Do you crave crisp mountain air, splashing waterfalls, or serene, lazy rivers? Can’t go more than a few days without escaping to the forest or the beach?
Maybe you’re driven by the need to conquer big waves, fresh powder, or challenging multi-pitch climbs. It sounds like you’re an outdoor enthusiast—and you should live somewhere that gets you.
We’ve picked the best cities for outdoor enthusiasts to move to, based on their favorite form of recreation.
If you’ve ever wondered, “Where should I live if I like the outdoors?” you’ll find your answer here. Check out our list of outdoor activities, find your favorite hobby, and picture yourself living your dreams.
Fishing: Melbourne, FL
The Melbourne area has it all for anglers. Ocean fishing? Check. Lakes filled with bass? Check. Classic beach towns with fishing off the pier? Check. Year-round sunshine and beautiful scenery? Double check. You could spend days fishing Indian River Lagoon—and you probably will. Take the whole family to Cocoa Beach for a day of fun on the boardwalk and reeling in gator trout, snapper, and sheepshead. You’ll never get sick of the saltwater fishing, but if you do want to change it up, there are tons of lakes to check out, too. Two of the best are Lake Okeechobee and Lake Tohopekaliga, known for excellent bass fishing. Outdoor hobbies can be both relaxing and invigorating, and fishing in Melbourne nails both.
Fishing gear storage: 1060 Polo Dr, Melbourne
Skiing and snowboarding: Golden, CO
Golden sits at the edge of the Rockies, surrounded by ski resorts, but just 15 miles from downtown Denver for when you crave city life. Hit up Powder7 for new sunglasses and the latest threads. Get new gear or an expert tune at Bentgate before you hit the slopes at Echo Mountain, Loveland, or Eldora, all under an hour away. Just over an hour, you’ll find Arapahoe, Keystone, Winter Park, and more. Golden is a powder-lover’s heaven.
Ski storage: 16845 Mt Vernon Rd, Golden
Cross-country skiing: Cottonwood Heights, UT
Who says the areas near Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons—what locals refer to as LCC and BCC—are just for downhill skiers? Nearby Soldier Hollow was the Nordic skiing venue for the 2002 Winter Olympics, and Solitude Nordic Center in BCC is equally legendary. You’ll find tons of trails to the north, too: North Fork Park, Snowbasin Resort, and Mountain Dell Golf Course, which is groomed by the Utah Nordic Alliance. That’s a lot of options, so you better get started!
Ski storage: 621 W 9th Ave in nearby Midvale
Mountain biking: Roanoke, VA
Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, the “Mountain Biking Capital of the East” was designated an IMBA Silver-Level Ride Center in May 2018—it’s the only one on the east coast. Some of the best trails around are the Rattlin’ Run double black diamond in Carvins Cove Natural Reserve, Old Buzzard Trail in Waid Recreation Park for jumps, and the Challenging Loop at Pandapas Pond. Or, take an epic, multi-day trail ride from Harrisonburg to Roanoke on the RockStar Trail Route. You’ll need to gear up first, so head to UnderDog Bikes for all your cycling needs.
Bike storage: 201 Berkley Rd NE, Roanoke
Hiking and backpacking: Mechanicsburg, PA
Mechanicsburg is right in the middle of the Appalachian Trail—need we say more? First things first: Get the latest styles at Mountainside Ski & Sports, so you look amazing in all those social media pics. Then, head west and check out the views from Cumberland Valley Rail Trail, the mountain lakes of Pine Grove Furnace State Park, and the wildflowers of the Kings Gap Trail System. Climb up to Waggoner’s Gap Hawk Watch in the fall to see golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, northern harriers, and bald eagles. With a home base in Mechanicsburg, you’ll never run out of breathtaking scenery.
Hiking gear storage: 115 Cumberland Pkwy, Mechanicsburg
Rock climbing: Dutchess County, NY
Shawangunk Ridge is one of the most famous rock climbing destinations in America, and you’ll be right next door to it when you live in Dutchess County. Home to bustling Poughkeepsie and up-and-coming Beacon, you can pick your perfect town. Practice your climbing at The Gravity Vault and shop for new threads at Cabin Fever before you cross the river to “the Gunks.” Favorite spots include High Exposure, Limelight, and the Yellow Wall. Beginners can check out Peterskill, which is also popular for bouldering. One thing is certain: You’ll never be bored in the Gunks.
Rock climbing gear storage: 1573 Route 52, Fishkill
Camping: Huntsville, AL
Family-friendly Huntsville has a rich history, loads of culture, and outdoor recreation around every corner. Camp along the shores of Tims Ford Lake to the north and hike to gorgeous waterfalls in Bankhead National Forest to the south. Head west and take a canoe trip down Bear Creek in Tishomingo State Park. To the east, explore Monte Sano State Park’s Japanese garden, planetarium, and amphitheater. You’ve got locations, but what about gear? Keep your beverages cool, your food hot, and your legs rested with top-tech coolers, cookware, and chairs from local retailer Leaf in Creek, and replace worn tents and sleeping bags at Mountain High Outfitters. You’re ready for adventure!
Tent storage: 11580 Memorial Pkwy SW, Huntsville
Windsurfing and kitesurfing: Corpus Christi, TX
What if we told you that you could windsurf North America’s longest undeveloped barrier island, right here in the U.S.? Padre Island National Seashore stretches for 70 miles starting just south of Corpus Christi. Launch at Bird Island Basin or Packery Channel Park to enjoy the scenery. Corpus Christi Bay also offers endless launch sites for adventurous windsurfers, including JFK Causeway, Corpus Christi Marina, Ropes Park, and North Beach. Join the Corpus Christi Windsurfing Association for special events and like-minded friends; chat with the experts at Worldwinds Windsurfing for even more meeting of the minds. Then get out there and catch some air.
Board storage: 15925 S Padre Island Dr, Corpus Christi
Surfing: Seal Beach, CA
Orange County’s northernmost beach town offers supreme access to waves up and down the California coast. Right in town you’ve got timeless Harbour Surfboards, making classic and collectible boards since 1959, and can also talk to the experts at Inflight Surf Shop before hitting the waves near Seal Beach Pier. Huntington Beach, aka “Surf City USA,” and legendary surf spot The Wedge in Newport Beach are just minutes away. The long, right break of Malibu Surfrider Beach beckons to the north, and to the south you’ve got bucket-list breaks at Trestles, Old Man’s, and Trails in San Onofre, and easy riding at Black’s Beach and Swami’s in San Diego. Seal Beach is a surfer’s dream come true, so get here, gear up, and drop in.
Surfboard storage: 6491 Maple Ave in nearby Westminster
Kayaking: Asheville, NC
Outdoor enthusiasts of all types love Asheville: It’s got wildlife, waterfalls, scenic drives, and nature galore. But if we had to pick just one of its outdoor hobbies, we’d call it the best place for kayaking. First, you’ve got tons of options for gear, ranging from budget-friendly kayaks at Second Gear to high-end performance boats at Venture Kayaks. Once you’ve got your fancy new stuff, you’ll want to show it off. There’s flat paddling to the south on Lake Lure and the French Broad Paddle Trail, but if that sounds boring, you can step it up with beginner whitewater at Nantahala River. Experts have to check out the Linville and Watauga Gorges and brave the Green River Narrows for adrenaline-pumping adventure. Asheville whitewater is a bucket-list paddle for anyone who calls themselves a kayaker.
Kayak storage: 1292 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville
Paddle boarding: Homestead, FL
Nestled between Biscayne Bay and the Everglades, Homestead is your home base for everything from wild adventures to serene sunrise paddles. You don’t even need to own a board: Biscayne National Park has paddleboard rentals available at Dante Fascell Visitor Center, and Everglades Adventure Tours runs the only private, guided SUP tours of the park’s remote waterways. Prefer to go your own way? Glide across secluded Nine Mile Pond, just off Main Park Road, or put in at Flamingo Marina to explore the Everglades’ south coast. Get tropical as you explore the Keys via the islands of Florida Bay. You’re also just 80 miles from Ten Thousand Islands, where the exploration is as endless as it sounds. Make it a weekend trip (or five) why don’t you?
Paddle board storage: 28525 SW 157th Ave, Homestead
Golf: Columbus, OH
What’s better than endless rolling greens and expert-designed golf courses? Try amazing home prices, a lively college vibe, and a nearby wine region that keeps the varietals flowing. We’re talking about Columbus, and if you’re surprised, you shouldn’t be. It’s got two courses designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish (Cooks Creek and EagleSticks), a Golf Magazine top 100 public course (The Virtues Golf Club), wallet-friendly options that don’t skimp on style (Denison Golf Club at Granville and Raymond Memorial), and exclusive clubs (Heritage Golf Club). Seriously, what’s not to love?
Golf storage: We have Columbus storage options all over town
With never-ending places to explore, shops to outfit your every whim, and plenty of other outdoor enthusiasts to meet, these active towns were made for adventure-lovers. Plus, you don’t have to be shy about buying your tenth surfboard or more camping supplies than society says you “need.” CubeSmart knows your outdoor gear is Made to Keep (yes, all of it!), and we give you a place to put it. We’ve got the lowdown on cleaning winter gear, storing in small spaces, and more, so you can get a handle on your stuff and focus on experiences, instead. See you in the great outdoors!
Header image credit: vonnahmed1/Shutterstock.com
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