If you could create the ideal community to raise a child in, what ingredients would you include? First off, you'd probably want a low crime rate. A strong school system would also be key. From there, you'd need lots of other children, expansive green spaces to play in, and plenty of nearby family events. Toss in an abundance of artistic and recreational activities, and all of a sudden you've got one heck of a place to grow up.
We wanted to find out if any communities like that already existed -- and if so, where they were located. So we dug into our database of 2,000 different places all across the country and pinpointed the locales that met these criteria. We then examined these communities more closely to determine which places offered the best combination of safe neighborhoods, fun activities, and top-notch educators.
Our selections appear below, in our list of America's 10 Best Places to Grow Up:
Junior adventurers will love
Children can explore an impressive ecosystem of threatened and endangered species -- including bald eagles and loggerhead sea turtles -- in the 9,000-acre Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The warm summers and mild winters provide plenty of opportunities to hike, bike, and picnic your way through the 19 miles of scenic trails over at
And in early September, the community is launching an online resource -- VBparents.com -- designed to keep parents plugged in to local health and school news, while ensuring that they are up-to-date on all of the community activities available to their kids. "There are lots of great parenting resources out there. This one is going to be specific to raising your child and your family within the city of
Of the roughly 43,000 residents in the friendly, churchgoing town of
With 9 square miles of green spaces, 300 days of sunshine a year, and four different professional sports franchises to follow,
Just 12 miles outside of
With an exciting history and a boatload of activities,
Whether they prefer snowboarding in the
With about 100,000 residents, the safe, friendly city of
It would be tough to find a safer community than
With 7,000 faculty and staff members serving 55,000 students in this
Working parents in
(c) 2009 U.S. News & World Report