The Best Places to Live for Raleigh Commuters

Best places to live for Raleigh commuters

As the capital of North Carolina and one of the anchor cities in the renowned Research Triangle, Raleigh, NC, has a thriving job market. But where are you starting your commute to work? New Home Inc.has suggestions for the best places to live for Raleigh commuters.

With the completion of the I-540 loop around Raleigh, you can get to Raleigh from any direction and follow the loop to your city destination. So, if you’re living south of Raleigh but your job is on the eastern, western, or northern side of the city, get on the I-540 loop and it’s a quick trip.

Raleigh is consistently ranked among the “Best Places to Live” in North Carolina and the entire United States. There’s no question it’s a great city. However, if your lifestyle preference is to put some distance between your home and urban life, you have plenty of choices. With major roadways and commuter rail, take your pick of some Raleigh suburbs that offer a high quality of life, affordability, and easy commute.

Apex: 20 minutes

One of the best cities and suburbs in North Carolina and the United States, Apex is listed high on “7 Suburban Cities With Easy Commutes to Raleigh”. 

If you’re driving the 14 miles (or so) from Apex to Raleigh, your commute can take about 20 minutes to Research Triangle Park and other Raleigh destinations. GoTriangle’s Route 305 bus can also take you back and forth in about 36 minutes when commuting to Raleigh, and there are 2 free park-and-ride locations in Apex. The buses are all wheelchair-accessible and equipped with bike racks. 

Apex is also a forward-thinking town. If you drive an electric vehicle, you’ll appreciate the town’s electric vehicle charging stations, available free of charge.

Aside from the easy commute to Raleigh, what are the other reasons to live in Apex, NC?

Downtown with distinction

Apex, NC, is a large town with a population of about 63,000 people. The town’s motto, “The Peak of Good Living” is founded in the community’s pride of the quality of life enjoyed here. 

  • Downtown Apex is a unique blend of the past and present. Originally a railroad town in the middle of the 19th century, Apex is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 
  • The architectural beauty remains, now housing a desirable array of locally owned shops, restaurants, nightlife, and services. 
  • The town is known for unusual and lively events held in Downtown Apex. PeakFest, Apex Music Festival, and Peak City Pig Fest are a few of the attractions that spark celebrations here.
  • Salem Street is a popular pedestrian-friendly road in downtown for food, fun, and great finds.
  • Apex Union Depot is a restored railroad station built in 1914, and is now used for concerts and special events.

Outdoor recreation is always nearby

You can pursue any type of outdoor recreation you want without leaving Apex. 

Excellent schools

Relocating to Apex is the smart choice for families of school-aged children.

Fuquay-Varina: 25 minutes

Living in Fuquay-Varina, NC—a Raleigh suburb that’s 18 miles from the capital—presents many advantages, including an easy commute. Like Apex, Fuquay-Varina is included as one of “7 Suburban Cities With Easy Commutes to Raleigh”.

Route 401 in Fuquay-Varina provides a direct road to Raleigh. Depending on what area of Raleigh, the drive can take 25 to 35 minutes on most days.

Why is Fuquay-Varina a great place to live for Raleigh commuters? Aside from the convenient location, this rapidly growing town has so much to offer residents. And all of these benefits are no secret, judging by the fact that Fuquay-Varina’s population has nearly doubled since 2010, from 17,937 to 34,152. 

Best of the Best!

Fuquay-Varina, NC, has been reviewed by major media, including U.S. News & World Report, and has earned its place on many “Best Places” lists.

  • Fuquay-Varina was ranked  by as one of the Best U.S. Suburbs to Move to in 2021 for Public Schools, Good for Families, Diversity, Nightlife, Housing, and Safety.  
  •  The Raleigh suburb earned a place high on the list of “Best Places to Buy a House in North Carolina” ”Best Suburbs to Live in North Carolina”, Best Suburbs to Raise a Family in North Carolina”, and “Best Suburbs for Young Professionals in North Carolina”. 
  • Both MoneyGeek and Safewise have acclaimed Fuquay-Varina as one of the safest places to live in North Carolina. 

Active, vibrant downtown community

Fuquay-Varina has two historic downtown districts, recognized as a Nationally Accredited Main Street and a North Carolina Main Street Community. There are so many things to do in Fuquay-Varina all year ‘round.

  • You can browse Fuquay-Varina’s wide variety of locally owned shops, dine at your choice of restaurants—from cafes to fine bistros to craft brewpubs—and explore the cultural offerings at places like the Fuquay-Varina Arts Center
  • Fuquay-Varina’s rich history is on display at the Fuquay-Varina Museums at Ashworth Park.
  • Downtown Fuquay-Varina hosts special events throughout the year, one more reason to head downtown.
  • Every Saturday from April through September, the Fuquay-Varina Growers Market presents the freshest produce, cheese, baked goods, flowers, plants, and artisanal specialties and creations. 

So, when you’re not commuting to Raleigh from Fuquay-Varina, you can take it easy or play as hard as you like!

Take in the outdoors

Do you need recreation in your hometown? Fuquay-Varina fulfills that wish, too. 

  • Fuquay-Varina has a network of 20 parks, spanning 500 acres. 
  • The wildly popular, multi-use South Park is the place to go on a hot day, so you can release your inner child in  the park’s 6,000-square-foot splash pad. On the drier side, South Park offers several sports fields, a playground, walking track, and picnic area.

 The multi-use recreational area also gives the community three baseball fields, two multi-purpose fields, a playground, picnic area, a walking track, and access to the nearby Jeff Wells Memorial Trail. 

  • Just up the road from South Park, the Fuquay-Varina Community Center features a fitness center and gymnasium.
  • If you’ve got a canine companion, you’ll both appreciate the Fuquay-Varina Dog Park. Your pup can run free on 8 fenced-in acres from 7 a.m. to dusk.

Smithfield: 33 minutes

With the Neuse River running through it, Smithfield, NC, is another growing Raleigh suburb. Just 30 miles and an average 33-minute drive separate the two destinations. From Smithfield, hop on Route 70 to Interstate 40, which takes you right into Raleigh.

Living in Smithfield gives you all the comforts and benefits of a small town (population: 11,630), with extras. Certified by Main Street America as a Main Street Community, Smithfield has also earned a slate of awards and recognition for its commitment to revitalization and community development. 

In addition to being a greater Raleigh commuter town, consider more reasons to live in Smithfield, NC.

Top-notch schools

Served by the acclaimed Johnston County School District, Smithfield’s schools present a well-rounded, quality education, reflecting the town’s commitments to developing a thriving community.

  • Johnston County School District’s region includes one of the largest concentrations of top-rated public schools in the entire state of North Carolina.
  • Although it’s a small town, Smithfield’s schools—from preschool through high school—have kept pace with advances in technology, education, and culture.

Historic Downtown Smithfield is the place to go

More than 250 years of the town’s history comes together in Historic Downtown Smithfield

  • Whether you’re craving a quick bite or a leisurely meal, the restaurants and cafes in Downtown Smithfield can satisfy your appetite. Several farm-to-table establishments pride themselves on supporting the local agricultural community in a tasty way.
  • In Smithfield, a good brew can be coffee or tea at The Gilded Pear or a craft beer at one of the pubs.
  • The locally owned shops in Downtown Smithfield present a great way to browse a diverse array of offerings.
  • The historic Howell Theatre has been the town’s premier movie theatre for almost 90 years.
  • Smithfield has earned awards for its special events. The town closes down the streets to traffic and invites visitors to festivals that include the very popular Ham & Yam Festival, Downtown Smithfield Wine Walk, and the Third StrEATery

Smithfielders like to play outside

With all this gorgeous North Carolina weather, you probably want to get outside and be active. You can do that close to home when you’re living in Smithfield.

  • The Smithfield Recreation and Aquatic Center offers a 50-meter, 8-lane indoor pool and indoor splash park. The facility also houses racquetball and basketball courts, indoor walking track, fitness center, and aerobics room.
  • Between Smithfield Community Park and Smith-Collins Park, you’ll find sports fields, courts (tennis, basketball, horseshoes, bocce, shuffleboard), a batting cage, disc golf course, playgrounds, picnic shelters, and even a splash pad. 
  • Smithfield also has a dedicated, fully fenced dog park.
  • The Country Club of Johnston County in Smithfield offers members a 7,000-yard, 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, and swimming pool. 

Lillington: 39 minutes

The town of Lillington, NC, is 31 miles south of Raleigh. You can make this commute in less than 40 minutes, following major roads that include NC 210, NC 55, and US 401. 

Lilllington is the quintessential small town, with 3,600 residents. Don’t let the number fool you. Lillington is a small town with big plans! Downtown Lillington is undergoing a master-planned revitalization. 

Citytistics gave Lillington an “A+” for Livability and Affordability, noting the tight-knit community and affordable cost of living, safety, and diversity. The site defined living in Lillington as a “sparse suburban feel, which can be a nice mix between rural areas and large suburban areas.”

New Home Inc. has a few more reasons to live in Lillington, NC.

Fun, food, and festivities in a revitalized downtown 

People who enjoy living in Lillington aren’t looking for the big box stores and busy nightlife that’s available in larger Raleigh suburbs. People here want a simpler, quieter way of life.

  • Lillington has a charming downtown district, populated with shops, restaurants, cafes, markets, and services.
  • The downtown’s renaissance is bringing a more contemporary atmosphere that welcomes pedestrians to wander the shops, enjoy outside dining, and take part in the special events planned.

From Raven Rock to raptors

How do you like your outdoor activity? In Lillington, you might discover some new favorites.

  • Lillington sits on the banks of the famous Cape Fear River. From swimming, tubing, and paddle boarding to kayaking, canoeing, and even waterskiing, Cape Fear River is perfect for water sports.
  • The trails of Raven Rock State Park in Lillington are a favorite for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. The park’s Lanier Falls and Fish Traps Rapids are open to backcountry camping and fishing. Spend a day or longer!
  • Another favorite Lillington destination is Hawk Manor Falconry. Get up close with exquisite birds of prey—hawks, falcons, owls, and vultures.

Selma: 32 minutes

Selma, NC, is another hidden gem among Raleigh suburbs. The town is located 31 miles southeast of Raleigh. Take US 70 and I-95 to have an easy commute from home to work and back. 

Like Lillington, Selma is a small town, home to 6,601 people. The size appeals to homebuyers who want to live a little outside the big suburban environment—but not too far.  Selma is close to the city but far from the urban housing prices. The housing costs in Selma are 65.8% lower than in Raleigh! And overall, the cost of living in Selma is 29.6% lower than the state’s capital.

Easy commute, affordability, and small town friendliness. Can New Home Inc. give you more reasons to move to Selma, NC?

Selma knows how to have fun

What’s your idea of a good time in your hometown? If you choose living in Selma, then you’ll find that fun is a favorite pastime.

Selma is a treasure hunter’s delight

Selma is the place to be when you need retail therapy.

  • Carolina Premium Outlets is located just two miles from Selma, the perfect place to score great deals on brand-name clothing, housewares, sporting goods, jewelry, and so much more.
  • Selma is known for an array of antiques stores where shoppers find their one-of-a-kind treasures.

Start your commute at New Home Inc.

New Home Inc. is building communities of brand new townhomes and single-family homes for sale in Raleigh and the surrounding Raleigh suburbs. We’ve explored each city and town to find appealing locations for homebuyers who want close proximity to the wide range of unique offerings. 

But we’re more than just another builder with new construction homes for sale. New Home Inc. has developed a unique approach to homebuilding, a forward-thinking view we call “Future-Proof”.

Every New Home Inc. home and townhome reflects the Future-Proof concept. Your new home includes the latest in smart automation technology, healthy home and energy efficiency advances, and design features that many builders consider an upgrade. We start with a higher standard so you get the home you want without compromises.Take a look at New Home Inc.’s communities and new homes for sale in Raleigh and the very commutable Raleigh suburbs of Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Smithfield, Lillington, and Selma. Then contact us to learn more about the best places to live for Raleigh commuters.

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