Pros and Cons of Living in Maryland

Do you need to move and are wondering if you should move to Maryland? Is Maryland a good state to live in? Should you even consider moving to Maryland? Why would anyone even want to live in Maryland? There are 23 counties in Maryland and the state is often referred to as “Little America” because so much is packed into its 10,460 square miles of land and water. If you’re thinking about moving to Maryland, here are 10 things you need to know about moving to Maryland.

Marylanders LOVE Old Bay Seasoning

What is Old Bay seasoning? If you don’t like seasoning on your food, you won’t like living in Maryland. We put this product on just about everything! It’s a blend of 18 herbs and spices that is made by McCormick & Company, which is a spice company located in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

A frequent question is “What does Old Bay taste like”? It’s a unique blend that is honestly hard to describe. It’s a blend of sweet paprika, dried mustard, and changing measures of celery seed, salt, dark pepper, garlic powder, and other undisclosed flavors. The flavoring adheres to just about anything and everything edible. We put it on corn, potatoes, eggs, crabs, shrimp, fish, lobster, popcorn, potato chips, chicken, you name it. There’s even beer, barbecue and hot sauce made with Old Bay! It’s a staple in just about every kitchen and restaurant. Did I mention we love our Old Bay?

Maryland Beaches

If you hate the beach, you won’t living on the eastern shore of Maryland OR parts of southern Maryland. Ocean City is Maryland’s most popular beach. The Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean provide a variety of beaches for the enjoyment of many Marylanders. Popular beaches in Maryland include:

  • Ocean City
  • Calvert Cliffs State Park
  • Cherry Beach
  • Sandy Point State Park
  • Assateague Island National Seashore
  • Breezy Point Beach
  • Matapeake Beach
  • Point Lookout State Park
  • North Beach
  • Chesapeake Beach
  • Betterton Beach
  • Elk Neck State Park
  • Hart-Miller Island State Park
2 spans of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland
Chesapeake Bay Bridge

If you don’t like driving over bridges, you could have a tough time even getting to the beach. Maryland is home to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which some people think is one of the 5 scariest bridges in the United States. And we also have the Chesapeake Bay tunnel. If you hate the beach, you most likely won’t have to worry about the bridge or tunnel.

Western Maryland

If you hate the mountains, you won’t like living in Western Maryland, which means skiing won’t work for you, either. Western Maryland is known for places such as Deep Creek Lake, Cunningham Falls State Park and Wisp ski resort. Summers are cooler and winters are harsher in this part of Maryland. But the mountain views are gorgeous. So, if mountains aren’t your thing, you might just like the beaches!

Maryland Snacks

If you don’t like great regional snacks, you won’t like living in Maryland. Berger cookies are an iconic home-made cookie made in Baltimore. The thick fudge icing on top of a thick vanilla cookie might just be the best cookies ever. Since they aren’t made with preservatives, they only last 3-4 weeks, so plan to eat them shortly after purchase. Honestly, they are so good, it’s hard NOT to eat them quickly.

Goetze caramel creams are made in Baltimore, MD
Caramel & Vanilla Cream – a Favorite Candy

Goetze caramel creams are another phenomenal snack made in Baltimore, Maryland. Also known as “Bulls Eyes”, they are soooo good. The vanilla cream inside the chewy caramel are a local favorite.

Screenshot from smithislandcake.com

Smith Island Cake is Maryland’s official dessert. Every cake is 8 to 10 inches of cake and frosting, and there’s a variety of flavors and frostings, including one that’s currently available and you guessed it, there’s old bay in the icing. Smith Island cakes are made in 2 sizes: smaller and larger. The smaller cakes serves approximately 8, and the larger cake serves approximately 16. The Smith Island Baking Company also makes “cake bites”.

Screenshot from thrashersfries.com

Thrasher’s French Fries are made in Ocean City and are considered by many Marylanders and vacationers to be “the best french fries at the beach.” The ingredients are simple: fresh cut potatoes fried in peanut oil. Then they are seasoned with either salt or apple cider vinegar. You won’t find any ketchup to put on them, though. It’s not part of the Thrasher’s Fries tradition.

Ooey, gooey homemade caramel popcorn

Fisher’s Popcorn is made at the beach in Ocean City right in front of your eyes. There’s nothing like eating warm, freshly made popcorn that is available in a variety of flavors. Fisher’s caramel popcorn is the most popular variety, it’s available with or without peanuts. When it’s freshly made, the warm caramel is ooey and gooey deliciousness.

Other flavors include:

  • White Cheddar
  • Butter Flavored
  • Old Bay Caramel
  • Caramel Dusted with White Cheddar

Seafood in Maryland

If you don’t like seafood, you won’t like living in Maryland. Marylander’s love their hard shell crabs, soft shell crabs, steamed shrimp, oysters, mussels, clams and fresh fish. Maryland style crab cakes are like no other crabcakes anywhere. Other states throughout the U.S. have crabcakes, even ones they call “Maryland Style Crabcakes”, but they are NEVER the same as what you’ll find in Maryland. True Maryland crabcakes contain large chunks of jumbo lump crabmeat with just enough filler to hold them together. They are seasoned with Old Bay seasoning and either broiled or fried.

The eastern shore is known for fishing and crabbing, and supplies many of the seafood restaurants throughout Maryland. Fresh caught seafood, including live crabs, are caught daily during the spring, summer and fall months, and are then delivered to the various businesses for re-sale and meal preparation. And you guessed it, Marylanders put Old Bay on these delicacies.

Maryland Corn

If you don’t like corn, you won’t like living in Maryland. Local farmers throughout the state grow corn during the summer, particularly on the Eastern Shore and in Carroll and Frederick counties. Silver Queen Corn is one of the most popular varieties. Bi-color corn is also popular. Marylanders husk it, grill, steam or boil it, and eat it right off the cob, after putting butter and old bay on it, of course. There’s nothing like corn-on-the-cob during the summer in Maryland.

Maryland Weather

If you don’t like unpredictable weather, you won’t like living in Maryland. Maryland has the wackiest weather at times. The 4 seasons provide a little bit of everything…cold, heat, snow, Ice, humidity. Winter months, while on the cold side, can surprise you with a warmer day in the 50’s, or a major snowstorm. Likewise, spring temperatures can fluctuate immensely. Then in the summer, it’s comfortable one day and extremely hot and humid the next. Then, that evening a breeze can blow in, wipe out the humidity, and it’s 70 degrees the next day. Be prepared for Maryland weather, it’s unpredictable.

Maryland Taxes

calculating taxes in maryland
Oh yes, Maryland has taxes

If you don’t like paying taxes, you won’t like living in Maryland. Maryland is not tax friendly. Income taxes in Maryland are based on personal income. There is a statewide income tax of 5.75% as of this article. There is also a separate local (county or city tax) which range from 1.75% – 3.2% as of this article. In addition, businesses are required to collect a sales tax of 6% , and a sales tax of 9% on alcoholic beverages.

If you’re retired, forget it. There are few tax advantages for retirees. Social security income is not taxable in Maryland. However, income from pensions, IRA’s and 401K’s are taxable.

Maryland is also the only state with both an inheritance AND an estate tax.

Maryland Traffic

Traffic in Maryland
Be prepared for traffic congestion

If you don’t like traffic, you won’t like living in Maryland. Maryland has busy highways during commuting hours, and during travel to and from the beaches. If you don’t like beaches, there’s nothing to worry about. But, the highways do get congested. So, if your route of travel involves driving on one of the major highways, you will need to allow for travel time. Road construction, accidents, general congestion and even the weather (at times), will most definitely increase your travel time and levels of frustration.

Jobs in Maryland

woman looking for a job in Maryland
Jobs opportunities abound

If you don’t like being employed, you won’t like living in Maryland. There are a wealth of job opportunities in Maryland. Whether you’re a skilled worker or have a degree, you’re likely to find a job.

Maryland’s Top 5 Employers Include:

  • Giant Food
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Verizon
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Constellation Energy Group

Maryland is a great state to work in. The Maryland unemployment rate is typically lower than the national average. This is due to the proximity to Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia, as well as the variety of businesses, corporations, hospitals and schools in Maryland. Anyone who wants to live in Maryland and be employed has a better than average chance of finding employment.


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About the Author:

Melissa Spittel is a local real estate expert who serves Carroll County and the surrounding areas in Maryland. Her knowledge, skills and experience are invaluable when it comes to buying or selling a house. Her experience working with out-of-state buyers and sellers makes her a great relocation REALTOR®, and she is part of Coldwell Banker’s Relocation Team. Do you need a real estate expert in another part of Maryland? Or even in another state? Melissa can easily connect you with a REALTOR® from her wide network of real estate pros.