Here Are the Best Places in the U.S. And Abroad to Live a Sustainable and Happy Life

From lush green landscapes to sparkling blue lakes and oceans, here are some of our favorite places to live a happy life.

Jamie Bichelman - Author

Jul. 3 2024, Published 1:19 p.m. ET

A smiling family enters a new home while a young child spreads her arms inside of a box.
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When families decide to move, several factors come into play that affect overall well-being: how vegan-friendly the region is, whether it's easy to shop and commute sustainably, and if there are safe spaces for companion animals, to name a few.

Whether you're planning to emigrate from the U.S. to another country, move to another state, or start fresh elsewhere in your current state, you're rightfully wondering about the best place to live for your lifestyle and unique needs.

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From my own experiences with multiple cross-country and cross-state moves, the grass is sometimes significantly drier on the other side while other times it’s lusher and more vibrant than you ever imagined.

As you prepare for an eco-friendly move, check out our guide below for helpful insight into the best places to live.

Packing tape on top of a stack of boxes as someone puts furniture in moving boxes.
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Here are some of the best countries to live in:

Grab your passport and plane tickets, because some of the best places to live in the world can be found outside the U.S. On your first leg of the journey, the pristine beauty of the Scandinavian Peninsula holds two of the best places to live: eco-friendly Sweden and forest-friendly Norway, per the relocation resource Movingto.

While no region is immune to the ongoing climate crisis, Sweden and Norway protect their breathtaking natural resources through climate-conscious values. Both Nordic countries are also known for social progressiveness as well as top-notch public healthcare and high-quality education, per both Movingto and InterNations.

If your circadian rhythm can withstand constant light, it's important to note that some parts of Norway receive 24-hour sunlight.

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Finally, with an eye on sustainability, per National Geographic, there is perhaps no greater country to live in than Switzerland. With progressive animal protection laws, per Alpha Travel Insurance, and a sterling reputation for easy access to vegan-friendly restaurants and resources, Switzerland emphasizes renewable energy and sustainability to a high degree.

A mother and son hike together in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state.
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Here are some of the best U.S. states to live in:

If access to mind-boggling beauty outdoors, eclectic arts and culture vibes, professional sports teams, and a thriving food scene are all important factors to you, the states within the Pacific Northwest are a dream come true, according to Priority Moving Services.

The list of outdoor attractions in the PNW is a mile long; outdoor enthusiasts love everything from the regal Cascade Mountains to the stunning beauty of Olympic National Park and the Puget Sound, according to Condé Nast Traveler.

No list would be complete without the top recommendation from U.S. News & World Report, which tabs the state of Utah as the best place to live in the U.S.

Utah offers many beautiful outdoor attractions, especially for skiing and hiking enthusiasts, and its economy, education system, and infrastructure each rate among the best in the country. All the more reason to become politically active and engage policymakers to develop drought mitigation strategies to protect the state's natural beauty.

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The emerald green waters of Lake Tahoe are pictured with snow-capped mountains in the background.
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Check out some of the best U.S. cities to live in:

The most breathtaking city in the U.S., in my opinion, is the outdoor enthusiast mecca of Lake Tahoe, which spans Nevada and California. The plethora of "Keep Tahoe Blue" stickers adorning the bumpers of Subaru SUVs throughout the city implore tourists to reduce the significant trash problem to protect wildlife and indigenous communities.

Tahoe resorts boast green energy initiatives, and the wildfires growing in intensity each year underscores the importance of climate-friendly policies.

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If access to seemingly endless options for high-end vegan dining and plant-based fast food is important to you, there are perhaps no greater metropolitan cities than New York City and Los Angeles. Both cities boast celebrity chef-owned vegan restaurants as well.

There may be no greater city when it comes to environmental consciousness than Portland, Ore., as explained by Urban Green-blue Grids. The city prioritizes sustainable development practices, its urban planners prioritize walkability, and the vegan scene in Portland is one of the best around.

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