15 Best Cities for Families in Texas

If you’re looking for a new place to live, the state of Texas provides unique access to a variety of cultures as well as an exciting sense of state pride. Second only to Alaska in size, Texas is made up of both large sprawling cities like Austin and Houston and smaller communities such as Huntsville and Pecos.

There are many employment opportunities throughout the state and many enjoyable communities to call home.

We’ve compiled a list of 15 cities that rank high in education, affordability, and safety—areas of interest for many potential homeowners.

Methodology

We started with cities that were ranked as the Best Cities to Live in Texas by Niche.com, a list that comprised 28 Texas cities. This list was calculated based on crime, public schools, cost of living, job opportunities, and local amenities, and utilized city data from the US Census, FBI, BLS, CDC, and other sources.

Then we cross-referenced the list with the most expensive cities to live in Texas, according to Homesnacks, eliminating cities that featured on that list.

We filtered the resulting list for safety, removing cities that fell among Neighborhood Scout’s top 10 most dangerous cities in the U.S.

Here you’ll find our final list, along with the highlights that make each city a great place to live in Texas.

1. Pflugerville, TX

The 62nd-largest city in Texas, Pflugerville has a population just short of 47,000, according to 2019 estimates. It covers nearly 26 square miles, with a population density of 2,558 people per square mile. According to HomeArea.com, the median household income in Pflugerville is $76,000 and the median home value is $167,500.

Pflugerville is a suburb of Austin. It is located off I-35, roughly 14 miles northeast of downtown Austin and 15 miles northeast of the Colorado River. Pflugerville is a hidden gem in central Texas that will often show up in lists of the top 100 places to live in the U.S.

There are great schools in Pflugerville, as described on Niche.com. The Pflugerville Independent School District includes top schools such as Henderson High School and Pflugerville High School. It has a high school graduation rate of 93%, which is above the national average. The area also has multiple top-rated elementary and middle schools, including Murchison Elementary School and Kelly Lane Middle School.

Like many smaller cities around the Balcones Escarpment and Colorado River, Pflugerville has an abundance of greenery, with over 1000 acres of parks and open areas and 40-plus miles of nature trails. Some notable parks in the area include Pfluger Park, located along Gilleland Creek, and Northeast Metro Skate/BMX Park.

Lake Pflugerville, which serves as a water reservoir, is also a hotspot for swimming, fishing, boating, and other water activities. There are three miles of hiking and jogging trails along its shores. There are also a number of splash parks in the area, such as Falcon Pointe Splash Park, for family fun on hot days.

People in the Austin and Round Rock area go to Pflugerville to chill out. It’s a friendly community that is a great place to raise a family.

15 Best Cities for Families in Texas

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2. Corpus Christi, TX

Corpus Christi is the eighth largest city in Texas with a population of about 327,000. The city covers 160 square miles and has a population density of 2,048 people per square mile. Corpus Christi has a median household income of nearly $54,000 and a median home value of $158,000.

Corpus Christi is a coastal city in South Texas located at the mouth of the Nueces River. Known for its scenic beaches, Corpus Christi is one of the more beautiful places to live in Texas.

Ranked number 72 in Cities with the Best Public Schools in America, Corpus Christi’s top public schools include Windsor Park Elementary School, Brundrett Middle School, and Port Aransas High School.

Since Corpus Christi is a coastal city, you can spend a day at any of the city’s nine beaches. Take a swim in the water or do some fishing. Take a tour through a legendary World War II aircraft carrier, or enjoy the wildlife of the area at Mustang Island State Park.

15 Best Cities for Families in Texas

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3. Fort Worth, TX

The fifth largest city in Texas, Fort Worth has a population of about 942,000. The city covers 346 square feet and has a population density of 2,726 people per square mile. The median household income in Fort Worth is just short of $61,000 and the median home value is nearly $174,000.

Known as “The City of Cowboys and Culture,” Fort Worth will give you a taste of its mouth-watering culinary scene, with foods ranging from the traditional—think Texas barbecue—to the cutting-edge.

Fort Worth is ranked number 25 in Best Public Schools in Texas, and it is served by top public schools such as Heritage Elementary school, Harwood Junior High School, and Harmony School of Innovation.

For entertainment, Fort Worth has options for all ages, including the Texas Motor Speedway and Sundance Square, which is 35 continuous square blocks located downtown with hotels, shopping, dining, and more. You can also travel to nearby Arlington to watch the Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys play.

4. Round Rock, TX

Round Rock is the 25th largest city in Texas and has a population of about 142,000. The city covers 36 square miles and has a population density of 3,933 people per square mile. The median household income in Round Rock is $79,000, and the median home value is $230,000.

Located in the Texas Hill Country just 20 miles north of Austin, Round Rock is one of the most beautiful and quaint cities in Texas. With its own minor league baseball team and a state-of-the-art stadium as well as hundreds of acres of beautiful park land, Round Rock is known as the “Sports Capital of Texas.”

Round Rock is ranked number 20 in Cities with the Best Public Schools in America. Some of the top public schools in Round Rock include Parkside Elementary School, Cedar Valley Middle School, and Round Rock High School.

In addition to all the sporting activities you can enjoy in Round Rock, you can also visit downtown Round Rock and walk down Main Street, which is lined with old-fashioned stone storefronts, and grab a drink at the coffee shop or visit one of the saloons. Round Rock is also a great place to enjoy art events and festivals such as Music on Main Street and Chalk Walk and Festival.

15 Best Cities for Families in Texas

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5. The Woodlands, TX

15 Best Cities for Families in Texas

The Woodlands is the 34th largest city in Texas. It has a population of nearly 114,000. The city covers 43 square miles and has a population density of 2,634 people per square mile. The median household income in The Woodlands is $115,000 and the median home value is $381,000.

Located 30 miles north of Houston amid a forest of towering pine trees, The Woodlands is one of the most luxurious and upscale cities in Texas.

The Woodlands is ranked number six in Cities with the Best Public Schools in America and features top public schools such as Creekside Forest Elementary School, Creekside Park Junior High School, College Park High School, and The Woodlands High School.

For fun, The Woodlands features a wide variety of world-class shopping and prime dining. Catch a concert at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, or take a walk along The Waterway. As one of the most popular destinations in Texas, The Woodlands offers plenty of activities for people of all ages.

6. Waco, TX

Waco is the 26th largest city in Texas with a population of almost 142,000. The city covers 89 square miles and has a population density of 1,597 people per square mile. Waco’s median household income is $38,000 and the median home value is $128,500.

Waco is located in the heart of Texas along the banks of the Brazos River on Interstate Highway 35 between Dallas and Austin. The city is known for its Southern hospitality, making it an inviting place to visit and stay.

Waco is ranked number 96 in Cities with the Best Public Schools in American. Its top public schools include Woodway Elementary School, River Valley Intermediate School, Midway Middle School, and Midway High School.

Downtown Waco is home to several great attractions such as Magnolia Market, which is owned by former Fixer Upper hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines; the Dr. Pepper Museum; and the impressive Armstrong Browning Library. Outside of downtown, you can visit the Waco Mammoth National Monument or the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame.

15 Best Cities for Families in Texas

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7. Amarillo, TX

Amarillo is the 16th largest city in Texas with a population of nearly 200,000. The city covers 102 square miles and has a population density of 1,963 people per square mile. Amarillo’s median household income is just short of $53,000 and the median home value is $146,000.

Located in the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo is situated where the southern plains meet the desert. Bringing to mind the western ranches of the past while also demonstrating a vibrant 21st-century economy, Amarillo feels like living in a unique blend of old and new Texas traditions.

Amarillo is ranked number 74 in Cities with the Best Public Schools in America. Some of the top public schools in Amarillo include Woodlands Elementary School, Arden Road Elementary School, Lorenzo de Zavala Middle School, and Bushland High School.

There are plenty of things to do in Amarillo, including the 72-ounce Steak Challenge at The Big Texan Steak Ranch, where you’ll be served a delicious 72-ounce steak with sides that you’ll get to eat for free if you can finish it in one hour. If not, you’ll have to pay $72 for your meal.

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15 Best Cities for Families in Texas

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8. Wichita Falls, TX

Wichita Falls is the 40th largest city in Texas and has a population of about 105,000. The city covers 72 square miles and has a population density of 1,463 people per square mile. The median household income in Wichita Falls is $42,700 and the median home value is $116,000.

Known as the “Gateway to Texas,” Wichita Falls sits on the Texas-Oklahoma border about two hours northwest of Dallas/Fort Worth. Wichita Falls is also a city with a thriving arts scene and beautiful architecture, as well as charming small-town feel.

Wichita Falls is ranked number 82 in Cities with the Best Public Schools in America. Some of the top public schools serving the area include Sheppard Air Force Base Elementary School, W.F. George Middle School, and Rider High School.

There are many things to do in Wichita Falls, from historic attractions revisiting the city’s history to more modern attractions such as catching a show at the Wichita Theatre Performing Arts Center, visiting one of the city’s nearly 40 parks, or playing in the water at Castaway Cove.

9. McAllen, TX

15 Best Cities for Families in Texas

McAllen is the 23rd largest city in Texas and has a population of just under 145,000. The city covers 66 square miles with a population density of 2,203 people per square mile. The median household income in McAllen is $48,000 and the median home value is $140,000.

McAllen is located in South Texas in the Rio Grande Valley near the border of Mexico. The city is richly multicultural and is known to really come alive at night.

Ranked number 73 in Cities with the Best Public Schools in America, McAllen’s top public schools include Gonzalez Elementary School, Sharyland North Junior High School, Lamar Academy, and IDEA McAllen College Preparatory.

Some of McAllen’s greatest attractions include the McAllen Convention Center; the International Museum of Arts and Science; the McAllen Nature Center, where you can enjoy watching birds and other wildlife; and water fun on Town Lake at Firemen’s Park.

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10. Midland, TX

15 Best Cities for Families in Texas

Midland Is the 20th largest city in Texas with a population of almost 154,000. It covers 74 square miles with a population density of 2,067 people per square mile. Midland’s median household income is $77,000 and its median home value is $235,000.

Located in West Texas, Midland is known as “The Tall City” for its high-rising skyline. It has been the home of former presidents and has experienced booming oil production, and citizens can enjoy a vibrant arts community.

Midland is ranked number 26 in Best Public Schools in Texas. Some of its top public schools include the James Bowie Fine Arts Academy, Midland Academy Charter School, and Stanton High School.

Because of Midland’s successful oil production, the city has plenty for people of all ages to do, such as watching a performance at the $81 million Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center, learning about history at the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, and seeing the George W. Bush Childhood Home.

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11. Killeen, TX

15 Best Cities for Families in Texas

Killeen is the 19th largest city in Texas with a population of 157,600. The city covers 54.5 square miles and has a population density of 2,890 people per square mile. Killeen has a median household income of nearly $51,000 and a median home value of $145,500.

Killeen is located in Central Texas, just south of Fort Hood, one of the largest military installations in the world. The city’s surroundings are marked by rolling landscape and dense forests, which make it a scenic location to enjoy.

Ranked number 24 for Best Public Schools in Texas, Killeen’s top public schools include Skipcha Elementary School, Union Grove Middle School, and Salado High School.

Because of its scenic locale, Killeen is the perfect place to enjoy a round of golf at Stonetree Golf Course or have fun in the water at Belton Lake or Stillhouse Hollow Lake. You can enjoy camping and fishing as well.

12. Denton, TX

15 Best Cities for Families in Texas

Denton, the 24th-largest city in Texas, has a population just short of 142,000, according to 2019 estimates. It covers nearly 98 square miles, with a population density of 1,469 people per square mile. According to HomeArea.com, the median household income in Denton is $48,000 and the median home value is $148,100.

Located at the tip of the Dallas-Fort Worth area in north central Texas, Denton has many attributes considered desirable for family living, which is why it often makes lists of top 100 places to live in the U.S.

The city has a great educational system, with the Denton Independent School District ranked among the top 10% of school districts in Texas. Prominent high schools in the area include Guyer High School and Ryan High School.

Known as a laid-back city, Denton is great for family life. Besides that, the city has history. Settled in 1857 and incorporated nine years later, Denton has carried on many of the traditions of art, culture, and music that characterize Texas.

Among the well-known festivals are the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo, the Fiesta on the Square, and the Thin Line Documentary Film Fest. In addition, there is a vibrant indie music scene in and around Denton. Events such as the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival and 35 Denton draw rave reviews, as does the music scene anchored by the University of North Texas School of Music.

13. Carrollton, TX

Carrollton, the 26th-largest city in Texas, has a population just short of 140,000, according to 2019 estimates. It covers nearly 38 square miles, with a population density of 3,799 people per square mile. According to HomeArea<.com, the median household income in Carrollton is $69,000 and the median home value is $167,700.

A suburb of Dallas located in north central Texas, Carrollton has frequently been ranked as one of the best small cities to live in the U.S. For example, Money Magazine rated it the 19th best place to live within the U.S. in 2006. They followed with a similar ranking in 2008, when Carrollton was ranked the 15th best small city to live in. Relocate America ranked Carrollton among the top 100 cities to move to in 2006.

The Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District is above average as an educational system and is ranked in the top 25% among the school districts in Texas. There are some excellent high school options in the area, including the top-rated Creekview High School and the Early College High School.

There are a wide range of activities for nature and exercise enthusiasts in the area. The many nature trails and parks include Nob Hill Greenbelt, Elm Park Nature Preserve, Green Trail, and Ward Steenson Park.

Active residents can go rock climbing or play golf at Coyote Ridge, Indian Creek, and other courses in the area.

Just relaxing? Visit Downtown Carrollton’s historic district or enjoy the many spas and retreats in the area.

14. Boerne, TX

15 Best Cities for Families in Texas

Cradled in the Texas Hill Country, Boerne is the smallest city on our list. It barely makes the top 200 in Texas based on its population, which was slightly above 18,000 in 2019 estimates. It covers less than 12 square miles, with a population density of 1,562 people per square mile. According to HomeArea.com, the median household income in Boerne is $57,000 and the median home value is $211,500.

Boerne is around 30 miles northwest of San Antonio. I-10 and Highway 46 both pass through the city. Known for the natural beauty of its surroundings, Boerne has not exploded in size but has quietly become a must-stop destination for every visitor to the Hill Country. It symbolizes a combination of laid-back country living with quiet affluence, as reflected in the high home prices in the area.

The area enjoys one of the best educational infrastructures in Texas, with the Boerne Independent School District ranked #27 in the state by Niche.com. A 99% graduation rate and nearly 70% proficiency in Math and English showcase the strengths of the system. The two public high schools in the area—Boerne-Samuel V. Champion High School and Boerne High School—are both rated highly. So is Geneva School of Boerne, the lone private high school.

There is a combination of nature, history, and present-day easy living to be enjoyed in and around Boerne. The historic downtown district of Boerne is linked to River Road Park through the tourist-friendly Hill Country Mile, a 1.1-mile path which has become a preferred stop for visitors in the Hill Country.

For the nature lovers, there are trails and nature preserves galore. Boerne also has two of Texas’s seven well-known natural caverns, Cascade Caverns and Cave Without a Name. Among other areas to visit and relax in are Cibolo Nature Center and Boerne City Lake Park.

Residents have access to all the amenities and sights of nearby San Antonio, as well as premier Hill Country destinations such as New Braunfels.

15. Abilene, TX

15 Best Cities for Families in Texas

Abilene is the 29th largest city in Texas with a population of nearly 125,000. The city covers 107 square miles and has a population density of 1,169 people per square mile. The median household income in Abilene is $49,600 and the median home value is $123,500.

Rich in West Texas history, Abilene originated as a stop along the Texas and Pacific railroad tracks in the 1880s. Known as a place where characters from classic children’s stories come to life, Abilene is considered the “Official Storybook Capital of America.”

Ranked number 75 in Cities with the Best Public Schools in America, Abilene is served by top public schools such as Wylie Intermediate School; Wylie Middle School; Academy for Technology, Engineering, Math & Science; and Wylie High School.

Attractions in Abilene include the Abilene Zoo, where you can hand-feed a giraffe, Frontier Texas!, a museum where characters from the Old West are brought to life, and Buffalo Gap Historic Village, where you can see a huge collection of firearms and Native American artifacts.

15 Best Cities for Families in Texas

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Conclusion

Whether you’re looking for a quaint Texas tradition or a more modern, upscale feel, these 15 cities have plenty to offer for anyone looking to settle down. Which city is right for you?

15 Best Cities for Families in Texas

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