By Morgan Bernard
At Farm Brand, our lives don’t revolve around work. We strive to live balanced, healthy lives, and that involves getting outside. If you’re anything like us, then you’d rather spend the day surfing, hiking, or climbing than a day at the office. Unfortunately, all play and no work doesn’t pay the bills. That’s why we are partial to cities that allow you to work and play with ease. Cities whose inhabitants appreciate a solid run of swell, an overhanging granite crag, or a lone trail cutting through the woods. Cities where a quick train run, surf, or summit push can fit in somewhere between your morning coffee and your commute to work. If you’re looking to settle down somewhere adventurous or just planning to take a vacation, you’d be wise to check out our Outdoor Cities We Love Series. If you missed Part 1 of this series, you can find it here. Continue below for Outdoor Cities We Love Part 2.
Tennessee visitors may typically be drawn to Music City for the Country Music Hall of Fame, dozens of bottomless mimosas spots, and the never-ending stream of bachelorette parties, but Chattanooga is the true jewel of Tennessee when it comes to outdoor recreation. Tucked into a fertile valley on the Tennessee River and surrounded by the mountains of the Cumberland Plataea, this outdoor city is a nature lovers paradise. The city even has a boutique hotel for adventure travelers, Crash Pad.
Tennessee visitors may typically be drawn to Music City for the Country Music Hall of Fame, dozens of bottomless mimosas spots, and the never-ending stream of bachelorette parties, but Chattanooga is the true jewel of Tennessee when it comes to outdoor recreation. Tucked into a fertile valley on the Tennessee River and surrounded by the mountains of the Cumberland Plateau, this outdoor city is a nature lovers paradise. The city even has a boutique hotel for adventure travelers, Crash Pad.
Just 8 miles from the cities surprisingly bustling downtown is Racoon Mountain, home to some of the most coveted trails in the area.
In a city surrounded by mountains, you won't struggle to find an uncrowded trail. But sometimes, you want to adventure without stepping too far away from home, and if that's the case, Racoon Mountain is the destination for you.
There’s no shortage of crags in Chattanooga. Without venturing far from downtown, climbers can boulder, sport climb, trad climb, and top rope. Sandstone boulders and cliffs are peppered throughout the surrounding landscape. Since bouldering requires minimal equipment and setup, it’s an easy after or before work activity. Some of our favorite local bouldering spots include Stone Fort, St. Elmo’s Boulder, and Rock Town. Find out more about climbing in Chattanooga here.
Like Austin, Texas, which we mentioned in our last Outdoor Cities piece, you can paddleboard in the heart of this outdoor city, right on the Tennessee River. Head to L2 Outside to rent paddleboards and take in the city’s skyline from the water.
San Diego, California
Nestled into the southwestern most corner of the United States, San Diego rest where a mountainous desert meets the vast Pacific Ocean just above the US- Mexico border. San Diego may be known for its waves, but it offers far more to the adventurous souls that travel there, including breathtaking hikes, challenging climbs, epic runs, and so much more.
San Diego and North County, which make up the greater San Diego area, are home to some of the most well-known waves in the world, including Windandsea and Blacks Beach. If you’re a beginner surfer, head to Mission Beach in the city for a wide-open beach break with plenty of peaks. If you’re looking to test yourself in some of the area’s heaviest waters, trek down the cliffside path to Black’s Beach, where you’ll find punchy, hollow waves and lots of uh scenery (it’s a nude beach).
San Diego boasts a plethora of granite crags inland that make it one of the country’s best year-round climbing cities. The local crag is Mission Gorge, which is just a 20-minute drive from downtown. Mission Gorge has a variety of sport climbing routes with plenty of beginner-friendly terrain. San Diego is also home to Tahquitz, which has its place in climbing history as the home of the first ascent on a fifth-class route. Tahquitz is a granite monolith that towers nearly 2500 feet towards the heavens and is located north of the city in the Santa Rosa and the San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.
Salt Lake City, Utah
The secret is out about Utah. It is by every definition an outdoor city. Colorado was once considered the ski hub of the Rockies, but Utah is now taking over. As the bridge between the Colorado Rockies and the Far north adventure hubs of Montana and Wyoming, Utah has evolved into a definitive player in adventure in the American West.
Salt Lake City is a ski town. There’s no denying it. Within 30 minutes of walking out your door in downtown Salt Lake City, you can find yourself strapped in and ready for first tracks. With access to 9 total resorts, Salt Lake City locals and visitors can pick their poison when it comes to terrain and atmosphere. The mountains in Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons are famous for their deep snow base and heavy snowfall. Park City is best known for its star-studded clientele. While the Ogden mountains are known for their family-friendly prices.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has caused the number of fly fish anglers to boom. Whether you’re new to fly fishing or a seasoned angler, you’ll find plenty of moving water and hungry fish around Salt Lake City. The Provo River flows south of Salt Lake City and is the most popular fly-fishing spot around. The river is divided into three sections: The Upper Prove, Middle Provo, and Lower Provo. Each section features unique scenery and a combination of different trout species that are sure to please any angler.
Stay tuned for Part III in the series, Outdoor Cities We Love and keep a lookout for Farm Brand’s City Guide!