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Top Towns for Outdoorsman

Help us choose the next best outdoor town in America. Nominate your favorite hunting or fishing town right here.
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Last year Outdoor Life chose Mountain Home, Arkansas as the best outdoor town in the United States. More than 200 towns made our list and this year we're hoping to get nominations from you, our readers. If you think that your town, or one that you know of, should be on our list, post your suggestion below with the name and location of the town, its population and a brief description of why it should be named as the "Best Outdoor Town in America." Meanwhile, here's a look at last year's winners...

 

We've all visited those towns, the ones with the river running through them, the woodlands nudging the outskirts and the cafe that's crowded at 5 a.m. with duck hunters and trout guides.

Maybe it's a Western mountain town tucked into drop-dead scenery. Or a whitewashed New England village or a charming Southern river city. Maybe it's a Midwestern county seat or a coastal vacation spot with forever views of the blue-green beyond.

On the way out of these bergs we've fantasized about moving to these places where life seems simpler, the people friendlier and where the economy is nourished by postcard-perfect vistas. Where the fish are always biting, the bucks are big and farmers greet hunters with easy smiles and open gates.

Some of us live in these spots. But many more hunters and fishermen are looking to sink their roots in a new hometown, to raise a family where campsites outnumber condos or to retire to a place where it's as easy to catch a bass as it is to catch a commercial flight.

That's why Outdoor Life has evaluated towns across America to find the places that offer world-class hunting and fishing, easy access to public land and water and vibrant economies that remain affordable and hospitable.

These places exist in every state, towns where you can step out your back door with a fly rod or a shotgun and find abundant fishing and hunting opportunity in sight of the municipal water tower. Areas with decent weather and accessible public land and gun laws that don't criminalize hunters. Places where the economy is vibrant but the pace of life is slow. Towns with good schools and hospitals and a strong sense of community.

Places where you can wear fishing waders or a camouflage hunting jacket into a bar and not call attention to yourself.

Some towns, like Cody, Wyoming, are frequent occupants of best-places lists. Blue-ribbon trout fishing, trophy big-game hunting and proximity to public land make it a regular destination for sportsmen. But our research revealed that it also has low crime, affordable housing and relatively little sprawl. Other places, like Bismarck, North Dakota, surprised us. But the huge diversity of fishing in the Missouri River and Lake Oahe and public-land wingshooting in every direction from the state capital cemented its designation as a top town.

Demographers say America's small towns are disappearing as youngsters migrate to cities for work or college, then move to suburbs to raise families. But our research indicates that small towns are thriving, especially those trade centers with populations between 5,000 and 15,000. These are the places where rural landscapes abut the city limits, where wildlife habitat is healthy and intact, where there are plenty of "retail therapy" opportunities. And where you can always find a "hunter's breakfast" on the cafe menu.

Click HERE to start the gallery.

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from GuidesForHireLLC wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

BENNINGTON, VERMONT

small town comfort and charm, ancient old stone walls and Sugar Maples, community built classic white churches, and hunting and fishing all around you every day of the year.

Draw a 45 minute circle around Bennington and we are fishing the BEST of New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire as well as chasing bears and bobcats with our hounds in Vermont's Green Mountains, snowshoe hare, grouse and brook trout with the shotguns and limbering up the bow for deer, bear, and the lower 48s ONLY Bowhunting Only Season for Moose!
Half a million acres of national forest lands, year round bowfishing, predator hunting and fantastic 12 month fishing all over the state, within minutes we are in Massachusetts for stocked pheasant and no closed season fishing, not to mention liberal and low priced big game seasons, turn 90 degrees and 5 minutes west we have the combination New York State offers of unequaled public lands and large bag limits and long seasons.

We never wonder what there is to do, we wonder how we can pick where and what to go after today!

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from gatorschott15de... wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

hey!! wheres the small huntin and fishin community of ravenna nebraska. the town is just 30 miles from grand island or kearny.

choose this town next year!!!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from NCdeerhunter wrote 5 years 14 weeks ago

When should we expect to see your results in this search?

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kolbster wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

i live about 1 hour from boon NC and i love it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Far Rider wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

My hometown of Lebanon, Missouri (pop. 12,155) offers a wealth of hunting and fishing opportunities. The Niangua and Gasconade Rivers run within 15 miles and are excellent places to canoe, fish for smallmouth bass, and gig suckers. Bennett Springs State Park offers world-class trout fishing. An hour's drive will get you to bass and crappie hotspots on the Lake of the Ozarks or Pomme de Terre. Tens of thousands of acres of national forest and conservation land surround Lebanon and abound with whitetail deer and eastern turkey. Bobwhite quail can be found, but unfortunately not in the numbers of a few decades ago. All in all, Lebanon provides access to an abundance of outdoor adventures.

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from bajcjs5 wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Colorado Springs, Colorado is in my opinion one of the best hunting towns. Within just 45 minutes driving from Colorado Springs there is some of the best elk hunting anywhere in the country. There are thousands upon thousands of public land to hunt for elk practically in your back yard. A person with some knowledge of elk hunting can go for a week end hunt, without even needing a guide and bag a record size elk in the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains. The trout fishing is also amazing. There are gold medal trout streams within an hours drive of Colorado Springs. If you are a outdoorsman, Colorado is like heaven on earth.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ko59599 wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I agree with NCdeerhunter. While I no longer live in Boone, NC I was so blessed to go to school there for 4 1/2 years. The deer woods was a great place to study for tests at Appalachian State University. While a lot of public land is available around the area me and my buddies were able to make friends with the friendly mountain folk there and gained access to great deer hunting that way. Most people in the area are very quick to offer you to come and "hunt behind the house" in exchange for great conversation and a little companionship. Trout fishing is also great in the mountains of NC. Stocked waters are not allowed to be posted in NC so just find a bridge and get in the creek and you can wade as long and far as your heart desires. No one will give you a difficult time as you wade through their property. The stocking program in NC is top notch. Not only do they stock fish in the 8-10 inch range but also a good amount of trophy fish can also be had. One April me and 2 of my roommates each landed stocked rainbow trout 21 inches in size, enough to double over our ultralight poles to the max. If you want to experience a great weekend go to Boone for a weekend in the fall and catch a Mountaineer football game and do some deer hunting or go in April or May and limit out on some trout once or twice, the whole time enjoying the best down to earth people in the country and some amazing scenery.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kalen_maki_2013... wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Roseau,mn should definatly be the best outdoor town it is located 20 miles away from lake of the woods you can't beat that. It also is located right next to hayes lake state park where fishing is phenomenal for sunfish bluegill and perch. In 2000 the population was 2,756 but it has grown quite a bit. Roseau,mn is definately the BEST outdoor town in the WORLD.

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from zray wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Aint no place like cooper landing alaska. Not only is it in ALASKA the coolest place in the freakin world but its rite in the heart of the kenai river theres so many places to fish itd take a day to name um all. The Grizzly bear, sheep, and other big game hunting is absolutly amazing. Cooper landing is easy to get to and easy to move around because it is part of the kenai highway. The actual town has a down home feel to it. Cooper landing IS the best outdoor town in america.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from NCdeerhunter wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

My town should definitely be considered for the best outdoor town in America. I live in Boone, NC. It is located in the northwestern corner of North Carolina. We are within driving distance of the Pisgah National Forest and many other state forests. We have a lot of black bear hunting and big bodied whitetails. We also have the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are Brookies, brown and rainbows in our rivers, along with many smallmouth. This is why Boone is the Best!

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from kalen_maki_2013... wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Roseau,mn should definatly be the best outdoor town it is located 20 miles away from lake of the woods you can't beat that. It also is located right next to hayes lake state park where fishing is phenomenal for sunfish bluegill and perch. In 2000 the population was 2,756 but it has grown quite a bit. Roseau,mn is definately the BEST outdoor town in the WORLD.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ko59599 wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I agree with NCdeerhunter. While I no longer live in Boone, NC I was so blessed to go to school there for 4 1/2 years. The deer woods was a great place to study for tests at Appalachian State University. While a lot of public land is available around the area me and my buddies were able to make friends with the friendly mountain folk there and gained access to great deer hunting that way. Most people in the area are very quick to offer you to come and "hunt behind the house" in exchange for great conversation and a little companionship. Trout fishing is also great in the mountains of NC. Stocked waters are not allowed to be posted in NC so just find a bridge and get in the creek and you can wade as long and far as your heart desires. No one will give you a difficult time as you wade through their property. The stocking program in NC is top notch. Not only do they stock fish in the 8-10 inch range but also a good amount of trophy fish can also be had. One April me and 2 of my roommates each landed stocked rainbow trout 21 inches in size, enough to double over our ultralight poles to the max. If you want to experience a great weekend go to Boone for a weekend in the fall and catch a Mountaineer football game and do some deer hunting or go in April or May and limit out on some trout once or twice, the whole time enjoying the best down to earth people in the country and some amazing scenery.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kolbster wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

i live about 1 hour from boon NC and i love it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from gatorschott15de... wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

hey!! wheres the small huntin and fishin community of ravenna nebraska. the town is just 30 miles from grand island or kearny.

choose this town next year!!!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from NCdeerhunter wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

My town should definitely be considered for the best outdoor town in America. I live in Boone, NC. It is located in the northwestern corner of North Carolina. We are within driving distance of the Pisgah National Forest and many other state forests. We have a lot of black bear hunting and big bodied whitetails. We also have the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are Brookies, brown and rainbows in our rivers, along with many smallmouth. This is why Boone is the Best!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Far Rider wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

My hometown of Lebanon, Missouri (pop. 12,155) offers a wealth of hunting and fishing opportunities. The Niangua and Gasconade Rivers run within 15 miles and are excellent places to canoe, fish for smallmouth bass, and gig suckers. Bennett Springs State Park offers world-class trout fishing. An hour's drive will get you to bass and crappie hotspots on the Lake of the Ozarks or Pomme de Terre. Tens of thousands of acres of national forest and conservation land surround Lebanon and abound with whitetail deer and eastern turkey. Bobwhite quail can be found, but unfortunately not in the numbers of a few decades ago. All in all, Lebanon provides access to an abundance of outdoor adventures.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from GuidesForHireLLC wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

BENNINGTON, VERMONT

small town comfort and charm, ancient old stone walls and Sugar Maples, community built classic white churches, and hunting and fishing all around you every day of the year.

Draw a 45 minute circle around Bennington and we are fishing the BEST of New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire as well as chasing bears and bobcats with our hounds in Vermont's Green Mountains, snowshoe hare, grouse and brook trout with the shotguns and limbering up the bow for deer, bear, and the lower 48s ONLY Bowhunting Only Season for Moose!
Half a million acres of national forest lands, year round bowfishing, predator hunting and fantastic 12 month fishing all over the state, within minutes we are in Massachusetts for stocked pheasant and no closed season fishing, not to mention liberal and low priced big game seasons, turn 90 degrees and 5 minutes west we have the combination New York State offers of unequaled public lands and large bag limits and long seasons.

We never wonder what there is to do, we wonder how we can pick where and what to go after today!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from zray wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Aint no place like cooper landing alaska. Not only is it in ALASKA the coolest place in the freakin world but its rite in the heart of the kenai river theres so many places to fish itd take a day to name um all. The Grizzly bear, sheep, and other big game hunting is absolutly amazing. Cooper landing is easy to get to and easy to move around because it is part of the kenai highway. The actual town has a down home feel to it. Cooper landing IS the best outdoor town in america.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from bajcjs5 wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Colorado Springs, Colorado is in my opinion one of the best hunting towns. Within just 45 minutes driving from Colorado Springs there is some of the best elk hunting anywhere in the country. There are thousands upon thousands of public land to hunt for elk practically in your back yard. A person with some knowledge of elk hunting can go for a week end hunt, without even needing a guide and bag a record size elk in the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains. The trout fishing is also amazing. There are gold medal trout streams within an hours drive of Colorado Springs. If you are a outdoorsman, Colorado is like heaven on earth.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from NCdeerhunter wrote 5 years 14 weeks ago

When should we expect to see your results in this search?

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

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