There are several lists that are often released about the best towns to live in, but in my opinion it's a matter of personal preference and needs. I also grew up in Hudson County and I understand exactly where you're coming from.
There are many beautiful towns. These are simply some of my personal favorites based on aesthetics, school systems, and community activities. In no particular order:
Hardyston (Crystal Springs) I'm a bit biased here but this development is one of the few in New Jersey that will provide you resort style living like you would find in the golf resorts of S. Carolina or Florida. It is continually growing and utilizing smart growth. Within the next year to a year and a half the community will be building a brand new town center with old fashioned charm and appeal including an ice rink, movie theaters, a farmers market, and unique non-chain small town shops, and walkability. Good schools, low taxes, low home prices. It's work taking a look at.
Sparta: Cute town center, nice homes, good schools, but high property tax and can be somewhat pricey
Mendam: Beautiful community, good schools, think Polo/Ralph Lauren feel - but can be pricey
Chester: cute downtown, shares Mendham schools, more affordable than Menham
Westfield: A bedroom community in Union County with outstanding schools. Very community oriented, close to everything, and a bustling downtown
Peapack/Gladstone, Far Hills, Bernardsville, Bernads Township, Bedminster are some of my favorites.
Tewksbury - reminds me of Holly Hobby -very country storybook
Oldwick -also very quaint country
Fair Haven - Rumson/Fair Haven Schools are outstanding, trendy downtown area
Spring Lake - I know little about schools there but very pretty and pricey
Have heard Colts Neck is very pretty but don't know much about it
It also may be worth looking into Allentown
Two of my favorites also include: Princeton and Moorsestown, NJ (in South Jersey) which is consistently noted in reports for being one of the best towns in NJ.
There's also some towns that are spearheading Green living in NJ. If that's important to you, I'm also happy to send you that list.
You'll hear different opinions from everyone. I would take into account the towns that are mentioned in all these posts and start taking day trips. If you ever want to tour the areas in Sussex, Morris, and Hunterdon Counties I'm happy to show you around.
I hope that helps.
Mountain Resort Properties