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Best places to raise a family in the Northeast

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Best places to raise a family in the Northeast

The average American will move 11.4 times during his or her lifetime. These transitions are often influenced by job prospects or loss, the chance to upgrade into a larger home or the need to downsize, or—quite commonly—family planning. Families staking out a place to lay down roots reportedly analyze several factors when choosing a location ranging from economic prosperity to amenities and education systems.

Some parents flock to cities to raise their children, noting shorter commute times (which means more time to spend with spouses and children), world-class culture and museums on their doorstep, and the opportunity to meet more people with different life experiences. For others, rural towns are well-suited for raising kids. Studies have shown that more young professionals are moving to smaller towns and away from large urban areas. Families might be attracted to the lower crime rates in rural places, as well as the perception of a tight-knit community, peace and quiet, more time outside, and better air quality.

Fortunately, the northeastern region of the United States offers plenty of family-friendly locations sure to please any kid.

To help house-hunting parents find the best Northeast communities for their kids, Stacker looked to Niche's 2019 Best Places to Raise a Family that evaluates dozens of important components. Public schools have the heaviest weight among the considerations included, while crime and safety, cost of living, demographics, and community resources all factor in strongly (you can read Niche’s full methodology here). Locations are ranked in reverse order, with the #1 spot reserved for the top-ranked place to raise a family.

The Northeast comprises the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Only locations with populations exceeding 5,000 people were considered. To offer representation throughout the Northeast, at least two locations were included from every state.

Read on to find out why these towns and cities have a stellar reputation for being family friendly—and if you already live in one of the top 50.

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Pixelguru // Wikimedia Commons

#50. North Star, DE

- Population: 7,390
- Median home value: $435,300 (95% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,891 (5% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $141,618
- Educational attainment: 32% masters or higher, 36% bachelors, 16% some college, 15% high school or less

North Star is consistently ranked among the best places to live in Delaware. The town is just 43 miles from Philadelphia, making it a popular choice for commuters and job seekers alike. Former Vice President Joe Biden lived in North Star with his wife and children when he was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972.

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Khairil Azhar Junos // Shutterstock

#49. Pike Creek, DE

- Population: 8,740
- Median home value: $321,100 (91% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,715 (9% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $122,772
- Educational attainment: 36% masters or higher, 29% bachelors, 20% some college, 15% high school or less

Within New Castle County, Pike Creek ranks first for healthy behaviors and second for health outcomes in Delaware. Residents of Pike Creek maintain a healthy lifestyle, with 77% of the adult population reporting that their leisure time involves physical activity. Additionally, 83% of people living in Pike Creek report being non-smokers, and 73% of adults reporting a healthy Body Mass Index. Pike Creek is home to Carousel Farm Park & Equestrian Center and just four miles from White Clay Creek State Park, which offers year-round fishing, hiking and bike trails, and events from hayrides to “owl prowls”.

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vermontalm // Shutterstock

#48. South Burlington, VT

- Population: 18,773
- Median home value: $280,800 (62% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,395 (38% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $66,197
- Educational attainment: 22% masters or higher, 32% bachelors, 24% some college, 22% high school or less

Families in South Burlington, Vt., have no shortage of things to do. Residents and visitors flock to the town’s Red Rocks Park for its public beach and swimming area, as well as the 100-acre park’s hiking trails, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing areas. South Burlington has things to do for Mom and Dad, too: The popular Magic Hat Brewing Company is headquartered in South Burlington and offers tours of the brewery as well as beers and snacks.

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John Phelan // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Shelburne, VT

- Population: 7,677
- Median home value: $400,000 (71% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,065 (29% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $100,705
- Educational attainment: 35% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 20% some college, 13% high school or less

Shelburne, Vt., was incorporated in 1763 and is located alongside scenic Lake Champlain. The town’s family-friendly attractions include the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory and the Shelburne Museum that showcases American folk art and lush gardens. In the fall, families can also visit Shelburne Orchards, where you can pick your own apples and indulge in fresh apple cider donuts and hayrides.

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NNECAPA Photo Library // Flickr

#46. Amherst, NH

- Population: 11,241
- Median home value: $335,000 (92% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,592 (8% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $127,246
- Educational attainment: 28% masters or higher, 37% bachelors, 22% some college, 13% high school or less

Amherst, N.H., is home to Baboosic Lake Town Beach, which offers a place to swim, relax or play in the sand, and play volleyball on one of the lake’s beach volleyball courts. The park is only open to Amherst residents and season pass holders on the weekends and holidays, giving the local beach a tight-knit community vibe. For adults in Amherst, LaBelle Winery offers breathtaking landscapes, vineyard tours, live music, and even yoga classes.

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Peter Rintels // Flickr

#45. East Greenwich, RI

- Population: 13,094
- Median home value: $424,600 (77% of residents own)
- Median rent: $870 (23% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $108,828
- Educational attainment: 28% masters or higher, 34% bachelors, 19% some college, 19% high school or less

East Greenwich, R.I., is known for its renowned school district and award-winning academics. In 2016, East Greenwich High School was the only high school in Rhode Island to land on Newsweek’s America’s Top High Schools list (the school ranked on that list in 2015, as well, and made U.S. News’ Best High Schools for 2019) and boasts a graduation rate of 97%. The town is also home to a New England Institute of Technology campus that underwent a massive expansion starting in 2014.

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Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Barrington, RI

- Population: 16,218
- Median home value: $402,300 (89% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,407 (11% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $117,408
- Educational attainment: 36% masters or higher, 32% bachelors, 18% some college, 14% high school or less

Coastal Barrington, R.I., has a rich colonial history: The town was home for colonials who arrived in North America onboard Mayflower the Mayflower. Today, Barrington is steeped in arts, culture, historic places, nature trails, and year-round activities for families. In 2015, Barrington’s Archie R. Cole Middle School was named a National Blue Ribbon School, the highest honor given to schools by the U.S. Education Department.

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GoodFreePhotos

#43. Cumberland, Maine

- Population: 7,695
- Median home value: $364,400 (84% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,063 (16% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $112,604
- Educational attainment: 28% masters or higher, 36% bachelors, 21% some college, 15% high school or less

Community-oriented Cumberland, Maine, boasts activities for its residents year-round, from a Memorial Day parade to start the summer to an outdoor concert series to golf and tennis at Val Halla Recreation Center, and to Broad Cove Reserve, where people can splash and enjoy the coastline. There are several other opportunities to enjoy nature in Cumberland, including Knight’s Pond Preserve, Rines Forest, and the Town Forest.

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GPA Photo Archive // Flickr

#42. Cape Elizabeth, Maine

- Population: 9,235
- Median home value: $388,200 (88% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,060 (12% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $106,157
- Educational attainment: 27% masters or higher, 41% bachelors, 23% some college, 8% high school or less

Cape Elizabeth, Maine, is a small but scenic town on the coast of the state that prioritizes family and community engagement. Each year in June, Cape Elizabeth holds a Family Fun Day at Fort Williams Park, where events include a parade, live music, carnival games, and fireworks. The town is also within commuting distance of Portland, making it an ideal location for families with working parents.

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Gunnar Klack // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Hanover, NH

- Population: 11,428
- Median home value: $539,900 (67% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,460 (33% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $118,250
- Educational attainment: 49% masters or higher, 32% bachelors, 11% some college, 8% high school or less

Dartmouth College has made Hanover, N.H., an attractive town for people of all ages. Unemployment in the town has been consistently low, and graduates of Dartmouth have spun off their own start-ups in Hanover as well. The town features a number of kid-friendly activities including the Hood Museum of Art, public gardens and walking trails, and the Hanover Conservancy.

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Shinya Suzuki // Flickr

#40. Manhasset, NY

- Population: 7,922
- Median home value: $1,019,300 (79% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,402 (21% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $130,433
- Educational attainment: 29% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 17% some college, 22% high school or less

Manhasset’s schools are among the best in the country: Manhasset Secondary School was ranked #228 nationally among high schools and #28 in New York. Residents and tourists flock to the Americana Manhasset, a large open-air shopping center with 60 luxury stores and two highly acclaimed restaurants along the north shore of Long Island. The town—which has access to culture, several parks, and activities—is also just 20 miles from Manhattan, making day trips to the city a breeze.

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James Kirkikis // Shutterstock

#39. Princeton, NJ

- Population: 30,722
- Median home value: $809,200 (59% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,433 (41% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $125,506
- Educational attainment: 55% masters or higher, 25% bachelors, 9% some college, 11% high school or less

Princeton has no shortage of activities for children and families to enjoy, and as the seat of Princeton University, the town attracts special events and exhibitions all year-round. The Princeton University Art Museum not only offers self-guided tours, but also Family Time on Saturday mornings, where kids can create an art project and participate in a planned activity. The Princeton Public Library also holds an annual Children’s Book Festival every September.

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Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Avon, CT

- Population: 18,381
- Median home value: $378,000 (85% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,404 (15% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $125,536
- Educational attainment: 30% masters or higher, 39% bachelors, 18% some college, 13% high school or less

Avon, Conn., is sure to please history buffs. The town is home to the Pine Grove Schoolhouse, which was built in 1865 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Avon Historical Society began restoring the schoolhouse in 1975, and today, it is free to visit. Researchers and Avon residents can visit the Marian. M. Hunter History Room in the Avon Free Public Library, where information on the history of the town is kept, including family genealogies, original homesteads, maps, deeds, and scrapbooks.

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Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism // Flickr

#37. Carlisle, MA

- Population: 5,160
- Median home value: $793,300 (95% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,328 (5% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $170,703
- Educational attainment: 49% masters or higher, 35% bachelors, 8% some college, 7% high school or less

Families living in Carlisle will have no shortage of activities to enjoy, from year-round offerings at Great Brook Farm State Park to the month-long fright fest at Witch’s Woods held in 2019 from Sept. 27-Nov. 2 in 2019. Many local families participate in the Carlisle Family Connection, a community program for families with children ages 5 and younger. The group hosts events that in the past have included family concerts, visits to farms, Halloween parties, and picnics. Carlisle Family Connection also has five different playgroups that allow kids to meet each other before they start kindergarten, easing the transition to public school.

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Sharon Cobo // Shutterstock

#36. Old Greenwich, CT

- Population: 6,860
- Median home value: $1,386,700 (86% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,439 (14% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $236,250
- Educational attainment: 43% masters or higher, 36% bachelors, 14% some college, 8% high school or less

Old Greenwich offers proximity to the coast while only being an hour’s drive from New York City. The town is most well-known for its Greenwich Point Park, a 147-acre park and beach that extends into the Long Island Sound, and offers skyline views of Manhattan. At the park, visitors can also check out Bruce Museum’s Seaside Center—a free museum where people can learn about local birds, fish, and other species.

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Creative Commons // Wikipedia

#35. Ridgewood, NJ

- Population: 25,554
- Median home value: $739,300 (77% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,969 (23% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $162,011
- Educational attainment: 36% masters or higher, 40% bachelors, 12% some college, 12% high school or less

Ridgewood, N.J., offers families walkable neighborhoods, quiet, tree-lined streets, a plethora of after-school activities, premier sports teams for kids and young adults, and great proximity to Manhattan in a safe town with great schools. Ridgewood’s bustling downtown area teems with shops and features over 50 restaurants that regularly rank among the best in the state. Public transit throughout New Jersey and into New York City couldn’t be simpler: Ridgewood has train and bus stations (as well as a taxi stand) right in the center of town.

[Pictured: Ridgewood High School.]

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Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism // Flickr

#34. Westford, MA

- Population: 24,087
- Median home value: $485,600 (89% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,841 (11% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $138,006
- Educational attainment: 36% masters or higher, 33% bachelors, 18% some college, 14% high school or less

There’s something for everyone in Westford, Mass. Kids and adults alike revel in the fun-filled atmosphere at Kimball Farm in Westford, Mass., a 1939-era ice cream parlor that has expanded into a sprawling 50-acre area with mini golf, batting cages, bumper boats, a zipline, and an arcade. Kimball Farm offers over 50 flavors of homemade ice cream that are made fresh daily, and the business remains in the Kimball family’s hands today.

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Regine Poirier // Shutterstock

#33. Rockville, MD

- Population: 66,420
- Median home value: $498,200 (57% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,847 (43% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $100,436
- Educational attainment: 36% masters or higher, 27% bachelors, 18% some college, 19% high school or less

The Washington D.C. suburb of Rockville, Md., was ranked as one of the 10 best cities for families in 2015 due to the region’s highly acclaimed school district, extremely low crime rate, and the high percentage of children living in the community. Rockville was also lauded for its schools’ focus on science and technology, as well as its libraries, parks, air quality, and short commute times for busy parents.

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Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Belmont, MA

- Population: 25,965
- Median home value: $759,500 (63% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,802 (37% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $118,370
- Educational attainment: 46% masters or higher, 27% bachelors, 14% some college, 12% high school or less

Families in Belmont can enjoy the fresh air and take advantage of their surroundings at Beaver Brook Reservation, a 59-acre park with ponds and waterfalls. The southern part of the park also has several athletic fields and a spray deck for kids to splash in during the summer. Beaver Brook also offers educational programs, picnic areas, and playgrounds, making it a fun place to spend a day.

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michusa // Shutterstock

#31. Brookline, MA

- Population: 59,246
- Median home value: $829,300 (51% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,127 (49% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $111,289
- Educational attainment: 53% masters or higher, 30% bachelors, 8% some college, 9% high school or less

Brookline was named one of the best places to live in 2018, and the town can attribute its high score to its proximity to Boston (just four miles away!) and abundance of parks that allow dogs to run around off-leash. The average commute in Brookline is a short 26 minutes, and the high school graduation rate is 93%. Brookline also hosts an annual arts festival every year to showcase live music and artwork.

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John Phelan // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Wayland, MA

- Population: 13,700
- Median home value: $661,500 (89% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,086 (11% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $166,893
- Educational attainment: 47% masters or higher, 36% bachelors, 10% some college, 7% high school or less

Wayland, Mass., is home to the restored Heard Pond where residents can kayak, canoe, fish, birdwatch, and escape in nature for a little while. Visitors may have the chance to spot bald eagles, blue herons, and native water lilies at the body of water. Heard Pond measures 85 acres and while the park was closed for decades for a water chestnut infestation, residents can now visit thanks to the hard work of volunteers.

[Pictured: First Parish in Wayland, Mass.]

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EnLorax // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Chevy Chase, MD

- Population: 9,844
- Median home value: $897,000 (79% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,341 (21% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $173,333
- Educational attainment: 53% masters or higher, 32% bachelors, 9% some college, 7% high school or less

Chevy Chase, Md., on the border of Washington D.C., ranked in 2019 as the 23rd richest town in the U.S. Suffice to say schools here are highly regarded: Walt Whitman High School in Chevy Chase was Maryland’s only high school to make the list of top 100 high schools in 2019 according to U.S. News and World Report.

[Pictured: Walt Whitman High School.] 

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Lee Paxton // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Franklin Park, PA

- Population: 14,301
- Median home value: $322,100 (92% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,451 (8% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $121,711
- Educational attainment: 36% masters or higher, 35% bachelors, 16% some college, 13% high school or less

The town of Franklin Park, Penn., holds family-friendly activities around the year sure to please all ages. Franklin Park in 2018 hosted a Festival in the Park at Blueberry Hill Park, where kids enjoyed activities such as live music and a fireworks display. The town also holds a Special Needs Family Fun Day, designed with children of all different abilities in mind.

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Andrew Seymour // Shutterstock

#27. Charlestown Township, PA

- Population: 5,705
- Median home value: $405,600 (88% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,076 (12% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $136,458
- Educational attainment: 38% masters or higher, 36% bachelors, 13% some college, 14% high school or less

Charlestown Township, Penn., has several parks and trails that locals can take advantage of, including the 44-acre Charlestown Park that has playgrounds and sports fields, where hundreds of children from the area take part in soccer, football, field hockey, and lacrosse games. The town also values its hiking trails, and regularly hosts cleanup days where volunteers maintain the walking paths, as well as guided trail walks in the fall and spring.

[Pictured: Chester County, PA where Charlestown Township is located.]

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Shuvaev // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Blue Bell, PA

- Population: 6,290
- Median home value: $432,200 (88% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,566 (12% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $128,779
- Educational attainment: 36% masters or higher, 37% bachelors, 16% some college, 11% high school or less

Blue Bell, Penn., is part of the Wissahickon School District, which was ranked as one of the top 10 places to teach in Pennsylvania, thanks to the locale’s high teacher salaries and academic and safety resources. A school district with a high ranking shows that teachers are invested in their students and their schools are equipped with adequate teaching tools, and that the school district provides a safe environment for both teaching and learning.

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Acroterion // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Ellicott City, MD

- Population: 71,737
- Median home value: $522,700 (75% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,611 (25% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $124,059
- Educational attainment: 36% masters or higher, 30% bachelors, 17% some college, 17% high school or less

Children who are fascinated with trains will love Ellicott City, Maryland’s Baltimore & Ohio Ellicott City Station Museum. Built in 1831, the station is the oldest train station in the United States, and though it is no longer operational, local groups have preserved the station. Entrance to the two-story museum is free, and the museum is open on weekends as well for fun and educational family outings.

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Marshall Township, PA

- Population: 8,232
- Median home value: $324,100 (89% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,654 (11% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $112,292
- Educational attainment: 39% masters or higher, 33% bachelors, 14% some college, 13% high school or less

Though Marshall Township may seem like a rural paradise (and its community events certainly impart that small-town vibe), it is actually only a 20-minute drive from Pittsburgh, making the town well-suited to commuters. For those who don’t drive, the town also offers public transportation options for traveling to the city. History buffs will relish in the two Native American trails the town has preserved from the colonial era.

[Pictured: Allegheny National Forest in Allegheny County where Marshall Township, Pa. is located.]

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Corey Leopold // Flickr

#23. Cochituate, MA

- Population: 6,832
- Median home value: $608,400 (86% of residents own)
- Median rent: $720 (14% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $143,712
- Educational attainment: 44% masters or higher, 35% bachelors, 12% some college, 9% high school or less

Cochituate, Mass., is perhaps most well-known for Cochituate State Park, which is home to Lake Cochituate. People can swim, fish, boat, canoe, and kayak in the three linked ponds that make up Lake Cochituate, and can relax on the lake’s beaches. When it’s too cold to swim, visitors can also take advantage of the park’s many hiking trails and can even cross-country ski.

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Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#22. Hopkinton, MA

- Population: 16,720
- Median home value: $551,400 (86% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,675 (14% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $151,357
- Educational attainment: 29% masters or higher, 39% bachelors, 18% some college, 14% high school or less

Hopkinton, Mass., is celebrated as being among the safest cities in Massachusetts and the country, with violent crime and property crime rates a fraction of national averages. Hopkinton is also famous as the starting point of the Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest annual marathon that takes place every year on Patriots’ Day. The marathon attracts about 500,000 spectators, making the race New England’s most-watched sporting event.

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Bob // Flickr

#21. Bronxville, NY

- Population: 6,428
- Median home value: $1,077,200 (82% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,745 (18% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $205,781
- Educational attainment: 48% masters or higher, 33% bachelors, 10% some college, 9% high school or less

Bloomberg listed Bronxville, N.Y., as one of the top-10 richest places in the United States in 2017, with the average household income in 2015 reaching as high as $317,063. Bronxville is located just 15 miles from Midtown Manhattan and has a convenient train station as well. In Bronxville’s downtown area, locals can browse the more than 150 restaurants, stores, and businesses, and shop at a seasonal farmers’ market on Saturdays as well.

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Ron Cogswell // Flickr

#20. Travilah, MD

- Population: 12,204
- Median home value: $1,072,600 (94% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,864 (6% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $225,104
- Educational attainment: 52% masters or higher, 27% bachelors, 12% some college, 9% high school or less

Travilah, Maryland, is ranked as top 10 medium-sized city in Maryland for low crime, great education, and solid employment opportunities. Crime is 62% lower in Travilah compared to the rest of the state, while household income is a whopping 184% higher than the Maryland average. The high school graduation rate in Travilah is 97%, with school test scores and student-teacher ratios being equal to the national average.

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Matthew Straubmuller // Flickr

#19. North Bethesda, MD

- Population: 50,056
- Median home value: $550,900 (52% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,868 (48% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $103,194
- Educational attainment: 39% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 15% some college, 15% high school or less

North Bethesda is home to the KID Museum, an interactive museum that teaches children innovative skills and is conveniently located at the Davis Library. KID Museum is open to the public on weekends and provides hands-on activities and workshops that are designed to enrich STEM knowledge and promote critical thinking. The museum also offers free programs, like Coding Camp, and is a popular field trip spot for elementary school and middle school groups.

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JulyRiver // Flickr

#18. Sudbury, MA

- Population: 18,697
- Median home value: $668,500 (92% of residents own)
- Median rent: $923 (8% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $170,945
- Educational attainment: 42% masters or higher, 36% bachelors, 12% some college, 10% high school or less

The town of Sudbury, Mass., operates the parent-run Sudbury Family Network, which provides social activities, organizes playgroups, and schedules fun nights out for parents. The annual dues to the group are just $32 and give members access to beloved events like the organization’s Halloween Party and Egg Hunt. Sudbury Family Network also organizes local outings, musical performances, and book clubs for Mom and Dad. And the group hosts events during both the week and the weekend, ensuring everyone participates.

[Pictured: Wayside Inn historic Grist Mill, Sudbury.]

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Thomas Kelley // Wikipedia

#17. Newton, MA

- Population: 88,479
- Median home value: $845,100 (71% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,771 (29% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $133,853
- Educational attainment: 48% masters or higher, 29% bachelors, 11% some college, 12% high school or less

Newton’s unique characteristics make it a popular spot for families to settle down. The town is split into 13 villages, giving the suburb a small-town feel with close-knit communities, but is just a 15-minute drive from Boston. And the Newton Public School system is ranked one of the highest in Massachusetts.

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Idawriter // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Urbana, MD

- Population: 11,022
- Median home value: $456,900 (86% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,176 (14% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $146,637
- Educational attainment: 30% masters or higher, 37% bachelors, 21% some college, 13% high school or less

Urbana’s economic opportunities and proximity to the nation’s capital make it a natural choice for raising a family if you can afford it: The town is about 124% more expensive than the U.S. average. The town’s public high school is rated the best in Frederick County and 15th statewide, and residents enjoy easy access to shopping, entertainment, and extracurricular activities.

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Daniel Case // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Greenville, NY

- Population: 7,087
- Median home value: $905,200 (94% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,744 (6% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $212,042
- Educational attainment: 52% masters or higher, 27% bachelors, 10% some college, 11% high school or less

Almost 1,000 families call Greenville, N.Y., home, and enjoy the views the town offers of the Catskill Mountains, which offers plenty of skiing opportunities in the winter. Although Greenville may be classified by some as a small town, there is plenty for its residents to do. The town is home to three golf courses, and Vanderbilt Park has sports fields and numerous walking trails. The town is also located just south of Albany, where many of its residents commute for work.

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Zeete // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Princeton Meadows, NJ

- Population: 13,692
- Median home value: $367,600 (36% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,474 (64% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $95,041
- Educational attainment: 35% masters or higher, 40% bachelors, 10% some college, 16% high school or less

Princeton Meadows dwellers frequent the nearby Meadows at Middlesex Golf Course, an 18-hole, par 70 championship golf course that offers discounted rates for residents. For those not as interested in golf, there is Morris Davison Park, which has volleyball and basketball courts, a playground, and half-mile bike and jogging paths.

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Eric Hossinger // Flickr

#13. Bethesda, MD

- Population: 63,168
- Median home value: $877,300 (67% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,938 (33% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $154,559
- Educational attainment: 56% masters or higher, 28% bachelors, 10% some college, 7% high school or less

Bethesda topped NerdWallet’s most-educated towns for four years in a row from 2012 to 2016. The town is home to not only government workers but also the main campus of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the National Institutes of Health, Lockheed Martin, and Cambridge Information Group.

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Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Syosset, NY

- Population: 19,669
- Median home value: $627,000 (92% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,762 (8% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $155,661
- Educational attainment: 31% masters or higher, 33% bachelors, 19% some college, 17% high school or less

Residents of Syosset, N.Y., can enjoy the 46 acres of fun at the Syosset-Woodbury Community Park, which offers year-round activities suited for almost everyone. The park has a basketball court, a bocce court, handball courts, shuffleboard courts, and five tennis courts, along with a softball field, a Little League field, and a multi-use turf field. In the summer, the park opens its swimming pool with a diving area and kiddie wading pool, while people can take to the park’s ice skating rink in the colder months.

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Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism // Flickr

#11. Lexington, MA

- Population: 33,339
- Median home value: $816,100 (81% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,998 (19% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $162,083
- Educational attainment: 54% masters or higher, 28% bachelors, 9% some college, 9% high school or less

Lexington, Mass., offers a network called LexFUN! for kids ages 5 and under, which schedules over 100 events every year for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. In addition to weekly activities, playground meetups, family bowling, and nights out for parents, LexFUN! also offers member discounts to 50 local business and a program to help children transition to kindergarten.

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Wikipedia1234 // Wikimedia Commons

#10. South Kensington, MD

- Population: 8,684
- Median home value: $718,000 (89% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,113 (11% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $160,303
- Educational attainment: 44% masters or higher, 34% bachelors, 13% some college, 9% high school or less

Kensington, Md., is home to the Noyes Children’s Library, which is one of the few places in the country completely dedicated to children’s books and parenting and is the oldest public library in the Washington D.C. area. The town also runs a program called the Parent Encouragement Program, or PEP. The nonprofit organization holds workshops, community events and presentations, and parenting classes. Plus, most of the group’s events provide on-site childcare during sessions.

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Cbaile19 // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Mount Lebanon Township, PA

- Population: 32,760
- Median home value: $244,800 (73% of residents own)
- Median rent: $861 (27% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $91,748
- Educational attainment: 35% masters or higher, 36% bachelors, 16% some college, 13% high school or less

Families take comfort living in Mount Lebanon Township because of the city’s low crime rate, which has continued to decline steadily since 2001. Mount Lebanon is located less than six miles from Pittsburgh and is close to an Amtrak station, making it simple to commute to the city. The most common industry in the town is professional, scientific, and technical services, which comprise 15.1% of the locale’s economy.

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Douglas Muth // Flickr

#8. Ardmore, PA

- Population: 13,193
- Median home value: $320,100 (60% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,297 (40% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $87,807
- Educational attainment: 33% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 18% some college, 18% high school or less

Located just nine miles from Philadelphia, Ardmore, Pa. offers quaint living and quick commutes. The town is often called the “Main Street of the Main Line,” and has several round-the-year attractions for families with kids. One of those is Lulu’s Casita, an indoor family-owned playground with coffee and snacks for parents. The 18-acre South Ardmore Park also has numerous sports fields, tennis courts, a playground, and tot lots.

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Brendan Smialowski // Getty Images

#7. Potomac, MD

- Population: 45,780
- Median home value: $893,600 (88% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,860 (12% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $187,568
- Educational attainment: 51% masters or higher, 30% bachelors, 11% some college, 9% high school or less

A suburb of Washington D.C., there is no shortage of activities to do in Potomac. The town is perhaps most well-known for being home to Great Falls Park, which features a scenic waterfall and hiking trails. Visitors can view an overlook of the falls at the C&O Canal National Historic Park and Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center. Those looking for inside attractions need look no further than the Glenstone Museum, a contemporary art museum that houses about 1,300 works from the post World War II period.

[Pictured: People scramble up a rock face along the Billy Goat Trail in Great Falls National Park in Potomac, Md.]

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Daniel Case // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Short Hills, NJ

- Population: 13,092
- Median home value: $1,316,600 (92% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,857 (8% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $250,001
- Educational attainment: 54% masters or higher, 34% bachelors, 5% some college, 6% high school or less

Short Hills, N.J., is known for being among the richest towns in America virtually nonexistent crime rate, and great public education. The quiet New York City suburb’s schools consistently produce some of the highest student test scores in the nation. Short Hills has plenty to do, too—from touring the pristine Greenwood Gardens to the Hartshorn Arboretum.

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Kungming2 // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Swarthmore, PA

- Population: 6,243
- Median home value: $387,800 (74% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,099 (26% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $106,737
- Educational attainment: 52% masters or higher, 27% bachelors, 9% some college, 12% high school or less

As the seat of the liberal arts school Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pa., attracts some of the nation’s top minds and has world-class attractions, one of those being the stunning Scott Arboretum. The “garden of ideas” is free to visit and has ornamental gardens that span 425 acres. Within Scott Arboretum is “Crumhenge,” which is a stone formation inspired by Stonehenge and was first installed in the 1980s.

[Pictured: Swarthmore College Parrish Hall.]

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Jrogers123 // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Upper Montclair, NJ

- Population: 11,696
- Median home value: $726,200 (81% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,722 (19% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $196,285
- Educational attainment: 46% masters or higher, 39% bachelors, 9% some college, 6% high school or less

Montclair is just 12 miles from Manhattan but has plenty of things for visitors and residents to do without leaving town. The town is bustling with walkable streets, music and theater venues, restaurants, shops, sports complexes, and extracurricular activities. At the Montclair Art Museum, kids can tour the museum at the monthly Park Bench events, as well as create art projects and listen to stories. For sports fans, the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center at Montclair State University is a must-see, with baseball memorabilia and displays following Berra’s life. Other activities include yoga for kids at the Montclair Cooperative School’s summer camp, and a plethora of activities for teens and young adults to enjoy—a rarity in many suburbs.

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Rob Crandall // Shutterstock

#3. North Potomac, MD

- Population: 24,236
- Median home value: $656,900 (84% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,020 (16% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $161,553
- Educational attainment: 46% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 13% some college, 9% high school or less

Families living in North Potomac, Md., can take comfort in the town’s extremely low crime rate, which is 58% lower than the national average, making North Potomac safer than 63% of the cities in the United States. The school system in the area is also highly rated, with the high school graduation rate being 13% higher than the rest of Maryland. Additionally, school test scores in North Potomac are 53% higher than the U.S. average.

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Bluesguy from NY // Flickr

#2. Jericho, NY

- Population: 14,014
- Median home value: $732,100 (85% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,935 (15% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $156,029
- Educational attainment: 35% masters or higher, 35% bachelors, 17% some college, 13% high school or less

Jericho, N.Y., has been ranked the top medium city in New York for education, with high school graduation rates of 95%—14% higher than the U.S. average. Families living in Jericho are mostly well-off: the median household income in the town is 160% higher than the national average, and the poverty level is 64% lower than the U.S. average.

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ifly6 // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Penn Wynne, PA

- Population: 5,720
- Median home value: $367,400 (89% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,500 (11% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $115,625
- Educational attainment: 43% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 16% some college, 11% high school or less

Not only are residents of Penn Wynne, Pa., highly educated, they also hold impressive jobs. Of the population, 69.3% of residents hold manager or executive jobs, and Penn Wynne has more people employed as professionals, managers, or executives than 97.5% of the neighborhoods in the United States. The neighborhood of Wynnewood in Penn Wynne is among the 15% highest-income neighborhoods in the country as well. The average Penn Wynne resident spends about 15 to 30 minutes commuting to work, which is lower than the national average.

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