Any other parents out there find themselves interrupting their regularly scheduled nightly Netflix binges for some “where do we see ourselves in five years” conversations with their S.O.? Because it’s been happening a LOT in our houses as of late, and we can’t help but feel like the whirlwind that was 2020 has so much to do with it. For many, the past year spent social distancing (and keeping in touch with our family and friends via FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, etc.) has made it easier to imagine all the potential what-ifs of living somewhere else. Then, when you consider all of the things that might have precluded you from making a move in the past—like proximity to your job (for many, remote work looks like it’s here to stay)—those what-ifs become why nots.
We’ve gotten pretty familiar with all the U.S. cities that should be on your must-move-to lists, but how about a big move to a smaller scene (i.e. with a population under 100,000)? If you have kids at home, a smaller town or a scaled-back suburb—with easy access to metropolitan amenities— might be the best thing for your family. Of course, one-off research and Googling are great places to start with your relocation recon, but you’ll also want to get familiar with resources like Niche and Livability to really check the pulse on prospective locales. Glowing and specific peer reviews, especially from fellow parents, are awesome ways for you to discover hidden gems when you’re on the hunt for a new hometown. After doing some research ourselves, here are the 12 best places we’ve uncovered.