15. Franklin Lakes, NJ
Franklin Lakes, NJ
Population: 11,189
Median family income: $182,004
Median home price: $870,000

I-287's completion in the 1990s spurred this town's transformation from rural community to metropolitan suburb. The housing stock reflects the shift. Modest 1950s ranches share a zip code with 13,000-square-foot Hamptons-style shingle homes.

These days Franklin Lakes is known for some of the best fishing in New Jersey and some of the best catfights anywhere. Where else can you catch largemouth bass, black crappie and pickerel or bump into "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" for sport?

The borough still manages to maintain a folksy feel. Locals bring their own barrels and buckets to help themselves to city-provided compost, and they can bend the mayor's ear during Monday morning and Thursday night office hours.

See complete data and interactive map for Franklin Lakes

Last updated August 15 2011: 2:49 PM ET
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These terrific small towns -- even now -- boast great job opportunities, top-notch schools, safe streets, economic strength, and more.

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