Looking out the cockpit, an aerial view of Santa Ana, CA.

#7. Santa Ana

Living in Santa Ana, Calif., will get you plenty of vitamin D. Averaging more than 300 days of sunshine each year, with comfortable temperatures most of the time, Santa Ana comes close to offering ideal conditions to those who love to play outdoors. It’s no wonder that golf courses dot the city and surrounding areas, while parks and trails provide near-perfect settings for all kinds of sports and exercise.

The city maintains more than 35 public parks along with recreation and community centers. Most residents of Santa Ana lead healthy, active lifestyles, which helped the city earn a spot on our Top 10 Healthiest Cities list. Fitness clubs and workout facilities cover Santa Ana, offering everything from tennis lessons and racquet ball to boot camps and boxing. 

Santa Ana’s healthy atmosphere helped the city land on our 2014 Best Places to Live list as well. Most Santa Ana residents undergo health screenings and visit doctors regularly, and fewer than 11 percent of the population smokes. The average resident takes just three sick days each year. The city has a high ratio of mental-health providers. Hospitals and doctors in Santa Ana provide excellent care. Restaurants in Santa Ana serve decadent menus that tempt taste buds, but there are usually always healthy options available. The trouble is that some of these meals are just so hard to pass up. Luckily, the city has a network of sidewalks and paths to help burn calories when making the transition between work and play. Nearby beaches offer swimming and surfing opportunities almost year round. One of the nation’s preeminent high school football programs can be found at Santa Ana’s Mater Dei High School. Dozens of Division 1 athletes have come out of local high schools, and the local community college’s soccer team has been a top finisher in the state for several years.


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