Best exurb: Boulder City

Near Las Vegas

Boulder City, Nevada

The Klouse family were drawn to Boulder City by its family-friendly atmosphere.

Shelly Strazis

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The category: Suburbanites in search of affordable housing turning once-isolated small towns into bedroom communities.

The stats: 20 miles southeast of Las Vegas; population just under 15,000.

The residents: Paul and Lois Klouse (45 and 43) and their children, Evan, 10; Aubrey, 8; and Braden, 6. Paul is a supervisor for the Clark County Health District in Las Vegas. Lois is a part-time swim instructor and personal trainer.

How they got here: Natives of Tacoma, Washington, Paul and Lois were drawn to Nevada by jobs, first settling in the northern part of the state. When they decided to check out southern Nevada, they looked at Las Vegas - and passed. Then they drove over Railroad Pass to Boulder City. "We saw the older part of town, the lawns, the big grassy park," Lois says, "and we thought, We could live here."

Why they're never leaving: Boulder City's family-friendly atmosphere, with plenty of parks, a striking new library, easy access to Lake Mead National Recreation Area, world-class mountain biking in Bootleg Canyon - and it's the only municipality in Nevada where gaming isn't allowed. It has made Nevada converts even out of native Northwesterners. Says Lois, "We don't miss the gray and the rain."


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