New Jersey's Best Towns for Families 2016 Winner and Best Bergen County Town
Average Home Price: $511,506
If you’re driving through Bergen County, it’s possible to blink and miss Oradell, the Bergen County town that tops our 2016 list of New Jersey's Best Towns for Families. But despite its unassuming size (just 2.5 square miles), Oradell packs enormous amenities into a very small package. With a picturesque, walkable downtown, a beautiful waterfront overlooking the Oradell Reservoir, lovely parks, top-rated schools, an easy commute into NYC and a low crime rate, the perks go on and on.
Jennifer Larson, Oradell Public School’s PTA president, moved here from New York City with her husband Gregg 15 years ago; the couple have a nine-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter. “Everything is accessible, yet it’s very quiet and not congested,” Larson says. “You have the best of both worlds.”
Downtown, parents and their mini-me’s are a familiar sight at Cool Beans, the town’s center-of-everything coffee shop. Mommy groups meet there in the morning, and the shop hosts date night events in the evening (which are, incidentally, pretty successful—a number of people say they met their significant others there). A few doors down, the Bergen County Players perform in a converted firehouse and put on children’s shows every year. And down the street, the 100-year-old, recently renovated Oradell Public Library hosts storytimes, music programs and parties in a gorgeous turn-of-the-century setting.
Nearby, Saddle River County Park entices with six miles of paths and a ton of playgrounds and duck ponds for the kiddos. It’s jam-packed on the weekends with children riding bikes and picnicking near the mini-waterfall. In town, local playgrounds and Grant Field corral kids after school for jungle gym climbs and sports practices. In the summer, the private Oradell Swim Club acts like the suburb’s really nice public pool (it’s open to all residents), while two ice skating ponds avail themselves for wintertime fun. Neighborhoods throw block parties filled with live music and prizes, and the town hosts an annual Independence Day parade, Christmas tree lighting and kids’ Easter egg hunt. It all really helps foster the sense of small-town community here.
Oradell is situated in the middle of great shopping, too. In minutes, residents can be at Hackensack’s massive Shops at Riverside mall, the Garden State Plaza (the biggest mall in NJ) or IKEA, complete with a free ball pit for the kids to play in while you shop. “The proximity to shopping, restaurants and the city makes it ideal,” says Larson.
Photos courtesy of Tony Ning.
More of New Jersey's Best Towns for Families 2016
The Full 2016 List: New Jersey's Best Towns for Families
Best NYC Commuter Towns for Families in NJ
Most Diverse Towns for Families in NJ
Most Affordable Towns for Families in NJ
Safest Towns for Families in NJ
Towns With the Best School Districts in NJ
Hoboken: We Still Love You
Best Somerset County Town: Montgomery Twp
Best Morris County Town: Boonton
Best Union County Town: New Providence
Best Essex County Town: Essex Fells
Best Large Towns in NJ
Best Mid-Size Towns in NJ
Best Small Towns in NJ
Methodology for New Jersey's Best Towns for Families