#2: Upper Township (Cape May)
Originally home to the Lenni Lenape, rural Upper Township in Cape May County cultivated a few villages before the Revolution. The Lenape word tuckahoe—“where deer are plentiful”—remains a not uncommon name in both the Township and the County. Tuckahoe train station was restored by the Township as part of its historical preservation. U.T.’s parks and beaches draw residents as well as tourists for boating, surfing, fishing, crabbing, and kayaking.
With its 54-acre Verona Park and 13-acre lake (part of the Essex County system), this western Essex town combines the verdant and the bustlingly suburban.
Nestled along the Shrewsbury River, Oceanport is home to both Fort Monmouth and Monmouth Park Racetrack. Last year the track hosted its first Breeders’ Cup, the Super Bowl of horse racing. Only 3.2 square miles in size (and with just under 6,000 residents), Oceanport has sports programs, an active senior group, and volunteer organizations that contribute to a vibrant sense of community.
#5: Lincoln Park
Once known as Beavertown for its abundance of the bucktoothed critters, Lincoln Park today has three golf courses (two public) and the 80-year-old Borinski Farms. The community boasts a rich Native American history; numerous artifacts were discovered in caves along Peace Valley Road in the 1940s, and lore suggests that a Native American burial site is hidden beneath the soil.
Shamong, in Burlington County, offers residents quick access to the Philadelphia-Camden area. Nestled in the heart of the Pinelands, it’s home to the Valenzano Winery as well as the 11,000 acres of Wharton State Forest.
The smallest municipality in Somerset County at .8 square miles, Millstone has under 500 residents. They make it a priority to involve themselves in local government and civic affairs. The Borough is a national historic site. Millstone has 58 buildings on the historic register, including several from the 1700s.
A family-friendly resort town, Lavallette offers eight protected ocean beaches. There are piers for fishing and crabbing, playgrounds for kids, and facilities for tennis, bocce, shuffleboard, basketball, and Rollerblading.
Picturesquely situated near the Ramapo Mountains, Mahwah is the largest municipality in Bergen County (26.7 square miles) and has more open space than any other town there. The Township encompasses the campus of Ramapo College as well as several state and county parks and reservations, which offer hiking, skiing, snowboarding, biking, archery, swimming, and fishing. Without sacrificing its beauty, Mahwah has still attracted enterprises such as Sharp Electronics, Konica, and publisher Troll Associates.
#10: Essex Fells
More than a century ago, a developer built this unique community of beautiful homes in a bucolic corner of the township of Caldwell. Today, Essex Fells—established in 1903—is the smallest community in Essex County, at 1.41 square miles. Residents include entrepreneurs, inventors, business executives, and philanthropists, as well as artists, singers, and poets.