Best mid-sized towns in the SW for public parks
Public parks are a critical element for creating livable cities by bringing a little bit of the country into a city. Parks can revitalize neighborhoods, provide a place for families and kids to socialize and play, and give residents a place to get some relief from stress. For many, spending time in a park is a daily activity. When relocating, city park space is the first thing many will look into. Finding information about park facilities can be hard enough, but trying to compare cities based on park space has been all but impossible. So if you are considering living in the SW and parks are important to you, here is our list of the best mid-sized towns in the SW for public parks.
Our definition of a mid-sized town is one whose population is between 10,000 and 74,999 (we’ll cover smaller and larger cities in a different post). For those who aren’t sure what the Southwest covers, it is the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma.
There are three metrics we look at when evaluating a city’s park resources. First is the total number of parks within the town. Next, we look at how many acres of parks are in the city limits. A city with one 1000-acre park will rate higher than a city with 10 one-acre parks. Lastly, we look at the miles of trails within the city. The combination of these three things goes towards a city’s park score.
Buckeye, AZ – Population 50,876. Buckeye is a top pick. Located to the west of Phoenix, Buckeye has only 4 distinct parks, but the largest has over 8700 acres and 18 miles of trails. In addition, Buckeye has a dog park, Aquatic Center, a teen center, and a gymnasium.
San Marcos, TX – Population 63,071. Also on the list is San Marcos, TX. Situated almost exactly in between Austin and San Antonio, San Marcos has 1800 acres of parkland. What makes this town stand out is its sheer number of parks. San Marcos has 48 parks within the city, the highest count of any mid-sized city in the Southwest. There are also 12 miles of city trails, a dog park, and a public pool.
Georgetown, TX – Population 70,685. Located just to the north of Austin, Georgetown has 46 parks, the 2nd highest total count, 16 miles of trails, and 1360 total acres of parkland. Georgetown also has three public pools, one recreation facility, and a dog park. With its high score in every category, Georgetown earned a well-deserved place on this list.
It can be hard to try to figure out where to live in the US. Everyone has a different idea of what the best means. Someone in their 20s might have different needs than a retiree. You might want park space and someone else wants an active nightlife.
Maybe you are thinking that none of these mid-sized cities sound just right. That’s why we created the NextDiggs quiz so that you can decide what features are “the best” for you. We profiled every city in America with 5000 or more residents with 61 criteria. You can choose to answer all the questions, or only the ones pertaining to criteria that are important to you. So go ahead and take the quiz and find your own “top 3”.
Read our other posts about the best mid-sized towns.