The Best Places to Live in Northern Virginia for a Family
Moving to Northern Virginia
My family and I moved to Virginia from the Midwest a year ago.
We have two preschoolers, so we were looking for an affordable, family-friendly area that was close to my husbands work.
We were told that the D.C. area had awful traffic repeatedly and they were right. We also found that homes costs around three times the amount of homes in the Midwest.
Living in Virginia, we found that there is so much to do in the area. We are close to Washington D.C., beaches and the mountains.
There are 3 counties in Northern Virginia: Loudon County, Fairfax County and Prince William County. We also have the City of Manassas and the City of Fairfax which are their own entities.
I was very excited to find that there is not just one Smithsonian Museum, but a whole network of them. It's great, free and educational fun for the family!
Fairfax County Facts
- Fairfax is the largest county in Virginia.
- It lies inside and outside the Capital Beltway which makes it very close to D.C.
- The metro goes out to the Vienna/Fairfax area from D.C.
- They have just completed building a new extension of the metro out to Reston.
- Fairfax County is a desired location for the high-income population.
- It is also very expensive! You might be able to get a townhouse for $500,000.
- The schools are great. They have tons of shopping, restaurants and fun things to do, but it comes with a high price tag!
Loudon County Facts
- Loudon County is the richest county in the United States.
- It has great schools and is very family-friendly, but it is also very expensive.
- The Dulles airport is located in Loudon county.
- Ashburn is beautiful and family-friendly, but very expensive.
- Sterling is a little less expensive, but you have to watch the areas because you can go from neighborhood to neighborhood and see a huge difference.
- Leesburg is the furthest from D.C. and a little more affordable and they also have a huge outlet mall.
Living In Bristow, VA (In Prince William County)
- What It's Like To Live In Bristow, Virginia
Are You Moving To Bristow, Virginia? Find out about Bristow's Weather, Real Estate, Attractions, Shopping and Healthy Living.
Prince William County Facts
- Prince William county is around 20 miles from the closest Metro station in Vienna. It is the least expensive of the three counties.
- This is where I live. Rt 66 is the main artery that brings Prince William residents to the D.C. area.
- Most people told me to avoid the Manassas area when looking for a place to live because of the school ratings and the crime rate.
- Bristow, Gainesville and Haymarket are very, family-friendly.
- Haymarket is more like country, but it is closest to the mountains.
- Bristow is like a large neighborhood with a few grocery-anchored plazas.
- Gainesville is affordable and has tons of shopping. They have a huge shopping plaza, BJ's, Wegmans, tons of preschools and they will be building a movie theater there too.
- Gainesville is the fastest-growing when choosing between Gainesville, Bristow and Haymarket.
- Bristow is the closest to D.C. of the three.
Northern Virginia Is Full of History!
Where to Live?
I have found that the traffic is horrendous around here. Yesterday, it took me 2 hours to get to the metro station from my house which is 20 miles away.
On the way back, it only took 30 minutes. You never know what is going to happen when you get on the road.
Route 66, which goes through Prince William County, Fairfax county and into D.C. gets very congested.
Rush hour lasts around 3 hours in the A.M. and 3 hours in the P.M. Rt 66 usually turns into a parking lot during rush hour.
You have to decide if you want a short commute and a larger mortgage or a smaller mortgage and a longer commute.
We moved to Prince William County to have a smaller mortgage. We are 22 miles from my husband's work and it takes him anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours to get to work.
Most of the people who live in Prince William county work near D.C. and do the drive. The homes with the highest value are along the metro line.
The closer it is to a metro station, the more the home will be worth.
One tip that my real estate agent taught me was to look at the cars in the neighborhoods that you are considering looking at.
If the cars are nice and well taken care of, it will be a family-friendly area. If the cars are falling apart, it will most likely not be as safe.
More Information on Northern Virginia
- The Best Cities in Virginia for Young Families - NerdWallet Credit Card Blog
The state’s become increasingly well known as one of the nation’s corporate hubs, and the unemployment rate’s the lowest in the southeastern states. It’s no wonder why population growth is 50 percent higher than the national average.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
We are a military family moving to the area where my husband will be working in the Chantilly area. There are two schools that we are looking at for our children but they are in Herndon and Fairfax. Any suggestions on areas to live to accommodate both my husband and our children? We prefer less crime and less traffic! If that's even possible.
Fairfax is expensive has good schools and there is a lot of traffic. Herndon is less expensive, has less traffic, but the schools are better in Fairfax. Chantilly has many neighborhoods with good schools and the traffic is not as bad as Fairfax.Helpful 7
© 2012 Melanie Casey