When ranking the most family-friendly towns in NJ, we weighed factors like school quality, safety, affordability and diversity, among other things. Here are the 10 towns that topped our list in Essex County in 2019:
- North Caldwell
- Glen Ridge
- Essex Fells
- West Caldwell
- Cedar Grove
About North Caldwell
Marissa Becker grew up in North Caldwell and is thrilled to be able to raise her kids in the Essex County town. “It has everything both [my husband and I] ever dreamed of; great people, terrific neighborhoods, a strong sense of community, terrific location to the city and shore areas, fantastic sports and an outstanding school system,” says Becker, a science teacher at West Essex Middle School.
The West Essex Regional School District is a huge draw for families, both for academics and athletics. When they’re not hitting the books, kids take part in everything from parades and color runs to pancake breakfasts and holiday celebrations. Summer’s all about the town pool (think water slides, a kiddie wading area, sports facilities, fields and an outdoor TV) and Camp Caldwell programs, where kids craft, work on STEM activities, go on field trips and more.
For a fun night out, try Stephanie’s in Caldwell, a cozy Italian spot, or PF Market in West Caldwell, a seafood haven where you can shop the raw bar or dine in. Fun fact? Tony’s house in The Sopranos is in North Caldwell and an iconic Essex County hotspot. Many scenes were shot in town, as well.