Top Towns to Raise Outdoorsy Kids

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2009 6:45 PM CDT
Mountains near Juneau, Alaska.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 5 more images

(Newser) Backpacker combed through info on outdoor programs and proximity to national forests and parks to find the best cities in the US to raise active, crunchy kids. The results:

  • Boulder, Colo.: "Yes, we live here, but Boulder wins on its merits." Close to woods, glaciers, and mountains, the population of 94,673 has been named "Smartest" and "Most Livable" by Forbes.

  • Jackson, Wyo.: "Cheek-to-jowl with the Tetons, Yellowstone, and a bajillion elk, bison, and bears," the town of 9,631 boasts high test scores and outdoor companies.
  • Durango, Colo.: The 13,922 citizens here have access to top-notch "fly-fishing and rafting" on the Animas River that runs through town, and numerous 14,000 foot peaks. Kids can join hiking programs and get free fishing lessons.
  • Flagstaff, Ariz.: Schoolkids spend a week in the woods studying ecology, and the "Gateway to Grand Canyon" is "located in the world's largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest."
  • Juneau, Alaska: The 30,711 who live here have access to "an unrivaled cornucopia: Glacier Bay National Park (ice, bears), Tongass National Forest (trees, bears), and Admiralty Island (fish, bears)."
For the full list of 25 cities, click the link below.