World’s Top 10 Happiest Countries

Where are the happiest people? Hint: Mostly in Latin America. See the world’s most blissful places, according to the leading global happiness measurement the Happy Planet Index.

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Dog runs in park
No. 20: Richmond, Virginia

No. 20: Richmond, Virginia

Virginia’s capital rounds out the list thanks, in part, to all its dog parks. If you’re visiting with your pooch, check out Ruff House Dog Park at Rockwood Park, an off-leash dog park that’s a favorite among locals. You’ll also routinely see Richmond residents get in their exercise alongside their furry friends on historic Monument Avenue. 960 1280

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No. 19: Cleveland

No. 19: Cleveland

Cleveland makes the list for its ample recreation facilities and park-related spending. The city is home to the new $11 million Collinwood Recreation Center, which is free for all to use, even nonresidents of the city. Another big attraction is the West Side Market (pictured), the oldest operating indoor/outdoor market space in the city. 960 1280

stu_spivack, flickr  

No. 18: Virginia Beach, VA

No. 18: Virginia Beach, VA

Virginia Beach consistently ranks among America’s fittest cities. The oceanfront city boasts many light and non-lighted tennis courts across town, and the area is home to 265 parks, totaling more than 4,000 acres of land. 960 1280

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No. 17: Baltimore

No. 17: Baltimore

Baltimore ranks well for its high number of park playgrounds, recreation centers and swimming pools. Another draw is Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, which sees 13 million visitors a year. Among its attractions is Baltimore Beach, a stretch of sand that’s home to 7 volleyball courts. 960 1280

Mr. T in DC, flickr  

No. 16: Pittsburgh

No. 16: Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh didn’t rank too well in terms of “healthy eating.” However, the city has many opportunities for visitors and residents to stay active outside. Renting a bike is easy at Golden Triangle Bike Rental, with their main location on the Eliza Furnace Trail. Hourly and daily rentals are available for the entire family. All rentals include a helmet, bike lock and self-guided trail map. 960 1280

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No. 15: Raleigh, North Carolina

No. 15: Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh gets high marks for setting aside a high percentage of city land as parkland; 17% of municipal land is devoted to parks compared with the national average of 10.6%. Cycling, boating, camping and hiking are all easy day excursions, with Umstead State Park and the American Tobacco Trail nearby. Plus, get in outdoor art at the North Carolina Museum of Art, where you’ll find this monumental sculpture. 960 1280

Christopher Ciccone, photographer   

No. 14: San Diego

No. 14: San Diego

Along with its great weather, “America’s Finest City” is known for its physically fit residents, who go surfing in San Diego at places like South Carlsbad State Beach. For quiet time, locals and visitors alike can enjoy the meditation gardens on the grounds of San Diego’s Self-Realization Fellowship Temple, founded by an Indian spiritual leader in the 1930s. 960 1280

Lisa Singh  

No. 13: Cincinnati

No. 13: Cincinnati

Locals in Cincinnati find plenty of outdoor inspiration in this stretch of southwest Ohio, from hopping aboard a riverboat cruise to kicking back in the city’s new 45-acre Riverfront Park. On the food front, Findlay Market delivers as Ohio’s oldest continuously operated public market. 960 1280

Wholtone, Wikimedia Commons  

No. 12: Salt Lake City

No. 12: Salt Lake City

It's no surprise to us that Salt Lake City made this list. Utah’s capital city is a short drive from renowned ski resorts like Alta, as well as scenic recreation areas like Wasatch-Cache National Forest. 960 1280

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No. 11: Austin, Texas

No. 11: Austin, Texas

<a title="Austin, TX" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/austin/articles/austin-city-guide" target="_blank">Austin, TX</a>, has <a title="superb food" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/austin/articles/austins-best-food-carts" target="_blank">superb food</a>. The Texas capital can also get very hot, which may explain why it has so many public swimming areas, at an affordable fee, too. The average price for a day pass to one of the city’s public pools is only $3 for adults and $1 for children. Barton Springs Pool is one place to cool down; find the recreational pool in Austin’s Zilker Park.   960 1280

Stephen Saks / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images  

No. 10: San Jose, California

No. 10: San Jose, California

Often called the “Capital of Silicon Valley,” San Jose, as California’s third-largest city, also has some great outdoor attractions. Alum Rock Park, nestled in the eastern foothills of Silicon Valley, is a great place for picnics, hiking, biking and exploring. The park also boasts great scenic trails, and 1800s-era natural spring baths. 960 1280

Don DeBold, flickr  

No. 9: Hartford, Connecticut

No. 9: Hartford, Connecticut

The capital city has more than 50 public parks and squares that cover more than 27,000 acres. More than a million people annually picnic, jog, attend rallies and socialize at Hartford's restored Bushnell Park (pictured). As the oldest publicly funded park in the US, Hartford’s historic “Central Park” has added new landscaping, benches and a play area in recent years. 960 1280

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No. 8: Seattle

No. 8: Seattle

Beach volleyball, anyone? In Seattle locals head to Alki Beach Park, a nearly 136-acre park with a half-mile of beachfront. Another favorite for the physically fit is Discovery Park, a 534-acre park on the shores of Puget Sound that includes more than 11 miles of walking and biking trails. The park, the largest in Seattle, is also a great place to view wildlife. 960 1280

Chas Redmond, Flickr  

No. 7: Sacramento, California

No. 7: Sacramento, California

In the Sacramento area, go kayaking on Lake Natoma, within the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. Another big attraction is the city’s park system; in 2013, Sacramento tied with San Francisco and Boston for having the third-best park system among the 50 most populous US cities. 960 1280

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No. 6: Boston

No. 6: Boston

Beantown is a walker’s city. Lace up for a walk along Boston Harbor. Plus, enjoy a 2.5-mile walk along the Freedom Trail, which leads to 16 historic sites in downtown <a title="Boston" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/boston/articles/travel-channels-guide-to-boston" target="_blank">Boston</a>. The city is also the birthplace of <a title="November Project" href="http://november-project.com" target="_blank">November Project</a>, a free fitness movement that started in 2011 (and has since spread to other major cities), with a membership of professional athletes and fitness rookies.   960 1280

Boston Harbor Association  

No. 5: Denver

No. 5: Denver

Outdoors lovers especially love the Mile High City. The big outdoor attraction is the Front Range Trail. Just 30 minutes outside the city, the 876-mile trail stretches from Wyoming into New Mexico, with trails ideal for hiking, running, rock climbing and mountain biking. And just 20 miles west of Denver, check out Genesee Park; you may spot American bison. 960 1280

Silveira Neto, Flickr  

No. 4: San Francisco

No. 4: San Francisco

The San Francisco Bay Area is known for its fresh, healthy food, with a focus on seasonal ingredients and sustainable agriculture. Dig into organic delights at local restaurants like The Plant, where organic salads and meats grace the menu. And whip up your own menu with items from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, which sells more than 1,500 varieties of local produce. 960 1280

Liza, Flickr  

No. 3: Portland, Oregon

No. 3: Portland, Oregon

With more than 10,000 acres of public parks, including 300 miles of greenways and bike boulevards, Portland is a great city for anyone seeking outdoor urban adventure. Enjoy a bike ride along the Willamette River, or start exploring the great outdoors on foot with a trip into Forest Park, one of the largest protected wilderness areas inside any US city. 960 1280

Getty Images   

No. 2: Washington, DC

No. 2: Washington, DC

Washington, DC, promotes a healthy lifestyle through its Capital Bikeshare program, with 2,500 bicycles located throughout the city. Another big draw is Eastern Market, a city fixture for more than 135 years, selling local farm-fresh produce. And if you want to get in cardio, a jog around the National Mall is a great option; you’ll cover 5 miles. 960 1280

John Serrao, Flickr  

No. 1: Minneapolis-St. Paul

No. 1: Minneapolis-St. Paul

For the third year in a row, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area ranks as the No. 1 healthiest city. Minneapolis was one of the first cities nationwide to add bike trails; it also sets aside a high percentage of the city as parkland. Another healthy draw is the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Established in 1937, the market supports some 230 local vendors. 960 1280

Pat Laurel, Flickr  

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