The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S.

Sometimes in life, we need a change of scenery. Whether you’re a retiree, seeking a vacation home, or just lucky enough to be in a position to relocate to a city of your choosing, you may be wondering what parts of the country offer the best living situations.

There are many factors to consider when thinking about this kind of move: climate, recreation and entertainment, just to name a few. The editors at Outside magazine have compiled a list of the 16 best places to live in the U.S., as ranked by their readers. Many of these locations will appeal particularly to those who love outdoor activities, but even if that’s not you, the article highlights some great sources of entertainment in these places as well.

16. Lake Placid, New York
Home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games, this is the perfect place for athletes to call home. With a population of only 2,500, you won’t have to wait long for a tour of the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center or to use any of the town’s winding bike trails.
15. Bar Harbor, Maine
In the summer months, more than two million visitors pour into Acadia National Park. The year-round population here is only 2,600. The outdoor lover has 127 miles of hiking trails and the largest mountain peak on the Atlantic seaboard in Cadillac Mountain. You can also enjoy the marvelous seafood Maine is known for at the Thirsty Whale Tavern.
14. Rochester, Minnesota
After being devastated by flood in 1978, the resulting flood control project led to a very unique design for this town. An 85-mile paved system of trails spans out from the world famous Mayo Clinic to various lakes, concert venues, restaurants, and bars.
13. Annapolis, Maryland
A sailor’s paradise. Each Wednesday during the summertime, hundreds of boats are drawn to the harbor for the weekly sailboat race. On land, runners take on a three-mile trail to the old Navy radio towers at Greenbury Point.
12. Spearfish, South Dakota
A town with an Old West vibe in which bikes are preferred to horses. This town holds three popular annual races: the Dakota Five-O, 28 Below Fat Bike Race and the Gold Rush Gravel Grinder for those looking for a nice jaunt.
11. Middlebury, Vermont
This quaint college town, nestled in the hills of Vermont, is the perfect relocation spot for those looking for a great home value. Three-bedroom homes start at under $300,000 and jobs are plentiful.
10. Boone, North Carolina
According to local trail builder Mike Thomas, this town has a saying, “our life is your vacation.” This must be because of the abundance of outdoor activities and attractions tucked into this small town in the southern Appalachians. Some of which include: Wilson’s Creek, Linville Gorge, Beech Mountain and a portion of the Appalachian Trail to name only a few.
9. Pagosa Springs, Colorado
The springs that this town is named for are the deepest in the world and attract more than half a million annual visitors. Still, the resident population is just 1,700 and the town has a very rural feel.
8. Beaufort, South Carolina
If number 13 on this list was a sailor’s paradise, then Beaufort is a fisherman’s dream. The town has an abundance of seafood and access to aquatic activities, seeing that half of the surrounding county is water.
7. Flagstaff, Arizona
Forget what you’ve heard about the deserts of Arizona. At a 7,000 foot elevation, this forest oasis is prized by runners for its miles of mountain trails. There’s skiing access just outside of town and the Grand Canyon is only 90 miles away.
6. Athens, Georgia
The city has recently undergone a transformation to become a hub of world-class eateries. With its tradition of southern cuisine and a new-age farm- fresh emphasis, Athens may be the tastiest place in Georgia.
5. Glenwood Springs, Colorado
The Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers meet here, creating a perfect spot to ride class III rapids through a 1,700-foot canyon. This town has something else going for it too: hot springs, which have attracted tourists for more than a century.
4. Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Hometown of Justin Vernon, who’s famous band Bon Iver won the Best New Artist Grammy in 2012. With acts like the National and Sufjan Stevens, Vernon’s Eaux Claire fest is turning up the volume on the music scene in this town.
3. Iowa City, Iowa
This bike-crazy town has a pedestrian mall that can stand up to Pearl Street. Bikers have literally tens of thousands of miles of unpaved road to traverse at their leisure, as there is almost no traffic once you leave the tarmac. The Trans-Iowa gravel grinder climbs 10,000 feet over 320 miles.
2. Port Angeles, Washington
This gateway to Olympic National Park came in second place on this list to a city with almost ten times as many residents. Citizens of Port Angeles love their town and it’s easy to see why you should too. Like many of the towns on this list, the outdoor scene is beautiful with 5,000-foot peaks and a 600,000-acre national forest. Unlike some of the others, however, this town has a very blue collar feel with thriving lumber, boating and commercial fishing industries.
1. Chattanooga, Tennessee
The outdoor appeal of Chattanooga is well documented. The Tennessee River wraps around the city and offers class V and VI rapids. What’s new is the high-tech, Silicon Valley feel that has come over the city. Residents have access to the Gig, a one gigabyte-per-second, fiber-optic, tax-payer owned Internet service that is available to all at a reasonable price.

If you’re looking to relocate and you find one of these cities appealing, remember that Stevens Worldwide Van Lines is a leader in the moving & storage industry. We have more than 110 years of experience with state-to-state moves, so if you need information on our services, call (855) 210-6080. You can also visit our website and fill out our online form for a free quote.