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Cost of moving: Family-friendly areas

With good schools and lots of museums, Washington, D.C., is a great place to raise a family.

With good schools and lots of museums, Washington, D.C., is a great place to raise a family.

As your family grows, that shoebox apartment isn't going to cut it anymore. But before calling the moving company, you may want to take a moment to consider some of the best places in the country to raise a family.

Every family is different, and every location provides unique pros and cons. Ocean lovers won't find much to crow about in Colorado, while aspiring mountaineers might find the flats of Nebraska less than majestic.

If education is one of the primary concerns for your family, consider packing up and moving to Washington, D.C. The nation's capital has a number of fine schools, not to mention 44 museums, according to Parenting.com, which ranked the city No. 1 on its recent list of best places for a family. The White House Easter Egg Roll is an annual tradition that draws thousands of families from the nearby area each year.

If your family is just getting started and hasn't had much chance to build up savings, Washington, D.C., might be a bit beyond the budget. The financial analysts at Kiplinger recently rated the city No. 6 on its list of most expensive metropolitan areas. Average home prices in the capital top $670,000.

The East Coast can be a wonderful place to raise a family, so if the high prices of D.C. have you discouraged, consider nearby Sykesville, Maryland. The Baltimore suburb boasts heavy investment in green initiatives like wind and solar power. Fitting, given its proximity to nature, according to BusinessWeek, which ranks the city as the 10th best place to raise a family.

Sykesville is comparatively affordable, as well. Although real estate guru Bert Sperling says the town's overall cost of living is higher than the nation as a whole, home prices are significantly less costly than the capital. Real estate analyst Trulia places the median sales price for a home in the area at $250,000.

If the Midwest is more to your taste, BusinessWeek suggests Morton Grove, Illinois. Just 15 minutes from Chicago, this suburb features 70 acres of parks, two outdoor swimming pools and an outdoor ice rink for winter sports. The region is affordable, as well. The Chicago Tribune reported home prices in Chicago fell to post-recession lows earlier this year. CNN, meanwhile, places the median home price in Morton Grove at $240,000.