I'm guessing that you are familiar with the home search process on Trulia but that you don't know about our Real Estate Guides. Below is the guide for Boston and it shows school information as well as other community info.
Trulia Voices is also a great place to ask questions about the quality of life in the area you are interested in.
I hope this is helpful.
Customer Service Representative
To locate sites for specific areas
Search for cities & Counties in the US: http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=Data_and_Demographi
As to health issues in different areas
EPA: Finding out about your local drinking water quality: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/dwinfo/index.html
EPA: Drinking water in Schools and Child Care Facilities: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/schools/index.html
Drinking water standards for Children
EPA: Environmental Information about your community http://www.epa.gov/epahome/whereyoulive.htm
As to known hazards in homes in any given area:
DEA Website on methamphetamine homes all states http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/seizures/index.html
To look at the type of weather that you might encounter in a new area
National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/
General information on specific areas and schools
Information on any city in the USA: http://www.bestplaces.net/
Information on any school: http://www.greatschools.net/
Researching for School information
As to crime and safety
Locating Sex offenders and other felons living in your area http://www.familywatchdog.us/Default.asp
FBI: Crime reports for each State: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/data/table_08.html
Many times the cost of a commute is not addressed and can harm your budget, to know what it is going to cost you to travel to and fro check these guys out.
Gasoline prices in the US (By Counties) & Canada only
Lots of research but when you're finished most likely you'll know more about the areas than some of the fine folks that live there.