamiliar areas and investing in anti-theft devices for your car, making sure that the area around your home is well-lit and visible.

Pro: Lofts and apartments to live in

Since Maryland has a long history, there are still buildings that reflect older architecture and housing styles, including colorfully painted and original brick row houses
The state has also allowed some historic factories and mills to be transformed into condos, studio apartments, and workspaces. These alternative housing options have amazing character and attractive views, including waterfront and parkland vistas. 
If you can find one of these unique apartments to rent, it might make your Maryland experience that much more memorable!

Con: High taxes and home values

To buy a home in Maryland, you’ll have to pay over $330,000 on average—which also means a significant amount of property taxes and
homeowner’s insurance
costs. But buying in one of Maryland’s smaller communities can help cut down the costs of home ownership.
In Baltimore, for example, there’s a 3.2% income tax in place as opposed to the surrounding county, which only charges 2.83%. There used to be tax credits in place to help offset the property tax costs, but recent changes to federal tax law capped these credits for Maryland homeowners.
MORE: What to know about buying a house in Maryland

Pro: Small town adventures

There’s a lot of buzz around Baltimore, but when it comes down to it, Maryland’s charm can be primarily found in smaller cities and towns. 
Sure, Baltimore offers amenities, pro sports teams, and a bustling job market, but there’s plenty to see and do in Maryland’s small towns. Here are some places to consider:
  • Berlin
    : Voted the best small town in America
  • Snow Hill
    : The houses here are over 100 years old
  • Cambridge
    : Harriet Tubman’s hometown, featuring museums and a trail

Is Maryland a good state to live in?

Overall, Maryland is a good state to live in! As with any place, there are going to be drawbacks, so make sure you weigh the pros and cons before you make your decision.
Maryland may be for you if you enjoy:
  • Outdoor adventures
  • Exceptional seafood
  • Lots of charming smaller communities
  • Road trips to surrounding cities
However, if the high cost of living, expensive housing market, or bad traffic in some areas are major turn-offs, you may want to consider other options.
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Generally, Maryland doesn’t get a ton of snow in the winter. Depending on where you are in the state, you could get as much as 110 inches of snow, but 20.6 inches is more typical for Maryland winters.
Some cons of living in Maryland include the high cost of living, the increasing crime rates, and terrible traffic on long commutes.
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