The lighter side of real estate

These Are The 10 Most Exciting Counties In America

Think you know where the most exciting places in the U.S. are? You’ll probably change your mind after you see this shocking list.

Laura Allan

112 articles, 1 comments

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Some places in this great nation are just more thrilling than others. There are big cities like New York and San Francisco that just lend themselves to wild and crazy fun, as well as smaller places and counties too.

So which places were the most exciting, you might wonder. We here at the Movoto Real Estate Blog were kind of wondering that too. So, we crunched some numbers and found out the most fun counties to call home. Get ready for a few shockers, because you probably didn’t see most of these counties coming:

1. Muskegon County, MI
2. Shelby County, MO
3. Pierce County, NE
4. Hill County, TX
5. Wayne County, IN
6. Washington County WI
7. Bradford County PA
8. Lyon County, NV
9. Juniata County, PA
10. Pierce County, WI

Surprise surprise, a Michigan county took No. 1! If you’re wondering where your exciting county finished, you can check the top 50 at the bottom of this article, and see if it placed there. If, on the other hand, you’re still scratching your head about this rather unexpected ranking, you can take a look at our methods in the very next section.

Our Methodology

If you’re wondering how we judge excitement for Big Deal Lists like this one, it really isn’t about our own personal preferences. Instead, we try to do things strictly by the numbers, finding excitement per capita for the most part. To start, we made a list of all the cities in each county using the U.S. Census five year community survey. Then, we collected data for each city in the following criteria:

  • Nightlife per capita (bars, clubs, comedy, etc.)
  • Live music venues per capita
  • Active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.)
  • Arts and Entertainment per capita (movie theaters, festivals, galleries, theaters, etc.)
  • Fast Food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)
  • Percentage of restaurants that are not fast food (the higher the better)
  • Percentage of young residents ages 18 to 34 (the higher the better)
  • Population density (the higher the better)

Any place that did not have data to work with, or that we found spanned multiple counties, was left off of our list. From there, we added the data for all the cities of each county together, averaging the young resident percentage and population density. That left us with 2,814 counties with combined data for each.

Then, we ranked each place in each category, doing everything per capita from one to 2,814. Lastly, we averaged each county’s ranking into one Big Deal Score, and the place with the lowest number for that score became out most exciting county.

If you’re still not sure why each of these places deserved to be in our top 10, keep reading as we look more in depth at each county.

1. Muskegon County, MI

Most Exciting Counties

Source: Flickr user wsilver

If you’re pondering how this county finished above so many other locales with booming and famous cities, you only need to look at one factor really: Food. This place had a ton of it, and  tons of variety. The Hearthstone, Mia & Grace Bakery and Bistro, and Toast ‘N Jams are only a few of the mouthwatering eateries you simply need to visit to believe.

By the numbers only, it’s still pretty apparent why this place ranked where it did. The 240th best nightlife, the 150th best music venues, and the 195th best arts and entertainment are only a few of the excellent scores. Of course, the big standout here was the dense and the young population, with over 27 percent of locals being between the ages of 18 and 34.

If you’re still not satisfied on the thrills front, you can always stop by Michigan’s Adventure amusement park to ride a coaster or two.

2. Shelby County, MO

Most Exciting Counties

Source: Flickr user Rob Stinnett

If you want to get a little history with your fun, this county is probably for you. Visiting Bethel’s Historic District is a fun walk through times long past, and also offers a few fun eateries for when you’re done, like Smokin J’s.

Beyond the historic past, the numbers pretty much speak for themselves. This place had decent active life scores, the 170th best nightlife, and the 430th best arts and entertainment, as long as you know where to look. On top of all that, this place was pretty tightly packed and pretty young, with almost 24 percent of locals being between the ages of 18 and 34.

For real local flavor, you should see what the Shelbyville Moonshiners are up to. They always seem to know how to bring the fun.

3. Pierce County, NE

Most Exciting Counties

Source: Flickr user Paige Stark

You might not think of bridges, museums, and libraries as exciting, but they’re all part of what makes this little county just so picturesque. Of course, a serious lack of dull fast food joints dotting the streets is definitely a plus too.

This was absolutely another spot for the outdoors folks, though. The active life ranked 270th, with help from pool clubs, golf courses, yoga, and nature in general. So if you like your excitement with a breath of fresh air, you don’t have to look far in these parts.

That’s not all. For nightlife (ranked 22nd best) you can go to Taylor’s Sports Bar & Grill, for music you can see if anyone’s playing at the Athletic Park Band Shell, and if you want something…vaguely creepy, there’s the Klown Doll Museum in Plainview.

4. Hill County, TX

Most Exciting Counties

Source: Flickr user Patty Carlson

This is one Texas county that packed a lot of really exciting people all into a small area. The area had the 146th densest population, with a very fun 23.22 percent of them being between the ages of 18 and 34. But is there really much to do for these fun people? You bet.

For taste buds alone, this place is pretty much a wonderland. Not only were there few boring fast food places, there were also a variety of eateries to pick from. So all you really have to do is decide if you want something sauced in perfect alfredo at Frankie’s Pasta and Pizza, something fried up at Lone Star Cafe, or a delectable slice of pie over at the Texas Great Country Cafe. Yum!

This place was also great for music lovers, considering it had the 74th best music venues and the 126th best nightlife options. Per capita, you’d really have to search to find a place with more to do than Hill County.

5. Wayne County, IN

Most Exciting Counties

Source: Flickr user Sungo

If you’re into antiques, rose gardens, hiking trails, and a stellar county fair, this place is an ideal destination. The people are friendly and down to earth, and you’re only about an hour’s drive to Indianapolis if you’re looking for some city lights and late night fun. That being said, there’s plenty to do here that doesn’t involve driving so far.

The active life ranked in the top 600, the arts ranked 256th, and the population density was pretty tightly packed. There was even a fair amount of young people, so this county certainly had a youthful and energetic vibe.

Richmond, the county seat of this place, is really the hub of it all. The Richmond Civic Theatre always has interesting shows to take in, Smiley’s Pub & Beer Garden is always serving up cold ones, and oh my goodness you simply have to try the potato salad at Little Sheba’s.

6. Washington County, WI

Most Exciting Counties

Source: Flickr user Royal Broll

This is a slightly bigger county on our list, and this place also knew how to bring big fun. West Bend alone, the county seat, had late night fun at the Brazen Head Pub and numerous other bars, rafting and tubing nearby, the Museum of Wisconsin Art for culture lovers, and even a jazz festival every year. What more do you need?

Just looking at the numbers, there’s still so much more. The 246th best nightlife, the 160th youngest population, and a low number of fast food restaurants are only a few perks. Of course, the biggest standout was the 10th densest population on our list, which meant meeting new people or old friends on a night out is easy.

This place also had a huge number of non-fast food restaurants for foodies. The Poplar Inn and the Riverside Brewery and Restaurant kinda prove that this place is all about quality too, even with the quantity.

7. Bradford County, PA

Most Exciting Counties

Source: Flickr user Bruce Fingerhood

For a youthful spot with some rather lovely nature around, and stellar stats, you only need to look to this Pennsylvania county. We’re not kidding about those stats, either, considering this place had the 75th youngest populace and the 230th most dense population.

It’s true that lots of people don’t necessarily make a place exciting and this spot had more than that. Lots of arts and entertainment amenities, many music venues, and the 392nd best nightlife all made this a destination, rather than just a stopping point along the way.

Of course, maybe you’d like a little sophistication. That’s fine, seeing as you can get fine dining at the Brimarie Inn, can get a little history at the French Azilum, and can even see what the Bradford County Regional Arts Council has in the works as far as live performances.

8. Lyon County, NV

Most Exciting Counties

Source: Flickr user Steven Harrell

Who says Las Vegas is the only exciting place in Nevada? This county, near Carson City and Reno, has plenty to keep locals entertained, as long as you know where to look. There’s exciting surf and turf at J’s Bistro, there’s the old-school feel of things at Scobies Grill, and there’s a even a casino or two to try your luck at.

Number-wise, this place still shows its best side. A serious lack of boring fast food, a very young population, and plenty of arts and entertainment all call this place home. Plus there’s some pretty cool museums around, if history is more your thing.

It’s probably worth mentioning that this place is kind of known for…adult entertainment. We’ll let you do your own research on that, but at least you have to admit that should keep this place from ever being boring.

9. Juniata County, PA

Most Exciting Counties

Source: Flickr user jpmueller99

This little county shows that PA knows how to party, even outside of Philadelphia. For starters, this county had the 66th most nightlife, the 39th most music venues, and the 21st most arts and entertainment per capita.

This all might seem a little shocking, considering the competition, but just look at the options. The Juniata Junction is serving up decent grub, there are multiple bars to visit, and even boating and camping for the outdoorsy type.

The numbers keep looking good in other areas too, considering this place had a high population density and over 24 percent of locals were of the younger and more lively variety. So if you’re looking to find someone new to have fun with here, that shouldn’t be a problem.

You also might not think of this as a wine area, but this county has its very own wine trail running through it, including Juniata Valley Winery, which is definitely a small but exciting stop.

10. Pierce County, WI

Most Exciting Counties

Source: Flickr user ShaLynn Wren

The second Pierce County to make our list, this Wisconsin one had some numbers that are sure to impress just about anyone. The 202nd densest population, a huge number of non-fast food restaurants, lots of active life amenities, and so much more made this a serious contender in our top 10.

The biggest selling point here, however, was the eighth youngest population. A truly stunning 64.85 percent of locals here were between the ages of 18 and 34. You can probably find quite a few of them at Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery regularly…I mean, come on, love for cheese knows no age limits.

Besides cheese, there’s plenty to do and see here. There’s great food at the Kitchen Table, the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway for views, and of course snowmobile trails to enjoy in the winter. All that snow’s got to be good for something, right?

Finding Fun Where You Least Expect It

Let’s be honest, a lot of you were expecting to see big cities and big counties on this list. You wanted huge sports teams, giant concert halls, things like that. But as our list shows, some of the most excitement per capita can be found in small spots, as long as you know where to look.

If you find one of these thrilling little places calling your name, feel free to drop us a line. We sell houses for a living, you know, so we’ll probably be able to point you in the right direction to get there.

Most Exciting Counties

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posted on: October 15, 2014
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One Comment

  1. Kathy

    HOW can this be…we have the murders, the curfew, the break ins, on and on…OMG!!!


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