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The Best Counties to Raise a Family in the Hudson Valley

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Adobe Stock | Photo by nadezhda1906

Find out which of the region’s counties offer the best schooling, outdoor activities, and more, according to Niche’s 2021 report.

The Hudson Valley is the perfect place to raise a family.

Diverse landscapes offer all kinds of fun, outdoor activities. In the winter, locals can ski, snowboard, and tube down miles of groomed trails on snow-capped mountains. Summer is perfect for exploring the Hudson River from the unique vantage point of a kayak or walking, biking, and running through the region’s bucolic towns on well-kept rail trails. Families can adventure during local camping trips or go out for an approachable day hike. Plus, area residents and visitors alike have the chance to discover the past at one of the Hudson Valley’s iconic historic sites or learn about where local food comes from at a beautiful farm.

Whatever you choose to do as a family, the Hudson Valley has a little something for everyone.

That’s why it’s not too surprising to find that a number of Hudson Valley counties ranking highly on Niche’s list of the best counties for families in New York in 2021. To formulate its list, Niche analyzed everything from school districts to cost of living to determine which counties throughout the region are perfect for family life. While we’d award them all the number one slot, Niche places one Hudson Valley county above all others and near the very top of the statewide lineup.

Can you guess which Hudson Valley county claims the top spot?

Playland. Photo courtesy of Westchester County Parks

Playland | Photo courtesy of Westchester County Parks

Westchester County – 2

Coming in just under Long Island’s Nassau County, Westchester took second place in all of New York State for ideal family life. Nestled perfectly in between urban Manhattan and scenic Hudson Valley farms, Westchester has the perfect balance of access to nature, shopping, entertainment, and more. A low crime rate, $96,610 median household income, and several top-rated public schools lead this lower-Valley county to a high ranking.

Grade: A+
Best for: Public schools, commute, diversity, housing, jobs
Population: 968,890
Median home value: $540,600
Median rent: $1,537 
Top Public Schools: Scarsdale High School, Horace Greeley High School, Rye High School, Pelham Memorial High School
Top Private Schools:
Rye Country Day School, Hackley School, French-American School of New York, The Masters School
Top Places to Live:
Greenville, Chappaqua, Ardsley, Bronxville, Hartsdale, Larchmont, Scarsdale

Piermont Marina | Wikimedia Commons, Photo by Rajesh Dhawan

Piermont Marina | Wikimedia Commons, Photo by Rajesh Dhawan

Rockland County – 3

Grade: A-
Best for: Public schools, diversity, healthy eating, jobs
Population: 324,422
Median home value: $443,400
Median rent: $1,504 
Top Public Schools: Tappan Zee High School, Clarkstown South/North Senior High School, Nyack Senior High School
Top Private Schools:
Green Meadow Waldorf School, Albertus Magnus High School
Best Places to Live:
Piermont, Upper Nyack, Bardonia, South Nyack, New City

Related: What to Do in Piermont: A 24-Hour Day Trip Guide

Red Hook New York

Red Hook | Wikimedia Commons, Daniel Case

Dutchess County – 8

Grade: A-
Best for: Public schools, outdoor activities, health and fitness, diversity,
Population: 293,754
Median home value: $282,000
Median rent: $1,220
Top Public Schools:  Spackenkill High School, Arlington High School, John Jay High School
Top Private Schools:
Trinity-Pawling High School, Millbrook School, Oakwood Friends School
Best Places to Live:
Spackenkill, Arlington, Crown Heights, Tivoli, Red Oaks Mill

Related: The Top 10 Dutchess County Towns for Real Estate Sales in 2020

Cornwall_on_Hudson_7

Cornwall-on-Hudson | Wikimedia Commons, Photo by AlexiusHoratius

Orange County – 9

Grade: B+
Best for: Public schools, diversity, outdoor activities, health and fitness
Population: 380,085
Median home value: $271,200
Median rent: $1,259
Top Public Schools:  Cornwall Central High School, Grant Mason Elementary School, Willow Avenue School
Top Private Schools:
The Storm King School, New York Military Academy, Chapel Field Christian Schools
Best Places to Live:
Cornwall-on-Hudson, Highland Falls, Woodbury, Firthcliffe, Beaver Dam Lake, Fort Montgomery, Washingtonville

Related: Ogle Larger-Than-Life Art at Local Sculpture Parks

Main_Street_Cold_Spring_NY

Cold Spring | Wikimedia Commons, Photo by Daniel Case

Putnam County – 10

Grade: B+
Best for: Public schools, outdoor activities, health and fitness
Population: 98,787
Median home value: $358,500
Median rent: $1,453
Top Public Schools: Carmel High School, Haldane High School, Brewster High School
Top Private Schools:
James the Apostle School, Green Chimneys School, The Manitou School
Best Places to Live:
Cold Spring, Peach Lake, Mahopac

Related: Everything to Do During a Day Trip to Cold Spring

The Capital District Tourism Gnome admires the modern art and reflecting pools of the Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York. Photo by Henry Bellagnome from Troy, New York,

Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York | Wikimedia Commons, Photo by Henry Bellagnome

Albany County – 11

Grade: B+
Best for: Public schools, diversity, jobs, commute
Population: 306,968
Median home value: $222,500
Median rent: $1,022 
Top Public Schools: Shaker High School, Bethlehem Central Senior High School, Southgate High School
Top Private Schools:
The Albany Academies, Academy of the Holy Names, Christian Brothers Academy
Best Places to Live:
Menands, Center Square, Westmere, Park South, Altamont

Related: Here’s Where to Get the Best Brunch in Albany

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