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Best, Kid Friendly Places to Live in the U.S.?

My husband and I have been dreaming and discussing moving once he graduates college. We live in Georgia right now, and the heat, humidity and enviroment are not to our liking. We had been kicking around the idea of moving out of the states, but have decided that will probably be too difficult. We want to live somewhere with a moderate year round temperature - summer that do not get over 85 (does that exist?? lol). I would rather have a mild winter as well, but snow is ok. :) If I have to choose between a hot summer and a cold winter, I will go with the cold winter. My husband has had 4 heat strokes and we just cannot handle the heat anymore. We enjoy outdoorsy type things - hiking, camping, bike riding, horse back riding. But I also want to be near things...ie good shopping, entertainment, good schools, the arts, etc. We used to live outside of Austin, TX and I loved the atmosphere - it was just too hot. I would love to live somewhere that was more family friendly. Where I live now there is not much to do. Go to the beach and get sunburned, go to the pool, or drive an hour or more to a bigger city. I want to move somewhere safe and fun for my babies. Does anyone have any suggestions? I have heard Colorado is amazing, but I've never been there. I have also been looking at Washington and Oregon. I do not think I would like living in California though. Probably couldn't afford it either. ;)

TIA!

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San Diego, CA or Santa Barbara, CA!! Not cheap but awesome places to live!! San Francisco is awesome as well but expensive. I couldn't be anywhere where it is 110 degrees in the summer and also snows in the winter.

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Mmm my neighborhood. ;) Every house has at least one kid. It is awesome in the summer. Kids run wild and you never know how many are going to show up to play. It is fun and my kids love this neighborhood.

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San Diego, CA or Santa Barbara, CA!! Not cheap but awesome places to live!! San Francisco is awesome as well but expensive. I couldn't be anywhere where it is 110 degrees in the summer and also snows in the winter.

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I'd suggest Colorado or Utah (around Park City if you can aford it - further out if it's too expensive). Park City is terrific in the summer and there is lots to do in winter (but not as much as in summer believe it or not). It's hot in summer but dry so it's so different than hazy, hot and humid days. In the shade on a 90 degree day, you're fine. Look it up.

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Mmm my neighborhood. ;) Every house has at least one kid. It is awesome in the summer. Kids run wild and you never know how many are going to show up to play. It is fun and my kids love this neighborhood.

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We live in Utah and it is one of the most family and kid friendly places around. There is a high % of Latter Day Saints here, whose focus is on the family and they tend to have larger families. As a result, there are lots and lots of family-oriented things to do. Lots of parks, childrens museums, water parks, and so much to do outdoors. This summer we have had no shortage of things to do that are cheap or free. We have: gone swimming at the rec center which has fantastic pools with built-in pirate ships and playsets, plus a giant waterslide; gone on a few kid-friendly hikes, explored the wetland center which has easy trails, ponds, lots of different birds to watch, canoeing, fishing; gone to Liberty Park which has playgrounds, running/rollerblading/cycling trails, ponds with geese and ducks, pools and a splash bad, tennis, carnival rides for $1.50 each, and aviary; the aquarium is decent and will be rebuilt in a few years and is supposed to be one of the biggest in the nation. If you are outdoorsy, hiking, boating, rock climbing, all sorts of trails and bike paths etc are a short drive away. Anyway, I don't know where the schools rank in comparison to the rest of the country, but we are in Davis County and the school my kids are in was rated one of the best in state, and I have been really impressed. It seems like the parents are very involved and there are a lot of good programs for the kids. Housing is pretty affordable here, low crime rate, and it is beautiful. Also traffic is not bad either. The drawbacks to Utah, in my opinion, are the winter is long with lots of snow. You can count on it still snowing off and on till the end of April and sometimes we will even get a random snow shower in June! Due to the large mountains, we get a nasty inversion January and February where it is smoggy and gray out a lot. But there are also a lot of beautiful winter days with blue blue sky and lots of skiing and sledding. Summer is 75-95 degrees (right now it is 89) and occasionally gets a little higher. It is a dry heat. But not too overwhelming, and it is generally cloudless and sunny all summer long. The only other drawback is that it is a very conservative state. It seems nice to be able to pick up some wine at the grocery store, but you cannot do that in Utah. The liquor laws are a little strict. If you want any further info, let me know. Good luck in finding the perfect spot for you and your family!

Added: Incidentally, I am looking for stuff to do this week with the kids, here is a great link of activities available in Utah: http://www.thingstodo.com/states/UT/salt_lake/

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Washington and Oregon have mild weather but it does rain a lot there and there are lots of overcast days. Whether it is cold or hot sun is important for our overall well being! Just a thought. I live in Sandy, Utah for the past 10 yrs. It is a very family friendly and safe here.
The winters can be quite cold and snowy we only live 30 mins from some of the best skiing I have ever experienced. But you have lots of sunny days. The summers can be hot typically 80s from mid June, 90s in July with a few days in 100s, August mixed 80s and 90s, Sept back into 70s. It is very dry here so often allergies are less severe. I find because it is dry the heat is bearable. This is an outdoor activity state hiking, biking, camping are the norm on most weekends. We have museums, a Zoo, other kid friendly activites.
the state has grown with people moving in from California as the cost of living is cheaper here. It has a lot of start up companies and is considered the 2nd Silicon Valley because of that.
There are some quirks here but aren't there some everywhere, some shops and restaurants don't open on Sundays more so in Utah County. There is much more religious tolerance and diversity in the 10 yrs I have been here,( if that bothers you). The housing market is still very depressed here so you can get some great deals at the moment.

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The Twin Cities in Minnesota has everything you describe EXCEPT mild winters. We have an amazing arts community, shopping (Mall of America), lakes, bike trails, golf courses, etc. People here are very outdoorsy no matter the season--hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing, cross country skiing, etc. We have some of the most bikers and golfers per capita in the entire country. The schools are good although struggling with budget issues like most places. We are always rated by national surveys and magazines as one of the best places to raise a family. The winters do get long and cold though. I have a neighbor who has a brother in Denver and he says it's gotten very crowded there from people from CA moving in. They don't even go to the mountains anymore because the traffic is so bad. Personally, the winters go pretty quickly for my family because both of my boys play hockey. Keeps us busy. Good luck!

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I agree with Cindy L.! Some people don't get it until you're here but it's a great place to live and raise a family. And you get used to the cold and make the best of it! (Skiing, sledding, skating, etc.) I lived in CO and loved it but I do feel it has gotten very crowded and jobs are tough depending on your industry. I also haven't heard great things about their public school systems. MN has a lot of major headquarters and there is tons to do here!

Live in San Diego and so much to do and perfect weather but, of course, expensive. Love Austin, TX and most of CO. I'm currently in Olympia, WA visiting family and shocked at how few things there are for kids. But, huge, but, when the weather is nice, wow, it is a wonderland for (big) kids (like me: )

Sounds like you would enjoy the Pacific Northwest, except we do have some pretty extreme winters. Summers in my area usually have 4-6 weeks of 90-100 degree weather and the rest in the 80's and 90's but the humidity is low. This summer has been an extreme exception to the rule. If you are considering WA I am in the Spokane area and you can PM if you have any ?'s.

Hi,
I was just going to suggest Austin, Tx because I just got back from visiting a friend there and loved it! We are hoping to move there soon, but I can understand what you are saying about the heat:) I currently live in IL, and would not recommend it if you are looking for mild winters.. winters seem to never end here! I would recommend Colorado though! I have been there many times and it is so beautiful! Winters are not as harsh as in the midwest, so if you're willing to deal with snow, I think it's worth a look:) Good luck!

Well, if you want mild weather than Washington is the place to be. We *rarely* go above 85 (maybe 6 or 7 days of the year), and we usually get a dusting of snow every winter. Super super outdoorsy here. Lots of beautiful areas to hike and camp, you will see bike riders everywhere. We are pretty crunchy! We do not have beaches for swimming. We have lakes and they are usually pretty nice. I think we are a pretty safe area (north of Seattle) and I do not live in the city. We are about 1/2 hour from Seattle and it's perfect. If we want to go to the mountains and ski they are about 1 1/2 hours away, if we want to go to the city, it's about a 1/2 hour. If we want to go to the coast it's about 2 hours. heck, if we want to go to Canada it's about 3!! We also have the San Juan Islands that are just BEAUTIFUL during the summer. You have to take a ferry out to get to them and I really love going there.
Washington is the place to be!!
L.

My brother lives a little outside of Denver and insists that if we went to visit, we'd never want to leave. He absolutely adores it, as do several of my friends from high school who live within a couple hour radius. Lots of outdoor activities, but it does snow (leaving for MORE outdoor activities). Your climate wishes sound like California, but there's a lot of reasons I wouldn't want to live there....I would have suggested TX too, but you've already said no to that (it IS dang hot!)

Depends on your budget. If you can afford California, you've described the weather in much of the state. The Bay Area is ideal, although costs a fortune to live there. We were just in Carlsbad near San Diego and loved it there. They have very mild weather, too, and lots to do.

Another thought is Bend, Oregon. My in-laws live there and we plan on retiring there. Tons of outdoor activities and very family-friendly. The big drawback is that employment opportunities are somewhat limited, unless you're in medical or tourism.

Skip Chicago (although many of the suburbs are nice).

It's stupid expensive, the traffic is terrible, the taxes are ridiculously high, the cost of a home is horrible, and the extreme weather swings are awful.

Updated

Anywhere in Utah County! Talk about family friendly. Nearly everything in Utah is kid friendly, cheaper than most places in the country. You could live in some of the quietest, adorable neighborhoods ever! Their is "big city life" in Salt Lake City or the happy quiet life, but still nice in Utah County. Beautiful weather. Can get hot in the summer, but winters are decent. Spring/fall is always amazing!!!
Although I am thinking of moving to Colorado. I love it there! Always have and always will!

I am a Midwestern girl at heart and can't imagine living anywhere else! I love to visit the desert, mountains and beach occasionally, but there is no place like the heartland in my opinion. I grew up outside of Kansas City and now live in Omaha. We can have our share of harsh winters and heat waves in the summer, but for the most part the weather is pretty mild. The people are very friendly and family oriented. It isn't as busy, fast or crowded like the East and West coast, but there is still plenty to do and the cost of living is a FRACTION to what you would pay there. Also our public schools are excellent too. Good luck with your decision!
A.

Like some others have said, Minnesota is very nice. My husband and I both grew up in North Dakota and the weather is pretty much the same there as it is here in MN. However, we are tired of snow 7-9 months out of the year. We would love to move away somewhere warm, we love Florida...yes, I know it's hot, hot, hot. We like everything about the Minneapolis area except the snow! There are so many nice suburbs outside of the city, we live 30 minutes out and can get to everything very easily. There are great deals on houses in our area right now as there was a wave of foreclosures and the job market seems to be okay. Good luck in your decision!

Have you ever been to San Francisco? It's pretty fantastic! Expensive, but there is no other place on Earth like it. Tons of stuff to do with kids, great public transportation, great shopping, temperate weather (like Mark Twain said, the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco!). It's a far cry from Georgia politically though, if that makes a difference to you.

Also, the central coast of California has near-perfect weather year-round - beautiful beaches, good shopping, lots to do with kids, slower pace of life than LA or SF. Check out Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara.

Also, San Diego is pretty wonderful too.

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