What an interesting question! I'm curious to see the responses.
I sell homes throughout Monmouth County and I can talk about what draws families to each of these towns.
Having said that, I think I will respond to this question more from the perspective as a resident of Manalapan Township.
I've lived in Manalapan for over 16 years! In fact, I moved here right after I got married. Had my kids here and now they are both successful members of the Manalapan school system, with one in grade school and the other getting ready to enter high school! Where did the time go? I am an active member of their Parent Teacher Associations. I'm also a Girl Scout Leader and a volunteer in my younger daughter's class.
I've always felt comfortable here, like I belong. I think I understand the stereotypical person you are trying to avoid. I also think you will find that type of person in any of the towns you are considering. I believe you will find your comfort zone by where you choose to get involved. Being involved in my kids lives has connected me with parents who are like minded and committed to their families.
By the way, the school districts in each of the towns you mentioned have strong reputations. Much of your question will also rely on which neighborhoods within those towns you are considering.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you would like additional inside perspective on life in Manalapan! You can check out the link to my Manalapan and Marlboro Area Real Estate Blog.