Best exurb: Boulder City

Near Las Vegas

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  • Boulder City's housing stock ranges from 1930s worker cottages to newer family homes and condos.

    Boulder City Nevada

    Shelly Strazis

    Click to Enlarge

The story behind the burb: Boulder City came to life in 1931 as a planned "model city" for workers building nearby Hoover Dam. Early homes ranged from approximately 900-square-foot workers' cottages to more spacious supervisors' residences. There's newer housing stock too, but not tons of it. At 200 square miles, Boulder City is geographically the largest city in Nevada, but much of that land remains undeveloped thanks to the town's slow-growth initiatives. These policies, and Boulder City's desirability, mean that homes tend to cost 15 to 30 percent more than in nearby Henderson. But most residents feel the difference is worth it.

Want in? You can get a 1,000-square-foot condo for less than $200K. Single-family homes range from $300K to $700K depending on size and age, with a four-bedroom, two-bath '70s home going for around $400K. www.bcnv.org

Other exurbs we love
Canby, OR, has preserved its farmy feel despite a steady flow of families bailing on Portland for a quieter life. www.ci.canby.or.us

Erie, CO, is attracting hordes of mountain-loving young professionals unruffled by a 25-minute commute to Denver. www.erieco.gov

Lehi City, UT, is drawing folks with its technological growth and inexpensive new homes. www.lehicity.com

Queen Creek, AZ, has a master plan calling for 20 percent open space and miles of multiuse trails. www.queencreek.org

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