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Best U.S. Cities For Nature Lovers

By Kirstin Chock

Science has proven that the elements of nature improve our mental and physical health.  Research studies found that nature has many benefits like improving your mood, improving your breathing, and improving your cardiovascular system.

The unfortunate thing is that there are hardly any nature locations that are not in the middle of nowhere or that are not on the outskirts of civilization.  However, there are a few places in the U.S. that are perfect nature cites and that are near civilization, so you can still get your Starbucks every morning.

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Boise, ID

Boise, Idaho has the perfect balance of nature and city.  Boise is located between magnificent mountains and rivers yet is still a city town.  Boise is the most populous city in Idaho, with a population of over 200,000 people.  It is a growing city with a low crime rate and a younger population group.  With reasonable pricing for cost of living, Boise is so much more than fields of potatoes.  The most known nature locations are MK Nature Center, Castle Rock Reserve, the Boise Mountains, Stack Rock, and Table Rock, just to name a few. 

Durango, CO

The state of Colorado is known for its naturistic state.  The reason why Durango, Colorado makes this list over other Colorado cities like Boulder is that other naturistic cities in Colorado are limiting in regards to career opportunities and are more costly places to live.  Durango has a population that is one fifth the size of Boulder, but Durango is modern, has a moderately priced cost of living and is cheaper than Boulder, and has a lower than national average crime rate.  Some beautiful must-see spots in Durango include Trimble & Spa Natural Hot Springs, Animas River Trail, and the San Juan Skyway.  All are very suitable locations for walking, hiking, or running.

Asheville, NC

The state of North Carolina is the nature state of the east.  Similarly, to Durango, Colorado, Asheville, North Carolina is one of several nature cities, but Asheville stands out because it has the best balance of nature and city life in the state.  Some of Asheville’s best nature spots include the Botanical Gardens, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and French Broad River Park.  Also, Asheville is the third most populous city in the state, so you are not in a ghost town, but you still have that option of escaping to the middle of nowhere.  This balance makes Asheville a very ideal nature city.

Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake City is known as the capital of Utah and the most populous city of Utah.  Some of the local nature spots are the Big Cottonwood Canyon, the Red Butte Garden, and the Great Salt Lake.  With such diversity, there is no wonder why Salt Lake City is one of the best nature cities in the country, and why Salt Lake City is one of the best “balanced” cities in the U.S.  ­­­­­There are many great nature activities to do year around.  Especially in the winter months, there are skiing and snowboarding, which are unique to very few cities in the U.S.  Salt Lake City is one of the few cities in the U.S. that provide this vast range of outdoor activities.

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