While Charlotte might be the shining metropolitan gem of North Carolina - with skyrocketing rents and constant construction, Raleigh is the perfect place for those who want city living in a comfortable atmosphere. It
as one of the best places to move, for all ages. Not to mention, it's made several travel lists for must-visit destinations and coolest cities. While rent in (actual) Raleigh might be pricy for recent graduates, it's still manageable (and you're not missing out on any fun). For families looking to lay down roots in the Captiol City...there's plenty of suburbs that made our list...starting with the next pick, Apex.
If Raleigh is out of your price range, but you landed a job here or near the area, Apex is a great place to settle down. The charming downtown district is loaded with restaurants, bars, and cute shops. Apex offers great schools, a low crime rate, moderate weather and easy accessibility to the Research Triangle Park.
The city of arts and innovation is quickly becoming one of the hottest small cities in North Carolina. With a lively arts scene, amazing restaurants, gorgeous scenery and plenty of history...for an average rent/home cost...you're getting a lot here. Located in the Piedmont, Winston is a short drive to the mountains and only a few hours from the beach. Many working in the medical field come here for opportunities at Baptist Hospital while artists flock here for a communal environment (minus the ridiculous rent prices of Asheville). The suburbs are beautiful and reasonably priced as well. All in all, you get quite a bang for your buck in Winston-Salem.
4. Wake Forest
Wake Forest is a short drive from Raleigh but boasts a small town feel all its own. With a reasonable cost of living, low crime rate, and real sense of community, it's more that a suburb - it's a town you want to call home.
Matthews might very well be one of the most popular Charlotte suburbs- but for good reason. The education and schools here are phenomenal. The downtown is quaint and historic and the weekend Farmer's Market is one of the best. Theatre lovers will love the Matthews Playhouse. It's a place you can live and forget North Carolina's biggest city is not far from your doorstep.
While Brevard might be a pricier option on this list - you really get a lot for your money. Many who want to make mountain living a reality find the cost of living in Asheville to be ridiculous - so they flock to more affordable locations. Brevard has an ideal location, not far from Asheville, hiking trails, mountains and waterfalls. It's perfect for the outdoor lover and even those who work remotely (from their computers) and want a peaceful existence and still a town that has everything they need.
The cat has (long been) out of the bag about Charlotte. As the largest city in North Carolina, you'll be shelling out an arm and a leg for rent or housing, but if you're looking for a job - this is the place to go. It's a great city for young professionals. It offers several different job options (although banking and finance dominate the market) and a lively nightlife to boot. It's also becoming the new Asheville in terms of microbreweries seemingly popping up everywhere and overnight. If you want city living in North Carolina, this is your place.
8. Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill might be known as the home to UNC, but its more than a college town. Chapel Hill has impressive home values (124% higher than state average) great schools and an amazing art scene. Not to mention - abundant outdoor activities with walking trails, steams, creeks and proximity to Raleigh.
Huntersville is beautifully located on Lake Norman, with close proximity to Charlotte. The crime index is 55% lower than the rest of the state, while the median household income is 84% higher than the rest of the state. Safe to say, if you have a great job, want to raise your family in a safe yet fun environment, and still want close proximity to both nature and the city...Huntersville is a perfect fit.
While this Raleigh suburb might be described as 'ritzy' it's a family-friendly environment that has WAY more to offer than its closeness to the Research Triangle. Cary feels very much like a world of its own. The historic and beautiful architecture add to the charm while it's ranked as the 2nd safest city in North Carolina. The public schools are great and if you prefer private, the median housing income is 24% higher than the rest of the state, so it's safe to say, you'll have wiggle room to choose. Even if you aren't swimming in dough, it's a reasonable place to lay down roots and watch your family grow.
North Carolina is home to some AMAZING places, and some honorable mentions that need to be included are Greensboro, Wilmington, Asheville, and Durham. But these 10 towns listed give you the most bang for your buck while also offering a peace of mind for raising a family in a safe place. Do you call any of these places home or want to add any to the list?