Enjoying the perks of the big city in terms of employment, entertainment, education and culture while raising your family in a nice and safe suburb sounds like the perfect recipe for an agreeable lifestyle. Fortunately, the New York metro area contains a host of amazing suburbs with amenities that are ideal for raising a family within comfortable commuting distance from the metro area’s urban hotspots.
If you want to relocate within the New York metro area, to a suburban setting, we selected some of your best options based on the amenities they provide:
1. Oakland, NJ
- Median home value: $566K
- Average home size: 1,800 square feet
- Self storage rate: $206/month for a 10’x10’ unit
Nestled in a valley crossed by the Ramapo River, overlooking the Ramapo Mountains, Oakland is a breath of fresh air, figuratively and literally, located only 30 miles from Midtown Manhattan. It’s a great place for families with children of all ages — it’s safe and quiet, with a state forest, lake and beach nearby, so families will find ample opportunities for spending time outdoors.
But Oakland is more than a simple suburb with greenery and quiet streets. The neighborhood also enjoys an array of city-like amenities, including plenty of restaurants and shopping venues. The quality of education in the area is also top-notch: public school students test above average, while both local high schools offer college preparatory programs. Another great aspect of Oakland is that the home price in the area hovers around an affordable $566K, significantly under the average price of homes in the NY metro area, at $746K.
2. Garden City, NY
- Median home value: $980K
- Average home size: 2,073 square feet
- Self storage rate: $248/month for a 10’x10’ unit
Garden City is an affluent suburb located about a 28-mile drive from Manhattan, and it is well connected to the urban hotspot by train. It’s a relatively small suburb of under 23,000 people, but it has a strong sense of community — there’s even a local welcoming club that organizes social events for newcomers to help them get to know their neighbors.
Families can enjoy the St. Paul’s Recreation Complex, a large indoor recreation center situated in the middle of a 30-acre park, offering access to a variety of sports for kids and adults, including fitness programs, yoga, track, lacrosse and soccer. Schools in Garden City are among the best in the state, with the Garden City High School ensuring excellent student performance. Residents are also spoiled in terms of shopping opportunities, as it is the location of Long Island’s largest mall, Roosevelt Field. However, all of that comes at a cost — and homes in the area hover around $980K.
3. Port Washington, NY
- Median home value: $1M
- Average home size: 2,048 square feet
- Self storage rate: $240/month for a 10’x10’ storage unit
Some of Port Washington is already in Manhattan, as millions of cubic yards of local sand went into making concrete to build Manhattan’s skyscrapers, starting in the early 1900s. Otherwise, the suburb is about 25 miles from Midtown Manhattan, and you can drive there or travel by train.
Safe and quiet, about 16,000 people inhabit Port Washington. Families with children will enjoy the local attractions, including the easy access to several beaches, the Blumenfeld Family Park, or the sports programs at the Port Washington PAL. The public school district is top-rated, with a student-teacher ratio of 11 to 1.
Port Washington has varied shopping and dining options as well as a thriving local economy. The average annual wage for local jobs stands at $80K — so you don’t necessarily have to commute if you move to Port Washington. In terms of affordability, homes are more expensive than in the metro area overall. The average price for a home stands at around $1M.
4. Franklin Lakes, NJ
- Median home value: $1.1M
- Average home size: 3,687 square feet
- Self storage rate: $204/month for a 10’x10’ unit
Franklin Lakes is beautifully situated in the middle of wooded hills, alternating between lowlands and over 20 lakes and ponds — hence the name of the suburb. Moving here means you can hike and bike on the many miles of available trails, go birdwatching, or ice skate in the winter. In other words, it’s the kind of place that offers an idyllic childhood filled with plenty of time outdoors. Schools are also excellent, and the student-to-teacher ratio of about 8 to 1 ensures that every student gets the attention they deserve.
New York City is about 25 miles away, easily reachable by car or train. Obtaining employment locally is also an option, as the average annual wage in Franklin Lakes is over $70K. The local home value hovers around $1.1M.
5. Tinton Falls, NJ
- Median home value: $470K
- Average home size: 1,676 square feet
- Self storage rate: $154/month for a 10’x10’ unit
Located a little over 50 miles from Manhattan and a 30-mile drive from New Jersey, Tinton Falls is a relatively small suburb (under 20K people living there), but one that provides a nice assortment of amenities to its residents. There are plenty of outdoor green areas for families to enjoy — more than 2,800 square feet of park space per capita — and the public schools located here provide good quality education.
Some of the local attractions include the namesake waterfall, where you can hike on the pathways around the waterfall or have a picnic to enjoy the view. The small borough also has a charming historic district that includes several points of interest, including the mansion of the first colonial governor of New Jersey. Tinton Falls also enjoys relatively low housing costs — home value stands at around $470K.
If you’re in the process of moving within the New York metro area, you might need to use self storage. Fortunately, there are plenty of storage facilities here. A 10×10 self storage unit in New York City rents for around $290, and similar storage units in New Jersey hover around $210 per month.
*Note: Home values mentioned in this article reflect the Zillow Home Value Index for February 2022