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Best Places to Live + Play: Waterfront Towns
National Geographic Adventure announces this year's top 50 adventure towns, state-by-state.   Text by Dan Koeppel


Wilderness  |  Small Towns  |  Mountains  |  Waterfront  |  Cities  |  Las Vegas 

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Hot Spot: Waimea, Hawaii >>


Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
- Population: 43,270
- Median home price: $123,380
- The radius: Lounging beachside at 215-square-mile (557-square-kilometer) Lake Winnebago is the Fond du Lac version of a day at the Hamptons. In town head to Hobbs Woods for a postwork trail run.


Newport, Rhode Island
- Population: 26,475
- Median home price: $460,000
- The radius: Developed as an exclusive resort for Vanderbilt types, Newport is now a stately haven for kayakers and divers. Easton's Beach has easy surfing, and expert waves rule at Point Judith.


Rockland, Maine
Population: 7,900
Median home price: $290,000
The radius: Rockland has yet to be hit with sprawl or Disneyfied quaintness. (One forgivable exception: its annual too-fun-to-resist Maine Lobster Festival.) Put in at Penobscot Bay to kayak the 350-mile (563-kilometer), coastal Maine Island Trail.


Mystic, Connecticut
- Population: 4,001
- Median home price: $299,975
- The radius: Tiny Mystic really comes alive in summer, when clambakes and folk music fests pack this resort town. Set sail near Mystic Seaport or visit the aquarium, maritime celeb Robert Ballard's home base.


Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Population: 193,568
- Median home price: $153,000
- The radius: Just west of bustling Grand Rapids are Lake Michigan's quiet white-sand shores. Camp on Hoffmaster State Park's beaches and access hundreds of shipwreck dives.


Annapolis, Maryland
- Population: 36,178
- Median home price: $342,500
- The radius: Colonial Annapolis is the major recreation port of Chesapeake Bay. The U.S. Naval Academy is also based here. Blow off steam sailing, windsurfing, and crabbing.


Beaufort, South Carolina
- Population: 12,950
- Median home price: $219,500
- The radius: Forrest Gump was filmed in this seaside retreat on Port Royal Island, and Beaufort still hosts a big shrimp festival every autumn. Watch for bottlenose dolphins while you sea kayak the salt marshes.


Lewiston, Idaho
- Population: 31,293
- Median home price: $148,000
- The radius: The mile-high (two-kilometer) walls of Hell's Canyon—North America's deepest gorge—put Lewiston on the paddling map. Salmon River, though, is the real prize: The 56-mile (90-kilometer) Class III stretch is the longest run without dams in the continental U.S.

Wilderness  |  Small Towns  |  Mountains  |  Waterfront  |  Cities  |  Las Vegas 

See All Towns >>

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