Moving to Carroll County MD: 10 Reasons to Live in Carroll County
With a wide-open rural atmosphere and easy access to the city of Baltimore, Maryland’s Carroll County is a Mid-Atlantic gem. This picturesque region, known for its rolling hills and historical heritage, beckons those seeking a blend of rural tranquility and suburban convenience. By exploring Carroll County—which is anchored by the city of Westminster, its county seat—readers will gain insights into the county's thriving communities, diverse recreational opportunities, and its commitment to preserving natural beauty.
10 Reasons to Move to Carroll County
- Located close to Baltimore, MD, and Washington, D.C.
- Plenty of outdoor activities
- Unique historical background
- Close to beaches and mountains
- Excellent restaurants and shopping
- Access to golf courses
- Arts scene with galleries and studios
- Parks, hiking, and biking trails are plentiful
- Many local breweries and wineries
- Wide variety of public schools
Cost of Living in Carroll County
The cost of living in Carroll County is higher than the national average, but it’s right on par with the statewide cost of living in Maryland. Homes for sale in Carroll County list from under $200,000 to more than $2 million, and the median monthly rent is close to $1,874 for a two-bedroom apartment, townhome, or condo. The average cost for monthly utilities is $192, and while prices change, gasoline typically costs approximately $3.58 per gallon. A typical salary here varies greatly by industry, with the average personal income sitting at around $70,730 per year.
Healthcare in this part of Maryland is approximately 10% lower than the national average, with a doctor visit typically costing around $112 and a visit to the dentist costing under $100. An average vet visit for pets costs approximately $66.14. Grocery prices are higher here than in many parts of the country. A loaf of bread averages around $4 to $5, and a gallon of milk can cost close to $3. The median household income was $104,708 in 2021 compared to Maryland overall, which is $90,203. The area is mostly rural, so most people drive their own vehicles as a means of transportation.
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Carroll County Job Market
There are several large employers located in or near Carroll County, including Rockland Farm Services and McCathran Hall Woodworking. Depending on where in the county a resident lives, commuting to jobs in the larger economy in Ellicott City or even Baltimore is fairly common. Employment is seeing growth here as new businesses are arriving in the county regularly. In July 2023, Hahn’s of Westminster, also called Hahn Brothers, moved its headquarters and manufacturing operations to Carroll County, doubling its regional workforce. The company is building a new 54,000-square-foot facility on 10 acres of land. Healthcare is a big industry here, and Carroll Hospital Center is one of the largest employers, with approximately 1,997 full-time employees.
Penguin Random House, a major book publisher, operates a warehouse and distribution center that employs approximately 753 people in Carroll County. McDaniel College, which is located near the small number of townhomes in Westminster, has around 621 part-time and full-time employees working in various capacities in higher education. Many major retailers are located in the county, including Safeway, Home Depot, Walmart and Walmart Supercenter, Joseph A Bank Clothes, and others.
Popular Industries in the Area
The private sector accounts for around 86% of employment in Carroll County, employing approximately 46,609 people. Agriculture is a major industry here, as Carroll County is a “right to farm” county. When someone buys a house, the Right to Farm Addendum is part of the contract and notifies buyers that farmers have a right to drive their farm equipment on the same roads as cars.
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Things to Do in Carroll County
Thanks to its proximity to major cities and rich history, there is a lot to see and do in Carroll County. History buffs will appreciate the abundance of interesting museums and scenic driving tours. Shopping and dining are also favorite activities for residents and visitors alike. Many tours and trails can be enjoyed by vehicle, bike, or on foot. Hiking, fishing, and horseback riding are a few favorite outdoor activities. Numerous fairs and fun festivals are also held here throughout the year, including an annual Fourth of July festival and a fall harvest festival.
Due to its rural landscape, there are plenty of fun outdoor activities available in Carroll County. Carroll County is dog-friendly, so many of the area’s parks, trails, and businesses welcome dogs. Piney Run Park is a popular spot for fishing and boating, and it also features five miles of walking and hiking trails. The 550-acre park features wooded areas with lots of wildlife as well as amenities, including playgrounds, tennis courts, and a climbing rock. In addition to many hiking trails, there are 10 loop biking tours in Carroll County, consisting of over 150 miles of cycling in different difficulty levels.
History buffs appreciate the many local attractions in Carroll County, including a self-guided Civil War driving tour. The tour offers maps that are available to visitors at the Carroll County Visitor’s Center. The Carroll County Farm Museum also features unique historical artifacts that highlight the county’s rural history. Union Mills Homestead once housed six generations of the Shriver family and is open for tours. It also hosts a Civil War encampment and the annual Corn Roast Festival. The Maryland Microbrewery is another favorite attraction here. Many beautiful bed and breakfasts dot the countryside, making it a popular place for tourism.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Carroll County has plenty of excellent restaurants and nightlife, including:
- RockSalt Grille is a casual and contemporary tavern that serves delicious steaks, seafood, sandwiches, and a raw bar. The restaurant also has a variety of beer, wine, and other adult beverages.
- The Flood Zone Marketplace & Brewery, located in the town of Union Bridge, is an outdoor beer garden. The brewery hosts live music and entertainment each weekend and also welcomes leashed dogs. The indoor taproom features an assortment of craft beer, while the marketplace sells local produce, groceries, baked goods, and crafts made by local artisans.
Carroll County Climate
The summers are warm and humid in Carroll County, while the winters are cold, snowy, and windy. The area is partly cloudy most of the year, and temperatures vary from a low of 25° to an average high of 88°. Temperatures rarely go below 11° or above 96°. Most visitors feel that the best time of year to visit is from mid-June to early July for warm-weather activities, and from late July to late September for the fall.
The hottest part of the year lasts for 3.6 months, from May 28 to September 15, with an average daily high temperature above 78°. The hottest year of the month is in July, with an average high of 87°.
The cold season in Carroll County lasts for approximately 3.2 months and spans from the end of November to around March 5. The average daily high temperature is usually below 49° during this time. The coldest month is January, with an average low temperature of 26° and a high of 40°. As for precipitation, the wet season lasts for around 4.9 months, from March 31 to the end of August, with a greater than 29% chance of precipitation on any given day. The drier season lasts around 7.1 months, from the end of August to the end of March.
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Traffic and Commuting in Carroll County
Most people in Carroll County drive their own cars. Less than 1% of residents take some form of mass transit. This thriving region is close to major cities, and most locations are easy to access via local highways. The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) does have bus service throughout the county and connects to major cities like Baltimore and others. Commuters tend to take advantage of the commuter buses that offer regular service to both Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Rideshare Maryland provides carpooling services.
There is also access to Amtrak trains at Edgewood Station for those who need to take long-distance travel. Rental car agencies are also available throughout the county. The average one-way commute for residents here is approximately 35.6 minutes, which is longer than the US national average of 26.4 minutes. Most people own a car here, but the Carroll County Transit System is also available. However, it only provides limited options to specific locations. Some people may opt to use a local taxicab service, Uber, or Lyft, but the wait is usually much longer than it is in major metropolitan areas. The closest light rail and subway station is located outside of the county.
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Carroll County Public Transportation
While the county doesn’t have anything like the public transportation in Columbia or Baltimore, Carroll County Transit System has six fixed van routes called TrailBlazers that run from Monday through Friday. The routes include Westminster Black and Purple, Taneytown Green, and North Carroll Orange. The cost to use this mass transit is just $2 for one way, and no reservation is required. Riders must be waiting at the TrailBlazer sign to get a ride, and they operate on a regular schedule with specific stops and cost an additional $1. Some deviations are available up to three-quarters of a mile from a stop. Each route connects at the Transfer Hub at Workforce Development on N. Center Street.
The deviated routes are on a set schedule, connecting to Westminster, the city of Taneytown, South Carroll, North Carroll, and the Eldersburg community. All deviated routes must have at least three hours’ notice. The service also provides a shared-ride and door-to-door transit service, but reservations are required and should be made at least one business day beforehand. Times are solely based on availability. All fares for Carroll County Transit System must be paid at the time of boarding, and the exact fare is required, as drivers cannot issue change.
Schools in Carroll County
Carroll County is part of the Carroll County Public School System and is one of the top-performing school systems in Maryland. There are 22 elementary schools, eight middle schools, and seven high schools in the district. The instructional staff and students have won several awards at the state and national levels. There are over 25,200 students enrolled in Carroll County Public Schools. Private schools include Gerstell Academy and Carroll Lutheran, as well as several private preschools and kindergartens. McDaniel College and Carroll Community College are the closest institutions of higher learning located in or near the county.
Is Carroll County Living Right for You?
A journey through Carroll County reveals a destination where natural beauty and community spirit converge. From the new construction homes in Westminster to Woodbine’s share of the luxury homes in Carroll County, the area provides a serene yet vibrant living experience. This county, with its commitment to preserving the environment and fostering community connections, stands as an ideal place for those seeking a harmonious balance between rural charm and modern amenities.