You need to drive around to different areas and see what YOU like. You are asking a question here on a Realtor site.. where Realtors answer questions.. and EVERYBODY lives in the BEST town with the BEST schools in the state. So you really need to kind of find out where you want to be and the environment.
Some towns I looked at when I moved to NJ... Marlboro, Old Bridge, Manalapan all great areas with good schools, commute to NYC at the time was what I needed too and all of these towns were good. I settled on East Brunswick, easy commute to NYC and one of the BEST school districts in the state! :) 10 minutes to Rutgers and 30 to Princeton. Commute to NYC is 50-60 minutes depending upon the time you go in...
As an expert in Middlesex and Monmouth counties real estate I can show you what is available and help you find you new home. Call or email and I can send you some homes to look at and we can get started!
Orange Key Realty
You mentioned Cranford, Westfield they are great. I would suggest New Providence, Gillette, Summit and Morristown. All these options are great for commuting people. Most of the people in these areas take trains to NYC. Most have a train going in.
Please contact me if you have any questions. I have experience in all those areas and more. I would love to help you find a home here in NJ.
There are a lot of wonderful communities in the Bergen, Essex, and Hudson County that would be a perfect fit for you and your family. If you still haven't found a town that seems right for you let me know and I'd love to compile a personalize list of properties that might suit your needs!
There are plenty of places that would fit your needs. Like one of the other Realtors said, you might want to drive around and see for yourself. I do not know your situation, so that might not be an option. If there is anything I can do to help, feel free to give me a call / email. I look forward to the opportunity of working with you.
If you go to the Community Section of my website, you will find links to NJ Department of Education as well as the "School Report Cards". I hope that information helps.
I strongly recommend if you haven't already to get pre approved. This will help narrow down your search on how much home you can afford to by.
Please let me know if you would like to get together to discuss your needs. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org