It’s every enthusiast’s dream, to get paid to do what we pay to do. Park rangers, advocacy directors, conservancy planners, brand marketers, and on and on. The outdoor industry represents a massive amount of employment opportunities if you know where to look for them. To get your dream job, you’ve got to go where the dreams live. Below is a list of the best places in the country for outdoor industry jobs.
There are maybe eight people in the entire state of Colorado that don’t work on some facet of the outdoor industry. On Outside magazine’s Top 100 Best Places to Work list, 19 of the employers had offices in Colorado. The massive open spaces, eco-conscious populous and diversity of terrain make Colorado the best place to move if you want a job working in the outdoors. While Boulder is probably the most fertile place for employment, you’ll find jobs all over the state.
California is sort of a default winner here. Saying there are a lot of outdoor jobs in CA is like saying there are a lot of fish in the ocean. The place is huge. Having said that, it does offer a staggering amount of outdoor industry opportunities. From the Sierra Nevadas down to the Pacific coast, you’ll find everything from ranger gigs in the mountains to advocacy jobs in San Francisco.
Tourism is one of the largest industries in Big Sky country and in Montana, there is only one type of tourism: the outdoors type. Whether you’re working at a lodge, leading city folk on horseback rides, taking people into the backcountry or driving fly fishermen to secret lakes and rivers, there’s plenty of work out here. If you’re looking for a place to start, check out Missoula or Big Sky.
Minnesota has lots of opportunities if you can survive their frigid winters. For indoors work, Minneapolis is the obvious best bet. Beyond that, 10,000 lakes mean at least as many jobs taking care of them and showing them off to out-of-towners.
Utah is known to many as the mecca of outdoors companies. Home to heavy hitters like Backcountry.com and Black Diamond, the state is also home to the nation’s largest outdoor exposition, Outdoor Retailer, held twice a year in Salt Lake City. It also has many of the same benefits of Colorado, amazing topography and huge tracts of national parks.
Pacific Northwest (Seattle and Portland)
The Pacific Northwest is home to many outdoor industry big wigs, like Outdoor Research, The Clymb, and more. Seattle is a great place to head for leading marketing and tech jobs related to the outdoors, while Portland is rapidly attracting advocacy and retail groups.