Lists

Outside's 10 Best Places to Live in America, Including 2 in Colorado


The folks at Outside magazine have come up with their list of the sixteen best places to live in America circa 2015.

But for the purposes of this post, we're concentrating on numbers ten through one — because that's where two Colorado communities reside.

Note that Colorado is the only state to land two places among the top ten.

Given Outside's mandate, the Colorado winners are gorgeous and offer easy access to great recreational opportunities. In addition, another locale outside the state is compared to a Colorado town that didn't make the cut, Boulder — but it's called a more affordable version.


Count down the photo-illustrated list below, featuring excerpts from Outside text. To see the original post, click here.

Number 10: Boone, North Carolina

“There’s a saying around here, ‘Our life is your vacation,’” says Mike Thomas, a local trail builder. That sounds awful smug, but visit and it’s easy to see his point. Tucked into the southern Appalachians, this college town has an embarrassment of outdoor riches. Down the road, you can find Class V boating on Wilson’s Creek, and 45 minutes outside town is Linville Gorge, one of the most dramatic canyons east of the Rocky Mountains, with more than 11,000 acres of wilderness backpacking and endless walls for trad climbing....

Number 9: Pagosa Springs, Colorado


In the shadow of the San Juan Mountains, tiny Pagosa Springs is a microcosm of authentic Colorado. In the downtown district, historic storefronts house a brewery, restaurants, and an old movie theater supported by a crowdfunding campaign....

Number 8: Beaufort, South Carolina

Half the county surrounding Beaufort is water. Which means anglers and paddlers have the better part of a million acres to explore, from brackish inland rivers to Jurassic Park–looking salt marshes that separate the mainland from the barrier islands. That’s not counting the Atlantic Ocean, where sea kayakers can play with dolphins before beaching on the white sands of Hunting Island State Park....

Number 7: Flagstaff, Arizona

Don’t go to Flagstaff expecting scorching heat and snowbirds. This railroad town of 69,000 is flanked by 12,000-foot mountains and the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the world, defying all the state’s stereotypes. “People think of Arizona as a hot desert, but we’re at 7,000 feet,” says Caleb Schiff, owner of Pizzicletta, a beloved local pizzeria. “Flagstaff is an oasis"....

Number 6: Athens, Georgia

Athens is known for its SEC football, robust party scene, and cycling on endless farm roads. But the city of 121,000 has also become an outpost of world-class eateries that combine the best of the South with an adventurous, farm-fresh ethos. White Tiger Gourmet, a barbecue joint where vegetarian dishes get equal billing with pulled pork, is a good example of that. We asked chef-owner Ken Manring to walk us through his perfect day chowing down....

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts