News flash: suburban living is good for your health. Sure, you likely don’t walk everywhere like you do in the city, but suburban families are also exposed to significantly less pollution and social and economic opportunities that promote wellness and bust stress—definitely important to feeling good and living your best, healthiest life.
But it’s bigger than that, as you’ll quickly discover as you’re exploring suburbia. From small towns to true cities in suburbia and everything in-between, NYC’s suburbs are one-of-a-kind, especially when it comes to breaking a sweat. These towns, though, are the ultimate in health, fitness and getting your workout on.
The Top 9 Healthiest New York City Suburbs
WSJ’s top pick for raising kids in the NYC metro (and one of the healthiest suburbs out there), Manhasset has it all: award-winning schools, stunning scenery, prestigious country clubs and, best of all, a gym for every way there is to break a sweat. Seriously, from karate, taekwondo and barre classes to Zumba, personal trainers, yoga and CrossFit, you’ll find it in Manhasset.
Source: Nooks & Kindle Facebook
Eating well is easy in Manhasset, too. Home to natural grocers like Whole Foods and a bevy of organic, seasonally focused eateries (you need Nooks & Kindles Juice Bar’s acai bowl).
A boutique barre studio, boot-camp personal trainers, 24-hour gyms and healthy eateries like Skinny Buddha Organic Cafe—what’s not to love if you live in this posh Westchester County community?
Add the fact that Niche named Scarsdale #2 for the best public schools in New York, and it’s safe to say that this gorgeous community and its Tudor-inspired downtown packed with shops have a lot to offer prospective buyers!
Dobbs Ferry, NY
Sea air is notoriously good for your health, lucky for residents this charming coastal community is flanking the Hudson River. Get close to the action with a walk, run or bicycle ride at the 10-acre Waterfront Park, or head to Bravo CrossFit, New York Sports Clubs or Pilates and More for a fantastic whole-body workout.
Source: NY Times
And it’s not just adults to embrace health and fitness in Dobbs Ferry—Dobbs Ferry Union Free School District has some of the best athletic teams in the state!
Rye Neck, NY
This slice of paradise tucked inside Mamaroneck on Long Island’s 36-mile Sound Shore region is an anomaly; tiny in stature yet jam-packed with fitness studios beyond your wildest imagination. With one or more on every block, there’s got to be something for everyone, including local favorites like HealthyFit for Women, NY Strong and CrossFit the Flats.
Rye Neck’s prime location on the Long Island Sound also means residents have access to countless beaches, golf courses and miles and miles of trails for biking, hiking and walking.
Want to get your sweat on? In Greenwich, it’s just a question of where—and you’ll have endless options to choose from. Erika Bloom Pilates, Core Pilates and Pure Barre are popular for the stretch set. If you’re looking for something more heart-pumping, check out SoulCycle, Punch or Equinox, which offers a host of classes from spin to yoga to hardcore aerobics, weightlifting, dance-based workouts and more. One visit and it’s easy to see why this is one of the healthiest suburbs in Connecticut or really, anywhere.
Living your best life is easy in Hartsdale, a charming three-square-mile hamlet in Westchester County that’s one of the healthiest suburbs around. Here, fitness studios, health food stores and outdoor trails are found in abundance. Hart’s Brook Park’s 123 acres are packed with winding, tree-lined walking trails, and the nearby 236-acre Ridge Road Park boasts indoor and outdoor swimming pools and tennis courts.
Over the Connecticut border, Westport offers a posh respite for the fitterati. Hotspots like JoyRide and SoulCycle attract near-constant crowds among newcomers and loyalists alike, while “energizing” cafe Freshii whips up Instagram-worthy salads, soups, wraps, bowls, juices and smoothies all day long, with fresh ingredients that are always hormone- and antibiotic-free.
They also offer multi-day juice cleanses and, in January and February, have a Kids Eat Free program to help little residents get on the healthy eating track now. Some other spots to grab a super-healthy bite? The Granola Bar, The Stand and The Organic Market.
Rye Brook, NY
Rye Brook is small, but very mighty, and hands down one of the healthiest suburbs. In one plaza you’ll find Organic Pharmer for the plant- and juice-based set, plus Ripped Fitness, SoulCycle, SLT, The Right Method Barre Studio and Chop’t. That, though, is just the beginning.
If these aren’t your preferred ways to break a sweat or healthfully nosh, you’re in luck—Rye Brook is home to Club at 800 Squash & Fitness, Elevate Personal Training + MMA, The RITE Method Barre Studio and Rye Health & Fitness and more. Want to get your yoga on? Yogitecta offers indoor and outdoor classes in a chic setting, and Bikram Yoga Rye Brook is ideal for the hot yogis out there.
Keep the Family Fit and Scout Suburbs with Day Camps
There are countless ways to explore a suburb—check out schools, drive through the neighborhoods, hit up local events, head to the farmers market and, overall, do your best to get in the mix with your (possible) future neighbors. But with summer fast approaching, there’s another simple, fun way to scout suburbia like a local: day camps.
While your kids may have hit up local day camps in and around the city—or, even, in a ‘burb you aren’t considering—now is the perfect time to hone in on an area and really roll up your sleeves. By sending your brood to day camp in the ‘burbs, you’ll get tons of benefits—not to mention they’ll have the best summer EVER. But you’ll, hands down, get the inside scoop on a town and be able to better assess whether it’s the right place to call home or not. How? It’s simple.
#1. You’ll Meet the Parents—at SOME Point
Sure, you’ll probably rely on the camp bus to take kids to and from the great outdoors each day, but at some point—or, more likely, some points—you’ll have a chance to meet other parents. Shibley Day Camp in Roslyn, New York offers a ton of activities in the months leading up to camp, with many geared towards new campers. One mom counted eight activities from the group tour to the Sunday Fundays to the spring fair that brought campers and families together to mix and mingle.
The end result? She got to meet the moms and even exchanged numbers with a few. And Shibley is far from alone—many day camps offer ample opportunities to meet campers and families before and during the season. Just chatting with your fellow camp parents will give you a good sense of who’s who and what’s what—and that’s unbelievably important in your suburban search. What’s more, because not all camp families will come from the same town, you’ll start to get a sense for the different personalities in the surrounding communities, which could help inform your process.
#2. You’ll Get Invites
Tons of kids have summer birthdays—and that means tons of your child’s camp friends will have summer birthdays. Like family activities before and during camp, birthday parties are a great way to get a feel for a town. If your child is in preschool or kindergarten, chances are these won’t be drop-off parties—and, in this case, it’s a plus.
Take advantage of these parties and use them to ask questions, talk to area parents and get a feel for life in that particular ‘burb. People are always happy to talk about where the live and their experiences in the community—so don’t be afraid to ask.
#3. You’ll Hear it From the Kids…
While it’s not always easy to get the full scoop from your kids after a long day at camp, you will be able to suss out their demeanor after the bus drops off. Are they energized and excited, eagerly chatting away about their new friends and all of the fun they had that day? Are they going on and on about teams they want to join and places they need to check out—in the ‘burbs? Are they quiet? Missing their city friends? Not really into it? These behaviors can say a lot about how well they’re acclimating and if it feels like a natural fit—to them at least.
If it’s the former—if your kids can’t wait for the next day and can’t stop talking about their amazing new friends—you might be onto something. At the very least, this is a good indicator that your child’s transition into a suburban school will likely be a smooth one.
#4. You’ll Have an Excuse to Test Drive a Town
Again, you’ll likely lean on the camp bus to take your kids back and forth each day but, with your crew in the ‘burbs all day, you’ll have a perfect excuse to test drive the commute and, even, the community. Head out via car, train, bus or whatever your preferred commute method would be and pick the kids up at camp one day. Or drive out to pick up on a Friday, then spend that afternoon and evening checking out local restaurants, parks, beaches and hotspots—your fellow camp parents or Suburban Jungle Strategist can give you tips on the must-sees.
Just remember, every town has a “summer personality”—what the community looks and feels like after school lets out. Be sure you get a handle on that so you can determine if it syncs with your family’s wants and needs. But, likewise, don’t forget that towns look a lot different when school’s in session, so what you see in July and August might not be what you’ll get come September.
#5. You’ll Get the Inside Scoop
From your kids telling you what activities they have to sign up for, to hearing about weekend concerts, events and open houses from camp moms, you’ll get the inside scoop on where families hang out, what the do for fun and the general vibe of a community. Take those cues as you continue exploring that town and other popular towns that surround. This paired with your Strategist’s insights and intel will ensure you’re scouting the suburbs like a total pro—and that you can quickly and easily find the ‘burb that’s right for YOUR family. And in the meantime? Your kids will no doubt have the best summer ever.
The Best Day Camps in the New York and New Jersey Area
Tons of city kids hop on a bus and head to suburban day camps every summer—and with good cause. These amazing day camps offer a true daily retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. But, beyond that, there’s another perk: if you’re considering a move to the suburbs, these day camps are a great way for your crew to test drive suburbia. Here, they’ll make friends and you’ll all have a chance to feel out the vibe in a particular area—and, of course, they’ll have an incredible summer in the process. Bonus! Start with these suburban day camps, popular among city and suburban kids alike.
Mohawk Day Camp (White Plains, NY)
There’s so much to do at Mohawk. With eight pools, seven craft centers, two music centers, tons of sports facilities, multiple nature centers and an apple orchard, your kids will be hard pressed to utter, “I’m bored” once this summer. And on weekends, transportation is available to NYC or to the Hamptons, for campers as young as 3.
Breezemont Day Camp (Armonk, NY)
Breezemont’s “Bears” programs starts with campers as young as 3. Located on a picturesque 18-acre property, kids will love taking in the greater outdoors daily, with activities ranging from the classics—swim, arts and crafts, kickball and ropes courses—to more modern activities such as paddleboarding, tennis, yoga, ziplining, cooking and science.
Buckley Day Camp (Roslyn, NY)
From Legos to science to dance and more, many parents opt for Buckley because of the customization it allows—and because parent-and-me programs start as early as 18 months. At Buckley, kids can focus on what they truly enjoy, even from a young age. They can also attend for two to eight weeks, and weeks don’t have to be consecutive.
Shibley Day Camp (Roslyn, NY)
A more rustic option in Roslyn, Shibley offers junior options for campers as young as 3, including door-to-door busing. Here, kids get everything from twice-daily swim to adventure courses to go-karts and air bungee, plus a summer carnival and a chance to be part of theatrical and musical performances. Older campers can take part in some cool field trips, plus overnight weeks throughout the summer.
Pierce Country Day Camp (Roslyn, NY)
Pierce has everything—and then some. Campers as young as 3 can dive into all of the fun, including zip lines, field trips, an interactive splash park and seven heated pools throughout this ultra-lux facility. Pierce also offers weekend busing to the Hamptons.
Camp Playland (New Canaan, CT)
A family-run camp, Camp Playland offers three heated pools, tons of sports facilities, arts, archery and more—it’s an “away” camp in a day camp environment.
Greenwich Academy Summer Program (Greenwich, CT)
This comprehensive program is available for kids pre-K through 12th grade and happens on the Greenwich Academy campus. Choose from a summer enrichment program, athletic offerings, summer language institute, creative writing, upper line code, ballet or their new debate camp.
Camp Ramaquois (Pomona, NY)
Though located in Rockland County, New York, Ramaquois is popular among Bergen County residents as well as city kids. The camp offers round-trip busing to all areas—plus, of course, Westchester and Rockland—for campers age 3 to 15. Once here they’ll find everything from pools to a massive lake packed with inflatables and activities, zip lines, sports, cooking, arts and crafts and more.
Ramapo Country Day (Airmont, NY)
Also located in New York, Ramapo a popular camp amount the Northern New Jersey set. With a focus on powering the whole child, kids get a major say in how they spend their days—and the options are endless. Here, kids will find Red Cross swimming and water activities, sports, arts, ceramics, science and action adventure designed to inspire them and push them to do even more in a safe, supported environment.
There are hundreds of towns to choose from. How do you figure it all out? You simply don’t, without getting a Suburban Jungle Strategist to help you through it all. Schedule here for your strategy session with our innovative suburbs strategy team. All services are completely free.