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Best coastal towns for raising a family in America

  • Best coastal towns for raising a family in America

    The archetype of the ideal American family home hasn't changed much in the last century: a pristine house with a bright green lawn, white picket fence, and a big front porch. The scene becomes even more appealing when you add in a cool sea breeze and sandy beach. For many Americans, the idea of raising a family near the water is ideal. Just think: You can take the kids out for a canoe paddle around the lake, or build sandcastles on the beach anytime you want.

    But not every beach town is great for kids. Atlantic City, N.J., is near the beach—but its proximity to casinos makes the area less than ideal for families. In order to calculate the best coastal towns for families, Stacker checked the locations on Wallethub’s list of the best beach towns against Niche’s list of the best places to raise a family. Towns and cities on both lists were ranked by their score on Niche’s list for this article. In the Wallethub list, beach towns refer to any city or town near either a lake or ocean. The criteria for family-friendly towns include quality of local schools, safety, affordability, and access to family amenities. Read on to see if any coastal towns in your state made the list.

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  • #50. Brunswick

    Location: Town in Maine

    Best places to raise a family rank: #2,709

    Public schools grade: A-

    Good for families grade: A

    Population: 20,497

    This quaint town just north of Portland, Maine, scored well on economic health and public safety, making it attractive for parents. Brunswick is also the home to Bowdoin College, so kids who grow up here will always be exposed to higher education.

  • #49. Merritt Island

    Location: Town in Florida

    Best places to raise a family rank: #2,703

    Public schools grade: A+

    Good for families grade: A

    Population: 35,916

    This town on Florida’s largest island is home to NASA's Kennedy Space Center and a 140,000-acre wildlife sanctuary. Merritt Island is also an extremely affordable place to live—a win for all parents.

  • #48. Destin

    Location: Town in Florida

    Best places to raise a family rank: #2,689

    Public schools grade: A

    Good for families grade: A

    Population: 13,312

    Nicknamed the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” Destin boasts incredible angling thanks to limestone structures, artificial reefs, and the nearby DeSoto Canyon. Even if fishing isn’t your thing, you’ll still find plenty to like about this picturesque town, such as its healthy economy and affordability.

  • #47. Coral Gables

    Location: Suburb of Miami, FL

    Best places to raise a family rank: #2,677

    Public schools grade: B

    Good for families grade: A

    Population: 50,533

    This historic city in Miami-Dade County was one of the nation’s first planned communities. Coral Gables remains popular with tourists, who flock to the suburb for its gorgeous Mediterranean architecture, tree-lined avenues, and iconic landmarks such as the Biltmore Hotel.

  • #46. Boca Raton

    Location: Town in Florida

    Best places to raise a family rank: #2,670

    Public schools grade: A

    Good for families grade: A

    Population: 91,702

    Boca Raton is already a popular place to retire, but the town is also a great choice for families. The lovely Florida weather and top-notch public schools are hard to beat.

  • #45. Pacific Grove

    Location: Town in California

    Best places to raise a family rank: #2,613

    Public schools grade: A+

    Good for families grade: A

    Population: 15,546

    With one of the oldest continually operated lighthouses in the country and a classic golf course, Pacific Grove has plenty of old-fashioned charm. The town also has excellent public schools and an absolutely stunning location along the Monterey Coast.

  • #44. Oak Creek

    Location: Suburb of Milwaukee, WI

    Best places to raise a family rank: #2,599

    Public schools grade: A-

    Good for families grade: A

    Population: 35,218

    Oak Creek may be part of the Milwaukee metro area, but it's also just 85 miles outside of Chicago. The suburban atmosphere and convenient proximity to city amenities make this coastal spot along the western shore of Lake Michigan a great location for raising a family.

  • #43. Massapequa

    Location: Suburb of New York, NY

    Best places to raise a family rank: #2,553

    Public schools grade: A

    Good for families grade: A

    Population: 21,820

    This quaint hamlet is actually a subset of the town of Oyster Bay on Long Island's South Shore. Massapequa has plenty of local history and hosts an annual Apple Festival, among dozens of other family-friendly activities in the area throughout the year.

  • #42. Edmonds

    Location: Suburb of Seattle, WA

    Best places to raise a family rank: #2,522

    Public schools grade: A-

    Good for families grade: A

    Population: 41,020

    With 23 city parks and 1,000 feet of waterfront shoreline, Edmonds has plenty of places for kids to play outside. The Seattle suburb also boasts a lot of community diversity.  

  • #41. San Clemente

    Location: Suburb of Los Angeles, CA

    Best places to raise a family rank: #2,498

    Public schools grade: A+

    Good for families grade: A

    Population: 65,082

    The high-scoring public schools in this Los Angeles suburb make it an attractive place for families. Kids will also love all 11 of the city’s beaches.

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