Boston Is One of the Top 50 Cities in America to Get Outside

We made the list of top 50 cities in America to #OptOutside based on rankings from REI Co-op and the Trust for Public Land.

boston top city to go outside

Photo by Tessa Yannone

Spending time in nature has been shown to improve mood, self-esteem, and overall health, but unfortunately most of us live in concrete jungles, work behind a desk, and are exposed to more artificial light and air than we care to admit. That’s why REI, as part of their #OptOutside movement, and the Trust for Public Land, a company that helps communities raise funds, conduct research, and acquire and protect land for parks, playgrounds, and trails, joined forces to rank America’s largest cities by their easy access to the great outdoors.

And good news, Boston: We made the list, along with other cities including Miami, Las Vegas, Philly, and Seattle. The list is a byproduct of the Urban Outdoor Access Analysis developed by data analysts at the Trust for Public Land and takes into account acres of public land per resident within a 60 minute drive and how many residents have at least one park within a 10-minute walk from their homes.

“Access to the outdoors should be a basic right in America,” Jerry Stritzke, REI CEO said in a press release. “Time outside—anywhere from a local park to a bike path to a national forest—makes us happier and healthier. Eighty percent of Americans live in our big urban centers. This analysis celebrates the cities that prioritize outdoor access, and starts to give us a road map for where to improve outdoor access across the country.”

With our shorelines, easy access to mountains and hiking trails, and extensive park system, Boston looks pretty great. 100 percent of residents live within a 10 minute walk of a park (the national average is just 55 percent), 393,131 total acres of public land are within a 60 minute drive, and there are 5,204 total acres of city parks—that’s equal to 3,942 football fields.

And that’s not all that Boston boasts. Many of the companies in the city promote outdoor exploration, like L.L. Bean and Outdoor Voices, and encourage city-dwellers to get out and do things. And gyms and fitness centers, like the new BKBX training facility, help people prepare solely for outdoor excursions. But if you still need some inspiration to befriend Mother Nature, why not try your hand at paddle boarding when the weather is nice or forest bathe at Middlesex Fells? And for anyone feeling extra ambitious, try making a to-do list out of our 55 amazing New England hikes.

Still need more ideas? The Trust for Public Land and REI’s #OptOutside movement offer an extensive database of easily-accessible places to explore close to your city. There’s no excuse not to head straight for the remote, wild, and untethered relaxation of the great outdoors, even if you live in the most urban of locations.