With a vibrant downtown boasting live music, grassroots businesses, craft breweries and stunning views of Lake Superior, Duluth (pop. 86,000) has become a fixture on lists of best places to live for the hip and trendy. In a city renowned for its abundant green space, "right out your backdoor" paddling is Duluth's best kept secret, says David Grandmaison, the owner of The Duluth Experience, a multisport outfitter. "Lake Superior's north shore begs for sea kayak expeditions and the St. Louis River estuary provides endless exploration." Just out of town, steep creeks peak with the spring freshet and whitewater on the dam-controlled upper St. Louis is runnable year-round. -- Conor Mihell
See more: NORTH AMERICA’S BEST PADDLING TOWNS.
This story will appear in the June 2015 issue of Canoe & Kayak.