Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder

Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder

Coloradoans love to stay active, which is one reason for the Rocky Mountain state’s popularity as a place to call home. A recent study of the top cities for recreational activities showed Colorado delivering the recreation that residents want. Three of Colorado’s largest cities ranked in the top of the largest U.S. cities on recreational activities, with Denver ranking No. 16 in the nation, Colorado Springs at No. 48, and Aurora achieving No. 92, according to the WalletHub analysis.

There’s more good news: Staying active is not only good for your physical and mental health but also for home prices. Researchers showed that homes located 500 – 600 feet from a park gained a substantial price increase from the park’s proximity. The price increase held for parks of more than 40 acres and homes as far away as 2,000 feet, “but after 500 feet, the influence was relatively small,” writes John L. Crompton, Ph.D., in National Recreation and Parks Association Magazine. He summarized the analysis he and Sarah Nicholls, a professor in the department of business at Swansea University’s School of Management, published in the Journal of Leisure Research. They analyzed 33 studies from peer-reviewed publications that measured the impact of distance from a park on the sales price of a residence. Their work showed that park attributes made a difference. Higher price premiums went to homes near parks, water areas, and golf courses that were less active. Being near a cemetery could result in a negative price premium. The larger parks brought higher price increases. The impact was more significant for multifamily housing or properties with small yards. Parks near single-family homes with backyards gained a lower price premium for the home.

Several factors point to cities primed for good recreation. “A big indicator,” writes Matthew H. Ebbott, Western Colorado University senior lecturer in Recreation and Outdoor Education, is whether “people live there because of the recreation.”

Ebbott’s top five indicators for evaluating the best cities for recreation include:

Access, including the distance traveled to reach green space, a trailhead or a recreational facility like a gym or rock-climbing wall.

Costs to recreate, include free parks and trials, free access to hikes, bike rides and float trips, and city-supported pools and golf courses.

Variation of activities with diversified recreation activities, such as nearby skiing, hiking, biking and fishing.

Ease of recreating and learning new activities as well as community attitudes, including being welcoming and inclusive.

Attitude toward recreating, including residents’ satisfaction with their recreation and funding support for their city’s parks and recreation department.

Some cities offer cheaper and more numerous recreational options than others. Here are the top five nationwide and their total scores, along with the Colorado cities that ranked in the top 100, according to WalletHub.

No. 1 — Las Vegas, Nevada, 61.43

No. 2 — Orlando, Florida, 59.59

No. 3 — Tampa, Florida, 56.97

No. 4 — Cincinnati, Ohio, 56.92

No. 5 — Atlanta, Georgia, 56.24

No. 16 — Denver, Colo., 51.07

No. 48 — Colo Springs, Colo., 44.89

No. 92 — Aurora, Colo., 38.21

To determine the best and worst cities for recreation, WalletHub examined basic living costs, the quality of parks, the accessibility of entertainment and recreational facilities and the weather. WalletHub compared a sample of the 100 most populated U.S. cities across four key dimensions: entertainment and recreational facilities, costs, quality of parks and weather.

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By Tom Kalinski is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder. He has a 40-year background in commercial and residential real estate. For questions, email Tom at  [email protected], call  303.441.5620 or visit