Best Places to Raise Kids: The 15 Most Family-Friendly Philly Suburbs

If you are forgoing city for 'burbs, as a parent you want two things: safe streets and good schools. But after that, the choices vary: A touch of urbanity? Wide-open spaces? A charming downtown? We crunched the numbers, analyzed the data and forayed out into the field. No matter your preference, we found a locale worth moving to


Medford Lakes

Population: 4,146
School district: Medford Lakes
SAT scores: 547 math / 524 reading / 520 writing
Crime rate: Zero violent crimes per 1,000; 15.84 nonviolent per 1,000
Median home price: $268,000*

In its original incarnation, Medford Lakes was a log-cabin resort, and much of it still feels more summer camp than hometown. The pine-tree-studded Burlington County borough is tiny, stretching just 1.2 square miles, and includes 22 lakes and 150 cedar-log cabins that were part of its identity as a vacation spot in the 1930s. Today, there are 1,500 anti-McMansion-y homes connected by trails—no streets here—plus five beaches (beaches!), a country club, a rec center, and a vibrant network of community groups that organize events like the Mr. and Miss Medford Lakes Pageant and the annual canoe carnival. Families like the quaint, small-town feel; the “downtown” consists precisely of a music shop, where neighborhood kids come to take lessons, and the Sand Stand, an adorable-if-pricey ice-cream parlor that even has a flavor for vegans. Because there’s no bus service to the Medford Lakes public schools, kids get around on bikes, which, in summer, head to the town’s summer camp, open only to Medford Lakers. If Abe Lincoln’s hometown had been in Jersey instead of Illinois, this would have been it.

*Data from May 2011

To read about Upper Providence, click here.