States – Maryland


Active retirees looking to retire will find a variety of choices in Maryland.  There are the cultural attractions of Baltimore and the historical neighborhoods and sights of Annapolis.

For those who want to live near the water, there are many opportunities for fly-fishing, boating, kayaking, and canoeing. The state borders three major bodies of water: the Potomac River, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean. As Maryland is a relatively small state, residents are never far away from the water. With 4,000 miles of shoreline, 400 lakes, and lots of rivers and creeks, The Old Line State offers more access to water than nearly any other.

Those who favor other types of activities can enjoy skiing in the western mountains, hiking the forested hills of the central area, or exploring the many unique small towns throughout the state.

The Maryland climate is called humid sub-tropical. Although there are temperature extremes, overall the weather is more mild than in some other parts of the country. Summers are hot and humid and winters are slightly less cold than in the northeast.

Living in Maryland can be expensive, however. The cost of living is 16% higher than the average. The median home price in 2015 was $252,600 which is significantly above the national median. Overall Maryland is one of the wealthiest states in the United States, and in affluent areas near Baltimore and Annapolis the home prices can go much higher.

Additionally, the tax burden is 7th highest in the nation. The highest tax rate of 5.75% applies at income over $300,000 for couples. Social Security benefits are not taxable. Other retirement income is taxed, but some residents over age 65 can deduct a portion of their income. The state sales tax rate is 6%.

Maryland’s average property tax rate of 1.04% is actually lower than the national average. However, because Maryland generally has high property values, Maryland homeowners pay more in property taxes than most other states. There is a homestead exemption for certain homeowners. Maryland has both an inheritance and an estate tax. Estates are taxed at 16% on amounts over $1 million.

Here are several towns to consider in Maryland as retirement destinations.


With a population of 5,000 in northern Maryland, Berlin offers a relaxed small town environment but is only a few miles away from major beaches and the shopping, entertainment, and restaurants of Ocean City. In the quaint downtown residents can explore local shops and restaurants, and even take carriage rides. The Burley Oak Brewing Company is a good place to enjoy a variety of beers and watch them being made.

The Assateague Island National Seashore is just 8 miles east of town, and other beaches are even closer. Assateague State Park is a good place to view beautiful natural scenery, wildlife, and for camping. The cost of living in Berlin is 15 percent higher than the U.S. average, but that is still lower than the state average. Atlantic General Hospital is located in the town, so residents have easy access to healthcare services.


The state capital is filled with historical and cultural attractions, starting with the U.S. Naval Academy, founded in 1845. Preble Hall houses the U.S. Naval Academy Museum. Its Beverley R. Robinson Collection contains 6,000 prints depicting European and American naval history from 1514 through World War II. It is also home to one of the world’s best model ship collections. The Banneker-Douglass Museum documents the history of African Americans in Maryland and provides educational programs, rotating exhibits, and a research facility.

There is an active community theater which includes two venues in the town’s historic district. On East Street, Colonial Players presents approximately six shows a year in its 180-seat theater. Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre presents three shows each summer on its outdoor stage, which is visible from the City Dock.

The Naval Academy Masqueraders, a theater group at the Naval Academy, produces one “main-stage show” each fall and student-directed one-act plays in the spring. The King William Players, a student theater group at St. John’s College, holds two performances each semester in the college’s Francis Scott Key Auditorium.
The downtown area of Annapolis is itself a National Historic Landmark, which attracts many history-minded tourists and residents. Additionally, the city is right on the Chesapeake Bay so there are plenty of opportunities for sailing and boating.The Naval Health Clinic and the Anne Arundel Medical Center in the area offer easy access to healthcare services. The amenities of Washington, D.C. are just 30 minutes away.


If you want to live by the water but don’t want to pay a premium for the privilege, look to Easton, on the east side of Chesapeake Bay. The cost of living is about half that of Annapolis, although still 20 percent higher than the national average. The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters.

The Academy Art Museum has a variety of interesting art in its permanent collection and rotating exhibits. The Avalon Theatre is a place to catch musical performances. The Historical Society of Talbot County is where history fans can learn about the history of the area. For golfers, there are five courses to play.

Medical facilities are available at the University of Maryland Shore Memorial Center. Many other facilities and amenities are in Baltimore and Annapolis which is three hours away.


A town of 5,000 on the eastern side of Maryland, Chestertown has been praised by national organizations for its distinctive historic atmosphere. The National Trust for Historic Preservation said, “A small, historic and relatively unspoiled Eastern Shore town, Chestertown had the good sense to hang on to what makes it so special”. Progressive Farmer magazine named Chestertown #1 on its 2008 list of Best Rural Places to Live in America.

Chestertown has many historical and cultural attractions. The Carla Massoni Gallery displays works by local artists. The Historical Society of Kent County educates visitors about the history of the area. The Garfield Center for the Arts is a venue for live theatre, concerts, speakers and special events. The Schooner Sultana is a life-size replica of an early American ship where visitors can work the sails, ready the guns, and catch sea foods.

Each Memorial Day weekend, the town holds the Chestertown Tea Party Festival which celebrates Chestertown’s colonial heritage. There’s a parade, colonial music and dance, and tours of the historic district, followed by a reenactment on board the Schooner Sultana of the Chestertown Tea Party, in which protesting colonists threw tea into the Chester River.

For more information about retirement in Maryland:

State overview in facts and figures

State taxes

State services for senior residents

Profiles of major cities

Retirement communities

Best regions for retirement