There are plenty of reasons to like Bayfield (pop. 500), starting with the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, where ice and waves have sculpted the Great Lakes' most spectacular caves. They vary from slivers to vaulted rooms and some come in mauves, pinks, and taupes, adorned with plush moss. Come August, Lake Superior's water clarity competes with the Bahamas, where you'll feel as if you're flying as much as floating. All that, and Bayfield is in easy range of the lake's north shore whitewater and canoe- country gems. — Katie McKy
See more: NORTH AMERICA’S BEST PADDLING TOWNS.
This story will appear in the June 2015 issue of Canoe & Kayak.