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150803_BPL_ McCandless
Keith Srakocic—AP
Population 29,108
Median Income $79,245
Job Growth 6.1%
Median Home Price $216,563
Property Tax $4,401

McCandless is a winner first and foremost for education: three of its elementary schools rank in the top 26 for the state, and a 2015 ranking by placed North Alleghany School District fourth in the nation and first in the state for the quality of its school sports. It’s also home to La Roche College, a small, private Catholic university that ranked 33rd among colleges of the North in this year’s U.S. News & World Report Education rankings. Residents also benefit from its proximity to Pittsburgh, one of Money's Best Big Cities, where high tech jobs are a just a short commute away.

But McCandless has plenty to offer outside the classroom and office, too, especially in North Park, which makes up 15% of the town. There locals can golf an 18-hole course, head to the swimming pool, go ice skating, visit a wildfowl reserve, try out an adventure course high in the pines, hit the trails, or rent a kayak, canoe, bike, or paddle board at the 75-acre lake’s boathouse. North Park is just one of six parks in town, all stunning in the Pennsylvania autumn. And the town’s low real estate prices and brand new Trader Joe’s are no bummer, either.—Katy Osborn

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