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The top cities to live and learn in the South 2011

What are most family-friendly towns in the Southern states? From beachfront beauties to swanky suburbs, here are the 10 best cities that rank tops in housing and public schools.

By GreatSchools Staff

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St. John's, FL

Education quality score: 95.98
Median home value: $181,700
Population: 18,063

Get "teed off" easily? Not if you're in St. John's, a laid-back golfer's heaven and Jacksonsville suburb that's been ranked #1 in Florida for "Health Factors." Plus, this palm tree paradise is brimming over with sunshine, white-sand beaches, spectacular homes, and public school achievement. Although the neighborhoods have dreamy names — Fruit Cove, Julington Creek Plantation, Vilano Beach, Switzerland — students here aren't sleeping instead of going to school. Recent attendance was an astounding 95.3 percent.

Bartram Trail High School offers an advanced scholars program, plus Air Force ROTC, symphonic bands, and a wide-ranging curriculum that includes courses in fashion design, carpentry, interior design, financial services, and business management. Allen D. Nease Senior High School is even more accomplished. In 2007, Newsweek ranked Nease #81 in its best high schools nationally, and nine of its students were 2010 National Merit Scholarship finalists. Nease excels in theater and music, offers the renowned International Baccalaureate Program, and is no slouch in sports, either: Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow tossed the pigskin here.

Learn more about schools in St. John's, FL

Photo credit: anoldent

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