The Best River Towns in America: How They Were Picked

How the winning towns were selected this year

Pisgah National Forest North Carolina.

Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina.     Photo: Dan Barham

To select the greatest river town, we partnered with American Rivers, the nation’s leading fresh-water non-profit, and evaluated 50 cities on criteria such as cost of living, cultural vibrancy, job prospects, environmental stewardship, and access to the outdoors. We trimmed the field to 10 finalists, then turned the process over to you, inviting readers to vote on Facebook. Over four weeks, more than 20,000 of you weighed in. A panel of editors then judged the towns based on the enthusiasm of its residents. Nevada City, California, scored high points, since about 80 percent of the town voted—and a local radio station picked a fight with front-runner Richmond. But Richmond won out in the end with 9,315 votes, a public endorsement on Twitter from governor Bob McDonnell, and an impressive last-minute display in which 14 kayakers held up signs advocating for their city while floating on the James River.

From Outside Magazine, Oct 2012 Get the Latest Issue

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web