Cities Journal

Top 14 Small Cities In New Jersey

Photo credit: Dougtone / Flickr

While the postman-shaped New Jersey is about as big as a postage stamp compared to land giants like Texas and California, the tiny state tops the list in terms of population density: with just under 1,200 inhabitants per square mile, it takes second only to Washington, D.C., according to the ipl2. From massive metropolises to historic hamlets, there’s a reason — more than one, actually — so many people choose to call “The Garden State” their home.

Read on to learn our picks for New Jersey’s tiniest towns which pack the biggest quality of living punch.

1. Cranbury

With a population of a mere 2,181 people, according to Neighborhood Scout, Cranbury may be small in stature but it’s large on charm. Located in Middlesex County, Cranbury is home to a bustling downtown straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Main Street offers a quaint stroll through historic buildings and unique shopping, dining and entertainment offerings. Outdoor enthusiasts, meanwhile, have plenty of opportunities to recreate thanks to popular Village Park and Brainerd Lake offering everything from winter skating to an annual town camp out.

In February 2014, the New York Times published the article, “One Town, Many Personalities,” in which residents expressed feelings of being transported by life in the town — comparing it to everything from quintessential New England to unexpected Nebraska.

In fact, many members of the community moved to Cranbury from neighboring New Jersey areas to escape urban sprawl while enjoying the strong sense of community for which Cranbury is celebrated.

Cranbury’s central village in particular offers residents the chance to step back in time thanks to historically designated buildings dating back to the Revolutionary War. But McMansion seekers won’t be disappointed, either: Cranbury’s outlying areas offer new, large homes with plenty of contemporary conveniences.

Despite its growth and thanks to an unyielding land preservation program, Cranbury hasn’t fallen victim to the overdevelopment suffered by neighbors like West Windsor.

While real estate is expensive here — average sale prices hovered above $730,000 in 2013, cited by the New York Times based on the Middlesex County Multiple Listing Service — residents are more than willing to pay for premium access to everything from an exceptional public school district to easy commuting distance to New York and Philadelphia from nearby Princeton Junction. Life in this Middlesex County town also offers comparatively low taxes, as well as access to top-rated Princeton High School.

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