The 10 Best Small Towns In America

What makes a small town “great”?

According to CNNMoney, which just released a list of the 50 best small towns in America, great small towns are thriving economically, and have good schools and a strong sense of community.

Based on those and other factors, including average income and home price, weather, crime rates, and commute times, the publication named Sharon, Massachusetts the best small town in America.

The publication looked at places with populations between 10,000 and 50,000 to compile its list.

We’re taking a closer look at the top 10. See CNNMoney’s complete list of America’s best small towns here.

#10 West Goshen Township, PA

Population: 22,241

2012 Median home price: $321,500

West Goshen has four main parks, and is home to the headquarters of QVC. It's not far from sprawling King of Prussia Mall, and is within commuting distance of Philadelphia.

Source: CNNMoney

#9 Apex, NC

Population: 40,205

2012 Median home price:$225,000

A suburb of Raleigh, Apex is near NC's Research Triangle Park, the largest research park in the world with more than 170 companies. The town has 400 acres of parks and hosts an annual jazz festival.

Source: CNNMoney

#8 Papillion, NE

Population: 19,837

2012 Median home price:$141,000

Papillion, outside of Omaha, is home to massive Halleck Park, a recreation area with trails, pools, tennis courts, and more. In addition to great public schools, Nebraska Christian College is located in the city.

Source: CNNMoney

#7 Mason, OH

Population: 31,761

2012 Median home price:$176,500

Mason is one of the more affluent communities in the Cincinnati area. It's home to the King Island Amusement Park and a major tennis stadium, and has more than 500 businesses within its borders.

Source: CNNMoney

#6 Berkeley Heights, NJ

Population: 13,345

2012 Median home price:$474,000

Berkeley Heights regularly ranks as a great place to live in both New Jersey and the U.S. The town is commuting distance from New York City and is near the headquarters of many pharmaceutical giants that are based in NJ.

Source: CNNMoney

#5 Sherwood, OR

Population: 18,736

2012 Median home price:$243,538

Sherwood, southwest of Portland, exploded in population during the California Gold Rush. It has excellent schools, reasonably priced homes, and is commuting distance from corporate giants like Nike and Intel.

Source: CNNMoney

#4 Chanhassen, MN

Population: 23,685

2012 Median home price:$201,500

Chanhassen, southwest of Minneapolis, has six public beaches and an extensive trail system. It's home to the largest professional dinner theatre in the U.S.

Source: CNNMoney

#2 Louisville, CO

Population: 18,924

2012 Median home price:$368,110

Louisville, near Boulder, is a former mining town. The city has many public parks, bike paths, and a $US9 million public library (pictured).

Source: CNNMoney

#1 Sharon, MA

Population: 17,944

2012 Median home price:$375,000

Sharon, located outside of Boston, has an excellent public school system and is an easy commute from Boston by train. It has many nature trails and a public beach at Lake Massapoag.

Source: CNNMoney

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