Written by Malcolm Lawson

If you love the water and a slower-paced lifestyle, consider living in Essex, Maryland. Situated along the scenic Chesapeake Bay, residents enjoy a unique boating community with a distinctive atmosphere that feels like a perpetual vacation. The ambiance in Essex is more relaxed compared to some surrounding Baltimore suburbs. Positioned on a petite peninsula framed by the Back and Middle Rivers, residents enjoy the serene waterfront surroundings. Locals tell me what they love the most about living in Essex, Maryland, is being able to boat from popular spots like The Crazy Tuna Bar & Grill and Bowley’s on the Bay.

Many of the popular waterfront spots in Essex feature live music on the weekends and offer free boat slips while you dine and savor the local catch of the day.

Homes in Essex, Maryland, are mostly single-family dwellings dating back to the 1950s to newer construction. The architecture varies from stylish townhomes to charming Cape Cod and beach cottages. The population of Essex is under 40,000, and some popular neighborhoods include Cape May Beach, Hyde Park, Welbrook, Cedar Beach, and Cherry Gardens, to name a few.

Family-fun activities in Essex, Maryland

Essex, Maryland, Community Center

Cost of Living in Essex, Maryland

The cost of living in Essex, Maryland, according to area vibes is overall 5% higher than the national average. For goods and services in Essex, the cost runs about 11% higher, and the cost of housing is 1% lower than the national average. The median home price in Essex, Maryland, is $270,000. The cost to rent a three-bedroom, two-bath home runs about 1,700 to 1,900 a month. Apartments and studio lofts are a little less, depending on the area.

Parks in Essex, Maryland

The beauty of Essex’s landscapes is what sets this waterfront community apart from other areas. The parks in Essex are inviting, and a local favorite is Cox’s Point Park. Locals tell me they love this park and describe it as a waterfront playground. Cox’s Point offers playground equipment, picnic tables, a pavilion, grills, and plenty of green spaces. The kids will love feeding the ducks, and it’s a great place to spend a few hours with family and friends.

Residents living in Essex, Maryland, can enjoy relief from the workday in places like Rocky Point Park. The park provides scenic views of the Chesapeake Bay. Another great place to hang out, especially for nature enthusiasts, is Back River Neck Park.  Back River Park offers scenic trails, a community center, picnic areas, horseshoe pits, and more.

You can find a complete list of parks at the Essex-Stembridge Recreation Office.


Parks in Essex, Maryland

Some of the best fishing is at Cox Point Park.

Schools in Essex, Maryland

Essex, Maryland, is home to a well-regarded educational system that reflects the community’s commitment to fostering academic excellence. The local schools, part of the Baltimore County Public Schools district, are known for their dedicated educators, innovative programs, and emphasis on creating a supportive learning environment.

Schools like Sussex Elementary support 450 students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grades and enjoy their duck-mascot motto of being QUACK-tastic—aka embodying the values of respect, responsibility, safety, and kindness. Eastern Technical High School is a three-time Blue-Ribbon award-winning magnet school in Essex. Serving over 1,200 students in grades nine through twelve, with 82% participating in advanced placement courses, it’s no wonder this school is ranked as number one in the BCPS system. You can find a complete listing and school rankings on greatschools.org.

Best Restaurants in Essex, Maryland

When it comes to identifying the best restaurants in Essex, Maryland, all you have to do is figure out where the locals hang out, and you’re on the right track. I asked a few sellers where they like to eat, and it seemed that three places stood out. First, The Crazy Tuna Bar was one place I was told to check out. The Crazy Tuna Bar has weekly specials, live music, and a top-notch server, and the seafood and burgers are amazing. There is also an outside Tiki Bar where you can sit by the water and relax.

Another local favorite is Schultz’s Crab House located at 1732 Old Eastern Ave. Schultz’s crabcakes are amazing, and the service is always exceptional. I love this place because it delivers a lot of value, the prices are reasonable, and the portions are—huge! You will not go away hungry.

Two Guys Grill & Pub is a great place to chill at the end of a long day. You can grab a beer, joke with the bartender, and have conversations with about anybody in the place. Two Guys Grill & Pub is a local hangout, and if you aren’t shy, I’m sure you will make a friend or two pretty quickly.

Best Restaurants in Essex, Maryland

Tiki Bar at The Crazy Tuna Bar in Essex, Maryland.

Things to Do in Essex, Maryland

There are plenty of things to do in Essex, Maryland, and one event you want to mark your calendars for is the Essex Day Street Festival. Residents living in Essex, Maryland, enjoy this annual event filled with activities like karaoke performances, pie eating, car shows, dances, live music, a food truck, and more.

Of course, living in Essex, Maryland, is all about boating. You can find a comprehensive guide to marinas, bridges, locks, navigation alerts, and more on the Essex Waterway Guide.

Several clients of mine with high school-aged children recommended the Autobahn Indoor Speedway & Events Center. The go-karts here are amazing and can go up to 50 miles per hour! That is fast. The center as other activities like axe-throwing and team-building activities.

Living in Essex, Maryland, gives you a great location with easy access to I-695 and I-95. Additionally, Essex is less than twenty-three minutes to Baltimore via Eastern Blvd and I-95 S.

Shopping in Essex, Maryland

When it comes to the best shopping in Essex, the location places those living in Essex, Maryland, near some of the best malls in Baltimore County. A few popular locations include the White Marsh Mall, Rossville Station, Martin Plaza Shopping Center, and Eastpoint Mall. Of course, there are plenty of big box stores and grocery stores like Food Lion, Sam’s Club, and Walmart.

Another great thing about living in Essex, Maryland, is the number of specialty and family-owned stores. You will find many thrift stores and antique shops. Plus, unique stores like Graceland International Foods and Tienda Naturista Playa Ventura. Tienda is a popular natural goods store; you can find all kinds of cool, healthy things here.

Shopping in Essex, Maryland

Popular shopping plaza in Essex, Maryland-Martin Shopping Plaza.

Moving to Essex, Maryland

The nautical atmosphere and suburban lifestyle make living in Essex, Maryland, a unique experience. The town’s strong sense of community is evident. Essex’s proximity to Baltimore ensures easy access to cultural amenities, employment opportunities, and entertainment options. Living in Essex, Maryland, offers a harmonious blend of natural beauty, community spirit, and modern conveniences. If you are thinking about moving to Essex, I would love to help.

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