The Best US Cities to Live in If You Love Outdoors and Nature

city's aerial view

People have a misconception about nature, the outdoors, and cities. They believe that if you love nature and greenery, you shouldn’t be living in cities like New York and Anaheim. This assumption is wrong. There are plenty of outdoor activities for nature-loving people in big cities. You just have to know where to find it. Even in the thick of Manhattan, you can still enjoy the greenery of Central Park if you want some forest vibes. Or, how about visiting the Botanic Garden in Brooklyn during spring? There’s plenty of things to love about living in the city for nature lovers.

Sure, you can live off the grid and like a nomad in one of the country’s smaller towns and states. All you need is the internet to do your online work. Of course, you would need to get deliveries from the city once in a while, so make sure your address is detectable on the map or put up a large marker and stone address plate in the corner leading to your driveway. That will make it easy for delivery riders to get to you. There’s no need to make it extra hard for them to reach your home. You love nature; you didn’t exactly say you’re anti-people.

But there’s still something so convenient about living in the city that you just can’t shake it off. Fortunately, US cities are just as obsessed with outdoor activities and nature as the people who live in them. Most of these cities pride themselves on being walkable, safe, and family-oriented. Here they are:

San Francisco

Recently, the city was named for having the most expensive real estate in the country that even NBA superstar Stephen Curry and his wife were shocked to find out how much the house they want is being sold. The Bay City is one of the most walkable cities in the country as it sits atop a peninsula that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. It has mighty fine weather that neither gets too hot or too cold. The Golden Gate Park, its most famous park, is a 1,000-plus-acre comprising of a botanical garden, parks, zoo, and a golf course.


If you love water sports activities, then Seattle in Washington is the best city for you. Bordered by water on two sides, the city is the perfect place for kayaking, boating, and sailing. If you have a boat, come by the marina anytime to consider if this is where to put down roots. Nearby, you can take a trip to Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier for more outdoor activities.


Many consider Utah’s Provo to be a college town as it is home to Brigham Young University, which houses more than 30,000 students. You can imagine what it’s like in Provo during weekends with young people bustling in and out of coffeehouses and public libraries. Still, young families will find something to love about staying in Provo because, in the winter, outdoor-loving residents can go skiing in nearby mountain resorts.



Forest Park in Portland spans 5,100 acres, making it one of the biggest urban forests in the country. With 40 nearby state parks and eight beaches, anyone who loves the outdoors will also fall in love with the city. Mount Hood, which is a 90-minute drive from the city, is a great winter sports destination for those who love to climb, hike, ski, and snowboard.


Is there any other city that screams natural wonder more than Boulder? The landscape of Boulder is quite interesting because it is surrounded by mountain peaks and Flatirons. The city is known for extreme sports, so it is not exactly for the fainthearted. Those who want mountain biking, hiking, and paragliding should keep Boulder on the list.

Costa Mesa

The city has one of the best weather in the country, so much so that you can enjoy the short drive to the pristine beaches of Orange County. You might be familiar with the Orange County fairgrounds, which houses a large outdoor concert venue and an annual county fair. Costa Mesa has a small population of only a little more than 111,000, but with 47 nearby beaches, you will not ask for anything more.

You don’t have to live in a literal forest to be close to nature. Cities also have large outdoor spaces where you can hike, bike, ski, and do other sports. If you want to be close to nature, there’s always a public or state park somewhere nearby where you can do the sports you love.

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