30 Cities for Outdoor Enthusiasts

PHOTO: Boise, Idaho. (photo via Flickr/GPS)
Patrick Clarke
by Patrick Clarke
Last updated: 9:00 AM ET, Mon February 19, 2018

Boise, Idaho

Boise is a phenomenal city to tour by hot air balloon, but those visitors looking to immerse themselves in nature are more likely to fall for the well-maintained and easily accessible Ridge to River Trail System, which features tremendous views of the surrounding landscape and wildlife.

Denver, Colorado

The Mile High City is a hub for outdoor activities and appeals to active travelers of all interests thanks to a conducive climate featuring 300 days of sunshine a year. Denver possesses thousands of acres of parks that can easily be toured via bike.

San Francisco, California

Although expansive, San Francisco remains one of the most walker- and biker-friendly cities in the world. Whether you're staying for one day or one week, the 1,000-plus acre Golden Gate Park is a must for sun seekers.

Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia is one of the most active cities in the country, and it isn't hard to see why. Scenic waterfront trails along the Potomac River offer plenty of sights to spice up a jog, and there are more than 900 acres of parks and recreation centers to explore.

Boston, Massachusetts

Put your training to the test during the annual Boston Marathon or head to the waterfront for a less competitive jog through Beantown. Though the weather doesn't always cooperate, Boston is sure to surprise unsuspecting visitors who certainly won't grow bored of strolling through the city.

Long Beach, California

One of nation's most walkable cities, Long Beach is also one of the best places to break out your bike. Cruise along the scenic waterfront or rent a hydrobike and pedal through the Alamitos Bay. Long Beach is also a premier destination for kiteboarding and kitesurfing.

Portland, Oregon

Portland is home to one of the largest urban forests in America. Forest Park spans more than 5,150 acres and features dozens of miles of trails that hikers and nature lovers can access without leaving city limits.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle's location makes it a top destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The Emerald City is surrounded by water and mountains that make it the perfect base camp for activities like kayaking, hiking and mountain biking.

Salt Lake City, Utah

It's appropriate that outdoor lovers would flock to a place like Salt Lake City. Hikers can choose from more than a dozen nearby trails while photographers and nature lovers can experience horseback riding and free-roaming bison at nearby Antelope Island State Park.

Bend, Oregon

Bend truly is the best of all worlds when it comes to outdoor activities. Runners will be drawn to the town's Urban Trail System; skiers and snowboarders will fall in love with Mount Bachelor; and even craft beer lovers will be encouraged to get active along the Bend Ale Trail.

Salida, Colorado

This year-round hotspot for mountain biking is surrounded by nature, making it the ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts who want to unplug. Plus, since the Arkansas River runs straight through town, kayaking and whitewater rafting are incredibly popular in Salida.

Charleston, South Carolina

Take your next coastal adventure in Charleston. The heart of South Carolina Lowcountry is the perfect place for an eco-tour or kayaking expedition. Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park also offers climbing and ziplining for those outdoor enthusiasts who aren't afraid of heights.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe has everything you're looking for in an outdoorsy destination and more. New Mexico's capital boasts 100-plus miles of trails, multiple ski areas and some of the best river rafting in the country.

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Like Bend, Oregon, Grand Rapids offers a slew of outdoor activities along with a world-class craft beer scene. Visitors can take a paddling or running tour to burn off some calories or get their adrenaline pumping while navigating above-ground trails at Grand Rapids Treetop Adventure Park.

Missoula, Montana

Hiking, skiing, fishing and plenty more adventures await visitors to Missoula, Montana. Be sure to check out Rattlesnake National Recreational Area to get a true sense of the Montana wilderness just outside of town.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Having fun outdoors is easy in Minneapolis, as the city offers nearly 1,800 miles of sidewalks along with numerous lakes and bodies of water. (They don't call Minnesota "Land of 10,000 Lakes" for nothing.) For the best views of Minneapolis, take a guided kayaking tour on the Mississippi River with Above the Falls Sports.

Sedona, Arizona

Yearning for some fresh air and sunshine? Head to the Arizona desert town of Sedona for your next pulse-pounding adventure. There are countless mountains and canyons to explore. Fortunately, trails have been carved out so you can see for yourself. Book a Jeep tour if you want to see more in less time.

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Travelers who are passionate about fishing are destined to find happiness in Kailua-Kona. This town on the West Coast of Hawaii's Big Island is also fantastic for dolphin and whale watching as well as snorkeling. Hikers can head inland to find pristine forests and trails.

Juneau, Alaska

Alaska is renowned for its natural beauty and attractions. Its capital, Juneau, epitomizes that organic appeal. In addition to glaciers, visitors can ascend Mount Roberts to uncover hiking trails featuring stellar views of the Last Frontier.

Destin, Florida

Whether your idea of outdoor bliss is casting a line off a fishing pier or zooming through the Gulf of Mexico on a jet ski, Destin, Florida is sure to be right up your alley. You certainly won't need any motivation to get outside as sunny, warm conditions are prevalent year-round.

Anaheim, California

Come for Disneyland and stay for the hundreds of acres of parks comprising scenic hiking and biking trails. Families looking to get active can visit the underrated Oak Canyon Nature Center for hiking trails and bird watching.

Reno, Nevada

The Biggest Little City in the World is also one of the best for adventure. May's Reno River Festival is among the most popular kayaking festivals in the country and takes place in the heart of downtown at the Truckee River Whitewater Park.

Madison, Wisconsin

Begin your journey through Madison along the nine-mile Capital City State Trail and then visit the three-mile Lake Monona Shoreline Run for gorgeous views of the Capitol building. Vilas Park and Ice Age National Scenic Trail are also worthy of spots on your itinerary.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

There's tons of nature to explore in Chattanooga thanks to its location along the Tennessee River where the Appalachian Mountains meet the Cumberland Plateau. Dubbed the Scenic City, Chattanooga is an outdoor lover's dream spot for hiking, climbing, paddleboarding and more.

San Diego, California

Venture to San Diego's East County to experience mountains, lakes and canyons. Cowles Mountain is an excellent hiking spot, and mountain bikers will want to pedal through Mission Trails Regional Park.

Salem, Oregon

Oregon's capital city certainly isn't lacking opportunities for visitors to reflect in nature. The parks and gardens are plentiful in Salem while the nearby Opal Creek Wilderness Area is about as welcoming as they come.

Omaha, Nebraska

Nebraska may be considered a fly-over state, but Omaha is an undeniable destination when it comes to outdoor recreation. Visitors can stretch their legs while touring the city on walking and biking trails or get wet in any one of the city's more than half a dozen lakes and rivers.

Austin, Texas

Austin may have a reputation as a hipster haven but the Texas city celebrated for its renowned live music scene is also incredibly welcoming to outdoorsy travelers, who won't have to go far to find thrilling hiking, biking and rock climbing opportunities.

North Conway, New Hampshire

Not far from the tallest peak in the Northeast (Mount Washington), the village of North Conway offers fun-filled outdoor activities year-round. The area is popular for skiing, hiking, fishing and camping and is especially attractive in the fall when the leaves begin to change.

Boone, North Carolina

This college town is named after iconic explorer Daniel Boone and is certain to speak to adventure-seekers. Visitors will find the highest point in the Blue Ridge Mountains here at Grandfather Mountain's Linville Peak, plus one of the country's best mountain biking and rock climbing spots inside Pisgah National Forest.

Even couch potatoes will feel inspired to stretch their legs in these invigorating destinations.

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