If you love being in the great outdoors, you should consider relocating to one of our picks for the best cities for outdoorsmen and women in the United States.
For serious outdoorsmen and women, things like hunting, fishing, and camping are more than just fun activities: they are a way of life. When you look at it this way, it makes perfect sense to live in an area that is friendly to outdoor recreation. Fortunately, there are lots of great places for people to enjoy the outdoors. However, our choices for the best cities for outdoorsmen and women in the United States really stand head and shoulders above the rest.
When we made this list of the best cities for outdoorsmen and women in the United States, we focused primarily on the actual outdoor activities available and did not consider things like the cost of living, the job prospects, or the quality of the night life in these cities. Instead, we made our choices purely upon the quality and diversity of the outdoor opportunities in and around each city.
1. Seattle, Washington
First up on this list of the best cities for outdoorsmen and women is Seattle, Washington. Built on the shores of Puget Sound with the stunning landscape of Mount Rainier and the Cascades as a backdrop, residents of Seattle have easy access to some incredible and unique outdoor recreation opportunities that no other city in the country can quite match. Puget Sound and the rivers in the area have some outstanding salmon fishing that is second only to Alaska in quality.
There are also three national parks close by: the North Cascades, Mount Rainier, and Olympic National Parks for those who prefer to hike or camp. The area also has some great (if underrated) hunting for black bear, Columbia Blacktail Deer, and Roosevelt Elk.
2. Anchorage, Alaska
No list of the best cities for outdoorsmen and women would be complete without at least one city in Alaska. The state seems tailor made for people who love the outdoors with incredible fishing, hunting, and hiking. Anchorage is a great base to take advantage of these opportunities.
With Denali National Park to the north and the Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak Island to the south, there is a little bit of something for everyone in and around Anchorage regardless of whether you want to go bear hunting, salmon fishing, or mountain climbing.
3. Missoula, Montana
With the Clark Fork, Blackfoot, and Bitterroot Rivers flowing in and around the city and the Bitterroot, Flathead, and Lolo National forests all just outside of town, there is plenty of beautiful country with some incredible places to enjoy the outdoors around Missoula. As is evidenced by the fact that both the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Boone & Crockett Club have their headquarters in Missoula, the area has some hunting for deer, bear, elk, moose, sheep, and mountain goat that few other places in the country can match.
The movie and book A River Runs Through It were also set near Missoula on the banks of the Blackfoot River, which is a great fly fishing destination. For these reasons, it should come as no surprise that Missoula, Montana is one of the best cities for outdoorsmen and women.
4. Portland, Oregon
The Pacific Northwest is a beautiful part of the country and is just a great all-around destination for people who love the outdoors, which is why there are three cities representing the northwest on this list of the best cities for outdoorsmen and women: Seattle, Portland, and Bend, Oregon. Seattle and Portland (we’ll get to Bend later) have many similarities: both are close to the ocean, both are just a short distance from the Cascades, and both have some great outdoor recreation all year long.
Additionally, Seattle is in the shadow of Mount Rainier and Mount Hood dominates the Portland skyline. Portland has a little bit of everything to offer outdoor enthusiasts: sturgeon fishing in the Columbia river, salmon fishing on the Pacific Coast and in the state’s numerous rivers, skiing, hiking, and camping in the Cascades, and some pretty darn good hunting prospects as well.
5. Savannah, Georgia
While it’s not usually a city that comes to mind when people think of great places to enjoy outdoors, Savannah has a lot to offer. Georgia is one of the best states for bass fishing and anglers can fish the freshwater lakes and rivers in the area for bass, catfish, sunfish, crappie, and countless other species. When you want a change of pace, you can head out to the Atlantic Ocean for red drum, red snapper, sea bass, Spanish mackerel, barracuda, and grouper (among others).
Hunters can take advantage of the long hunting seasons and liberal bag limits for deer (September through January, 12 per year), feral hogs (no closed season, no bag limit), and turkey (March through May, 3 gobblers per year). Georgia even offers limited hunting for black bear and alligator. All in all, Savannah is a pretty darn good city for outdoorsmen and women.
6. Jackson, Wyoming
Jackson Hole is situated in northwestern Wyoming just south of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. The National Elk Refuge is also located literally right outside of town and the area is home to abundant populations of elk, bison, moose, mule deer, pronghorn, black bear, and grizzly bear.
Add the stunning scenery of the area and the whitewater rafting, skiing, hiking, and camping in the area to the equation and it’s clear that Jackson is one of the best cities for outdoorsmen and women in the United States.
7. Bend, Oregon
As the third city in the Pacific Northwest on this list of the best cities for outdoorsmen and women, Bend is pretty different from Seattle and Portland, but still has a lot to offer. Located on the east side of the Cascades, Bend is several hours away from the ocean, but there is some incredible terrain for skiing, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, and mountain biking all in close proximity to the city.
With the Deschutes, Willamette, and Ochoco National Forests all right outside of town, residents have hundreds of thousands of acres of forest to get lost in. Combine all those things with a mild, sunny climate, and you’ve got a great destination for people who love the outdoors.
8. Portland, Maine
Yep, we’ve got two Portlands on this list: one on each coast. Though it’s a very different place from the Portland in Oregon, Portland, Maine is still an awesome place for those who love the outdoors. You can hit the beach, kayak, canoe, hike, fish, or camp without going to far from town.
Maine also has some great hunting, with a healthy deer population along with moose and black bear populations that no other state in the Lower 48 can match.
9. Rapid City, South Dakota
With its close proximity to the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore, there are plenty of excellent outdoor recreation opportunities close to Rapid City, South Dakota.
Not only do residents there have access to some of the best pheasant hunting in the country, but the area is also also an underrated destination for deer, elk, and turkey. Residents can also take advantage of the excellent fishing, hiking, and camping opportunities in the area as well.
10. Salmon, Idaho
Located in central Idaho on the Salmon River, the town of Salmon is an ideal destination for serious hunters and anglers. Not only does the town border literally millions of acres of public land full of elk, deer, bear, and mountain lion, but the streams and rivers near the town are absolutely teeming with trout and steelhead.
Add some world class camping, hiking, and horseback riding to the equation and Salmon, Idaho is certainly one of the best cities for outdoorsmen and women in the United States.
What do you think about our choices for the top 10 best cities for outdoorsmen and women? Did we miss any?
Like what you see here? You can read more great hunting articles by John McAdams on his hunting blog. Follow him on Facebook The Big Game Hunting Blog, Twitter @TheBigGameHunt and on Instagram The_Big_Game_Hunter