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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.
21. Madison, WI
Pop: 208,054 Median home: $208,500 Overall score: 49

2,000-strong Madison Hoofers outdoors club offers youth program


Ranks second (behind Portland, OR) in percentage of bicycle commuters


Blessed with paddling–locally and across the state–and hiking (the 1,000-mile Ice Age Trail passes nearby); 52-mile rail trail connects Madison and Waukesha and allows camping

22. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
Pop: 3,208,212 Median home: $174,100 Overall score: 48

St. Paul Hiking Club offers Sunday and Tuesday outings


Ranks second (behind Portland, OR) in percentage of bicycle commuters


Extensive local park system totals 770 sq. ft. of green space per resident; great paddling on St. Croix and Mississippi; half-day drive to Boundary Waters, Apostle Islands, NCT

23. Glens Falls, NY
Pop: 14,354 Median home: $156,600 Overall score: 47

One of highest ratios of Boy Scouts in the East, with 6 active troops


Near Catskills arts, music, and educational resources–but with lower home prices


Situated between Catskills’ quieter northern peaks and Adirondacks’ southern/western wilds and Great Range; 10 km of well-lit cross-country ski trails at Cole’s Woods

24. Duluth, MN
Pop: 86,918 Median home: $119,000 Overall score: 41

U of Minnesota-Duluth outdoor ed dept. holds annual cooking contest


Pursuing strategic plan to lure "Creative Class" demographic through job & arts growth


Modest drive to Apostle Islands, Isle Royale, and Boundary Waters; new 39-mile trail connects Duluth to 205-mile Superior Hiking Trail; Lester Park Trail runs through town

25. Wheeling, WV
Pop: 31,419 Median home: $85,000 Overall score: 41

Oglebay Institute runs 3-week Junior Nature Camp in mountains


Cost of living 20% below U.S. average; Rivers to Ridges club leads camping and rafting trips


World-class paddling on Little & Lower Youghiogheny Rivers; great hiking on nearby 70-mile Laurel Highlands Trail; Wayne & Monongahela NFs offer endless backpacking hours away

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