A Nature Lover’s Dream: 6 Best Cities For Outdoor Enthusiasts

For some people, the appeal of living in a big, bustling city is not as enticing without plenty of outdoor space.

Although New York City has a lot going for it, green spaces and outdoor activities like hiking are not plentiful.

For anyone who loves the feel of a big city but still wants the option to spend their Saturday getting outdoors and active, there are plenty of great destinations in the U.S. that provide both types of lifestyles.

Suppose you are thinking about relocating anytime soon. This is the kind of environment you are looking for; you may want to consider moving to Charleston, SC, or heading to the West Coast for destinations like San Francisco or Seattle.

Check out our complete list for even more inspiration.

Best cities for outdoor enthusiasts

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston often gets a lot of credit for being one of the cleanest cities in the U.S., and it makes sense because the skyscrapers and the outdoor spaces in this city seem to balance each other out.

Known for its top-notch colleges, including Harvard University, Boston College and Northeastern University, Boston is the ideal location for anyone going to school.

Aside from the city’s notoriously prestigious schools, you will also find many water activities, thanks to its proximity to the Boston Harbor as well as a variety of parks. Boston is home to the country’s oldest public park—Boston Common.

Even in the dead of winter, Bostonians are out and about getting active, but if you are not a fan of the cold weather, you may want to explore some other big cities for a taste of the great outdoors.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco is a beautiful city in northern California, offering visitors and residents an extensive list of things to do. However, it is currently the most expensive city in the country—even more so than in New York City.

But, if you got the money to dish out, living in San Francisco will allow you to explore the many different areas with bars, restaurants, entertainment venues and outdoor parks.

You will find the Marin Headlands with hiking trails and picnic areas. This area is very close to the city and offers the unique experience of exploring the Point Bonita Lighthouse, which is open on Sundays and Mondays between 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

If the price tag on San Francisco living is a little out of your league, you should also consider relocating to Oakland, California. Oakland is just outside the city, allowing you all the benefits of living near San Francisco and staying close to the many outdoor activities in the surrounding areas


Charleston, South Carolina

People are moving to Charleston, South Carolina, daily because it is an abundance of city and outdoor activities.

The city itself is relatively small, with a downtown area stretching between four and five square miles.

With a strict policy on architectural projects, The City of Charleston has restricted how high new buildings can be, creating a unique town that lacks standard skyscrapers. Instead, the buildings possess an original style emulating traditional Colonial, Georgian, Federal and Classic Revival architecture.

Many of the homes also designed with a look specific to Charleston, known as the Charleston single home, which also features a side porch called a piazza. While the downtown area is beautiful and full of nightlife with hundreds of restaurants and bars, there are plenty of outdoor spaces, including parks, three different beaches and 12 other hiking trails in the nearby Francis Marion National Forest.

Denver, Colorado

Colorado is one of the best places in the country for outdoor enthusiasts. With so many different environments within driving distance, Colorado offers the best of all worlds to its visitors and residents–from the city life in Denver to the hiking trails of the Rocky Mountains and the dunes of the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Southern Colorado.

Colorado seems like the prominent place for an outdoor enthusiast with so many adorable mountain towns throughout the state. Still, Denver is one of the best places if you also want to remain close to the big city.

Throughout Denver, you will find unique bars, restaurants, clubs and entertainment areas. Then, on the weekend, pack up the car and head out to the mountains for a nature-centric escape.

Salt Lake City, Utah

The only major city in Utah, Salt Lake City, has plenty to offer both city-goers and outdoor adventurers.

The city itself has all the usual staples plus Liberty Park, an 80-acre outdoor park with jogging trails, tennis courts and playgrounds of children.

You also have a beautiful backdrop of the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges in the distance.

If you are going to relocate to Salt Lake City, you will also have the option of taking weekend trips to other beautiful outdoor places in Utah like Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon, both on the southern side state.

Seattle, Washington

Washington state is a premier destination for outdoor enthusiasts with its abundance of outdoor areas and national parks.

Seattle is the largest city in the state with plenty of great attractions, but you can quickly jet off to Mount Rainier for the day or explore the North Cascades and the Puget Sound.

Located right on the water, Seattle offers the perfect combination of mountain, water and city activities for all age groups.

Get a Taste of City and Country Life

You do not need to sacrifice your love of the great outdoors when you move to a big city. Moving to Charleston, SC, coastal towns in California, or any of these other beautiful destinations will provide you with plenty of opportunities to explore both city life and the natural landscape.

Whether you enjoy hitting the water on the weekends or hiking through the mountains, you will love the easy nature access each of these cities offers.

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