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Best Cities for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Do you constantly dream of outdoor adventure and find yourself Googling the best hiking trails around the United States? Do you feel trapped where you live because there’s no mountain to climb in sight? Perhaps it’s time to get moving – into an apartment near outdoorsy opportunities that is. You may not even have to look far; your next adventure may be only a few hours away. We’ve sifted through the statistics, rankings, and geographic areas to determine the top outdoorsy cities in every U.S. region. Let’s get going!

Best Outdoor Towns: Portland, Oregon

View of Portland, Oregon, cityscape (Jeff Gunn/Flickr)

Northwest: Portland, Oregon

Portland keeps it real-real natural. The area boasts thousands of acres of hiking trails and parks, most notable of which is Forest Park. Until recently, Portland topped the list of most bike-friendly cities in the country. With the Cascades and Columbia River Gorge nearby, it’s no wonder that people in this area love to get up and explore the great outdoors. The Goose Hollow neighborhood in Portland is a fabulous area for renters with plenty of apartments, things to go do and see, as well as parks that are easily accessible by foot traffic. 

READ MORE: Portland neighborhood guides

Best Outdoor Towns: Bishop, California

Camping in the Owens River Gorge, California (Maria Ly/Flickr)

West: Bishop, California

Nestled between a banner of famous national parks and forests, Bishop may be small but it has plenty of potential for outdoor fun and living. Named one of National Geographic’s “Best U.S. Adventure” towns, this area has a lot to offer outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Climbing and hiking routes are abundant and the mild temperature goes throughout the year. Not to mention, the city has breathtaking views. Be sure to check out the Inyo National Forest, Sierra National Forest, Kings Canyon National Park, and Yosemite National Park. 

READ MORE: Find apartments to rent in Bishop, California

Best Outdoor Towns: Boulder, Colorado

View of Flatirons in Boulder, Colorado (Zach Dischner/Flickr)

Southwest: Boulder, Colorado

Time after time, Boulder has continuously ranked in the “Best of” lists for hiking and the great outdoors. It also placed 10th in Outside magazine’s best places to live in 2014. With its seemingly endless running trails, hiking and bike paths, outdoorsy folks are bound to fall in love with the city. Because of its close proximity to Denver, Boulder makes a great area for commuters to live that work in the capital. 

READ MORE: Boulder neighborhood guides

Best Outdoor Towns: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Passej/Flickr)

Midwest: Minneapolis, Minnesota

This Midwestern city is ideal for young professionals who want adventure and nightlife. Minneapolis is thriving with culture, too. Within the land of 10,000 lakes, Minneapolis itself has 20 – which means you won’t have to travel far for outdoor fun. With almost 7,000 acres of parkland and miles of maintained trails, this city is the perfect blend of urban living and outdoor adventure. Even though winters can be cold, trust me (former resident in Minneapolis) when I say this place is worth the effort. We suggest finding an apartment near Lake Calhoun since it has great proximity to Uptown and its lakes. 

READ MORE: Minneapolis neighborhood guides

Best Outdoor Towns: Asheville, North Carolina

Waterfall in Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina (Jeff Gunn/Flickr)

Southeast: Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is known for its abundance of breweries and outdoor hot spots in the Southeast. The Green River is a kayaker’s playground, and the closeness to the Appalachian Trail means you can take a weekend trip on arguably one of the greatest trails in the U.S. Biking paths are abundant  in the nearby Pisgah National Forest as well as the Biltmore Estate. The food scene is booming in the downtown area, and the craft beer scene is vibrant, too. Make sure you check out the Blue Ridge Mountains and scenic parkway.

READ MORE: Asheville neighborhood guides

Best Outdoor Towns: Ithaca, New York

Fall colors on the campus of Cornell University, Ithaca (Justin Ennis/Flickr)

Mid-Atlantic: Ithaca, New York

With the abundance of Finger Lakes in the area, Ithaca makes the perfect outdoor escape (and new home for you!). During the summer season, paddling, biking, and hiking are the preferred activities for residents. In the winter, skiing is #1. Ithaca is recognized for its picturesque views and birdwatching spots. We suggest living near the Lower Northside neighborhood, as it will situate you between Downtown and the Cayuga Inlet. 

READ MORE: Find apartments to rent in Ithaca, New York

Best Outdoor Towns: Portland, Maine

View of Portland, Maine, coastline (Kenny Louie/Flickr)

Northeast: Portland, Maine

The harbor views and nature here in Portland, Maine are enough to make anyone move to the cold Northeast. Nearby islands make for fantastic areas to sea kayak around and the close state parks have just the right amount of rugged terrain for mountain biking. Don’t forget your skis since the slopes are open year-round. Where to settle in Portland? We suggest anywhere in downtown near the waterfront. 

READ MORE: Portland, Maine, neighborhood guides

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