10 Best Raleigh Suburbs

10 Best Raleigh Suburbs

Best Suburbs of Raleigh

What is the best suburb to live in Raleigh, NC? Let's dive into our top ten suburbs of Raleigh with local information on each suburb!

Raleigh, North Carolina, is often named one of the best places to live in the southeast United States due to its affordable cost of living, access to top universities, an exciting culinary scene, and charming neighborhoods. Considered to have the third hottest job market in the country, multiple tech giants, including Amazon, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, are flocking to Raleigh and the Research Triangle region, bringing tons of new jobs.

Beloved for its southern charm and easy-going, family-friendly way of life, Raleigh is home to multiple beautiful suburbs that may appeal more to individuals relocating to Raleigh who prefer living just outside the city. Recognized as having some of the best towns in the nation, the suburbs of Raleigh offer tight-knit communities and endless recreational opportunities for young professionals, couples, families, and retirees alike.

So if you are moving to Raleigh and are interested in buying a home, this guide to the best Raleigh suburbs is an excellent place to start. Keep reading to learn more about the 10 Best Raleigh Suburbs and discover where you should call home in Raleigh.


Raleigh, NC skyline during the day and at night

Here are the ten best Raleigh suburbs!


Population: 176,987

Average Commute Time: 20 minutes to Raleigh

Median Household Income: $107,463

Cary, North Carolina, is the second-largest municipality in Wake county and the seventh-largest in North Carolina. Considered an excellent place to live and one of the most desirable communities in the Triangle area, Cary is most famous for its world-class shopping, award-winning restaurants, lively entertainment, and outdoor recreation opportunities.

A perfect place to live for families, residents that move to Cary earn the third highest incomes in North Carolina. With the cost of living 12.4% more expensive than living in Raleigh, Cary may be one of the fastest-growing Raleigh suburbs but also one of the most costly.

Downtown Cary, NC fountain on a sunny day

Local Favorites:

  • Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve: Featuring three miles of mulched nature trails, scenic overlooks, and wildlife viewing opportunities.
  • Koka Booth Amphitheatre: Located in Regency Park, this performing arts amphitheater hosts musical performances and movie screenings throughout the year.
  • Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen: Dine on farm-to-table southern cuisine made with local ingredients and a menu that rotates with the season. Enjoy an extensive wine and craft beer list in an upscale environment.


Population: 62,911

Average Commute Time: 29 minutes to Raleigh

Median Household Income: $112,549

Apex is a smaller Raleigh suburb sought after for its small-town charm and beautiful historic district. Nicknamed "the peak of good living," Apex is considered one of the best places in North Carolina for its small-town atmosphere and convenience to big-city living.

Experiencing significant growth, Apex has some of the newest homes for sale in the nation, attracting an influx of affluent people to the area. Offering its residents a dense suburban feel where most residents own their homes, many families are deciding to relocate to the area for its high safety rating and family-friendly activities.

Local Favorites:

  • Apex Community Park: This 160-acre public park features a 50-acre lake with walking trails, athletic fields, tennis courts, volleyball courts, basketball courts, playgrounds, and picnic areas.
  • Knights Play Golf Center: Play golf with friends at this 27-hole course and 60-station driving range that is fully illuminated.
  • Scratch Kitchen and Taproom: Dine on housemade southern dishes and weekend brunch made from scratch in downtown Apex.

Holly Springs

Population: 43,524

Average Commute Time: 30 minutes to Raleigh

Median Household Income: $110,758

Holly Springs is a beautiful town located just outside Raleigh and is notoriously known for its low crime rate. Recognized as a historic landmark, Holly Springs is best known for its historical significance, abundance of amenities, and fantastic educational opportunities.

With its vibrant downtown village district located in the heart of town, many people are moving to Holly Springs since it is a growing area with many new restaurants and retail shops. Holly Springs has also been ranked as having the number one rated farmers market in North Carolina, which occurs every Saturday morning.

Local Favorites:

  • Bass Lake Park: Open from 8 AM to sunset year-round, this recreational area features walking trails, a nature center, and picnic pavilions. Boats and canoes are available for rental.
  • Pimento Tea Room: Order from a rotating lunch and dinner menu featuring craft beverages and teas at this southern-inspired eatery and bar.
  • Vieni Ristobar: Enjoy homestyle Italian favorites, including pizza and pasta, in a kid-friendly and informal atmosphere.


Population: 31,278

Average Commute Time: 28 minutes to Raleigh

Median Household Income: $100,495

Morrisville is primarily in Wake County, with a small portion extending into Durham County. Found just west of the Raleigh-Durham International Airport and south of Research Triangle Park, Morrisville is a small yet growing community that is one of the best places to live in North Carolina.

Best known for its affordability, low level of crime, excellent schools, plenty of job opportunities, and top-rated amenities, it is no wonder that so many young professionals and families are deciding to move to Morrisville.

Local Favorites:

  • Park West Village: This 100-acre mixed-use development and shopping center is home to a movie theater, retail stores, and popular restaurants.
  • Lake Crabtree County Park: Located between Cary, Morrisville, and the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, this 520-acre park features hiking trails, boat rentals, picnic facilities, playgrounds, athletic fields, and a fishing pier.
  • Triangle Rock Club - Morrisville: Day passes, and memberships can be purchased at this rock climbing center that offers bouldering, rope climbing, a fitness area, and yoga classes.

Rock climbing wall with ropes


Population: 36,736

Average Commute Time: 34 minutes to Raleigh

Median Household Income: $89,914

Fuquay-Varina is located in southern Wake County and is regarded as a great place to live in North Carolina due to its low crime rate and proximity to Research Triangle Park and Downtown Raleigh.

Ranked the sixth-best suburb to move to in the country, many families are choosing to move to Fuquay-Varina with recent population growth and new real estate development.

Local Favorites:

Wake Forest

Population: 49,657

Average Commute Time: 35 minutes to Raleigh

Median Household Income: $100,162

Wake Forest is a beautiful town in Wake, Franklin, and Granville Counties that is best known for its high-end dining options, thriving art scene, and plenty of green space. Often referred to as a "nature lover's paradise," Wake Forest offers hiking, boating, camping, biking, and fishing opportunities.

Considered to be one of Raleigh's best suburbs, many families are moving to Wake Forest for its beautiful small town full of history, culture, and activities.

Local Favorites:

  • Falls Lake State Recreation Area: Found 15 miles east of downtown Durham, this 5,035-acre recreation area is located along the shores of Falls Lake. This is an excellent place for hiking, biking, swimming, and boating.
  • The Factory: Made up of over 187,000 square feet of restaurants, retail space, and family-friendly facilities that everyone can enjoy in a safe location.
  • E. Carroll Joyner Park: Recognized as one of the largest parks in Wake County, this 117-acre park offers paved walking trails, an amphitheater, a pecan grove, a playground, and open green spaces.


Population: 31,935

Average Commute Time: 13 minutes to Raleigh

Median Household Income: $67,571

Garner is a small town in Wake County that offers a dense suburban feel where most residents own their homes. Recognized as a fast-growing community, Garner is famous for its hometown charm and atmosphere.

Located near Research Triangle Park, Garner is constantly growing, offering an excellent place for relocating and expanding businesses. Famous for its laid-back atmosphere and genuine neighbors, moving to Garner is fantastic for individuals searching for a job or affordable home.

Local Favorites:

  • Garner Recreational Park: Located in downtown Garner, this 20-acre park features a playground, picnic shelters, walking trails, mountain biking trails, and a dog park.
  • Rush Hour Karting: Ride up to 40 mph at North Carolina's fastest indoor go-karting facility. This is an excellent place for the whole family, a team, or a group of friends.
  • Lake Benson Park: This 64-acre park features walking trails, picnic facilities, and a lake for fishing and boating.

Chapel Hill

Population: 61,128

Average Commute Time: one hour to Raleigh

Median Household Income: $75,249

Chapel Hill is a famous town in North Carolina just outside of Raleigh that is best known as the home of the University of North Carolina, the nation's first public university. As the seventeenth largest municipality in the state, Chapel Hill offers a great mixture of urban and suburban living.

Best known for its cozy coffee shops, delicious new restaurants, clean public parks, excellent schools, and quaint atmosphere, Chapel Hill is a good place to live. With a cost of living that is 22% higher than the national average, moving to Chapel Hill is ideal for college students and young professionals.

The Old Well at UNC in Chapel Hill, NC

Local Favorites:

  • Morehead Planetarium and Science Center: This planetarium and science center features a new 4K laser projection system and offers exhibits, shows, and classes open to the public.
  • North Carolina Botanical Garden: Offering free admission, this is one of the most extensive native plant botanical gardens in the southeast United States.
  • Ackland Art Museum: Located on The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus, this art museum offers free admission and features over 19,000 works of art.


Population: 9,176

Average Commute Time: 57 minutes to Raleigh

Median Household Income: $65,591

Hillsborough is located in Orange County along the Eno River and is an excellent place to live that offers residents a sparse suburban feel. Known to be a small town with a rich history, the Hillsborough downtown historic district is home to a lively arts and culture scene that features beautiful homes, churches, and buildings built in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Local Favorites:

  • Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area: Covering 221 acres in Orange County, Occoneechee Mountain is the highest point in the county and a settlement of the Occaneechi tribe. This is the perfect place for mountain hiking in a great location.
  • Hillsborough Gallery of Arts: Established in 2007, view contemporary and fine art exhibits in downtown Hillsborough.
  • Ayr Mount: Built-in 1815 by William Kirkland, this Federal style plantation home and historic landmark offers daily tours of the grounds and trails.


Population: 19,576

Average Commute Time: 19 minutes to Raleigh

Median Household Income: $88,866

Knightdale is located just south of Downtown Raleigh and is a famous town in Wake County that is best known for its many parks, outdoor recreation activities, and small craft breweries. Offering its residents a dense suburban feel and a low crime rate, young professionals and families moving to Knightdale will love its quiet and relaxing way of life.

Local Favorites:

  • Knightdale Station Park: This fun community park has over two miles of walking trails, a rail-themed playground, sports fields, and a picnic shelter.
  • Oak City Brewing Company: Located in historic downtown Knightdale, this relaxed taproom features a dog-friendly beer garden and offers up to 20 rotating taps and tons of outdoor space.
  • Prime Barbecue: Enjoy smoked meats and sandwiches, homemade southern sides, and tasty desserts.

bowl of macaroni and cheese with a fork

Which Raleigh suburb do you want to live in?

Raleigh is home to an array of different communities and highly-rated suburbs that have their own appeal. From the safe and family-centered towns to Cary, which is the growing and lively community as well as Holly Springs, there is no wrong choice when deciding to live in one of Raleigh's suburbs. There are even some suburbs not on this list, including Rolesville, Sanford, and Smithfield, that are worth checking out. 

If you are interested in buying a home in Raleigh or one of its suburbs, contact us today to be connected with one of our friendly and knowledgeable Real Estate Specialists. Make sure to refer to our other area guides for more information about the median home price, best restaurants, neighborhoods, and things to do in the Raleigh area.

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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! Nice to 'meet' you and thanks for visiting our Raleigh Real Estate Blog! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I'm a REALTOR® in Raleigh-Durham, NC, the owner of Raleigh Realty. I work alongside some of the best Realtors in Raleigh. You can find more of my real estate content on Forbes, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and more. Realtor Magazine named me a top 30 under 30 Realtor in the country (it was a long time ago haha). Any way, that's enough about me. I'd love to learn more about you if you'd like to connect with me on Facebook and Instagram or connect with our team at Raleigh Realty. Looking forward to connecting!

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