Best place to live?

Eric O

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Apr 12, 2014
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175
Given the following parameters, where in the continental US do believe the best place to live is and why?


Must have the following within a 1 hour drive.

- Mountains
- Mnt Biking
- Hiking
- Access to mid to large sized supermarkets (Walmart and/or Costco a plus)
- Access to basic medical facilities

Must have the following within a 5 hour drive but preferably less than 3 hours.

- Backpacking
- Offroading (4x4, sxs)
- Access to larger medical facilities that can perform surgeries, specialty procedures, etc.


Edit: I realized that I really should have added "Mountains" as a criteria. We love mountains.
 
Last edited:

LarryBoy

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Way too broad of a question to really address with any degree of rigor, but a few possibilities come to mind just in the mountain timezone:

Utah:
Salt Lake/Wasatch Front
Moab
St George/Cedar City

Wyoming:
Jackson
Cody
Lander
Pinedale

Colorado:
Durango
Grand Junction/Glenwood
Steamboat (?)
Salida

Idaho:
Ketchum
Driggs

New Mexico:
ABQ

Arizona:
Flagstaff
Page

Montana:
Missoula
Helena
Bozeman
 

Eric O

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Apr 12, 2014
Messages
175
Way too broad of a question to really address with any degree of rigor, but a few possibilities come to mind just in the mountain timezone:

Utah:
Salt Lake/Wasatch Front
Moab
St George/Cedar City

Wyoming:
Jackson
Cody
Lander
Pinedale

Colorado:
Durango
Grand Junction/Glenwood
Steamboat (?)
Salida

Idaho:
Ketchum
Driggs

New Mexico:
ABQ

Arizona:
Flagstaff
Page

Montana:
Missoula
Helena
Bozeman

Nice list. It's really meant to be a broad question. I appreciate your response!
 

Outdoor_Fool

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Go ahead and scratch off those places in Montana. Nothing to see or do here. Unless you promise to be gone in 10 years before I move back there. :)

But speaking of places good to move, Alaska is right in there, if you are willing to leave the lesser 48. Anchorage if you want a big city, Fairbanks if you want a smallish city, and several towns and villages mixed about. Fairbanks just lost Walmart but Costco is replacing it next fall. We are continental, just not contiguous, in case you really did mean "continental".
 

Eric O

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Apr 12, 2014
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Go ahead and scratch off those places in Montana. Nothing to see or do here. Unless you promise to be gone in 10 years before I move back there. :)

But speaking of places good to move, Alaska is right in there, if you are willing to leave the lesser 48. Anchorage if you want a big city, Fairbanks if you want a smallish city, and several towns and villages mixed about. Fairbanks just lost Walmart but Costco is replacing it next fall. We are continental, just not contiguous, in case you really did mean "continental".

I meant continental, Hawaii isn't an option I'd consider so I excluded it.
 

Eric O

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Are you actually looking to move, or is this just a theoretical?

More theoretical but if all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place over the next few years we would consider moving. We love many things about living along the Wasatch but there are plenty of things we don't like as well (pollution, high population, cost of living).
 

LarryBoy

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More theoretical but if all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place over the next few years we would consider moving. We love many things about living along the Wasatch but there are plenty of things we don't like as well (pollution, high population, cost of living).
Amen on the pollution bit!
 

kwc

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I live in upstate New York, just outside the "blue line" of the Adirondack Park ... outside of the off-road stuff, we have all of the criteria you indicated. Small "city", no pollution, and while many may think that NY is an expensive place to live, our cost of living in our community is relatively low. In fact housing here is WAY less expensive than any of the places mentioned by other posters.

(I recognize that Backcountry Post focuses mostly on the western states but there are a couple of us easterners on here :) )
 

regehr

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Mar 28, 2012
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In the east, Vermont/New Hampshire are the only places I'd consider. In the west, as people have pointed out, tons of choices. So really the choice comes down to things like city vs. town, emphasizing desert vs. mountains, etc.
 

Jackson

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I honestly think that, if you can bear the few weeks of bad air and the rapidly increasing population, the Wasatch Front is about as good as it gets. It's central to everywhere in the western US that you could want to go; with pretty much everything, including outdoor recreation and major cities, less than an 18-hour drive away. And there's so much good stuff within less than 12 hours that you shouldn't have to make any of those long drives very often. Yellowstone, Wind Rivers, Uintas, Colorado Plateau, Glacier, Colorado Rockies...

And then the city itself has every store and restaurant you could ever need, several times over. Great hospitals. A good, but not huge international airport. A handful of colleges and universities. I consider myself very fortunate to be here and have family here.
 

Rockskipper

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Price, Utah

Good grocery stores, close to everything, lots of trains, really reasonable housing, and @Udink lives there!

I also like Glenwood Springs, CO my home base, but it's a tad expensive. Driggs, ID is nice, too, but very wintery in the winter. And I love Livingston, MT but it's very windy. Also like the Hamilton, MT area. Moab's way too hectic these days, but Green River's cool. Actually, there are a ton of nice places. Best bet is to get an RV/camper/trailer/tent and just move every month or so.
 

Nick

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For me proximity to the Colorado Plateau is probably the most important thing. Even being in the Salt Lake area isn't close enough but for now the jobs keep us from moving closer. Ultimately, the western slope of Colorado is my dream home. Or if Utah ever gets a little less conservative, maybe some place like Boulder, Kanab or St. George. But based on the OP criteria, I'd definitely say the Wasatch Front.
 

Jmr

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Mar 9, 2017
Messages
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I wouldn't rule out Denver metro area. I grew up there, and yes it is overpopulated and expensive, but you are within a days drive of a lot of locations, there are plenty of mountain activities within a few hours and places like Moab and Albuquerque are within 5 hours, I have left Denver several times between 5-6 AM and arrived at Moab by noon, Yellowstone also is within a days drive. You also would have all the restaurants, medical needs etc. I am personally living in Durango most of the time now.
 

Absarokanaut

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I love living in Teton County again but I seriously miss much about Colorado. My favorite part is South Central Colorado. Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and even Denver can be within that 5 hour limit. Favorite towns include:

Salida
Buena Vista
Crestone
Westfcliffe
Pagosa Springs
 

Eric O

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It's funny that so many of you have mentioned Driggs. We absolutely fell in love with that area and I've spent plenty of time hiking and backpacking the surrounding area.
 

MikeM

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Montana:
Missoula
Helena
Bozeman

Honestly, don't overlook Butte. We've got an impressive amount of options for hiking/backpacking right out our back door. If you're into mountain biking, we host one of the best mountain bike races in the West every July. And if you're into national parks, we are nicely situated between Yellowstone and Glacier.

We may not have all of the amenities of Missoula or Bozeman, but our lower cost of living more than makes up for it, IMO.

You just have to be able to tolerate an old mining town with a "colorful" history and a big hole in the ground...
 
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