7 Great Places to Move to If You Love the Outdoors

Jon Fesmire |

If you drive across the United States, you’ll find that there is a lot of unpopulated space. Even in many populated areas, we like our open spaces and the ability to enjoy the outdoors. In every state, you’ll find beautiful spots.

Here are seven great U.S. cities for outdoor lovers.

Denver, Colorado

In general, Colorado has gorgeous weather year round. In Denver, even the winter has plenty of sunny days. In fact, the city boasts an average of 300 sunny days per year. The Rocky Mountains are close, so if you love hiking, camping, or skiing, you can always head there.

Prefer to stay in the city and cycle or walk around a city park? Denver has you covered.

Fort Collins, Colorado

Are you getting the idea that Colorado is a great place for outdoor lovers? You should! Fort Collins is another great city for outside activities. It’s near Rocky Mountain National Park, with fishing, skiing, hiking, and the Poudre River. Fort Collins is also considered a platinum level cycling city. You can even cycle if you don’t own a bicycle, with the bike share program.

Portland, Oregon

For outdoor lovers, Portland has a bit of everything. The city is near the Oregon coast and the beach. It’s also near the Cascade Mountains where opportunities for skiing, hiking, camping, and river rafting abound. Along the coast, many enjoy surfing. It’s no wonder Portland residents are so environmentally friendly! There’s also plenty of room for walking and cycling. Among the many parks, you’ll find the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden, dedicated to famed children’s author, Beverly Cleary. Outdoor lovers can enjoy touring the sculpture garden and relaxing in the sun.

Burlington, Vermont

Burlington not only has plenty to do outdoors, it’s also one of the healthiest cities in the U.S. In 2008, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) named Burlington the country’s healthiest city.

In this environmentally aware small city of 43,000, residents have plenty of places to walk and cycle. There are also some great campgrounds and swimming, as Burlington sits on the edge of Lake Champlain. You’ll find many campgrounds so you can enjoy a night in the outdoors. The area also has summer camps, swimming, and more.

Jackson, Wyoming

Jackson is right next door to two of the country’s most well-known national parks, Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. Check them out for hiking, camping, and rafting.

Love skiing? Then head up to the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The area also has a lot of range land for cycling. In the area, you’ll also find plenty of campsites and dude ranches. If you’re a fan of the Old West, you’ll feel at home when you see the many western style shop fronts housing modern stores. Want to learn about the local animals? Check out the National Museum of Wildlife Art.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

One thing you’ll learn quickly if you move to Minneapolis is that it’s great for commuting via bicycle. The city has plenty of biking trails, including along the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers. This environmentally conscious city also has a huge park system, great for playing, walking, or spending time with your kids and family. There are plenty of summer activities, and you can even take golf lessons. What else does Minneapolis have to offer outdoor lovers? Try plenty of yearly festivals that will get you out of the house. These include the City of Lakes Loppet, a cross-country ski race, and Aquatennial in mid-July, with its beach parties and concerts.

San Francisco, California

When you think of San Francisco, you may imagine hills upon hills, streets that rise and fall, flanked with skinny houses and businesses. That’s definitely part of this unique city, but San Francisco has plenty for the outdoor lover as well.

First, walking around San Francisco is enjoyable, and it’s generally easy to hop on an open-air cable car. You can also cycle around San Francisco, but keep in mind those steep hills! Your legs will become incredibly strong in no time. The city also has some wonderful biking routes to check out.

Then there’s Golden Gate Park, a woodsy, grassy area larger than 1,000 acres, the perfect place to cycle, walk, or have a picnic. Within the park, you’ll find gardens, meadows, and groves. Also right in the park, you can take a few hours to enjoy the California Academy of Sciences Museum and the San Francisco Zoo.

Finally, if you enjoy fresh seafood or just checking out the bay and Pacific Ocean, head to one of San Francisco’s many piers. While you’re by the ocean, consider taking a boat ride or going fishing. Living in San Francisco, you may also want to take up surfing, as the city has some amazing spots to catch waves.

In short, the U.S. has some amazing places for outdoor lovers to live, whether you enjoy the mountains, the ocean, or a little of both. Once you decide where you’re going to live, happy moving, and enjoy the sunshine!