Top 10 Best Suburbs in Houston for Families
Hero image: Harvest Green community farm amenity in Richmond, TX
Not all suburbs are created equal or will give you the same bang for your buck. We’ve put together a list of the 10 best Houston suburbs for families based on home price, property tax rates, how family-friendly they are and what the local shopping and dining scenes are like. Take a look and then make your move.
Median home prices vary between communities. Property tax rates vary per school district and MUD, check with your taxing office, Realtor or builder for the exact rate.
Median Home Price: $302,865*
Tax Information: 3.16 percent**
Families are flocking to this North Houston suburb drawn by its small-town vibe and abundant natural amenities. The biggest draw is nearby 22,000-acre Lake Conroe with communities such as Grand Central Park, Woodforest and Graystone Hills serving as affordable home bases for families who enjoy water sports, hiking and biking. Families also enjoy convenient access to W. G. Jones State Park and Sam Houston National Forest. Urban activities are a mere 15 minutes away in The Woodlands. Numerous family-friendly activities can be found here, including The Woodlands Children’s Museum, Waterway Square and The Cynthia Mitchell Woods Pavilion.
Three school districts — Montgomery ISD, Conroe ISD and Willis ISD — serve residential communities. Montgomery ISD is a favorite among parents and has won a number of awards. Conroe ISD is well regarded with students performing above the state average on state-mandated tests. Willis ISD is a growing district that Niche.com rates as one of the top 30 districts with the best teachers in the Houston area
When it comes to getting to work on time, Conroe residents are a mere 20 minutes away from employment centers along Interstate 45, including the ExxonMobil campus. The suburb is 40 minutes from downtown Houston.
Although Conroe projects a rural feel, there are a number of shopping centers, including 336 Marketplace, Pine Market, The Woodlands Mall and Market Street. Favorite restaurants include Hearsay on the Waterway, The Red Brick Tavern and The Whistle Stop Café.
Median Home Price: $305,000*
Tax Information: 3.55 percent**
Cypress is one of Houston’s largest suburbs because of its proximity to Houston, great schools and affordable homes. Much of that growth is the result of unique master-planned communities offering a phenomenal lifestyle. Towne Lake encompasses the largest private recreational lake in Houston. Homeowners are allowed to set sail for the shops and restaurants lining the community’s Boardwalk. Award-winning Bridgeland offers activity centers to rival any vacation resort. Outside the communities, there is still plenty for families to do. Matzke Park is accessible to kids of all abilities. Kids are enchanted by the butterfly sensory garden. We Rock the Spectrum is an indoor playground designed for all children. inSPIRE Rock Indoor Climbing Gym is fun for the whole family and who could resist a stop at Cypress Sweets.
Cypress is zoned to top-notch schools in Cy-Fair ISD. Schools in Texas’ third largest district have been recognized as exceptional by U.S. News & World Report, Children at Risk and Niche.com. District schools boast strong academics, athletics and art programs.
Cypress is located 25 minutes away from the Energy Corridor and 35 minutes from Downtown Houston, making for an easy commute.
With Houston so close, it’s easy to pop downtown for shopping, dining and entertainment. There are excellent places to do all three nearer to home. Houston Premium Outlets is a particular favorite showcasing more than 145 designer and name-brand stores. Cypress Towne Center and Fairfield Town Center are convenient. The Shack Burger Resort is a mecca for families offering burgers and craft beer for adults as well as a playground for kids. La Hacienda also has a playground.
Median Home Price: $332,250*
Tax Information: 3.36 percent**
The fastest-growing city in Texas also ranks among the Best Places to Raise a Family in Texas, benefitting from a prime Fort Bend location, great schools, low crime rate and convenient access to family-friendly attractions such as Typhoon Texas Waterpark and the Fulshear Farmers Market. Much of family life centers on the many master-planned communities dotting the area. Enclaves such as Cross Creek Ranch, Jordan Ranch and Fulbrook on Fulshear Creek provide extravagant amenities such as water parks, pools, sports courts, lakes, trails and fitness centers.
Children are zoned to Katy ISD, ranked the No. 1 school district in Houston or Lamar Consolidated ISD. Lamar recently received a coveted A rating from the TEA. Many schools are located within master-planned communities, allowing children to safely walk or ride their bikes to school.
Completion of the Westpark Tollway (FM 1093) expansion has made the commute from Fulshear to the Energy Corridor and downtown Houston a breeze. It will take commuters only 30 minutes to get to either place. Now with the Texas Heritage Parkway complete, the morning commute should be even easier.
Shopping and dining options are abundant, including Cross Creek Town Center, The Shops at Bella Terra and LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch. Katy Mills is a short drive away. Italian Maid Café and 36 Seafood Restaurant and Oyster Bar are both popular restaurants.
Median Home Price: $295,000*
Tax Information: 3.45 percent**
People move to Katy for the excellent public schools, but this West Houston suburb has more to offer families than a great education. Homes in Katy are affordable and mostly located in large master-planned communities such as Cinco Ranch, Cane Island, Firethorne, and Elyson. The communities provide more than pool access. Many have on-site cafes, tennis courts, sports courts and even treehouses. On weekends, families can be found fishing at Mary Jo Peckham Park, keeping cool at Typhoon Texas and taking pictures in the caboose car at the MKT Railroad Museum. No Label Brewing Co. is one of many brewing companies in the area that have family-friendly activities.
Katy ISD schools rank among the highest in Texas based on the quality of teachers, academic achievement and state-mandated test scores. It received an overall A rating from the TEA.
Commuting to the Energy Corridor from Katy takes a mere 15 minutes. Getting to the Galleria takes 30 minutes. The Medical Center is about 40 minutes.
Shopping is a favorite pastime in the suburb due to the many upscale retail centers found there, including Katy Mills and LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch. Keeping kids busy while parents enjoy lunch is the job of the playground at Hat Creek Burger. Families can play giant Jenga in between bites at Red River BBQ. Rainforest Café is another popular dining spot.
Median Home Price $285,500*
Tax Information: 3.32 percent**
Benefitting from a location equidistant from Galveston and Houston, League City is the epicenter of Bay Area growth, but affordable homes also can be found in nearby communities such as Edgewater in Webster and Lago Mar in Texas City. Adventures are within easy reach with nature-loving families exploring the Armand Bayou Nature Center and thrillseekers enjoying the rides at Kemah Boardwalk. Moody Gardens, one of Texas’ most beloved theme parks, is 20 minutes away.
The quality of the schools is another reason parents love the League City area. Most communities are zoned to Clear Creek ISD, considered the No. 5 Best School District in the Houston area by Niche.com. Portions of the Bay Area are served by Dickinson ISD. Dickinson boasts a strong academic curriculum and is lauded as one of the top 10 districts for athletes in the Houston area by Niche.com.
The breezy Bay Area is located along Interstate 45 so you can easily get to downtown Houston in 45 minutes. The Energy Corridor is just a few minutes beyond.
Fashionable families have many opportunities to shop at both Baybrook Mall and Tanger Outlets. League City Town Center offers convenient retail options. Seafood restaurants are plentiful here with The Flying Dutchman Restaurant & Oyster Bar, Landry’s Seafood House and Aquarium being local favorites.
Median Home Price: $278,000*
Tax Information: 3.09 percent**
Pearland is an up-and-coming suburb well suited to families. It offers a convenient location, great indoor and outdoor entertainment options, good schools and reasonably priced homes. The number of master-planned communities is growing, and some of the best neighborhoods include Shadow Creek Ranch, Silverlake and Southern Trails. Pearland parks are unbeatable with the crown jewel being the John Hargrove Environmental Complex & Wetlands. Froberg’s Farm allows families to pick their own produce. The Sri Meenakshi Temple is worth the trip. Pearland even has an 18,000- gallon fresh water aquarium and a 5,500-gallon touch pool located in the Bass Pro Shop.
Most young scholars attend schools in the Pearland ISD with a few going to schools in Fort Bend, Alvin, Clear Creek, Houston and Pasadena school districts. Niche.com recently rated Pearland ISD the best district in Brazoria County.
A quick commute is key to Pearland’s popularity. Residents working downtown or at the Medical Center will be there in 25 minutes. The Galleria area is 40 minutes away.
Most shopping and many community activities happen at Pearland Town Center. The retail facility offers after-school programs, festivals and more. Shadow Creek Town Center and Silverlake Village Shopping Center are also convenient. When it comes to dining, nothing beats Killen’s Barbecue.
Median Home Price: $277,861*
Tax Information: 3.22 percent**
Richmond is a hidden gem that families are just now discovering. Located in the heart of Fort Bend County, the Houston suburb boasts tightly knit communities, excellent schools and convenient access to its much larger neighbor, Sugar Land. A number of attractions lean heavily into the area’s history. George Ranch Historical Park is popular with families. The Fort Bend Museum is another favorite. For nature lovers, Brazos Bend Park is a great place for a picnic or to see wildlife. Among the notable master-planned communities are Harvest Green, centered on a 12-acre farm; Veranda, near the city of Richmond and Candela.
Most students are zoned to award-winning schools in the Fort Bend ISD. Some homes are zoned to Lamar Consolidated ISD one of the only districts to offer sixth grade-only campuses to prepare young adolescents for junior high school.
Richmond is approximately 30 minutes from Houston. Commuting to the Energy Corridor is also 30 minutes. The time to the Medical Center is 45 minutes.
Retail centers are plentiful in the area. Brazos Town Center and The Shops at Bella Terra cover most needs. For higher end shopping, there is First Colony Mall and Sugar Land Town Center, not to mention the boutiques in historic Richmond. For dining, visit The Grove Do-Nutz & Deli in the morning and Messina Hof Harvest Green Winery & Kitchen for dinner.
Sugar Land & Missouri City
Median Home Price: $330,000*
Tax Information: 3.12 percent**
Life is sweet for families that move to Sugar Land. Located 20 minutes southwest of Houston, Sugar Land has all of the amenities of a big city while maintaining the feel of a small town. Families can bike the trails in Oyster Creek Park, attend a concert at Smart Financial Centre or dig for dinosaur bones at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Master-planned Imperial has Constellation Field and the Fort Bend Children’s Museum in its backyard. Affluent communities in and around Sugar Land such as Riverstone, Avalon and Sienna keep adults and kids busy with parks, playgrounds, fitness centers, resort-style pools and activities planned by full-time lifestyle directors. Home choices range from townhomes to custom homes.
Fort Bend ISD serves most students in Sugar Land. Schools in the district boast low teacher-student ratios, high state-mandated test scores and a 95 percent graduation rate. A few neighborhoods are zoned to well-regarded Lamar Consolidated ISD. Out of the more than 1,200 school districts and charter schools in Texas, Lamar CISD was one of only 301 districts to receive an "A" rating from the TEA in 2019.
Part of Sugar Land’s appeal rests on how accessible it is. The Energy Corridor and the Houston Galleria are a 25-minute commute while downtown Houston and the Medical Center are approximately 30 minutes from home.
Retail is bountiful. Sugar Land Town Square and First Colony Mall offer more than 200 shops and restaurants. Town Square also hosts community events, concerts and movies under the stars. Kid-friendly restaurants are everywhere but Jupiter Pizza & Waffles and Mystic Dessert Bar are considered the most delicious.
Median Home Price: $411,500*
Tax Information: 3.16 percent**
The Woodlands is both master-planned community and one of Houston’s top suburbs for families. More small city than town, The Woodlands boasts museums, malls, concert venues and numerous dance, gymnastics and martial arts studios. The township also offers more than 7,500 acres of green space, including the George Mitchell Nature Preserve, Creekwood Park and Town Green Park. The Woodlands Children's Museum is a wonderland of puppet shows, pretend play and storytelling. The Waterway district connects many of The Woodlands attractions and many families rent kayaks and swan boats to enjoy it. Concerts take place year-round at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.
The vast size of The Woodlands means that homes are zoned to one of three school districts, all of them well-regarded. Conroe ISD, Tomball ISD and Magnolia ISD have all received high ratings from the Texas Education Agency. The Woodlands High School, Creekside Forest Elementary and Creekside Park Junior High are known for the quality of their teachers and curriculum.
A number of corporations now make their homes in The Woodlands so many residents have barely any commute at all. For those working along the Energy Corridor, it will take 45 minutes to get to work. Downtown Houston and the Medical Center are less than an hour away.
The Woodlands is an exciting shopping destination. Market Street in The Woodlands is an open-air lifestyle center featuring numerous boutiques along with restaurants and a movie theater. The Woodlands Mall has more than 160 shops and dining options. There are hundreds of restaurants large and small sprinkled throughout the Township, but kids return again and again to Grimaldi’s Pizzeria and Flower Child.
Median Home Price: $310,000*
Tax Information: 3.35 percent**
The combination of affordable housing, small-town charm and natural amenities in Tomball is proving irresistible. Master-planned communities such as Amira, Woodtrace and Lakes at Creekside invite families to embrace an active lifestyle surrounded by lakes and wooded areas. Kids on the go will love the historic downtown Tomball Train Depot. There are many hiking trails to enjoy at Kleb Woods Nature Preserve and Center. Picking pumpkins in the fall and berries in the spring at Matt Family Orchard is a tradition for many residents. The award-winning Tomball Farmers Market is another place to pick up local produce.
Tomball ISD serves more than 18,500 students across 21 campuses throughout the area. The district received an A rating from the TEA. SAT and ACT scores are above average. Students perform well on advanced placement tests.
The commute to Houston is not as easy as for some other suburbs. Going downtown or to the Medical Center will take about 45 minutes. Those that work along the Energy Corridor will be able to make it home for dinner in 35 minutes.
Tomball Town Center, Tomball Marketplace and Tomball Parkway Plaza provide convenient shopping options. Historic Tomball is home to numerous antique stores and boutiques. It is also the location of the renowned Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue. Nonnie's Soda Fountain has real soda jerks and mouthwatering milkshakes. Locals swear by the food at Mel’s Country Café.
*Median home prices vary between communities and are based on 2020 data.
**Property tax rates vary per school district and MUD, check with your taxing office, Realtor or builder for the exact rate. Rates stated are based on 2020 data.