Some of us like the cold winter air, the snow, and warm indoors, whereas some of us prefer pleasant and mild temperatures to enjoy the lush green cover and beautiful landscapes. While a large percentage of us want a city’s urban facilities with its extensive transport, variety in cuisine, and diversity in cultures, not all of us like the lack of natural cover.

For those of you who prefer the great outdoors and enjoy long walks and hikes, living in a major city can be disheartening. But, hold your horses, not all major cities have tall grey buildings, crowded parks, and smokey polluted air. There are a number of cities in the country that not only have all modern amenities, but they also have outdoor spaces or national parks close by that you can visit on a regular basis. We’ll make the process simpler for you by giving you a list of the most outdoorsy cities in the US.

List of the Most Outdoorsy Cities in the U.S.

  1. Seattle, Washington
  2. Juneau, Alaska
  3. Portland, Maine
  4. Salt Lake City, Utah
  5. Boulder, Colorado
  6. Bishop, California
  7. Honolulu, Hawaii

Infographic - Most Outdoorsy Cities in the U.S.
Infographic – Most Outdoorsy Cities in the U.S.

7 Most Outdoorsy Cities in America

1. Seattle, Washington


Taking first place on real estate website Niche’s list of Best American Cities for Outdoor activities, Seattle isn’t as grey and dull as it might seem on the first appearance. Even though it’s the state’s capital with swarming crowds, there are hidden gems around this city that make it worthy of being named the “Emerald City”. Seattle has three glorious spaces for hiking, climbing, and nature enthusiasts nearby – Discovery Park, Olympic Peninsula, and Mt Rainier National Park.

Apart from these parks, residents take joy in biking through the Burke-Gilman Trail, which reminds us of something very exciting – the city has seen a large influx of bike programs and trails! So, for those of you who love biking in the mornings with the wind in your hair, Seattle has become one of the best biking cities in the country.

A big highlight of living in Seattle is the amenities you will have. Not only are other major cities temptingly away, but the city itself has a diverse cultural events scene with a variety of food and festivals. There’s something for everyone – a thriving job market for young professionals and top-rated schools and colleges for students.

Take note though that Seattle is not kind to everyone’s wallets. In brief, the city’s real estate market is booming, confusing, and plays a part in the city’s high cost of living. If you can afford to live in this bustling and beautiful city, then you should take the leap!

  • Median price of homes for sale in Seattle: $725,000
  • Median rent per month in Seattle: $1,495

See also: Moving to Seattle

2. Juneau, Alaska

If your definition of outdoor activity does not involve the sun’s blaring rays, then Juneau is your city. Rated by Lonely Planet as the US’s most outdoorsy state capital, this city in Alaska is thronged by mystical and majestic snowy landscapes and wildlife that will call out to you. We’re running short of adjectives here as we try to describe the city’s main highlight – the Mendenhall Glacier that is frolicked by many trekkers annually. You can also fish at the serene Tongass National Forest, or hike around the Nugget Falls. Wait, we’re not done yet – during the winter months, you can also ski at the Eaglecrest or indulge in some surfing at the Shrine of St. Therese!

It must come as no surprise that Juneau’s population is just 32k, since the temperatures here are extreme with snow and rain, especially during the winter. So, if you’re someone who has lived in the country’s southern belt for quite some time, living here might take getting used to. Apart from the temperature though, the city has many urban facilities, a friendly and lively community of well-travelled people, cheap transportation, and a variety of jobs that will pay well. Another plus point of living in Juneau is the low cost of living as compared to most other US cities and the real estate prices here are fairly affordable.

  • Median price of homes for sale in Juneau: $340,000
  • Median rent per month in Juneau: $1,150

Alaska fun stats: Alaska has approximately 3,000 rivers, 39 mountain ranges, and over 3 million lakes!

3. Portland, Maine

Moving to Portland Maine

We can very confidently say that Portland has been suggested as an outdoorsy place everywhere on the internet, and there’s enough reason to. Not only is Maine’s capital city blessed with all kinds of outdoor recreational goodness, but it’s also surrounded by it! The Casco Bay islands that surround one half of the city are a glorious respite from everyday monotony.

Since there are so many of them, you’ll have the time of your life exploring them as you hike, climb and walk. But, the city has some great scenic spaces too, especially during the fall months where hikers and bikers alike set out on popular trails to enjoy the season. Old Port is also a great area for joggers and biking enthusiasts if you’re looking for new things to do.

Maine’s Portland should not be confused with Oregon’s Portland, especially because the former is quite tranquil and runs at a calmer pace as compared to the latter. So, if you’re looking for an outdoorsy city that’s also slow-paced, Maine’s Portland might just be the place for you.

Don’t mistake its slow pace for lack of urban facilities, since that’s far from true. Portland has every amenity you might need, from good schools, transportation, and job opportunities to access to major cities like Boston, which is just two hours away. You must note though that the cost of living in Portland is higher than the national average, but with good scenic beauties comes a hefty price tag.

  • Median price of homes for sale in Portland: $400,000
  • Median rent per month in Portland: $1,400

Did you know?: Iceland, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, and Italy show up as the top 5 years after year on the Healthiest Countries in the World list.

See also: Moving to Portland Maine

4. Salt Lake City, Utah

You might’ve already heard of the great adventures that the capital city of Utah – Salt Lake City offers. As we list all the adventures you can engage in, let’s start with the forerunner – the city is bordered by two magnificent mountain ranges on both the east and the west, namely the Wasatch Range and the Oquirrh Range. This already means that hiking and mountain climbing lovers are going to have a jolly time living in the city.

Not only are there ample opportunities for those, but you also have a large number of ski resorts all around the city like the Alta Ski Area and the famous Park City Mountain. For those of you who aren’t fans of skiing, you can hike around Lake Blanche, follow the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, or even run or kayak around Antelope Island. And wait, we can’t forget the magnificent Great Salt Lake and its surrounding areas!

Salt Lake City is a great place to live, for the young and old alike. We say this because the city has everything from great schools and transportation systems, to a thriving job market and low crime rates. Add to this a large number of parks, the lovely food, and the friendly people, all of this while you’re surrounded by great beauty, and what’s not to fall in love with? When it comes to the cost of living, it is below the national average with affordable real estate, so you can tick that off your list.

  • Median price of homes for sale in Salt Lake City: $427,000
  • Median rent per month in Salt Lake City: $1,050

Read Also: Moving To Utah – Relocation Guide for 2021

5. Boulder, Colorado

We’re sure you’ve been wondering why we’ve not featured Boulder on our list yet, so here it is! We don’t need to tell you about Boulder’s reputation as a city that might as well define the term “outdoorsy,” since it’s in the “Colorful Colorado” – a name given to the state due to its numerous mountains, rivers, flora, and fauna. If you’re a hiker or mountain climber, we assure you that you will fall in love with the nature surrounding the city.

Be it hiking through the Rocky Mountain National Park, rock climbing at Eldorado Canyon, or indulging in fly fishing at the serene Boulder Creek, the possibilities to stay outdoors are endless. Boulder itself has a creek that runs through the city and a large number of parks, so we can conclude that a shortage of recreational activities does not exist!

While Boulder has a multitude of hikes to go on and mountains to climb, there’s something else it ranks high on. Unsurprisingly it’s at being the healthiest city in the country and as a result the happiest too. Boulder’s breathtaking scenery is complemented by friendly and educated residents, extremely low crime rates, and a large number of young people. But, all of this comes at a price – the cost of living in Boulder is higher than most major cities in the country, with real estate prices shooting through the roof.

  • Median price of homes for sale in Boulder: $789,500
  • Median rent per month in Boulder: $1,559

Read Also: Largest Cities In Colorado

Yikes!: Author Tom Vanderbilt in the essay “The Crisis of American Walking” stated that American citizens walked less than citizens in other industrialized countries!

6. Bishop, California

Didn’t expect this here? Can’t say we’re surprised, since not many people think of Bishop when it comes to outdoor recreation. But, this small city in the heart of California state is specifically known for all the opportunities one gets for outdoor recreation, since it’s surrounded by vast and majestic deserts and mountains. The Sierra Nevada is one such place where you can either go bouldering at the famous Buttermilk, or mountain bike in its dirt trails. You will fall in love with the Bishop Creek Basin which has four awe-inspiring lakes, the best being Lake Sabrina which is a trail-head for the Blue Lake trail. Apart from these, the city itself has its own lush park called the Bishop City Park through which Bishop Creek flows.

If you plan to move to Bishop, you should note that the city has a small population and the community can be quite tight-knit. Similarly, there isn’t much scope for nightlife or numerous cultural activities, since it’s slow-paced and quiet suburban in nature. However, living in Bishop means that you will be close to some classic cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Barbara. When it comes to the cost of living, it’s higher than the national average but fairly affordable.

  • Median price of homes for sale in Bishop: $399,500
  • Median rent per month in Bishop: $1,350

7. Honolulu, Hawaii

Adding a beachy city to our list, Honolulu is one of the best places to live in, especially if you’re a lover of recreational activities that are associated with the ocean. The Hanauma Bay is no stranger to snorkeling enthusiasts, whereas Waikiki Beach is a paradise for surfers. If you’re a hiking enthusiast, you’re sure to fall in love with the Manoa Fall Trails and the Pu’u Ohi’s. One thing you can be definite about – you will never be short of sandy beaches to visit, since the city is close to around 125 beaches!

You can expect a very diverse and laid-back atmosphere if you move to Honolulu, which can be a large difference from the tiresome fast pace of usual major cities. But, there are a few reasons why moving to this gorgeous city might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Take the cost of living for example, which is terribly high, and so is the real estate. When it comes to schooling, though the schools here are good, they are all expensive. Even job opportunities are great, but there isn’t much variety, so you have to consider that too.

  • Median price of homes for sale in Honolulu: $789,000
  • Median rent per month in Honolulu: $1,475

Also Read: 10 Most Expensive Cities In The US

Honolulu Fun fact: Residents of Honolulu have labeled the cost of food, housing and shipping as the “Paradise Tax” since it’s so expensive!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the prettiest states?

Alaska tops the list as being the prettiest state in the country and is followed by Utah, Arizona, Hawaii and Colorado.

What are the top 10 best cities to live in the United States?

According to data by the U.S. News and World Report, Boulder in Colorado tops the list. It is followed by Denver, CO; Austin, TX; Colorado Springs, CO; Fort Collins, CO; Charlotte, NC; Des Moines, NA; Fayetteville, AR; Portland, OR; and San Francisco, CA.

What city has the best nature?

According to data by the Student Conservation Association, Chicago in Illinois has the best natural cover as compared to all other cities in the country.

Is Boston an outdoorsy city?

Boston is known to be one of the best cities for outdoor enthusiasts. Bostonians have an unbeatable love affair with nature that makes them just as happy in wintertime when snow covers all sides, or summer where you can enjoy long days at the camp beach!

Is Colorado an outdoorsy state?

Colorado is an outdoorsy state! You’ll never run out of things to do in the great outdoors with its diverse landscape. Whether you’re into camping and hunting or mountain biking, paddling on our rivers and lakes-colorado has it all for everyone who loves being active outside during their leisure time.

Is Florida an outdoorsy state?

Florida is the perfect place for outdoor adventure. The state has a year-round temperate to the tropical climate, bordered by 1,300 miles of saltwater coast and its interior with more than 30 thousand lakes and rivers/streams that flow through it all around the year!

How can I live a more outdoor life?

If you want to do more outdoor activities, start small. It’s never too late to walk more, dance in the rain, or take your dog for a walk. You might even consider walking up and down stairs instead of using the elevator. If you want to go to the gym, bring your walking shoes! And if you’re not confident enough to explore on your own, check out local walking groups found through


We all have our own preferences when it comes to adapting to different lifestyles. While some of us would rather stay indoors, a large number of us prefer to explore the outdoors. Since the country is so vast with different climatic conditions and terrains all around, it’s not necessary that you will have the type of climate you prefer where you already live.

As a result, most people relocate to places where they believe their quality of life will increase as they can enjoy the outdoors. But, when you decide where to move to, just looking at how outdoorsy it might be isn’t enough. You also have to be informed about other parameters like the cost of living, the jobs available, the schooling systems, and transportation among others. Make sure you factor these in and everything else should be fine!

Also read: Most Sunniest Cities in America | Largest US Cities by Population | Smallest Cities in the US