Family Friendly areas/towns within Commuting distance to Philadelphia
Collingswood, NJ is very highly rated as a family town. It is quite expensive, but surrounding towns (Oaklyn, Audubon, Haddon Heights, even parts of Cherry Hill) are more affordable. If you are near the PATCO, it is a quick high speed line ride into the city. The biggest problem with NJ is the high taxes, which is part of the reason we still rent. There are lots of nice natural-appealing stores around here (both a Wegmans and a Whole Foods, and a Trader Joe's.)
Delaware Co, PA is very nice -- it's where I grew up, and there were a lot of homeschoolers. There are buses, trolleys, and regional rail lines into Philly in various places. Media is another town highly rated as a family town/small town experience. Aston is a nice, more affordable town in Delaware Co.
Newark, DE is also very nice, about a 45 min commute from Center City, but there is a regional rail line into the city. The University of Delaware is located there, which makes for very nice community events and educational opportunities. Delaware is WAY cheaper to live in than PA or NJ; property taxes are a fraction of what they are here in NJ. There are several homeschool groups in DE. The bus system isn't great, however, and it's a bit of a ride to the nearest Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. There is a very nice natural food store co-op in Newark itself, though.
West Mt.Airy in Philadelphia is a lovely, diverse, community-oriented area. It is considered Northwest Philadelphia, and it is close to Chestnut Hill, but a bit more affordable. In my particular neighborhood, there is close access to a co-op, a coffee shop, an independent bookstore, a kids consignment shop, and a little park.
There's easy access to both the bus and the train, and Wissahickon Park is practically in our backyard. They just opened a Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting, which is about 15 minutes away.
There's an elementary school right across from the co-op, and an art studio on the corner. I'm a member of the Mt.Airy Parents Network, and if you join online, there's all sorts of posts about play dates, baby items, school and pediatrician information, local events, free stuff, etc. I just love my neighborhood. If you need more information, I'm here. Good luck!