This Spring’s Top Cities for Outdoor Activities

It’s hard to overstate the benefits of outdoor activities in 2021, but with the spring solstice finally past, it might be a good idea to plan your Spring vacation around one of TravelPulse’s “Best U.S. Cities for Outdoor Activities.”

The data comes from a study conducted by LawnStarter, a national lawn care provider that also conducts in-depth, location-based studies. The study compared the 200 largest cities in the United States across 17 key analytics metrics, which ranged from the number of publicly-available trails, campsites, and gardens to the springtime rainfall percentages and amount of sunshine received.

It all resulted in an extensive ranking of all 200 cities, which details the location’s rank in outdoor activities, visitor friendliness, and spring climate. Outside of the objective rankings, many unique facts were learned about the studied cities such as Washington D.C. being the nation’s “most walkable” city or Metairie, Louisiana hosting the second-rainiest spring season in the entire United States.

Top 20 of the Best Cities for Outdoor Activities in Spring 2021

  1. San Francisco, California
  2. Portland, Oregon
  3. Honolulu, Hawaii
  4. Mesa, Arizona
  5. Washington D.C.
  6. Tucson, Arizona
  7. Los Angeles, California
  8. Long Beach, California
  9. Huntington Beach, California
  10. Las Vegas, Nevada
  11. Lincoln, Nebraska
  12. Salt Lake City, Utah
  13. New York City, New York
  14. Seattle, Washington
  15. Oakland, California
  16. Tempe, Arizona
  17. Fort Collins, Colorado
  18. Miami, Florida
  19. Riverside, California
  20. Lexington, Kentucky

#1 San Francisco, California

The Golden City tops off the list with its high-ranking walkability score, as the west coast city is known for its high number of public trails, outdoor vendors, and bicycle paths. Besides the truly iconic Golden Gate Bridge, visitors should take a leisurely cruise on the San Francisco Bay by way of an Alcatraz ferry ride, sailboat, or powerboat excursion. Though, if the water’s not your thing, then simply go for an outdoor foray into the hidden, idyllic Muir Woodsand its ancient, towering Coastal Redwoods. Alternatively, hike to the top of Mt. Tamalpais to see the famed city from a picturesque viewpoint or try out horseback riding on one of the winding trails of Fort Funston.

#2 Portland, Oregon

This delightfully unique gem of the Pacific Northwest boasts some of the most decadent gardens publicly-accessible in the country. If visiting the city in the Spring months, be sure to make it a point to check out the Portland International Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Lan Su Chinese Garden, or the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden for some of the most unforgettable plantlife, sculptures, and scenery around. In a similar vein, Portland abounds with parks for you to walk, bike, or hike; Washington Park, Forest Park, Mount Tabor Park, and Silver Falls State Park are just four that come to mind in terms of postcard-worthiness.

#3 Honolulu, Hawaii

Admittedly, this one might seem like a no-brainer, but Spring may just be the optimal season to visit Hawaii instead of Summer. This is due to its optimal weather ranging from 70ºF to 79º, beating not only the Summer heat but the crowd as well. Spring also has a bountiful supply of indigenous and non-native plants blooming in Honolulu’s various rainforests and gardens, such as Oahu’s Foster Botanical Garden, featuring trees planted as early as the 1850s.Outside of weather and scenery, springtime in Honolulu means that it’s time for the seasonal visits from Humpback whales on the southern shores of Oahu. Honestly, where else can you whale watch in April?

Always be sure to check with the latest CDC-recommended travel guidance before traveling to any of the notable cities listed in the full data set.

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Eight Cities For Winter Travel

Wintertime is often viewed as the least appealing season to go out and take on new adventures, but realistically that’s not true at all! Often, our favorite summer hotspots are transformed into white wonderlands, bringing a whole new perspective and round of fun activities to participate in. So grab your jackets and check out which cities you should check out this winter, told by Travel and Leisure!

Asheville, North Carolina

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, this city is filled with adventures. Head to the ski slopes for your winter sport or you can hit the hiking trails that are open year-round. You can learn all about Asheville on the downtown Asheville Urban Trail or explore the Biltmore Estate, which was George Vanderbilt’s 250-room chateau.  If you’d prefer inside activities to escape the harsh winter winds, wintertime is the perfect time to explore the crowd-less galleries and museums downtown.

New York, New York

The best thing about New York City in the winter? No crowds! You can easily peruse museums, comedy clubs, popular restaurants, and even a few Broadway shows without navigating through boatloads of people. Or rent some skates and try your hand at ice skating!

Honolulu, Hawaii

Make sure to pack your swimsuit because Honolulu is the perfectwinter escape for those who prefer warm weather and plenty of sunshine. Try snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, surfing the waves, or even just relaxing on the beach. If you’re looking for a few things to fill up your itinerary, head to the Polynesian Cultural Center, the Bishop Museum, or Iolani Palace to learn about the island culture

Venice, California

Just a few miles north from Los Angeles International Airport, Venice is a popular California city for its street vendors, canals, and infamous Muscle Beach. You can also dine in one of their excellent restaurants, food trucks, or cafes and then head out on a shopping trip in one of their upscale stores or downplay it in a mom and pop souvenir shop.

Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, is placed on the shore of Lake Champlain in northwestern Vermont, just a few miles from Burlington International Airport. Stowe, Smuggler’s Notch, and Bolton Valley are just a few ski resorts that reside in this city, with slopes designed for beginners and experts. You can rent a room at one of their cozy Bed and Breakfasts and then head downtown to explore their shops, restaurants, live music, and their Church Street Marketplace.

Astoria, Oregon

Founded as a fur trading post in 1811, this city is right where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. Only two hours from Portland and three hours from Seattle, the 4.1-mile-long Astoria-Megler Bridge connects Astoria to Washington. Visit downtown to visit their small-town features, like the restored 1925 Liberty Theater or the Flavel House.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

The ultimate winter sports lover’s dream, Jackson Hole is filled to the brim with winter activities for its visitors. You can hit the slopes or go ice skating, snowmobiling, back country skiing, and even horse-drawn sleigh rides. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of opportunities to visit Yellowstone National Park in a snowcoach, with access to Old Faithful, bubbling mudpots, and wildlife. Jackson Hole truly is a winter travel spot that should be on everyone’s must do list.

Key West, Florida

Florida’s southernmost point, the drive to Key West takes newcomers across 42 bridges. With winter temps in the 70s, a booming nightlife, plenty of history and culture to explore, and an ample amount of water sports, this city attracts visitors worldwide. During the day, go snorkeling or diving in the coral reefs and then dry off and head to one of Duval Street’s restaurants for a fresh seafood dinner.  Even though its not your typical winter travel spot, consider Key West for a great getaway with a little warmth when you need it most.

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