Maybe you’ve been in Boston for years, but you’re now having kids and looking to relocate. Maybe you’re planning a move to the Boston area from another city in the U.S. or abroad, and you’re trying to make sense of your options. Whatever the case, Boston Moms Blog is here to help with a handy guide to some popular towns in the area! We’ll tell you about the vibe, income levels, schools, and fun insider info to help you figure out the best place for you.
How we got here
Two Boston Moms Blog contributors (Kate Cotter and Emily Fahle), who both live in Scituate, collaborated on this post. They share their stories and insights about the town below.
A few magical things collided in the universe to bring my family to the gorgeous seaside town we now call home. We were expecting our third child and seeking more space, and my husband was now working on the South Shore (and not commuting to Cambridge any longer!).
Scituate had been on our list of towns to consider. My husband, who grew up on the South Shore, had repeatedly mentioned Scituate as a possibility for our family. I wasn’t so sure — I had heard it was far off the highway and there was no easy or quick way to get there. We spent months going to open houses and showings in other South Shore towns, and it would be an understatement to say this was a frustrating process.
Then one day last summer, my fellow Boston Moms Blog writer Emily commented about how Scituate was a hidden gem. I was intrigued! Having never met or spoken with her, I went out on a limb (maybe due to my crazy pregnancy hormones) and reached out to ask a million questions. She was 38 weeks pregnant and in the middle of a move herself — but she responded with a plethora of information. I instantly became hooked on this town.
After getting the inside scoop Scituate quickly moved to the top of my list. We had all but given up hope that we would find our dream home before our third baby arrived in October, but by a stroke of luck, we found our house in July, we moved in late September, and we welcomed baby Finn three weeks later!
Fun fact: In one of the biggest coincidences out of all of this, our new home is about 10 houses away from Emily’s. Her three girls and my three boys are all the same ages, and our two oldest kids are entering kindergarten at the same elementary school in the fall.
Another fun fact: There’s a cute coffee shop in Scituate Harbor named Lucky Finn, just like my lucky little guy!
In June 2015, our family relocated from Connecticut to Boston. Our plan was to rent for a year while we determined where in Greater Boston we wanted to live. We decided if we were going to rent, we should rent at the beach!
We found a year-round, pet-friendly rental, and a one-year lease turned into two. By the end of those two years, we knew we were going to make Scituate our home. We started looking for our forever house, and we found it five months later. In July 2017, we moved into our home, and three weeks later our third daughter was born.
Vibe :: Beachy suburban
Scituate has a friendly, relaxed, beach vibe to it. With a population of just under 20,000, it’s easy to find yourself at an impromptu playgroup at the playground, beach, or at one of our local ice cream shops. Folks are friendly to residents and tourists alike.
Drivers are (mostly) courteous, and there is a strong neighborhood appeal with an old-timey feel. There are frequently organized block parties and kids playing outdoors until dark. There is a strong sense of community in Scituate, with many volunteer opportunities and charity events.
During the summer, Scituate’s population swells to almost double, but it never seems overcrowded. There is plenty of room at the beach to relax, plus nature trails to explore and shops to check out!
Live :: The town is your oyster
Want to live by the water? Check out the Sandhills, Egypt Beach, Minot, or Humarock neighborhoods. Are you interested in historic sites? Look into the Dreamwold area, Lawson Tower, or Old Oaken Bucket Road. Do you want to be closer to the commuter rail? The North Scituate Village and Greenbush neighborhoods are within walking distance to the train. Do you prefer to be closer to the highway? The west end in Scituate is approximately 10 minutes from Route 3. And of course, who wouldn’t want to live within walking distance of our amazing harbor area? Scituate offers many options!
There is a lovely and lush town green that is walkable from many neighborhoods. Speaking of neighborhoods, I find it uniquely special that neighbors here are so friendly! When we moved into our home, we received plates of brownies from two different neighbors and a handwritten introductory note from another (people still do that?); plus, a sweet teenager across the street came over to introduce herself in hopes of getting some babysitting hours (hired!). Many neighborhoods have annual formal block parties with barbeque and hired ice cream trucks.
No matter which section of Scituate you live in, you’re never more than a few miles away from the ocean — Scituate is just 17 square miles.
Like so many towns in the greater Boston area, Scituate has a healthy real estate market. According to real estate website Trulia, the median price for a single-family home in Scituate is $525,000, and the median rent is $2,500/month. It is difficult to find a year-round rental. Most leasing periods are for nine or ten months so that the owners can enjoy their beach house in the summer! As such, the majority of residents here own their homes (88% are homeowners).
Learn :: Excellence in education
Scituate has an excellent school system that is improving each year. The four elementary schools, the middle school, and the high school were all ranked between 7 and 9 by Great Schools, and according to Boston Magazine Scituate ranked in the top 39 of best public school districts in the Boston area in 2017. There are also a variety of preschool options, with four private and one public preschool in town. The middle school is brand new (2018), and the high school underwent extensive renovations in 2017.
The Scituate Public Library also recently reopened after receiving a $50 million improvement and renovation. The children’s department offers more than just story hour — there are book clubs for littles, a Tinker Tots program, and engaging performers and musicians. There is also a new teen room (with its own librarian!) with pre-teen and teen-geared programming and academic assistance.
Play :: Scituate’s middle name
You can play at the beach, experience life on the water, taste craft beers at the brewery, run and climb at the new playground, enjoy the nature trails, shop and dine in the harbor area, and picnic on Lawson Common. The options are endless!
As a resident of this town, you may purchase an inexpensive ($35 for the 2018-19 season) beach sticker every March that gives you parking privileges at any of the seven public beaches around town. Because the beaches are for residents only, there is plenty of sandy space available, and it’s common to run into friends at any given time. The beaches are clean, and there are tidal pools and coves for the little ones plus open coastal waters for more experienced swimmers. There are lifeguards at three of the beaches during the summer months.
If being out on the water is your cup of tea, you can rent a boat for the day at the Freedom Boat Club of Scituate, or hire a charter boat in the Harbor to take you and your family fishing. There is also a new small harbor cruise operation that gives 20-30 minute cruise tours around the Harbor for $4 a person. What a fun and inexpensive way to enjoy the water with the kiddos or guests in town!
Speaking of the harbor, there is much to do there with the excellent shopping, restaurants, and opportunities to eat ice cream by the picturesque views of the boats on the water. There are gift stores with coastal items and décor, boutiques for women and children, a mom-and-pop toy store, an upscale wine and spirits shop, and art galleries. There are also fine dining options for dinner and drinks as well as more casual locations for breakfast, lunch, and small bites. The harbor also has an independent grocery store, CVS, a dry cleaner, nail and hair salons, a record store, locally owned fitness and wellness centers, realtors, and banks. There is even a small bowling alley! All of these amenities are concentrated on Front Street, where there is ample free public parking.
New to town as of this past fall, Untold Brewing is a craft brewery, offering beers such as “East by Northwest,” “Time Shall Unfold,” and “The Abigail,” (after one of Scituate’s prominent historical figures). The brewery, situated in an old school house in the middle of town, is very family-friendly with its long picnic tables, live music, an outdoor patio, board games, and the option of bringing your own picnic or ordering food in to go along with their delicious craft beers.
Scituate also has a public golf course, two country clubs, a yacht club, the Scituate Beach Association, the Scituate-Cohasset Newcomers and Neighbors Club, and other civic organizations. A dog park is in the works, and there are numerous walking trails in town.
Go :: Vehicles are a must
There are two stations for the MBTA commuter rail into Boston. The Greenbush Line begins in Scituate, proceeds north to Scituate’s second stop (in North Scituate), then continues into South Station in Boston. The train ride into Boston lasts approximately 45 minutes. The Hingham Ferry is also a nice option to get into Rowes Wharf, Long Wharf, or Logan International Airport. Hingham Ferry is about a 15-minute drive from Scituate. The ferry is my favorite way to take the kiddos into Boston, as it’s a relaxed atmosphere and there’s a snack bar on the boat!
Scituate participates in the GATRA bus program (also known as the SLOOP). It rides a set route around the town for the majority of the day at a low cost to the rider.
While there are public transportation options to get into Boston, you will need to have a car in Scituate. Fortunately, every amenity is within a 15-minute drive!
We hope you’ve found this guide helpful!
We both love Scituate and could not imagine living anywhere else. We feel so incredibly fortunate to live in a town with friendly people, fun activities, and special amenities. If you ever are in the neighborhood, feel free to reach out to us! We’d love to show you around!
Stay tuned for more town guides to clue you in about Greater Boston’s many terrific family-oriented places to live.