Outside Happiest Towns

The Happiest Towns in America

Outside publishes the definitive list of the best places to live for an active, happy lifestyle.

September 18, 2023

Boulder, Co. – As the world rethinks how we work and live, people are searching for a better quality of life and a strong sense of community. That’s why Outside devoted the 2023 Best Towns franchise to finding the country’s happiest towns. “I love it when The World Happiness Report comes out with its happiest countries in the world each year,” says Outside’s Travel Director Mary Turner. “So we thought: why not apply that lens to our Best Towns package in the U.S.?”

What constitutes a happy town? It comes down to things like ample outdoor access, affordability, a safe environment, diversity, and freedom for residents to be who they are. 

With those criteria in mind—and an obsessive amount of research—we whittled a preliminary list of 300 contenders down to 15 winners. The list includes small towns like Hood River, Oregon, where life revolves around outdoor pursuits like windsurfing and mountain biking, as well as surprises like New Orleans, Louisiana, where “only a special magic could bind people to a place so vulnerable to rising seas.”

In between you’ll find towns in every region of the country that all share one thing in common: very happy residents. “It’s easy to live here,” says a local in Charlottesville, Virginia. “This kind of quality of life is eye-opening when you come from another city. You don’t want to leave.”

America’s Happiest Towns Finalists
Anchorage, Alaska

Charlottesville, Virginia

Cincinnati, Ohio

Frederick, Maryland

Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Hood River, Oregon

Madison, Wisconsin

Minneapolis, Minnesota

New Orleans, Louisiana

Plano, Texas

Reno, Nevada

St. Petersburg, Florida

Tacoma, Washington

Wilmington, Delaware

About Outside

Outside Interactive, Inc. is the premier destination for active lifestyle enthusiasts and home to leading brands in the endurance sports, outdoor, and healthy living spaces. Each month, Outside reaches 80 million of the most active consumers in the world across its 30+ media, digital, and technology platforms, creating an experience for both longtime adventurers and those just getting started. Outside’s mission is to get everyone outdoors, experiencing healthy, connected, and fulfilling lives. Outside’s membership offering, Outside+, bundles best-in-class storytelling, videos, gear reviews, mapping apps, online courses, discounted event access, magazines, access to NASTAR courses, and more. Learn more at OutsideInc.com.

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