From the snow-covered peaks of Alaska to the sandy beaches of Florida, the US is an outdoor lover’s paradise, but given that more than 80% percent of Americans live in urban areas, what is the best city to live in if you love the outdoors?
The Niche ranking takes into account multiple factors including weather, city parks, the proximity to National and State Parks, rates of adult physical inactivity, and more. The resulting list may be somewhat surprising but give it a little thought and it makes perfect sense.
Here are the top five US cities for outdoor living:
#1 San Francisco and #5 Sunnyvale, CA
With a small-town vibe and the population of a metropolis, San Francisco offers its inhabitants 220 parks to explore. Some are well manicured like the Golden Gate Park, and some less so – such as Bernal Hill with its own resident coyote.
The 3.5 mile-long Ocean Beach is famous for its challenging surf and is a perfect spot to sunbathe. And if you’re more into rock climbing than surfing, Castle Rock, a renowned bouldering spot, is just an hour away. Not to mention that in just about a three hours drive you can be standing at the base of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.
Located on the southern tip of the San Francisco Bay, Sunnyvale is a much smaller but equally upbeat city surrounded by five gorgeous state parks. It’s also the country’s seventh in terms of safety, making it a great place to raise a family.
#2 Cambridge and #3 Boston, MA
Listed second and third in the ranking, Cambridge and Boston are located on the opposite shores of the Charles River, making a great location for both kayakers and rafters. Mountain bikers can enjoy over 100 MTB trails and rock climbers can find a variety of small crags. And we haven’t even mentioned the lovely, soft-sanded city beaches yet!
#4 Kent, WA
#pnwonderland is trending on Instagram for a reason. The Pacific Northwest is an adventurer’s paradise and Kent is a great home base for all those wanting to avoid the hustle and bustle of Seattle. With three state parks located just round the corner (Dash Point, Flaming Geyser and Saltwater), the inhabitants of Kent can engage in just about any kind of outdoor recreation they like. Those willing to drive slightly further will be rewarded with the joys of Wenatchee National Forest and Mt Rainier National Park.