24. Bellaire, TX
Bellaire, TX
Children visiting the Nature Discovery Center
Population: 16,321
Median family income: $143,807
Median home price: $521,250

This southeast Texas town lives in the shadow of Houston but holds its own. Its beautiful homes range from 1950s and '60s ranches to $2.5 million Mediterranean-inspired constructions.

Great schools and kid-friendly recreation options are also draws. Bellaire is known for producing high numbers of National Merit Scholars. Its 14 parks and a family aquatic center with Dive-In Movie Nights keep residents entertained. A quaint downtown offers boutique shopping and internationally inspired cuisine.

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Last updated August 15 2011: 2:49 PM ET
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These terrific small towns -- even now -- boast great job opportunities, top-notch schools, safe streets, economic strength, and more.

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