If you’re an adventure seeker looking to move places, or even a new spot to travel to, there are certain places in the United States that are the best places to live for outdoor adventures. To make sure we covered them all, we included our own insights and other travel experts.
Thank you to all that helped us put this list together! We really appreciate the thoughts and insights!
Here is our full list and insight into the best places to live for outdoor adventures:
Most people know Boulder, CO as a college town populated by hippies and athletes, located at the base of the majestic flatirons of the Rocky Mountain range. While this is true, Boulder has so much more to offer than just an idyllic location for indulging in legal marijuana or endurance training. The mild climate and frequent sunny weather makes this an outdoor lover’s paradise with an abundance of recreational activities. From farmers markets to beautiful parks to delicious restaurants, a thriving music scene and a myriad of local breweries, this place has it all. It’s no wonder Boulder attracts people from all over who want to live a healthy, active lifestyle in one of the most beautiful places in the US
For a more in-depth guide on Boulder, check out Amanda’s guide here!
One of the most frequently places visited for vacation and deservingly so. Hawaii is unique due to its unique beaches, mountains, and the weather pretty much being perfect. One day you can surf, and the next you can be hiking up to a waterfall.
If you’re a foodie, this is a great place for you too since there’s some cuisines that are unique to Hawaii. The acai bowls are popular with locals, along with numerous restaurants all over the main island. If you decide to eat at the restaurants, make sure to look around to see who’s eating around you. Since Hawaii is a common tourist spot, many celebrities stop by too.
For a more in-depth guide, check out this interview by the Globetrotter GP!
Philadelphia is the sixth largest city in the United States and is home to a lot of United States history. If you love checking out cities in general, Philadelphia has to be on your list. It has unique architecture as it’s one of the oldest cities in the United States, and you can act like you’re Rocky by running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It’s also home to Fairmount Park, which is one of the largest urban park systems in the United States if you want a break from adventuring in the city.
For a more in-depth guide, check out this post by Kevin and Amanda!
Charleston, South Carolina
Named the most polite and hospitable city in America by Southern Living Magazine, Charleston is one of the most popular cities for tourism in the southern United States. Being on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, Charleston is great for those that love to be on the water. You can sail around the port of Charleston or even go on a chartered sailing tour. There’s plenty to kayak with swamps, rice plantations, and creeks all over the area. This might be the one place where you could see a dolphin and an alligator not far from each other.
Annapolis is a great place to live for outdoor adventures if your favorite outdoor activity is boating. It’s home to one of the best boat shows in the United States, the United States Powerboat Show, and is known for having great seafood too. Crab Cakes, baked oysters, and even crab pretzels? How is that even a thing?
For more information, check out this post by Stella at Around the World in 24 hours!
Savannah is another great place to sail by visiting Tybee Island which is just 20 minutes away from downtown Savannah. There’s even an eco-kayak tour you can take at Tybee Island. Savannah is also known as one of the most haunted cities in America. So, if you’re feeling really adventurous at night, you can go on a tour of haunted sites. Boo!
In general, Savannah is a great place to just walk around because of its historical scenery and the riverfront. It’s home to a lot of smaller outdoor shops too.
For more information on Savannah, check out this guide by Travel Bags and Bones!
For those looking for a smaller city that is one of the best places to live for the outdoors in the Midwest, look no further than Madison, Wisconsin. Yes, there’s more than just cheese here. There’s also beer. Okay, there’s more than just cheese and beer.
Madison is great for outdoor lovers mainly because it is located between two lakes. There’s plenty of scenic bike trails around the lakes, and these are great lakes to kayak on.
For information about the food in Madison, check out this post by Give Me Meatloaf!
San Antonio, Texas
For curious travelers visiting San Antonio who want to have a creative adventure, there is much to discover. Start by wandering the 25+ spaces within the La Villita Historic Arts Village. Here you'll find items that are both aesthetic and functional, whether you're wanting Mexican artwork to spruce up your home or a handmade leather accessory. Nearby, you can continue your inspired exploration by visiting Briscoe Western Art Museum's free-to-enjoy McNutt Courtyard & Sculpture Garden. Moreover, you can give yourself a challenge while strolling the city's famed River Walk by trying to find the little graffiti dudes inconspicuously placed along it.
For an even more in-depth guide of San Antonio, check out Jessie’s guide here!
San Diego, California
We talked about adventuring in San Diego in our underwater basket weaving blog post, so it’s only natural that it makes our list of best places to live for outdoor adventures.
Being on the coast gives San Diego a lot of perks for outdoor lovers. From the great weather to the numerous activities, there’s always something to go check out for the adventurer. There are great hiking trails that give scenic views over the Pacific Ocean, and if you love to surf, there’s few places that will beat San Diego.
For even more information on being an adventurer in San Diego, check out this post by Nomads With a Purpose!
Portland (Maine, not Oregon), is great for the adventures who love seasonality. There are mountain biking trails that turn into cross country skiing trails in the winter, and there is a lot of remote wildness across Maine in general. Just outside downtown Portland are some more rugged beaches. Not as nice as the beaches we mentioned in our Michigan post though…
For more information on exploring Portland, check out this post by the Outdoor Project!
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is a city of old town luxury and outdoor adventure around it. Similar to Annapolis above, it also has a great boat show if boating is your type of adventure. In addition to boating though, it does have a great trail called the CliffWalk which is behind the Newport Mansions. If you love ocean views and mansions, this walk is pretty sweet.
If you don’t feel like walking, there’s also a 10 mile oceanview drive that is a great scenic drive. It’s normally called the “10 mile drive” around town too, which is super original.
For a more in-depth guide, check out this post by Abby Capalbo!
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans isn't your average American city. From the gorgeous architecture to the Creole culture, whenever I visit NOLA, it feels as if I'm walking through another country. New Orleans arguably has some of the best food in the country, from Cajun staples to forward-thinking restaurant concepts. And lastly, my favorite part about New Orleans? It's definitely the people. The locals of NOLA are some of the friendliest people around!
For a more in-depth guide of New Orleans, check out Alicia’s guide here!
Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city and sits on the Cook Inlet. It’s known for the surrounding wilderness and numerous cultural sites. You can find the Church Mountains and picturesque glaciers nearby. In town, it’s not uncommon to see a moose on the side of the road or in someone’s backyard!
Speaking of moose, don’t miss eating at the Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria, a local favorite. I also recommend eating at The Deck at Lake Hood, where you can sit on the outdoor lakeside patio and watch the floatplanes come and go. Grab a Bacon Jam Burger or a flight of bourbon at the Spenard Roadhouse as well, or a coffee at Kaladi Brothers. For incredible scenery, drive the Turnagain Arm and see the Portage Glacier. For wildlife viewing opportunities, visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. You won’t be bored in Anchorage if you love the outdoors and good food!
For a more in-depth guide to Anchorage, check out Joy’s post here!
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is on our list of best places to live for outdoor adventures for slightly different reasons than other cities on this list. Unlike many of the cities here, Salt Lake City is built for the adventurers who love snow. Literally, their slogan for Utah is “The Greatest Snow on Earth”.For that reason alone, if you love to ski, Salt Lake City has to be at least on your list of places to visit.
In addition to the snowy conditions, it’s also home to the largest saltwater lake (hence the city’s name…) in the Western Hemisphere. How cool is that??
For a more in-depth review of Salt Lake City, check out this post by Everyday Wanderer!
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville North Carolina is one of the coolest cities in the United States, with a mix of creativity, live music, microbreweries, and a hearty love for the outdoors.
It's not a huge city, but it's not a small town either. The downtown area is easily walkable, and the city has its own brand of charm. Asheville is known for its
cool art scene, with great street murals and small art galleries hiding around every corner. There are plenty of activities for adventure junkies too, like kayaking the
French Broad River and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
For a more-depth guide, check out this post by Matt!
What do you think of our list? Did we miss a place? Let us know! We’d love to hear your feedback and any adventures you’ve had in these places!