New Jersey's Best Towns For Families 2017 Union County
Average Home Price: $438,833
Cranford is a charming and family-friendly town with the Rahway River flowing from north to south. Once nicknamed the “Venice of New Jersey,” families riding along the banks of the river in canoes and small boats are common in the summertime.
The downtown area’s filled with countless upscale restaurants, mom and pop shops and retail stores. Local favorites include Pairings Palate+Plate and Ramola’s Seafood & Grille, an elegant Mediterranean BYOB. Dreyer Farm, a fifth generation family-owned farm that offers CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) memberships and is a popular spot for Christmas trees, is beloved among residents.
Another plus? The Cranford train station is in the center of town, and commuters have a 40-minute ride to New York City. Recently, luxury apartments popped up across the street from the transit station, bringing young professionals into town.
Cranford is a tight-knit community. Despite having a population of more than 20,000 people, everyone seems to know each other. And with multiple athletic programs, an expansive community center and three public pools, there are plenty of family-friendly things to do. “There are tons of activities that are easy to find with social media,” says Diane Cruz, a resident and mother of two.
The public school system is also a big draw, earning serious kudos from parents and educators alike. “The teachers are great” says Cruz. “A lot of the teachers live in town...the kids get to see [them] at the pool.”
Also not to be missed: the town’s annual holiday festivities, like the Memorial Day Parade and Fourth of July’s Firecracker four-mile run and subsequent evening fireworks, both held at the scenic Nomahegan Park, a breathtaking outdoor space with scenic trails, sports fields and a playground. -- by Dan Logiudice