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The Best Cities for Outdoor-Types to Live

Posted on: September 10th, 2014 by Quik Shade

There are many cities that have parks and nearby open spaces that make it easy for outdoor-types to live in a bustling city and still enjoy being outside. You can enjoy hiking, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, cycling, running, and other adventure sports without having to drive hours and waste precious sunlight just to get to the location. The following list includes the best cities for those who cannot stand to stay inside all day to live, some of which may just surprise you.


Washington D.C.

The nation’s capital is a busy and thriving city that has many areas just outside of town for the outdoor enthusiast to enjoy. The Potomac River provides the perfect environment for enjoying  many water sports, including sailing, kayaking, and canoeing. Not too far away are the Great Falls, the Virginia and George Washington State Forest, and the Shenandoah National Park that offer beautiful natural trails for trail running, cycling and hiking, as well as some campgrounds for backpacking or camping. Georgetown also offers places along the Potomac River for walking, biking and rock climbing.

Bend, Oregon

Bend has a population of almost 80,000 people but still feels like a small town without the large crowds that you find in larger cities, and the wide open spaces outdoorsman crave. It also offers almost any type of outdoor adventure for year round enjoyment. It has a high elevation, so most of its residents enjoy mostly mountain-based outdoor activities. It has water sports, skiing, rock climbing, hiking, and cycling. It also averages about 300 days of sunshine a year, making it easy to get out and enjoy the surrounding natural environment.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Vegas may not be known for its outdoor fun, but beyond the casinos on the strip, it actually has many beautiful natural landscapes to enjoy. There is Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area to climb. It is only a two-hour drive to Zion National Park for hiking and climbing among one of the most beautiful location in the country. Bootleg Canyon offers cycling opportunities where you can enjoy the diverse desert wildlife. The Colorado River offers water sports, as does Lake Mead. Mount Charleston provides winter sport fun.

Portland, Maine

Portland is another small city, with a population of only about 70,000 people, that offers plenty of outdoor fun. The nearby beach at Pophman provides the perfect spot for relaxing in the sun. You can enjoy water sports on Casco Bay, Beaver Pond, Haskell Pond, Highland Lake, and Presumpscot River Reservoir. The Bradbury Mountain is not far away, and it offers great opportunities for climbing, hiking and mountain biking. You can also just enjoy wondering through the trails around Cape Elizabeth.

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder boasts over 300 days of sunshine every year, and it is also known for being one of the fittest healthiest and happiest cities in the country. Colorado is the Rocky Mountain State, and offers many beautiful areas to go climbing and mountaineering, as well as skiing. The nearby Eldorado Canyon is the popular destination on which residents play. There are also nearby places for enjoying water sports. You can enjoy both winter and summer sports in the beautiful scenery of Boulder.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco has sunshine for more than two-thirds of the year and a pleasant climate. Additionally, about 18 percent of the city is designated as parks. It consistently makes lists for being the best outdoor city. You can enjoy the local parks, or go to the nearby beaches. There are also opportunities for almost any type of outdoor sport, including hiking, biking, climbing, water sports, skiing, and more.   

There are many other cities throughout the country that offer the amenities of a large city and the opportunity to play outdoors, no matter your sport of choice. 

photo credit: Laurel Fan via photopin cc

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