7 Things To Know BEFORE Moving to Baltimore County, MD
The difference between Baltimore City and Baltimore County is a little confusing. Even Marylanders sometimes get mixed up. Baltimore CITY is technically its county. It has a boxy shape and boundaries that sometimes bisect zip codes. Baltimore COUNTY wraps around Baltimore City to the west, north, and east in almost a horseshoe shape. Baltimore County also borders Harford, Carroll, Howard, and Anne Arundel counties. It even borders Pennsylvania's York County in the northernmost part. Some parts of Baltimore County feel urban, some feel suburban, and others feel entirely rural! The most prominent cities/census-designated places are Dundalk, Towson, Catonsville, Essex, Woodlawn, Owings Mills, Pikesville, Randallstown, Middle River, and Parkville. Before moving to Baltimore County, you'll want to truly understand the geography and commute times.
Baltimore County is an extremely convenient place to live if you work in Baltimore City. There are many residential and suburban areas with quiet neighborhoods. You'll find Dundalk, Middle River, Essex, Rosedale, and White Marsh in east Baltimore County. These places are close to the Chesapeake Bay, with many waterfront properties and coastlines. You'll find Parkville, Towson, Lutherville-Timonium, Cockeysville, Pikesville, and Owings Mills in North Baltimore County. These tend to be some of the larger cities in Baltimore County with higher populations, city amenities, and commercial areas. You'll find Randallstown, Woodlawn, Catonsville, Arbutus, and Halethorpe in west Baltimore County. There is a lot of scenic beauty in the west because of the Patapsco River and the surrounding protected areas. If you don't want to see anyone for miles, Sparks, Monkton, and Parkton in North North Baltimore County are for you! You might even commute to York or Lancaster, PA, for work if you live there.
Baltimore County's well-developed highway system makes commuting to Baltimore, DC, and other parts of Maryland relatively easy. The I-695 beltway circles all of Baltimore City. You can get onto I-95 in the southwest and northeast as it cuts through Baltimore City. You'll take 95 South to Washington and 95 North to Philadelphia and New York. I-895 is a nice bypass that runs parallel to I-95. I-97 takes you south to Annapolis, I-70 takes you west to Frederick, I-795 takes you northwest to Reisterstown towards Westminster, and I-83 takes you due north into Pennsylvania. Both roads have tunnels to take you underneath the Baltimore Harbor. For transportation by train, The Light Rail runs north-south through Baltimore City. It reaches Hunt Valley in North Baltimore County and extends to the south to reach the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). Numerous bus routes also get you around Baltimore County and into Baltimore City.
By far, the largest employer within Baltimore County is the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The headquarters and several offices are in Woodlawn (21207), right off of I-695 and I-70. Other major employers are T. Rowe Price, the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC), MedStar Franklin Square Hospital, University of Maryland (Baltimore County), and Towson University. West Baltimore County (Randallstown, Catonsville, etc.) is convenient if you commute to Howard County or D.C. for work. Southeast Baltimore County (Dundalk) has easy access to the I-895 tunnel to commute to parts of Anne Arundel County (Annapolis).
In addition to all of the solid educational institutions in Baltimore City, such as Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County has several universities and satellite campuses. The Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) has locations in Essex, Dundalk, Owings Mills, and Catonsville, with an enrollment of about 48,000. Towson University has over 20,000 students and 110 majors, concentrations, and tracks. Stevenson University, located in Owings Mills, supports several technical and science degrees with an enrollment of about 4,000. Goucher College, located in Towson, is one of the top liberal arts colleges in the U.S.
Baltimore County tends to be a more affordable place to live compared to Baltimore City, Howard, and Anne Arundel counties. According to the 2020 Census, the median household income in Baltimore County was $78 724, and the per capita income was $41 089. The median value of a Baltimore County owner-occupied housing unit (single family, townhome, or condo) was $267 400. In Howard County, the median household income was $124 042, and the per capita income was $55,873. The median value of an owner-occupied unit was $464, 500. Anne Arundel's median household income was $103,225, and per capita income was $48,125. The median value of an owner-occupied unit was $370,100. Baltimore County and its municipalities tend to have lower property and income taxes than Howard and Anne Arundel. Everyone's financial picture is different, and you always have to look within a specific real estate market, but an average suburban area in Baltimore County with single-family homes can be much more attainable for a first-time home-buyer.
Baltimore County has so much scenic and natural beauty, whether it be the inlets of the Chesapeake Bay's western shore, the Patapsco River Valley lush forests, or the Loch Raven Reservoir. You'll see amazing aquatic and woodland wildlife that is unique to the region. Located by Dundalk, Edgemere, and Sparrows Point, North Point State Park is great for water views and picnics. Likewise, Rocky Point Park and Beach and Hart-Miller Island are convenient if you go a little farther north near Essex. Many people who own boats keep them in the marinas around Middle River. Between Catonsville and Randallstown, there are several places to access the trails of the Patapsco Valley State Park along the 32 miles of the Patapsco River. There's a hiking, fishing, camping, canoeing, horseback riding, biking, and picnicking. Loch Raven Reservoir is northwest of Towson and Timonium. Some trails also connect to the passages of the Big Gunpowder Falls. Amazingly, you can leave Baltimore City, drive 20 minutes in any direction, and then land in a place where you take in the fresh air and stunning views.
Baltimore County has some of the best breweries and wineries in Maryland! In east Baltimore County, you have DuClaw Brewing and Key Brewing Company. In Halethorpe, you've got both Heavy Seas Beer and Guinness Open Gate Brewery, the only Guinness factory in the United States! In Cockeysville, there's B.C. Brewery, and in Monkton, there's Inverness Brewing. Sparks Glencoe has both Farmacy Brewing and Basignani Winery. Both DeJon Vineyard and Boordy Vineyards lie between Glen Arm and Baldwin. I haven't even named all of them! Each spot has its own cool vibe. Barns and old warehouse spaces are utilized. There are often outdoor tables with field or forest views. Going to these places is a great way to get out of the cities and suburbs and feel like you're on vacation!
Baltimore County has so much to offer. Take a look at the cities and highways geographically to position yourself in an area convenient for your work commute and lifestyle. Each region of Baltimore County has its own feel. Are you a water person? Do you love trees? Do you want to be near a great neighborhood brewery? Figure out what makes you jive! Reach out if you have questions about Baltimore County real estate or need help from a Baltimore County real estate agent.