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Old 09-12-2014, 05:45 AM
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I actually kind of shocked that no one has mentioned Salt Lake City yet. If you haven't been it's actually a beautiful city against a mountain backdrop and offers a whole lot to do with a mostly sunny, four season climate. The city is among a handful that continues to thrive in the current economy and has the lowest unemployment rate of the larger cities in the US at just 3.8%, and is yet rather affordable. There are some very nice in-town safe/walkable neighborhoods to choose from that would suit you well.
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Old 09-13-2014, 08:19 PM
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I am a Floridian who just moved to Denver recently. There are a lot of us out here. I think you would like Denver.
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Old 09-13-2014, 08:25 PM
Location: Phoenix Arizona
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Flagstaff AZ
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Old 09-14-2014, 02:44 PM
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Southern California would be the most logical choice.
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Old 09-14-2014, 08:04 PM
Location: New Orleans, LA
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I'd give the Sacramento valley a look. Sacramento, Chico, Folsom, Oroville, Yuba, and Placerville. Also, on the other side of the mountains, you have Reno, NV which is affordable, has outdoors stuff, and is close to the mountains.
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Old 09-15-2014, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ineedmountains724 View Post
Hello, long time user but first time poster here. I was born and raised in Florida, which is where I currently live as well. My family and I have been taking vacations out west every year for the past 15 years. We primarily go for the hiking and incredible scenery, but we have also fallen in love with the different way of life. The opportunities for outdoor adventure and exploration simply cannot be matched anywhere else in the country. And thereís a special spirit of adventure amongst the people that live there as well. We would love to move out west somewhere in the next 3-5 years. My fiancť and I have been discussing all the different possibilities.

Hereís what we agree on so far:

We love places like Bend, OR and Boulder, CO. We want a community that is filled with fit, active people. I donít care about liberal vs. conservative because I canít stand politics in general. Theyíre all liars in my book. We just want a place with a live and let live attitude.

We donít have children yet but do eventually plan on starting a family. Therefore, it would be important to have good schools in the area that we decide to settle down in. Also, a safe place to live with minimal crime is an absolute must.

We would prefer a climate that is on the sunnier side. We loved Portland and Seattle, but we visited in the summer and we are well aware that the gorgeous weather we experienced is typically only 3-4 months a year with the rest being overcast with a light drizzle. Being from Florida, we fear that the incessantly grey skies would wear on us the rest of the year. We would also like a change from the hot, humid Florida climate. Actually having 4 seasons sounds pretty great.

Outdoor recreation is key. We want access to mountains, forests, lakes, mountain biking and running trails, and preferably ocean (although this is not an absolute must). We love the idea of being able to go hiking, camping, mountain biking, and skiing (in the winter) on the weekends.

Size of the city is not all that important to us. We just donít want to be in a small town. We would still like a place that has a good variety of quality restaurants, fun bars, great breweries, and a walkable downtown. And proximity to a large city would be nice for concerts, sporting events, et c.

Lastly, we would prefer a location in the west. We do love the fall foliage of the east, but we have decided that we can take an annual vacation for that.

Some of our favorite places that we are considering:
Bend, Boulder, Fort Collins, Boise (weíve never been before, but we are intrigued by the area)
Missoula and Bozeman are on the short list as well, although we are somewhat concerned about being so far away from a major city/metro area.
Northern California is another great option, just concerned about the COL and how crowded it can be. The Bay area is great, but weíve never been to the Sacramento/Davis area and donít really know much about it.

Please let me know if there are any other large/medium size cities that we should be considering.
Chico seems to fit with most of those requirements. I've heard it compared to Portland and Bend fairly often, although Chico has significantly more sunny weather than those two places. That being said, they're both gorgeous and fun towns. Chico is one of the sunniest towns in the country, averaging only about 23" of rain per year and an average of 69 precipitation days per year.

Chico has a great school district and a wide variety of private and charter schools as well. Some of the schools have won recognition at state and national levels for their excellence. Butte College and Chico State both have great reputations in the academic community.

Chico's main comparison between itself and Portland/Bend comes from it's culture of outdoor lifestyle. It's a big cycling town with several clubs and events for cyclists. There is also Bidwell Park which has a huge variety of options for outdoor activity, ranging from casual walks on the paved paths to more vigorous hiking on some of the Upper Park trails. There are plenty of swimming holes to choose from during the summer time as the creek courses through the park for several miles.

As for the size of the town, it's just south of 90,000 which is pretty great. It's large enough to have many of it's own resources and entertainment, but not so large that it loses it's identity. It has a walkable downtown, there are several excellent local restaurants in that area and more seem to be opening up every day. There are plenty of great bars ranging from college bars to classier young adult mixology bars and pubs. Chico has a pretty active music scene with many local musicians of all ages putting on performances, and the local events often feature many of them. The Sierra Nevada brewery is also a big positive, not only are their products generally cheaper and Chico is given priority given that it originated here, but it also has an excellent restaurant that many people enjoy and it's sustainability practices are a marvelous example to follow.

If you can't find the sort of outdoor activity you're looking for here in the city limits, you're surely not far away from it. There's plenty of campsites, lakes (for boating, fishing, etc), hiking, streams for fishing, etc. all over and you can reach them easily within 30-40 minutes tops.

Those are just a few of the things off of the top of my head. Chico really is an excellent town to raise a family in, especially if your prone to doing things outdoors. The one flaw is that the job market can be exceptionally hard to enter into here, especially if you don't know anybody who can connect you. But there are becoming more and more opportunities to network here that will give you that chance.
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Old 09-29-2014, 12:02 AM
1,946 posts, read 4,763,869 times
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Originally Posted by goolsbyjazz View Post
To the OP: I think Colorado may suit you. Fort Collins and Boulder, both college town, offer four seasons and the outdoor recreation you seek. I would also suggest you check out Flagstaff, AZ as well.
I'm a Floridian who use to live in the Denver area. I think it would fit a lot of OP's criteria, however I wouldn't say that Denver had a very noticeable spring or fall. Also, your natural surroundings are going to be very brown 6+ months out of the year and the dryness takes some getting used to. May not be dealbreakers per se but it is going to be a noticeable change from Florida.
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