Suburb_Colleyville1 Wendy and Craig Gandy own Rowdy Horse Farms. Wendy's on the right, with her sister Melinda Schueler. photography by Billy Surface

3. Colleyville

Population: 22,950
Annual growth since 1990: 3%
Average home sales price in 2009: $480,880
Median age of residents: 40
Families with kids under 18: 49.8%
Median household income: $117,419
 
What they say: People here like the plentiful baseball and softball fields and the soccer complex. Residents are similar to their Southlake neighbors, but they have slightly smaller budgets. They also desire a less stressful lifestyle and don't miss the variety that comes with a larger town. Colleyville offers more athletic opportunities for students than its wealthier neighbor—partly because there are more schools; partly because in Southlake only the best get to play. A recent survey by the city found 96 percent of residents are satisfied with Colleyville’s quality of life, most enjoying the small-town environment, location, and low crime rate. They don’t like the overzealous police department. One resident got a ticket in a 30 mph zone for doing 33. And the passing of packaged liquor sales in May is still a sore subject with the 25 percent of the population that voted against it. “Militant” homeowners’ associations, $500 monthly clothing allowances for middle-schoolers, and “Southlake wannabes” also are among the less popular aspects of Colleyville life, as one former resident remembers. Homes range from $200,000 (near the Grapevine border) to more than a million. 

What we say: Colleyville is a steady, high-scoring town in all our criteria. So steady it came in at No. 3 the last time we did this list, too. The city scores especially high in safety, second only to Parker and Highland Village in the number of violent crimes per 1,000 residents (.09). Its retail never took off the way Southlake’s did, partly because it isn’t as centralized. The best parts of Colleyville are the mature trees that newer suburbs drool over, the “Colleywood” nickname (referring to the city’s wealth), and that it is close to DFW Airport yet out of its flight pattern

Take a look at how you might pass an afternoon here.