The Best Cities for Outdoor Activities

4 Min Read

Spending time outdoors is a fantastic thing to do for your health and happiness, according to Time and many other experts. According to the research linked, spending even 20 minutes in a park can significantly improve your overall well-being. Even in uncertain times, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, officials such as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have green-lighted “solitary” outdoor exercise. As far as current recommendations go, as long as you are avoiding groups of more than 10 people, and remain 6 feet away from people who are not members of your household, getting outdoors is perhaps one of the best things you can do for your health right now.

However, for the millions of Americans who live in major cities, access to green space can be an issue.  At Spruce, we are passionate about helping people everywhere feel their best. That includes managing their pain or anxiety symptoms with high-quality CBD, as well as integrating a healthy lifestyle anywhere they can. We realize that many factors play into this pursuit –for example, location can play a big role in getting yourself outside.

Therefore, we got curious about what cities have the least barriers to entry to outdoor activity. What U.S. cities offer great access to green space and tons of options for having fun outdoors? To find out, we decided to dig into some local offerings in order to determine the U.S. best cities for outdoor activities. Read on to discover what we found.

Methodology

We wanted to determine which of the largest 50 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas are best for outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, or spending time in local parks. To do so, we compiled local data on 7 factors and ranked the cities accordingly.

Factors:

  1. Outdoor Activities per 100k People (Hiking, Mountain Biking, Rock Climbing) — 
    • Source: Yelp 
    • Weight: 2.00
  2. Water Activities per 100k People (Surfing, Rafting/Kayaking) 
    • Source: Yelp 
    • Weight: 1.50
  3. Campgrounds per 100k People
    • Source: Yelp
    • Weight: 2.00
  4. Ski Resorts per 100k People 
    • Source: Yelp
    • Weight: 1.50
  5. Average Temp. Mediation from Ideal Outdoor Temp. (70 degrees) 
    • Source: City-Data
    • Weight: 2.00
  6. % of Residents Living Within a 10 min Walk to a Park
    • Source: The Trust for Public Land
    • Weight: 2.25
  7. % of City Land Area used for Parks and Recreation 
    • Source: The Trust for Public Land 
    • Weight: 2.25

US map showing the best cities for outdoor activities

Our ranking system determines that the top 5 cities for outdoorsy activities in the U.S. include San Francisco, Denver, Salt Lake City, Miami, and Las Vegas. These cities have a lovely combination of ample outdoor activities as well as generally temperate weather that encourages getting outdoors for multiple months throughout the year. 

San Francisco, for example, received a ranking of 49.8 out of 50 –a near-perfect score! This is mostly due to its high amount of outdoor activities, its proximity to both camping grounds and skiing resorts, and its impressive use of 20% of land area for parks and recreation, which leaves 100% of San Francisco citizens living within a 10-minute walk to a park!  

But plenty of other U.S. cities include awesome opportunities to get outdoors. If your city didn’t make the list, don’t fret. Check out our complete data set, including the full list and rankings of the top 50 metropolitan areas.

Whether or not you live in one of the best cities for outdoor activities, it doesn’t mean you can’t put on your walking shoes and get exploring. We hope this data study inspired you to get outdoors and put your health first! If you’re curious about how TakeSpruce products may work for you along your health journey, feel free to contact us here.