The 7 Best Places to Move to If You Love the Outdoors

published Sep 26, 2020
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Tahoe City, California

Spending time outdoors is good for the mind, body, and soul. Particularly in the era of the Coronavirus pandemic, the great outdoors offer much-needed opportunities for safe socialization, exercise, and stress reduction. If you’re the type that would rather be out in nature than bingeing Netflix in your living room (no shame if not!), living in a city that has access to plenty of outdoor activities is a great way to get your fix.

If you’re looking for a place to call home that offers sunshine, fresh air, and outdoor recreation, check out these seven U.S. cities that are a dream come true for someone who can’t get enough of wide-open spaces. 

Aurora, Colorado

The state of Colorado boasts “300 days of sunshine,” and with average highs that range from the mid-40s to the mid-80s, Aurora is a great place to soak up the sun. The Aurora Reservoir offers boating, fishing, and hiking. The city also has 113 parks, 98 miles of trails, and more than 8,000 acres of open space.

Vancouver, Washington

Located between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, picturesque Vancouver has more to offer than just beautiful scenery. Take advantage of the 191 area parks, or sip on some vino at one of the many wineries. At the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, you can spot neotropical songbirds and wintering waterfowl among other local native species. Located just an hour and half outside Vancouver, Mount St. Helens offers year-round outdoor recreation, including snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. 

North Conway, New Hampshire

Quiet North Conway has a population of just over 2,000, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in natural beauty and an abundance of outdoor recreation. The East Coast town has 13 ski areas within a 30-minute drive and has been voted one of the Top 10 Best Small Towns in America for Adventure by readers of USA Today. Surrounded by the White Mountain National Forest, you’ll never run out of room to roam with 780,000 acres and more than 1,200 miles of trails.

Tahoe City, California

The iconic mountain town of Tahoe City has it all: skiing, beaches, boating, fishing, and more. Still a hotspot for celeb sightings, you can get a glimpse of history by checking out the former vacation homes of millionaires from a bygone era, such as the Hellman-Ehrman mansion at Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park. Wander around downtown to pop in quaint shops, art galleries, and charming restaurants.

Lake Ozark, Missouri

The Lake of the Ozarks was created by impounding the Osage River in the north part of the Ozarks in central Missouri. Nicknamed “The Magic Dragon,” the serpentine-shaped lake is a boating enthusiast’s dream.  Several streams and lower-water areas are perfect for canoeing and kayaking, and float trips are a popular option, too.  When you finally come back to dry land, there are four caves to explore, as well as 32 trails and two state parks. 

Santa Fe, New Mexico

With the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the east and the stunning desert of the Rio Grande Valley to the south and west, there’s no shortage of natural splendor in the Santa Fe area. The fairly temperate climate means you can enjoy all this artistic and architecture-rich city has to offer all year long. 

Asheville, North Carolina

Surrounded by the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville boasts more than one million acres of protected wilderness with opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing, and paddling. At scenic Mount Mitchell, you’ll find the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Take in beautiful waterfalls at Gorges State Park, or cruise the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway in a convertible.