Mountain towns are well known as destinations for the young and adventurous, but they can also be great places to raise a family. While tourists might come and go the locals can form close-knit connections that are hard to find in modern America. They also offer a chance for children to grow up surrounded by the beauty of nature, something that all too many city kids miss out on. With that in mind, we have put together a list of the five best mountain towns to live in if you want to raise a family.
Winter Park, Colorado
- Median Age: 38.7
- Unemployment rate: 3.1%
- Median Home Price: $242,500
- Spending per student: $11,347 per student
- Teachers per student: 12.8
In Winter Park you’ll find a healthy economy, with low unemployment and affordable home prices. An average age of 38.7 means that there is a balanced mix between younger and older families, especially when compared to some mountain towns that seem to be dominated by youthful partiers or older retirees. This helps to explain another Winter Park Highpoint, its school system. With 12.8 students per teacher. That’s the best ratio on our list! With such small class sizes, you won’t have to worry about your kids getting lost in the shuffle. Add in the second highest rate of spending per student, and you get a fantastic learning environment for students. This resulted in the East Grand School district earning a rank of “Accredited with Distinction,” the highest grade offered by the Colorado Department of Education. On top of all of that, the town is just an hour away from Denver. This gives Winter Park residents the seclusion of a mountain getaway alongside easy access to a major metropolitan area.
- Median Age: 41.1
- Unemployment rate: 4.6%
- Median Home Price: $218,462
- Spending per student: $8,212 per student
- Teachers per student: 20
Located just a 60-minute drive from the Canadian border, this Idaho mountain town has long been one of the state’s hidden treasures. It’s most well known for Schweitzer mountain, which is home to one of the biggest ski resorts in Idaho or neighboring Washington state. The city is quaint and homey, with affordable housing and good schools. But housing prices are on the rise as more people discover Sandpoint, so anyone looking for a bargain needs to move in sooner rather than later.
Park City, Utah
- Median Age: 38.5
- Unemployment rate: 3.9%
- Median Home Price: $668,300
- Spending per student: $11,460 per student
- Teachers per student: 19.8
Park City is probably the most well known City on our list. It’s world-renowned for Park City Mountain Resort, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002 and attracts Olympic hopefuls for training every year. This town is the priciest on our list when you look at home prices, but many find that the city’s natural beauty and world-class reputation make it worth every dollar. It helps that the cost of living translates into one of the highest per-student education budgets on our list. Anyone who is worried about living in a secluded mountain town should consider Park City. Since neighboring Salt Lake City is less than 30 minutes away, Park City residents always have easy access to the amenities of the big city.
- Median Age: 31.9
- Unemployment rate: 2.7%
- Median Home Price: $392,600
- Spending per student: $12,812 per student
- Teachers per student: 16.1
The city of Bozeman attracts a very young crowd, mostly because it is home to Montana State University. With a median age of 31.9%, this is the most youthful city on our list. If you’re just getting started and looking to raise up your kids surrounded by other young families, then Bozeman is a great place to be. Just know that the age is brought down by plenty of twenty-somethings who might not settle down for a while. Still, those that have settled down have helped to build a quality school system with decent class sizes and the highest spending per student out of all the cities on our list. Children will also benefit from access to world-class educational destinations like the Museum of the Rockies and the American Computer & Robotics Museum.
- Median Age: 49.9
- Unemployment rate: 5.1%
- Median Home Price: $268,879
- Spending per student: $8,440 per student
- Teachers per student: 13.9
The town of Bigfork is an idyllic town nestled between Flathead Lake and Flathead National Forest. It’s far from any large urban centers, but that’s how the locals like it. It helps to keep housing prices low. Unlike other cities on our list, Bigfork isn’t a ski town, which means that it doesn’t experience the same booms and busts that ski towns experience as winter comes and goes. Children will benefit from small class sizes and easy access to hiking, boating, and other outdoor activities all year long.