10 Best Commuter Towns in NJ to NYC

By PropertyClub Team
May 6th 2024
New Jersey has plenty of great commuter towns that offer easy access to NYC. We're taking a look at the best, from NJ suburbs with direct train service to NYC like Summit and Montclair to shore towns that provide an incredible commute by ferry.

Which New Jersey suburb you choose all depends on what you’re looking for in your commute, as well as the overall ambiance that you want to have in the town of your choice. Thankfully, the Garden State has plenty of great places to choose from. This guide will give you a good idea of what to expect from the best commuter towns in NJ. 

hash-mark10 Best Commuter Towns in NJ to NYC 

  1. Summit
  2. Montclair
  3. Englewood
  4. Short Hills
  5. Morristown
  6. Tenafly
  7. Westfield
  8. Downtown Newark
  9. Belford
  10. Atlantic Highlands

hash-mark1. Summit

The best commuter town from NJ to NYC is Summit. When you say that you live in Summit, it’s hard not to sound like you’re bragging. This beautiful little town is considered to be one of the best places to live in New Jersey. Along with a thriving public transit system, Summit boasts terrific schools, a thriving shopping culture, as well as some of the best restaurants in the state. 

If you choose to live in Summit, you can expect a commuting time of around 45 minutes by car, or a quick drive to a nearby train station. Singletons who want a friendly suburban lifestyle with a bumping nightlife will love all that Summit has to offer. One might even say that it’s the peak of Jersey living. (Pun intended!)

hash-mark2. Montclair

Montclair is, at its heart, an artist’s city. This is the place you want to live if you love boutique shopping, handmade clothing, excellent concerts, and one of the liveliest nightlife scenes in all of New Jersey. Often likened to Manhattan’s Lower East Side without the traffic, this is a town for commuters who want all the amenities of art close to home. 

The entire town of Montclair is known for being walkable, which is why many out of towners choose to go here and take a stroll on the weekends. The best part about Montclair for commuters is the quick trip to Manhattan and the easy-to-use public transit system. Considering how low the prices of home and rent are here, it’s safe to say that this area’s real estate is a steal. 

hash-mark3. Englewood

Located only 5 minutes away from the George Washington Bridge, Englewood is one of the best NJ suburbs for NYC commuters. Englewood offers residents a perfect blend of urban and suburban living as well as a diverse housing market. The town offers both luxury and basic homes—not to mention some very affordable housing. 

In terms of amenities, you’re not going to have to go too far to find some great perks. The restaurant scene spans almost every genre you’d imagine, from Italian to Greek, to Middle Eastern, to classic hits like sushi and Thai. The town is also known for hosting major events, making it a tight-knit place that works well for the whole family.

hash-mark4. Short Hills

Short Hills is another great commuter town in New Jersey. Nestled in the heart of Millburn Township in Essex County, it’s about 24 miles or a 45-minute drive from New York City, making it popular among commuters. The town also has direct train service to Midtown Manhattan. Short Hills has a population of 14,448 residents and is home to attractions such as the Short Hills Mall and Greenwood Gardens. Short Hills is also the richest town in NJ, with a median household income of over $250,000 and a median home price of over $1.8 million.

hash-mark5. Morristown

If you’re a fan of historic buildings, excellent food, and a city-suburb vibe, then Morristown is going to be a good choice for you. Morristown is famous for having excellent schools, an arts-heavy nightlife scene, as well as highly reputable real estate. 

Like other towns on this list, Morristown has a very connected public transit system, including a train station nearby. The average commuting time to New York City ranges from 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on what route you take. 

hash-mark6. Tenafly 

Tenafly is also one of the top commuter towns in New Jersey. It’s a beautiful town in Bergen County located about 20 miles outside of Manhattan. Known for its excellent schools, lush parks, and delicious restaurants, Tenafly is the perfect commuter town and home to 15,299 residents. It’s also a very affluent community with a median household income of $207,652. It’s also a relatively expensive suburb, and the median home price in Tenafly is $1.14 million. 

hash-mark7. Westfield 

Westfield is also one of the best towns in New Jersey for commuters. Westfield is in Union County and is positioned at about 22 miles, or it is a one-hour drive from New York. It’s a great town for commuters because it offers top-notch schools, a bustling downtown area, and access to major parks and golf courses. It’s also home to 30,839 residents. Like many popular commuter towns, Westfield is very affluent and features a median home price of $203,235. The median home price is just over $1 million. 

hash-mark8. Downtown Newark

Though it has its rough parts, Newark offers a lot to the commuter who is looking for a quick, easy route to New York City. Downtown Newark has also come a long way in recent years. Many new luxury developments have opened along with numerous shops, and even a Whole Foods Market.

An NJ Transit train trip from Newark Penn Station takes only 20-25 minutes, or you can take the Path Train, which offers service to downtown and midtown Manhattan. That’s what makes it one of the best commuter towns in NJ to New York City. 

Newark also offers a lot in terms of nightlife and amenities. Fans of Spanish, Portuguese, and soul food will love the selection of restaurants here. Meanwhile, there’s more nightlife here than in most other NJ cities, making it a great place to be if you want to enjoy a night out on the town. 

hash-mark9. Belford

Are you looking for a family-friendly place to call home and a fun commute to Manhattan by ferry? Belford is a great option that is known for being fantastic for families. Families will love hitting the beach, which is a short walk away from most homes in town. Most importantly, Belford has a ferry service that brings you straight to NYC in around 45 minutes. Getting to the city through NJ Transit services is relatively easy, too, thanks to nearby train and bus lines, although the train ride is about 75 minutes. 

hash-mark10. Atlantic Highlands

Atlantic Highlands is another great NJ town for those looking to commute to NYC by ferry. Atlantic Highlands has a direct ferry service to NYC and with only 4,000 residents, offers a cozy, small-town vibe. The area is also an outdoor-lovers dream, with wonderful beaches, numerous parks, including the 12-acre Mount Mitchell park, from where you can see breathtaking views of the New York skyline. 

For those looking for a bit more excitement, Atlantic Highlands is also right next to Red Bank, NJ, which is known for its walkable downtown and vibrant art scene, which has made it popular with millennials and led to it consistently being ranked amongst the best places to live in NJ. 

hash-markWhich NJ Commuter Town Is Right For You?

We can’t say which town is the best for you, but we can say that these commuter towns are regularly ranked as some of the best places for commuters to live. They offer a lot of bang for their buck, not to mention a respite away from the Big Apple. 

When picking a commuter town for yourself, think about the big picture. Are you looking for a quick commute? Good schools? What about the nightlife? Each town offers up its own unique lifestyle, and some may be better suited for you than others. 

If you’re looking to move to a new place, it’s a good idea to take a tour with a realtor and learn more about each potential town. That way, you will be able to get a deeper understanding of what each town can offer you and then make a more educated move.