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August 2009

The Best Cities to Raise an Outdoor Kid: The Winning 25

From Boulder to Juneau to Bozeman, see which cities made the cut for the best place to raise an outdoor kid, and why.
6. Seattle, WA
Pop: 563,374 Median home: $315,200 Overall score: 66

Mountaineers Club and REI organize thousands of hikes, clinics, events


Home to Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon–plus MSR, Cascade Designs, Outdoor Research, REI


Sits equidistant from distinct climate zones and topography in the Olympics, Cascades, and Mt. Rainer National Park; sea kayak in the San Juan Islands when you tire of snowy peaks

7. Colorado Springs, CO
Pop: 360,890 Median home: $180,000 Overall score: 63

14,000 acres of parks and open space; 265 miles of trails in town


Home to high-tech businesses and Air Force Academy; #1 big city in U.S., says Money mag


Hiker and trail runner’s paradise with Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods nearby (with 350 more miles of trails); Great Sand Dunes, Vail, and many 14ers all within a few hours

8. Burlington, VT
Pop: 38,889 Median home: $253,000 Overall score: 63

Kids can enroll in weeklong wilderness-survival summer camp


Healthiest city in U.S. (CDC); home to IBM, 3 colleges, Burton Snowboards, Ben & Jerry’s


Minutes from trailheads in Adirondacks and Green Mountains; pedal to Lake Champlain’s islands (and Canada) on the 12-mile Island Line Trail

9. Fort Collins, CO
Pop: 118,652 Median home: $210,000 Overall score: 62

Outdoor rec classes abound: hunter safety, birding, geocaching


University town; New Belgium Brewery sponsors summer "Bike-In" movie nights


A gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park and Roosevelt National Forest; Poudre River paddling and foothills parks are even closer; 45 minutes to world-class fishing and skiing

10. Lebanon, NH
Pop: 12,729 Median home: $190,000 Overall score: 62

Free ice-fishing classes from NH Fish & Game on Mascoma Lake


Nearby Dartmouth College means high local IQ; nation’s lowest unemployment at 4%


Connecticut River, Appalachian Trail, and 23-mile rail trail pass through town; less than 2 hours to heart of White and Green Mountains; Olympic-caliber skiers and skiing nearby

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