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Who doesn’t want to grow up near the beach!?

By Marisa Spyker

From baby’s first sandy footsteps to teenager’s first heart-stopping spin on a surfboard, the memories of watching children grow up near the beach are priceless.

But aside from the lifestyle perks of growing up near the shore, there are certainly some practicalities one might consider when choosing the absolute best city to raise a family. And a new study has done the deep digging on everything from school rankings to crime rates.

The Family-Friendly Cities Index, created by real estate site Homes.com, compared the top 25 metropolitan areas in the U.S. on measures that can contribute to a family’s well-being, from cost of living and average commute times to the availability of child care services and park acreage per capita. Each factor was assigned a weight based on its level of importance, with school quality having the highest and commute time the lowest.

While the Dallas, Texas, region ranked highest overall, several of the top 25 metro areas are on the coast. Tampa, one of three Florida cities that made the list, scored highest in the state, performing exceptionally well in park access, cost of living, and commute times. (Crime is relatively low, too.) In the Northeast, Boston rounded out the ranking’s top 10, with low crime, park access, and school quality working in its favor.

Tampa, Florida
Photo: littleny/Getty

Related: The 10 Best Family-Friendly Beach Hotels in Florida

On the West coast, San Diego followed at number 13, thanks largely to low crime, commute times, and park access. Seattle came in at 16, and Los Angeles at 17 (the City of Angels ranked better than most in access to child care services).

Which one of these cities would you like to grow up in? (Or are you Team Small Town?)

See the full Family-Friendly Cities ranking below, and find out more about each city’s score here:

  1. Dallas, Texas
  2. Charlotte, North Carolina
  3. Houston, Texas
  4. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  5. San Antonio, Texas
  6. Atlanta, Georgia
  7. Phoenix, Arizona
  8. Tampa, Florida
  9. Portland, Oregon
  10. Boston, Massachusetts
  11. Denver, Colorado
  12. Washington, D.C.
  13. San Diego, California
  14. New York, New York
  15. Orlando, Florida
  16. Seattle, Washington
  17. Los Angeles, California
  18. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  19. Chicago, Illinois
  20. St. Louis, Missouri
  21. Detroit, Michigan
  22. Baltimore, Maryland
  23. San Francisco, California
  24. Riverside, California
  25. Miami, Florida

Related: The Best Cities For Walking Your Dog: