2017 Best Counties for Outdoor Activities in America

Explore the best counties for outdoor activities based on weather, air quality, and access to parks, forests, and recreational opportunities. Ranking based on data from the U.S. Census, NOAA, and other sources.

See how this ranking was calculated
  • National
  • By State
Viewing 1-25 of 100
  1. 1

    San Juan County

    • County in Washington
    • 2 reviews
    Current Resident:The San Juans are a wonderful place to grow up and raise a family. The community is very giving, loving, and connected. Work here can be seasonal as most restaurants and tourist attractions close or slow down. Schools are great with lots of hand on learning.
    More about San Juan County
  2. 2

    Alameda County

    • County in California
    • 13 reviews
    Current Resident:Alameda is a great little suburb of the Bay Area. The surrounding county is multi racial, multi ethnic with lots of attractions for families throughout the year. Alameda county has opportunities for people just beginning to work up through veterans. There are many routes to travel to get from city to city without driving! People are friendly and it is a animal friendly town as well. Come visit!
    More about Alameda County
  3. 3

    Santa Cruz County

    • County in California
    • 34 reviews
    Former Resident:Santa Cruz is great place because of the beaches all nearby. I grew up Watsonville which is part of Santa Cruz County, the things enjoyed most was my family and friends were all near by. A majority of the time I always loved being outside because of the perfect weather always around 60-70 degrees outside not too cold or not too hot. There is not to much crime although many gangs were present. The negative things about this town was the traffic everyday in the morning or in the afternoon the freeways packed with people, our freeway did only have 2 lanes which made it more congestive. I disliked the cops they were constantly just watching each driver and making driving uncomfortable. I also did not like how such a small town is was everything was to crowded and packed, we didn't even have a Wal-Mart. Overall I still like my town but I prefer a big city like Sacramento where I am currently living
    More about Santa Cruz County
  4. 4

    Multnomah County

    • County in Oregon
    • 3 reviews
  5. 5

    San Mateo County

    • County in California
    • 14 reviews
    Current Resident:A quiet city and county just miles outside of San Francisco, San Mateo is a great reprieve from city life without being too removed. Great proximity to SFO doesn't hurt either!
    More about San Mateo County
  6. 6

    Jefferson County

    • County in Washington
  7. 7

    Orange County

    • County in California
    • 49 reviews
    Visitor:I like everything about it! People are so nice here. The street is clean, the food is good, the mountain is green, the sky is blue. It's closed to LA, and it's closed to Irvine where I go to school. I like the car place at downtown. And I like the fliex cafe at downtown orange. The neighborhood is quite and nice. Also, I like the orange hills restaurant. My boyfriend and I love this place so much. It is just perfect to us!
    More about Orange County
  8. 8

    Sonoma County

    • County in California
    • 25 reviews
    Niche User:Santa Rosa is an ideal mid-sized city. Close enough to the bay area to commute or make a day trip, with enough businesses and attractions locally to keep you occupied. I would definitely move here again, only complaint is that with more and more people moving into the area, traffic and public congestion is becoming more of an annoyance than it used to be.
    More about Sonoma County
  9. 9

    Santa Clara County

    • County in California
    • 39 reviews
    Current Resident:The city of Santa Clara has been my home for the past ten years. It has always been a place that I feel very safe to live in. There is multiple public schools that are high rated and have a lot of diversity. There is many types of culture in this area, offering different types of job opportunities to people. However, the cost of housing in this area is nearly unbearable to anyone who does not live off of a six figure salary. Because Santa Clara is part of the Silicon Valley, commute times have grown every year, with large numbers of people moving to this area to live. Even with the large amounts of people, the town is family friendly and has been an amazing place to grow up in. I have had access to multiple activities, both indoor and outdoor. I have also been exposed to a variety of cultures, shaping me into the person I am today. I highly recommend people to live here if they can afford it.
    More about Santa Clara County
  10. 10

    Marin County

    • County in California
    • 6 reviews
    Current Resident:I love living in Marin purely for it's beauty. The Marin Headlands is are alluring. Mount Tamalpais is breath-taking and Bolinas and Stinson will make you want to live at the beach all year. I am aware of how privileged I am to live in such a wealthy, stunning community. However Marin is, in a way, it's very own world. It's separated from the diversity of San Francisco by the Golden Gate Bridge and a lot of people I've met in Marin are unaware of what's going on outside of our "bubble". It is still, regardless, a beautiful place.
    More about Marin County
  11. 11

    Contra Costa County

    • County in California
    • 7 reviews
    Former Resident:I love Contra Costa County. This is where I was born and have since moved, but I feel happy with the foundation I received here. It is a family-friendly environment with many enrichment programs, free parks and sports areas, hiking, trails, and various accessible pool. Unfortunately, the public school system sees success in only a elect few of the various elementary, middle, and high schools available. There is not much diversity in Contra Costa, the majority of the population being either white or hispanic families whose breadwinners commute to and from work, or retired individuals. People are relatively active in the city politics in this area, and students do rather well when compared to other counties in California. The property is expensive but incredibly located, with the closest major city being less than an hour away and accessible by public transportation. Overall, a great place to live.
    More about Contra Costa County
  12. 12

    Ventura County

    • County in California
    • 19 reviews
    Current Resident:I have lived here my whole life, depending on the exact location you can find cheaper or more expensive and better homes. There's a bit of everything!
    More about Ventura County
  13. 13

    Los Angeles County

    • County in California
    • 367 reviews
    Current Resident:First and foremost: Los Angeles needs more parks. Small parks, corner parks, neighborhood parks, one grand central park--we need parks on every corner. I would like to see more underground parking garages and less cars parked on the streets. Imagine if all the driving roads for cars were underground, and above ground Los Angeles had succulent lined sidewalks with buffalo grass sprawling across the streets for people to walk on and electric buses lining the streets. It would result in less driving and better air quality.

    I love living in Los Angeles. It is a culturally vibrant mecca with amazing restaurants, theatre, movies, book signings, reading, lectures, comedy, concerts, underground shows, and so much more! If you are culturally awakened and want to experience new adventures every night, Los Angeles is the city to live in. I am never bored and living in central LA allows for the beach, the mountains, downtown, NoHo, the valley, Pasadena, the Rose Bowl are all 10-30 minutes away.
    More about Los Angeles County
  14. 14

    King County

    • County in Washington
    • 32 reviews
    Current Resident:King county is a great place to live. There public library system is amazing and there are a ton of different places to go, and things to do within a short distance.
    More about King County
  15. 15

    Island County

    • County in Washington
    • 1 review
  16. 16

    Kitsap County

    • County in Washington
    • 2 reviews
    Current Resident:I really love this area I live in. It is the perfect blend of rural and city life. We are nearby tacoma and bremerton, and also a short ferry ride from bustling Seattle, but live in a fairly quiet area in the middle of the woods. I would like to see a couple of the larger stores nearer to me and a gym, but in general things are close.
    More about Kitsap County
  17. 17

    Boulder County

    • County in Colorado
    • 22 reviews
    Current Resident:Very laid back community, but still very athletic. There is always something to do without too much pressure added to it. Farmers markets, tea houses, hiking, biking, rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, and much more! With CU Boulder as a central point of the town there is always a chance to further you education and get involved with the party scene up on the Hill.
    More about Boulder County
  18. 18

    Napa County

    • County in California
    • 14 reviews
    Current Resident:Napa is a great place to go and have a good time. There are quite a few bars and the downtown area is very pretty. However, the downtown area has been under construction for a very long time with no deadline in sight. I would really like to see the downtown area finished soon so that it can resume being breathtakingly beautiful. I would definitely recommend coming to Napa to visit and to definitely go wine tasting, as that is the most fun that there is to be had in this town.
    More about Napa County
  19. 19

    Suffolk County

    • County in Massachusetts
  20. 20

    Collier County

    • County in Florida
  21. 21

    Douglas County

    • County in Nevada
  22. 22

    Placer County

    • County in California
    • 7 reviews
    Niche User:Low air pollution and temperate climate. The people are generally friendly and its a great small town to raise a family.
    More about Placer County
  23. 23

    Clackamas County

    • County in Oregon
    • 11 reviews
    Current Resident:I have lived in Clackamas Oregon for the past 10 years. I enjoy the diversity, the close proximity to the mountain, the city, the beach, medical facilities, nightlife, and nature! The schools and teachers are great! There are plenty of employers, looking for enthusiastic and innovative people! The people are friendly and helpful!
    More about Clackamas County
  24. 24

    Sacramento County

    • County in California
    • 294 reviews
    Current Resident:Living here almost for 43 years I have seen West Sacramento grow dramatically from an old small farm town to a busy and upbeat city. It has gone from a quiet,peaceful, everyone knows everyone; to a city full of wealthy and still yet the poor and drug addicts line the streets. This town is so welcoming of everyone , it is a wonderful place to live as the Sacramento River and mountains and oceans just a couple hours in reach. With the San Francisco Bay just a mere forty five minute drive who wouldn't want to live here. The only thing that's getting worse is the smog. The recent build of The Golden One Center is a huge money making attraction. I myself have taken my grand daughter to see Disney on Ice, what a wonderful experience. I would recommend anyone wanting to visit here attend and event at this Arena. The possibilities are endless with activities galore to do and functions to attend!
    More about Sacramento County
  25. 25

    Norfolk County

    • County in Massachusetts
    • 2 reviews
    Current Resident:Norfolk is very diverse and cultured. It has great scenery at night, a beautiful downtown area, and tons to do.
    More about Norfolk County