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Best Outdoor Retirement Towns in America

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

If you have been hankering to retire to a place where the great out of doors is, well, right out your door, there is a new book you might want to pick up.  “Best Outdoor Towns” by Sarah Tuff & Greg Melville. The authors researched the best outdoor towns by looking at access to state and national parks; pristine outdoor areas; lakes and rivers; plus recreational activities like windsurfing, hiking, snowboarding, cross country skiing, fishing, and more. Just to make sure that these are outstanding communities from other viewpoints, they also factored in cost of living, transportation, population, adequacy of the downtown resources, etc.

MSN City Guides – Outdoor Towns gave an enthusiastic review of this book. They pulled out 10 towns from the 101 listed as examples. Although the book was written for a general audience, it is easy to see how the towns would appeal to baby boomers and active adults as well. This is the list of 10 towns singled out from the book by MSN:

Lake Placid, New York– home of the 1980 Winter Olympics
Hood River, Oregon – windsurfing capital of the world
McCall, Idaho– fly-fishing, rock climbing, cross country skiing
Salida, Colorado– White water rafting excels at the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area
Boone, North Carolina – home of the tallest mountain in the east, 6,684-foot Mount Mitchell, along with the Pisgah National Forest and Blue Ridge Mountains

Livingston, Montana -A River Runs Through It was just one of the movies shot here
Ely, Minnesota – next to the Boundaries National Waters Canoe Area
Davis, West Virginia – Mountain biking, skiing, white water
Bethel, Maine – A charming Maine town near the Sunday River Ski Resort and the White Mountains. Home of the North American Wife Carrying Championships
Haines, Alaska – Sled dog racing, kayaking, skiing – plus the Alaskan wilderness

The book is $19.95 from the Country Man Press.

So Many More
We would add a number of towns to this list as being great for the outdoors. Almost any place in Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico – just as a few examples. Places in western North Carolina like Franklin, or Burlington in Vermont. There are so many to choose from. For an extensive list of great outdoor towns by state go to our sister site,

Comments: What do you think are the best retirement towns for the outdoors? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Posted by Boomer1 on December 3rd, 2007


  1. How about the Kona Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island. Great weather, surfing, scuba diving, biking, running, golf, even mountain climbing. Please enter me in the drawing for the free “101 Best Outdoor Towns”. Thanks “Marty50”

    by Anonymous — December 6, 2007

  2. Sun Valley, Idaho, gets my vote. absolutely breath-taking scenery, with skiing, hiking, and many other activities within miles. Plus it’s an adorable town with a great little bookstore!

    by Roberta — December 9, 2007

  3. I was born and raised in Hood river, OR, BEFORE it was dubbed the windsurfing capital of the world! It was typical small town life. My granddad had a service station in town, then the company built him a brand new 76 out next to the River. I drove by it last month and it’s closed now.

    I went to school with Ken Jernstedts kids, Jeff and Greta, and when it snowed, the hill right next to my house was filled with sledding kids.

    Pick me, pick me!

    by cozumelgrl — December 10, 2007

  4. I look forward to this book…I have brought every best retirement book, best places to raise your kids, best places for art books.

    My vote is for the gorgeous Durango, Co. It is charming, lots to do and just plain beautiful. Only downfall I have is cost of housing which is high. If you have the money, check it out!

    by TCK — December 10, 2007

  5. Recently I visited Sedona, Arizona, for a hiking trip. The “Red Rock” parks and other rocks were great. Grand Canyon was a perfect day trip away. Nearby Jerome had wonderful art work and the Jerome itself is on the national historic registry.

    by Elizabeth Angell — December 11, 2007

  6. If your idea of outdoor fun is hiking through pine forests, motorboating across a lake and catching five to ten pound bass or playing golf 12 months a year, you’ll vote with me for Nacogdoches, Texas, set in the Texas Forest Country.

    PS – I have been to several of the locations mentioned above. I’ve enjoyed Durango in the winter and summer, Hawaii’s Kona Coast (always good weather) and the Grand Canyon region. If you are pointing an RV down the road, don’t miss the southeastern area of Oklahoma, the Amish Country of Pennsylvania, or the Madison River area of Montana. What a wonderful country we live in! Get out there and enjoy it!

    by East Texas Fan — December 18, 2007

  7. I really enjoyed the Oregon Coast. Gold Beach was my favorite with the Rogue River, Rafting, fishing, hiking and jet boating…..

    by Al Avritt — January 4, 2008

  8. It’s really sad but I have never been able to visit any of these places. I’ve been busy running a business and raising a family. I may be dreaming but I would like to go down your list and visit them one by one. However, reality denotes that I must research and visit maybe one or two. Where I live there is not much in the way of an outdoor experience. When the kids were small we would load up the car and I would drive for about 6 hrs to camp and enjoy anything that resembled the towns voted best outdoor retirement towns.

    by Donna Cofer — March 12, 2008

  9. I spent part of my childhood in Waterville Maine. The Kennebeck river runs through the town and has great fishing. The area is wooded and beautiful. Lobster and clams are cheap and available everywhere. The people are warm and friendly. It’s a fantastic place to live or visit.

    by Gerald Thomas — March 12, 2008

  10. how about OURAY colorado in the summer time mountains hikihg ,ghost towns most of the mountains over 12000 fet in the us are there that provides me with my favorite pastime 4 wheeling old mining operation that have been there since the 1800s and in the winter there is ice climbing for the daring

    by lmmatchett — March 12, 2008

  11. Hood River is in the beautiful Columbia Gorge area – can’t think of any place I’d rather hike, except Yosemite. I think the campground in the gorge is called Ainsworth? Of course anywhere in Oregon in September is my all time favorite.

    by Sandra Wolfe — March 12, 2008

  12. Big Sky, MT is definately the place. Wide open skies, breathtaking views, wildlife, peaceful, skiing to flyfishing & hiking. Living here is a never ending vacation.

    by Ellen Desmond — March 12, 2008

  13. the villages does not have any temples a lot of churches- wonderful activities and site

    by vici — March 16, 2008

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