From historic cities tucked in the mountains to others set along the Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic Ocean and everything in between, Maryland has a lot of different types of home settings from which a family can choose. Additionally, Maryland boasts one of the best school systems in the nation. In 2009, an annual survey conducted by Education Week rated the system number one in the United States.
Columbia, which is approximately 12 miles from Baltimore, made Money's Best Places to Live in 2010. Not only do its citizens live in easy driving distance of Baltimore's lively Inner Harbor area, as well as Ravens and Orioles ballgames, but Columbia boasts an amphitheater -- the Merriweather Post Pavilion -- that draws top-level entertainment acts. It also has a large mall with many well-known retail stores and restaurants. Families will also find many parks to enjoy in Columbia, as well as excellent schools.
Bloomberg Businessweek named Gaithersburg as one of its top places to raise kids in 2010, and it is not surprising, since it offers suburban comforts while still relatively close to Washington, D.C and all that city has to offer. Gaithersburg, which is located right off of Interstate 270 in what is known as the high-tech business corridor, is approximately 30 miles northwest of D.C. Commuters who would rather avoid driving can choose to take D.C.'s Metro system instead, as the Red Line has a station in Gaithersburg. The city has a historic business district known as Olde Towne and is also known for its Kentlands neighborhood, which was designed in the New Urbanist planned development style with walkable neighborhoods that incorporate housing and jobs.
Annapolis is the charming, historic capital of Maryland set on the Chesapeake Bay. Buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries still line Annapolis' brick sidewalks. This city, which has been nicknamed America's Sailing Capital, is home to many sailboat races. The city was named by National Geographic's Adventure Magazine as one of the 50 Best Places to Live and Play in 2007. Annapolis is also home to the Naval Academy and the state's government. .
Although Frederick is located approximately one hour from both Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, it still manages to retain a small city charm, as it is surrounded by hills and open farmlands. Frederick offers families affordable housing as well as close proximity to ski resorts and beautiful parklands, including Cunningham Falls State Park. Frederick not only has all the retail stores and restaurants you would expect to typically find in a growing suburb, it also has a historic downtown area with unique stores and art galleries.