In order to rank the top river towns in America, the editors of Outside Magazine turned to locals, asking for them to vote for their towns and provide travel tips to potential visitors. The resulting list, which contains some unexpected nominees and a surprising winner, shows the amazing diversity of communities built around waterways.
The specific criteria the towns were judged on? Cost of living, cultural vibrancy, job prospects, environmental stewardship and access to the outdoors. And these towns delivered. The common theme wound up being an engaged local population -- in some case a very small, very engaged local population -- with a love for nature and the civic projects to prove it. Greenways, trail systems and even urban swimming holes stood out as the features that make these river towns great.
Outside isn't the only publication that makes endless lists of the best towns in America based on specific criteria. Travel + Leisure has delved into the best cities for singles and hipsters, as well as the cities with the worst-dressed populations (sorry, Anchorage). Sherman'sTravel.com has checked out the best cities for biking, and Smithsonian Magazine has pulled together a poll to list the best small towns in America.
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