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10 Best Towns for Families: 2011


Fairhope, Alabama
Fairhope, Alabama

Population: 15,953
Median Income: $55,587
Median Home Price: $200,000
Households with Kids: 31%
Student/Teacher Ratio: 17:1
Great Schools Rating: 10

Katie Turner, 42, will tell you there's no shortage of fun family activities in this suburb outside of Mobile. One of her favorites is the seafood jubilee. Every summer, due to a mysterious confluence of temperature and tide, thousands of crabs, shrimp, fish and oysters turn up in shallow water or beach themselves on the sands of Mobile Bay. "Pretty soon everyone is dragging buckets, tubs and ice chests to the shore in the middle of the night," says Katie, who often joins the crowds with husband Lee, 45, daughter Grace, 15, and 13-year-old triplets Jordan, Josh and Lot. But Fairhope offers more than charming coastline. The couple, who co-own an insurance company, also enjoy hanging out at the French Quarter, a shopping district downtown. And last year residents voted for a new tax to help public schools preserve and expand their academic and athletic programs. Says Katie: "We've got the great outdoors, good schools and good neighbors—everything a family could want."

Good Deeds

Through an art showcase event and other fundraisers, the Fairhope Educational Enrichment Foundation raised $250,000 to construct a 250-seat theater at a local high school.