Sure, Marquette is small (pop. 21,500), but as the largest town on Superior's southern coast it has the culture and music of a larger city. It's a college town (think: jobs) with a large hospital (jobs). There's a great brew scene, diverse shoreline for kayaking, good inland lakes and rivers for canoeing, an hour from Pictured Rocks and Grand Island. Fourteen years ago I found Marquette on a map, got intrigued by the shoreline north of town (Google it and zoom in) and moved here sight unseen. I've never regretted it. --Aaron Peterson
See more: NORTH AMERICA’S BEST PADDLING TOWNS.
This story appeared in the June 2015 issue of Canoe & Kayak.